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Washer and Dryer Buying Guide

How to Shop for a Washer and Dryer

It's great to purchase laundry machines such as a washing machine or a clothes dryer when settling into a new home, but that's not the only reason to upgrade. Maybe the kids have moved out and you're renovating the laundry room so you can switch from large capacity side-by-side laundry appliances to a space-saving high-efficiency washer dryer combo or all-in-one washer. If you've got an important new job that requires quick washing of delicate threads, instead of going to the laundromat, look into buying your own steam washer.

The average lifespan of a new clothes dryer is 13 years, and for washing machines it's 11 years. If your older machines are on their last leg, Sam's Club is the best place to buy a new washer dryer pair that will keep laundry day painless into the foreseeable future.

Washer and Dryer Sizes

The capacity of laundry appliances are sized in cubic feet. On SamsClub.com, different major appliance manufacturers will shorten "cubic feet" to "cuft," "cu ft," or "cu. ft." If you're not sure what we mean by cubic feet, cubic feet is calculated by multiplying the length, width and depth of the appliance's drum.

For example, 1 cuft = 1' x 1' x 1', while 8 cuft = 2' x 2' x 2'.

The average large capacity washer or dryer in the U.S. and Canada is around 7.5 cubic feet. Small capacity washers and dryers are less than 6 cubic feet. For the total machine dimensions for each model, check the product page and manufacturer's descriptions for details.

Types of Washers

Types of Dryers

Front Load vs. Top Load Washing Machines

Choosing front load or top load is not just about the look and style of your laundry set.

Top load washing machines, also called vertical drum washing machines, give you the option of using an agitator to vigorously clean loads in shorter wash times. However, top load washing machines usually require more water in the drum, and thus more energy to heat and move all of that water. Top load washing machines are also usually harder to stack, if they can be stacked at all.

Front load washing machines aren't available with an agitator, so you can almost immediately expect longer wash times. However, front load washing machines offer designs for high efficiency and steam washing. Front load washers are also much easier to stack. Some come ready to stack, and many have easy to set up stacking kits.

Agitator vs. Impeller in Washing Machines

In top load washing machines, some models use a classic agitator, while others use an impeller. An agitator rubs directly against the clothes and swirls them and the water to release dirt and break down stains. An impeller still circulates the water, but instead of rubbing directly against the clothes, it rubs the clothes against each other. However, an impeller is much smaller than an agitator, leaving more room for your clothes in the drum.

High Efficiency and Steam in Washing Machines

Understanding high-efficiency washers doesn't mean just checking for an Energy Star certification, although that's not a bad place to have started. High-efficiency washers, or HE washers, are designed to mix concentrated high-efficiency laundry detergent with less water and electricity for maximum clean with minimum impact on the environment or your utility bill.

Steam washers are currently the height of high efficiency. The energy needed to make a lot of steam from a small amount of water is much lower than the energy required to heat a larger quantity of water to wash over clothes. Steam washers can also be used to clean, sanitize, and smooth wrinkles, for quickly refreshing even delicate garments that may shrink in a dryer.

Electric Dryers vs. Gas Dryers

Unless your laundry room doesn't have a gas line, there's no easy answer for electric versus gas clothes dryers. By purchase price, vented electric dryers are usually the cheapest compared to gas dryers or condensation heat pump electric dryers. However, depending on your local utilities, electric dryers will probably cost you a few more cents per load of laundry than a gas dryer.

Gas dryers generate less static cling than electric dryers, and there are fewer wrinkles because of how quickly heat is released. They are also more energy efficient than electric dryers. However, they do need a plumber to come out and connect the gas line.

Making the most of your laundry room

While all washer and dryer laundry pairs come ready for on-the-ground, side-by-side usage, there are other useful ways of combining your washing and drying needs into a more managed cubic footage such as stackable washers and dryers.

Most front load washer dryers and some top load washer designs can be stacked. Some come ready to stack, and others require a stacking kit. Check the product page and manufacturer's descriptions to understand how to stack your washer and dryer.

If you don't want two machines, there are also all-in-one washer dryer sets. These machines provide the most effective use of your cubic footage and can offer the best in high efficiency and steam cleaning technologies.

Finally, if you're not going to stack your two machines, consider using laundry pedestals to minimize bending over, and to provide ample storage underneath these major appliances.

What is a washer and dryer bundle?

Buying matching washers and dryers as a bundle will help you save money. Sam's Club has the best prices on laundry room bundles from best sellers like LG, Samsung, Galaxy, Frigidaire and more. Also, check out our members-only prices on laundry accessories. And there are always added benefits for Sam's Club members including pricing, delivery and setup assistance.