A reliable washer and dryer are the backbone of a laundry room. Without these two appliances, washing and drying laundry is a much more tedious and time-consuming task and may require a trip to the laundromat. If you’re in the market for a new washer and dryer, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the different models, capacities, and features to choose from. Use this guide to learn more about what to prioritize when shopping to help you select the best washer and dryer for a laundry room.
- BEST OVERALL: Electrolux EFLS627UTT Washer and EFMG627UTT Dryer
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Amana NTW4516FW Washer and NED4655EW Dryer
- BEST TOP-LOADING: Maytag MVWC565FW Washer and MGDC465HW Dryer
- BEST LARGE-CAPACITY: LG Electronics WM9000HVA Washer and DLEX9000V Dryer
- BEST COMPACT: Whirlpool WET4024HW Laundry Center
- BEST SMART: GE GFW550SSNWW Washer and GFD55ESSNWW Dryer
- BEST ALL-IN-ONE: GE GFQ14ESSNWW Ventless Electric Washer Dryer Combo
- BEST LAUNDRY CENTER: LG Electronics WKEX299HWA Single Unit WashTower
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Washer and Dryer
Keep the features outlined below in mind as you shop for the best washer and dryer. The type, size, capacity, wash cycles, energy-efficiency levels, and smart technology will vary between different models, so consider which features are most important to you to help focus your search.
One of the first decisions you will want to make before getting too deep into your search for the best washer and dryer is which types of models you prefer. The types of washers and dryers you’ll find include front-load, top-load, stacked, stackable, side-by-side, and combo sets.
- Front-load washers often offer a larger capacity than top-load washers, with some having a capacity of up to 6 cubic feet. These models are more energy efficient and don’t require as much water to wash a load of laundry. They also use a cleaning motion that is gentle on clothing. However, front-load washers can be more expensive and often take longer to wash a load of laundry. They also require more care and maintenance. Nearly all dryers are front-load models.
- Top-load washers have a hinged lid on the top of the unit that opens to reveal the washbasin. Traditionally, top-load machines used an agitator to clean clothing items. The agitator rubs against fabrics to remove stains and dirt. While agitators are still found in some top-load machines, many models now feature impellers, which offer a more gentle cleaning by moving clothes around within the basin. Top-load washing machines are often a less-expensive option. They don’t require you to bend down to add or remove laundry from the basin, but it may be challenging to reach the base of the tub of a high-capacity model. There are a few top-load dryers, but most dryers are front-load models.
- Stacked washer and dryer units, also referred to as laundry centers, typically feature a top load washer at the base of the unit with a front-load dryer on the top of the unit. These models offer a more compact size, which is often a good fit for an apartment or laundry closet.
- Stackable washers and dryers provide a space-saving solution for tighter spaces. Some front-load washers and dryers are stackable, and individuals can choose to place the dryer on top of the washer rather than putting the two units side-by-side.
- Side-by-side sets are simply a washer and dryer pair that are sold together. The two units will feature a coordinated design for a more cohesive look in a laundry room. As their name implies, with side-by-side sets the washer and dryer are placed next to one another. Some smart washer and dryer sets may even be able to communicate with one another to adjust dry cycles based on the selected wash cycles.
- Washer and dryer combos wash items and dry them in the same machine. All-in-one combo units feature a front-load design and are an optimal choice for individuals who are very tight on space, as they take up the space of only one appliance rather than two. Many washer and dryer combos feature a ventless design, so they won’t need to be vented to the outside, which can be a benefit for laundry closets, RVs, and other spaces. However, the time it takes to wash and dry a load of laundry in an all-in-one model is often significantly longer than it would take with two separate units (up to 6 hours in some cases).
The next step to finding the best washer and dryer set is to look for appliances that are appropriately sized for the space you have for them. Begin by measuring the intended space and check the dimensions of each washer and dryer pair to confirm they will fit.
The dimensions of a washer and dryer can vary quite a bit depending on the capacity and design of each model. More compact washers and dryers are about 24 inches wide, 24 to 26 inches deep, and 33 to 36 inches tall, while full-size units are around 27 inches wide, 30 to 34 inches deep, and 38 to 39 inches tall.
While related to the size of each unit, capacity is a separate feature to consider. Capacity, which is measured in cubic feet, indicates the amount of interior space in a washer or dryer to hold clothing or linens. Again, the capacity of washers and dryers can vary a lot. The capacity of a washing machine typically ranges from about 2.2 to 5 cubic feet, while the capacity of a dryer is generally between 3.4 and 7.3 cubic feet.
It should go without saying that individuals who do larger loads of laundry require a washer and dryer with a greater capacity. Most families of four need a washer with at least a 4-cubic-foot capacity, but often a model with at least a 4.5-cubic-foot capacity is even better. As a point of reference, a 4-cubic-foot washer can accommodate about 16 pounds of laundry, and a 4.5-cubic-foot washer can hold around 20 pounds of laundry.
Keep in mind, dryers need additional space in the unit to dry items, so always choose a dryer with a larger capacity than the washer you choose. Finding a dryer that has twice, or nearly twice, the capacity of the washer will help ensure that there is sufficient space for items to dry.
Electric vs. Gas
Another decision to make is whether you prefer an electric or a gas dryer. Electric dryers require a 240-volt current, which provides twice the strength of standard 120-volt household outlets. Electric dryers are less expensive than gas dryers, simpler to install, and easier to maintain. However, the costs of operating an electric dryer will be higher than the costs of operating a gas dryer.
Gas dryers are powered by either propane gas or natural gas. They deliver faster drying times (around twice as fast) and don’t create as much static cling as an electric dryer. Gas dryers are also cheaper to operate than electric dryers. However, gas dryers require a greater upfront investment and require professional installation.
Look for information about the wash cycles offered by each washing machine. Finding a washing machine that offers a variety of wash cycles is important for washing different types of fabrics. Each wash cycle utilizes different speeds, soak times, water temperatures, and agitation rates when cleaning. Using the same cycle for all items would likely result in damaging more delicate items and not having sufficient cleaning power to remove tough stains from other items.
Compare the number of wash cycles offered by each washer to start, then compare the specific cycles offered. The standard wash cycles you’re likely to see on most models include normal wash, delicates, heavy-duty, and whites. You may consider looking for models with additional wash cycles, such as hand-wash, steam, deep-water wash, sheets, quick wash, and extra rinse.
Water and Energy Efficiency
Purchasing water- and energy-efficient models will not only help you conserve money by spending less on energy bills, but it will also help limit your household’s environmental footprint.
The ENERGY STAR program was created to identify energy-efficient appliances. As you shop, you may notice that some products have been awarded ENERGY STAR certification. This means that they use less energy than standard, less-efficient washers and dryers. An ENERGY STAR-certified washer can save around $35 each year in electric bills, as these models use only about 316 kWH of electricity. ENERGY STAR-certified washers often feature a greater capacity, which allows you to wash more laundry in each load to reduce the total amount of water used for washing items. ENERGY STAR-certified dryers use around 20 percent less energy than other dryers.
More and more washers and dryers on the market feature smart technology. These models can connect to the Wi-Fi in a home, allowing individuals to use their smartphone, tablet, or other devices to check on the status of a load of laundry, start or pause a cycle, or create laundry schedules from any location.
Some smart washers and dryers can also connect to Amazon’s Alexa, the Google Assistant, or other smart personal assistants. With these models, you can use voice commands to start or stop a load or to track the progress of a wash or dry cycle.
Finally, consider if there are any other additional features you’d like to see in the washer or dryer you select. Some possible options to consider include:
- Automatic dispensers: Some washing machines offer automatic dispensers for laundry detergent, bleach, or fabric softener. These models will automatically dispense each liquid at the optimal time during the wash cycle. Some units feature dispensers with an extra-large capacity that you can fill with enough liquid for multiple wash cycles.
- Self-cleaning cycles: Self-cleaning cycles on a washing machine make it easy to keep the interior clean and free of detergent buildup, mildew, or mold.
- Quiet operation: Some washers and dryers are specially designed to reduce vibration and noise. This results in quieter wash and dry cycles for reduced distractions and may be particularly desirable if your laundry room is close to living spaces in your home.
Our Top Picks
The featured picks for the best washer and dryer are outlined below. When selecting these products, the criteria shared above were used to find top-quality washers and dryers of different types and price points to match the needs of each user.
The front-load Electrolux washer included in this pair offers a 4.4-cubic-foot capacity to handle large loads of laundry. This ENERGY STAR-certified model features SmartBoost technology that premixes water and detergent before each cycle begins to take advantage of the detergent’s cleaning power. The PerfectSteam setting also effectively works to gently remove stains from fabrics with steam. Other noteworthy features of the washer include the 15-minute fast-wash cycle, the automatic detergent dispensers that are compatible with detergent packs, and the extended refresh cycle to keep clothing fresh before it is moved to the dryer.
The matching 8.0-cubic-foot ENERGY STAR-certified electric dryer from Electrolux completes this pair. The dryer features a Perfect Steam wrinkle release setting to remove wrinkles from clothing. It also offers a quick (15-minute) fast-dry cycle when time is of the essence. In all, the dryer offers nine different cycles to match the drying need of each fabric type. The reversible door design, high-quality rust- and chip-resistant stainless steel drum, LED display and electronic control panel as well as the luxury-quiet sound package are a few of the other impressive features packed into this model.
Individuals looking to save money should consider this Amana washer and dryer pair. The washer included in the set is a top-load model with a 3.5-cubic-foot capacity. It features a dual action agitator that rolls clothing through the wash basket’s base to remove dirt and stains. Choose from eight wash cycles, five temperature settings, an extra rinse option, and a deep-water wash option. This washer has a high-quality porcelain tub.
Amana’s 6.5-cubic-foot electric washing machine rounds out this pair. The dryer uses sensor technology to fully dry items without overdrying them. It also offers a wrinkle-prevent setting that will periodically tumble the load to keep wrinkles from forming. The door on this model is reversible to accommodate different laundry room layouts.
Maytag’s 4.2-cubic-foot top-load water is designed to thoroughly clean clothing items and remove stains. It features a POWERWASH agitator that uses special wash actions to remove stains and dirt from clothing and linens. The POWERWASH cycle combines these cleaning motions with heated water for even more effective stain removal. Other key features of this model include the 11 wash cycles, electronic controls, and load-sensing technology to add the right amount of water for each cycle. This Maytag model’s vibration control leads to increased stability and decreased noise.
The 7.0-cubic-foot gas dryer from Maytag complements the washer highlighted above. This model features a heavy-duty motor that allows the dryer to efficiently dry large loads of laundry. The dryer uses moisture sensing to properly dry each load and offers a wrinkle-control option that will continue tumbling a completed load to keep wrinkles from forming. There are a total of 12 drying cycles to choose from to meet the needs of different fabric types.
The large-capacity washer and dryer in this pair is ideal for individuals who want to be able to wash large items or heavy loads of laundry. The front-load washer has a 5.2-cubic-foot capacity. It also features Smart ThinQ technology that allows individuals to monitor a wash cycle, start and stop cycles, download special wash cycles, and keep track of energy usage with their smartphones. Choose from 14 wash cycles and five different temperature settings for customized cleaning to match the needs of each load. Other notable features include steam cleaning technology and sound-reduction technology.
The large 9.0-cubic-foot washer in this set includes 14 preset cycles. Like the washer, the dryer also features Smart ThinQ technology, allowing individuals to start or stop the dryer, monitor the status of a cycle, and download new drying cycles. This dryer uses automatic temperature control to ensure fabrics are fully dried without being overdried. It also offers a steam drying cycle to reduce wrinkles. The sound-reduction technology decreases noise for quiet operation and reduced distractions.
Whirlpool’s electric laundry center offers an ideal solution for individuals who are tight on space and require a compact washer and dryer. This stacked unit includes a 1.6-cubic-foot washer and a 3.4-cubic-foot dryer. The washer features a stainless steel wash basket to keep clothing and linens from snagging. It offers six wash cycles, three temperature settings, and an automatic bleach dispenser. The glass lid allows individuals to monitor the status of a load of laundry without opening the lid. The lid also features slow-close technology for smooth operation.
The dryer in this set uses sensory technology to determine when clothing and linens are dry, eliminating concerns about overdrying items. There are four drying cycles to choose from with this model.
This ENERGY STAR-certified smart washer and dryer pair simplify the work that goes into washing and drying a load of laundry. The washer and dryer in the pair connect to a home’s Wi-Fi, which allows individuals to start or stop a load of laundry, monitor a cycle’s status, or receive notifications from the convenience of their smartphone. The washer has a 4.8-cubic-foot capacity to handle large loads of laundry. It also offers a 20-minute wash cycle, OdorBlock technology to eliminate excess moisture, microban antimicrobial technology, and a special “Sanitize with Oxi” setting to remove 99 percent of bacteria from clothing and linens.
The 7.8-cubic-foot dryer in this pair uses sensory dry technology to monitor moisture levels and temperatures for optimal drying of clothing and linens. Choose the quick-dry setting to dry a load in 23 minutes or less or the sanitize cycle to enjoy freshly sterilized items. This dryer also offers five drying temperatures, a reversible door design, four-way venting flexibility, and internal LED lighting.
This all-in-one electric washer/dryer combo from GE makes it possible to complete a load of laundry from start to finish in just one machine; it will both wash and dry the same load. The 2.4-cubic-foot combo model offers a compact size that is ideal for individuals who are tight on space. Unlike most other dryers, this model does not need to be vented outside. It uses a condensing drying system, so it can be placed in the most convenient location without needing to worry about access to a dryer vent.
The washer/dryer combo offers automatic dispensers for detergent, fabric softener, and bleach. It also features a last-minute add-a-garment option that will unlock the door to allow users to place a forgotten item in the wash. The auto-dry feature sets the dryer settings automatically based on the selected wash cycles. Some other noteworthy features include the steam wash and sanitize cycles, five soil level settings, five wash temperatures, and five spin speeds.
LG Electronics Laundry Center is a single unit featuring a front-loading 4.5-cubic-foot washer beneath a 7.4-cubic-foot electric dryer. Its stacked design offers a compact solution for laundry closets and other tighter spaces. The control panel is conveniently located between the washer and dryer to allow for easy access to choose a cycle, and start the unit.
This ENERGY STAR-qualified model also features ThinQ smart technology that allows users to start and stop wash or dry cycles remotely or monitor the progress of a load of laundry. This laundry center is also compatible with Amazon Alexa or the Google Assistant to allow for voice control options. The washer and dryer feature tempered glass doors for durability and a stylish appearance. Other key features of this laundry center include the NeveRust stainless steel tubs, wrinkle control setting, TubClean self-cleaning cycle, and TrueBalance anti-vibration system to reduce vibrations and noise. And the FlowSense duct clogging and lint filter indicators alert users when the filter or ducts need to be cleaned.
FAQs About Washers and Dryers
If you are left with a few questions about selecting the best washer and dryer, consult with the FAQs below for additional information you may find useful.
Q. Which type of washing machine gets clothes the cleanest?
While performance may vary based on the specific model selected, front-load washers are typically more effective at cleaning clothing than top-load washers.
Q. How does a ventless dryer work?
Most ventless dryers are condenser dryers. These dryers pull in the air from the space and heat it up. However, unlike vented dryers that exhaust this air through a dryer vent hose, condenser dryers cool it back down. This converts the moisture into a liquid. This liquid is collected and reheated again, which continues the drying process. Once the dryer has finished drying clothes, the collected water can be poured out from the tray.
Q. How long does it take to do a load of laundry in a washer/dryer combo?
It can take up to 6 hours to complete a load of laundry in an all-in-one washer dryer combo. The exact amount of time can vary based on the items in the cycle; some loads may finish washing and drying in about 3 hours.
Q. How do I maintain my washer and loader?
Keeping your washer and dryer clean is important for maintaining the units. Washing machine cleaners can be used to keep the basin of a washing machine free of mold, mildew, and detergent buildup. The dryer’s lint filter should be cleaned out after each use as well.
Each month, check the dryer vent hose for any crimps, bends, tears, or obstructions. Assess the washing machine hoses to make sure they are not cracked or leaking and are properly connected.
Each year, clean the dryer vent hose to remove any lint. If you are unsure of how to do this, hire a professional, dryer vent cleaning company.
Q. How long should my washer and dryer last?
The amount of time your washer and dryer will last can vary based on the quality of the models you purchased, how frequently you do laundry, and the care and maintenance you perform. Washers generally last about 10 years, and dryers typically last for 10 to 13 years.