25 Different Types of Washing Machines

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Washing machines have become a necessity more than a luxury. Find out which type of washer is most suitable for your household needs.

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Washing machine with rattan baskets against a whitewashed brick wall.

Washing machines existed as early as the 18th century with the first version being a simple wooden box where water filled it up through manual rotation. Front load washing machines, invented in 1950, make up 99 percent of new models because they are considered 50 percent more efficient in performance and in energy consumption than their top load counterparts.

In the U.S., majority of socks are lost in washing machines for no reason whatsoever. The appliance also consumes about a quarter of national water supply so about 18 percent of Americans can’t afford to own one. Across the globe, however, 99 percent of women use this time-saving machine.

Type

Front-Loading

Front loading washing machine

Source: Home Depot

This is the best type of washing machine if you have a smaller area for your machine and need to be able to run a lot of loads easily. They can be stacked with a dryer to take up more vertical space than floor space, if necessary, and generally have a very large interior that allows you to wash bulkier items or bigger loads without sacrificing the cleaning power of the machine. While they are great for running larger loads, they are also considered to be the most efficient of all types since they need less water for a load.

Additionally, they will make your clothes last a lot longer since they do not use an agitator to get the clothing clean. There are a fewer problems with front-loading washing machines, including that water can get caught inside which will cause musty odors, and they are usually much more expensive than top-loading washing machines.

Top-Loading

Top loading washing machine

Source: Home Depot

These washing machines have shorter cycles and are a lot less expensive both to buy and to repair. They use a very simple control panel to choose the type of cycles you want, and this panel is incredibly easy for most people to operate without any problems. If you have back problems or difficulty bending over, then you will want to choose a top-loading washing machine, as it is much easier to get the clothes in and out of this type.

Unfortunately, when you put too many items in to be washed, you will find that your machine isn’t able to do as great a job, and this type of washing machine has trouble getting all of the water out of the load during the spin cycle. While this may not seem like a major problem, it does mean that you will have to use your dryer for longer time increments.

HE Top-Loading

HE top loading washing machine

Source: Home Depot

High efficiency top loading washing machines can wash very bulky loads since they don’t have agitators, use much less water to clean and let the load to tumble, and does a great job cleaning most items that you run through it. They can’t be stacked and do tend to cost a little bit more than traditional washing machines, but you will save money each month on your bills when you have this type of washing machine. The wash cycles tend to be fairly long, and you have to buy the right kind of detergent to use in this machine or you can run into problems.

Washer Dryer Combo

Washer/dryer combo

Source: Houzz

This appliance is not the same as a set of stacked washer and dryers, but rather is a single appliance that has one cabinet for both the washing machine and the dryer. While they are not popular everywhere, for people who live in very small homes or apartments, they can be a lifesaver since they do not take up very much room at all. Some models do not need an external air vent, making them ideal for people inside apartment buildings who can’t create this air vent.

They are very easy to use and do not require a lot of hands-on time from the user since you don’t need to transfer the clothing to a different appliance when it is time to dry them. They come with a number of different temperature controls as well as cycle controls, and can handle small loads or even sheets and towels. They generally are front-loading to ensure they are as efficient as possible and tend to be portable as well.

Laundry Center

Laundry center

Source: Wayfair

Unlike stackable washers and dryers, when you buy a laundry center, the two appliances will come attached. These are tall but don’t take up a lot of room otherwise, making them ideal for tight spaces and in small homes or apartments. Because they are attached, you don’t have any of the worry about your machines tipping over or sliding off of each other the way some people fear stacked appliances will.

Tabletop

Tabletop washing machine

Source: Etsy

These vintage washing machines plug into the wall and can sit on the table or on the counter. They are rather small and do not have a way to add or drain water on their own, which means that the user has to be willing to do this in order to rinse the washed clothing. While they were popular for a while, it is very difficult to find them now, unless you are willing to buy an antique.

Features

Portable

Portable washing machine

Source: Houzz

If you’re tired of washing your clothes by hand, then it’s time to invest in a portable washing machine that will do the work for you. It’s great for any dorm room or apartment where you need to be able to wash your clothing but don’t have the place for a permanent appliance. They are rather small, which means you can only wash a few things at a time, but are easy to use. After putting clothing in and filling up the washing machine, it will run for the set amount of time. They include dehydration baskets to dry your clothing so that you don’t have to worry about finding a dryer to use or hanging them up to dry.

Stackable

Stackable washing machine

Source: Home Depot

Save a lot of room in your home with a washing machine that can be stacked with a dryer. Instead of needing a lot of floor space in your home, when you opt for this setup, you can easily store your appliances out of the way in a closet or in the corner of a room without worrying about wasting too much space. While some people worry about any danger from stacking these heavy appliances, as long as they are seated correctly, then there isn’t anything to worry about and you will be able to use them normally and without fear of them falling or tipping over.

Pedestal Storage Drawer

Pedestal storage washing machine

Source: Wayfair

If you have room to spare and are tall enough to reach into your washing machine if it has been lifted up a little, then opting for one that has a storage drawer underneath the appliance is a great way to enjoy a little more storage space in your laundry room or laundry closet. These drawers are part of the appliance and are made so that they are strong enough to withstand the heavy weight of the washing machine without any problems. You can easily store laundry-related items in them so that you always have everything you need close at hand when you are going to be doing laundry.

High Efficiency

High efficiency washing machine

Source: Home Depot

In order for a washing machine to be labeled as high efficient, it has to meet guidelines and criteria that pertain to detergent, water, and electricity. They have to use less of these three things – detergent, water, and electricity – than a traditional washing machine if they were going to be labeled HE. If they do not meet the guidelines, then legally they can’t be labeled in this way.

When looking for an HE washing machine, you will want to find the HE symbol. A missing agitator is a clear sign that the machine you are considering is probably HE. You have to use special detergent that has fewer suds in these machines, or they will not work the way they are supposed to. HE washing machines are able to remove more water from your clothing during the spin cycle, have larger load capacities, and use less water and energy.

Washer/Dryer Set

Washer/dryer set

Source: Home Depot

If you want your washing machine and your dryer to match, then you will want to buy them as a set. This will ensure that they look the same, are from the same company, and will be built to the same standards. While some people are not concerned about their washing machine and their dryer matching, if yours are going to be on display out in the open, then this may be a feature to consider as it will create a more cohesive look and ensure that the two appliances do not clash.

Steam

Washing machine with steam

Source: Home Depot

The steam feature is available on some washing machines and actually allows the water to soak the clothing or fabric that you are washing more thoroughly. You can also add steam while the detergent is being mixed into the water, which will raise the temperature of the washing machine, causing the washing machine to be able to activate the detergent and do a better job washing those particular clothes. Your detergent will dissolve more easily with steam.

After washing, you can use steam to sterilize the clothing, soften them, and remove any hard wrinkles that were formed while the clothes were tossing and agitating. If you have really dirty clothing or prefer your clothing to be exceptionally clean, then the steam feature is a great choice for you. It can help you cut down on the amount of ironing that you have to do. Adding the steam feature is going to raise the cost of your washing machine, so users have to weigh that additional cost against the pros of this feature.

Adaptive Fill

Adaptive fill washing machine

Source: Home Depot

If you have trouble gauging how full your washing machine is and what size load you are going to be washing, then you may benefit from a machine that has the adaptive fill feature. This will actually allow your washing machine to sense how full it is and then to add the correct amount of water. Instead of putting in too little water and having clothes that are still dirty or using too much and increasing your water bill by accident, when you buy a washing machine with adaptive fill, the appliance itself will be in charge of determining how much water you need. This means that the amount will always be perfect and you won’t ever have to worry about needing to wash your clothing again or accidentally wasting water.

Compact

Compact washing machine

Source: Houzz

If you have a very small space for your washing machine but still want a traditional appliance rather than a washer/dryer combo or one that is portable, then you will want to choose a compact washer. These have a much smaller profile and therefore also less room in them to wash your clothing, but other than that, they are the same as their larger counterparts. While you won’t be able to wash very large loads in them, you can still keep a steady supply of clean laundry in your home since they are powerful and able to stand up to your dirtiest laundry.

Cycle Status Indicator

Washing machine with cycle status indicator

Source: Home Depot

Knowing exactly how far along you are in the wash cycle can make planning for when your laundry will be done a lot easier. Washing machines that have indicators to clue you in as to how much longer they need to run will let you set the laundry and forget about it until later. Being able to tell at a glance what part of the cycle your washing machine is on will make it easy to be around when it’s time to transfer the clothing to the dryer.

Adjustable Legs

Washing machine with adjustable legs

Source: Home Depot

Most people have dealt with the frustration of a rocking washing machine while it is going through its spin cycle, and have tried to level out the machine using bits of paper or cardboard. Unfortunately, this doesn’t usually work the way you want it to and can be really frustrating. To avoid this frustration, all you have to do is buy a washing machine that comes with adjustable legs. These make it really easy to ensure that your machine is sitting the way it should so that it doesn’t rock or bounce while washing your clothes.

Add Garment

Add garment washing machine

Source: Home Depot

We’ve all forgotten to put in a garment when loading the washing machine, and in the past you would have to wait until you was another load of laundry to clean the forgotten item. This is really frustrating, especially when you need a specific piece of clothing. Washing machines that have a pause feature to add a forgotten garment make it easy to stop the machine in the cycle and toss in the forgotten item.

Advanced Vibration Control

Washing machine with advanced vibration

Source: Home Depot

While every washing machine is going to have some vibration, if you continually have problems with items vibrating off of the top of your appliance or it knocking into the wall, then you will be best off with one that has advanced vibration control. Major vibrations are especially common when you are washing really bulky items like sheets or towels, but washing machines that are built to withstand this problem will ensure that your cycle is quiet and that you don’t hear the machine banging around in the laundry room. This will also ensure that your washing machine lasts for a very long time.

Delay Start

Washing machine with delay start

Source: Home Depot

Nobody wants to wake up to wet clothes that are smelling like mildew when they get up in the morning, but if you run a load of laundry during the night, that is exactly what can happen. To ensure that your clothes are fresh when you wake up so you can either transfer them to the dryer or hang them up on a clotheslines to dry outside, you will want to use a washing machine that has the delay start feature. This will allow you to put all of your clothing and detergent into the washing machine and have it start automatically later. You can set it to be ready when you get up in the morning or so that the washing cycle is finished right when you get home from work in the afternoon.

Door Window

Washing machine with door window

Source: Home Depot

While it is much more common to have a door window on a front-loading washing machine, newer top loading washing machines now offer this feature as well. It allows you to easily keep an eye on your laundry without having to stop the machine and open the door. If you like to be able to see what’s going on in your washing machine and to make sure things are running smoothly the way they should, then you will want to find a washing machine that offers this feature.

Soft Close Lid

Washing machine with soft close lid

Source: Home Depot

While this may not seem like a big deal to some people, a slamming washing machine lid can drive some homeowners crazy. Luckily, manufacturers have taken this problem into consideration and come up with a solution in the form of a soft close lid. This ensures that even if you drop the washing machine lid, it won’t slam shut but rather catch itself and close softly and slowly without the loud noise or risk of pinched fingers. This is especially important if you have small children helping with the laundry as you do not want them to pinch their fingers if they drop the lid by accident.

WiFi-Enabled

WiFi-enabled washing machine

Source: Home Depot

It makes sense that people would want to be able to control their washing machines via WiFi, and when you opt for a WiFi-enabled appliance, you will be able to do just that. This feature allows you to monitor the status of your washing machine even if you are not home via an app on your tablet or your smartphone. You can monitor the cycle selections, check to see how much time is remaining on your load, and even pause or start the machine. Of course, you do have to be present to move the clothing into and out of the washing machine, but being able to control the cycle remotely appeals to a lot of people.

Energy Star

Energy star washing machine

Source: Home Depot

If you want to be able to reduce both your water and your energy bills each month, then it’s time to consider an Energy Star rated washing machine. In general, you will save about 20% on your energy and will use 35% less water opting for one of these washing machines over a traditional model. In addition, you can wash larger loads since they have a greater drum capacity, while will reduce the total number of loads you have to wash each week. In order to have the Energy Star label, a washing machine has to meet set criteria involving water factor, modified energy factor, and energy factor.

Agitator Type

Agitator

Agitator washing machine

Source: Home Depot

Washing machines that have agitators have a spindle that comes up from the center of the machine and has some sort of fins attached to it to help move the water and the clothing around in the washing machine. Agitators twist during the cycle to help move clothing through the water and remove any dirt that is lodged in the fabric. Different wash modes will move the agitator differently, which means that a standard wash mode will have the agitator moving much faster than a delicate wash cycle. While agitators do a great job at getting clothing as clean as possible, they are very hard on clothing and can cause them to stretch out or become misshapen.

Impeller

Impeller washing machine

Source: Home Depot

Generally speaking, when you buy a high-efficiency washing machine, it is going to have an impeller, not an agitator. Washing machines with impellers have cones or discs that are low-profile and will actually rub your clothing against each other very gently to extract the dirt, but not cause any damage to the fabric. Washing machines that have impellers are much less likely to damage your clothing and will do a great job getting them clean.





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