Kristen Hicks on June 20, 2016 22 Comments Table of Contents Types of Stackable Washer/Dryers Factors to Consider While Shopping Popular Brands for Stackable Washer/Dryers When space is a premium, large appliances like washers and dryers feel like a luxury. Yet no one likes spending their day off at a Laundromat. If you can make owning a washer and dryer work in the space you have available, the convenience and improved quality of life will quickly pay off. When you can stack your washer and dryer, you immediately halve the amount of floor space needed. For people living in small apartments or who just don’t have much space that can be devoted to extra appliances, stackable washers and dryers make the convenience of doing laundry at home possible, without taking up more floor real estate than you’re willing to give up. Types of Stackable Washers and Dryers There are three main categories of stackable washers and dryers, although you’ll find some overlap between the three. Laundry Units Click Here to View All Stackable Washers and Dryers Laundry units (sometimes called laundry centers) come with the washer, dryer, and stacking kit all in one, so you have everything you need with one purchase. Since they’re all bought together, you know you don’t have to worry about the compatibility of the two units to be stacked and can trust everything will fit seamlessly. Often the capacity of the washer and dryers for stacked laundry units is small, since the units are designed to be as space saving as possible. The tradeoff is, of course, that you can fit them into much smaller spaces than traditionally sized models. Front Loading Washers and Dryers Many people prefer to shop around and buy their washer and dryer separately and then stack them. In those cases, you’ll need to look for a front-loading washer and dryer. These are designed so that stacking them shouldn’t be an issue, as you can still access the door to load your laundry. If you go with separate front-loading units, then you’ll need to purchase a stacking kit separately and make sure that all the sizes for the three products match up. The benefit of going with front-loading washers and dryers is that you have room to be pickier about each specific appliance. They’re also your best option from an energy efficiency standpoint. The downside is that you have to put more work into making sure everything will match up, and you’ll likely end up spending more for the two separate units than you would for a comparable laundry unit. Front-loading units do also often require a higher voltage outlet than is typical in homes that aren’t built with a dedicated laundry space, so you’ll have to be careful to find ones that will work in the space you have available. Factors to Consider When Purchasing Stackable Washers and Dryers Finding the right stackable washer and dryer requires considering a number of important factors. Here are a few of the things you should have in mind as you search. Size The biggest benefit that stackable washers and dryers offer over other models is that they take up less space. The majority of customers that specifically seek out stackable models will only have a small space available they need their washer and dryer to fit in. This being the case, size is of the utmost concern. Make sure you carefully measure the space you have available so you know exactly what size washer and dryer will fit. The downside of going with a compact washer and dryer due to space limitations is that the capacity of stackable washers and dryers – especially the more compact models – is small. You’ll likely have to do laundry more often and stick with smaller loads. For most customers, this is a minor concern because owning even a small washer and dryer still makes doing laundry worlds easier than carting your dirty clothes off to a Laundromat. Cost Stackable washers and dryers aren’t cheap. Even smaller combo washer and dryer models can cost close to $1,000 or up to $2,000, and if you choose the route of buying a front-loading washer and dryer each separately, you may well spend close to that on each unit. Make sure you know your budget before you start looking, so you have a clear idea of what you can actually afford. The good news about front-loading washers and dryers is that by spending more upfront, you can expect to save money in energy costs over time. A lot of people with more space default to buying top-loading models because they cost less to buy, but end up spending more over time because of how much more they cost to run. The need to save space can end up saving you on energy bills in the long term. Compatibility Compatibility matters on a few different levels. First, do you have the right electricity and water hookup for the unit you buy? If your apartment doesn’t come with a dedicated space for laundry, there’s a good chance you don’t and will need to either buy a model that doesn’t require any special hookups, or call in an electrician and plumber to get you set up. A standard home outlet is 120 volts, but many front-loading washers and dryers will require a 240-volt connection. Some smaller washer and dryer combos will work with a 120-volt hookup though, so if you know you’re limited, look for one of those. Energy Use Pretty much across the board, you can expect front-loading washers and dryers to use less energy than top-loading models. Since most stackable washers and dryers fall into this category, you’re already ahead of the game on this point. Nonetheless, if energy efficiency is a priority to you, you can definitely find some models that fare better than others. Energy Star estimates that consumers can save about $40 in energy costs and 3,000 gallons of water each year by going with an Energy Star certified model, so check the models you consider for an Energy Star rating before you buy. Energy Type Gas dryers can save you even more on energy costs over time, although they typically cost more upfront. If a higher price tag now is worth savings to you later, then check whether the dryer you want is available in gas. Of course, you will need the proper gas hookup for this to work. If you don’t have it already, expect setting one up to add to the upfront costs you take on. Gas dryers will also require an external exhaust vent, which may be hard to set up in some spaces. For most people, going with electric will simply be easier because choosing gas comes with more effort during set up and thus higher installation costs. But a gas dryer can pay off enough over time in both energy use and time (they dry clothes faster than electric), so the extra effort may be worth it. Durability A washer and dryer is a big enough investment that your typical customer hopes that checking it off their to do list will mean they don’t have to think about it again for years. Most stackable washers and dryers can be counted on to last at least a few years, but you can up your chances of getting a model with a long life by going with a brand that has a solid reputation. Most washers and dryers also offer extended warranties, which can add some peace of mind and help you save money in the long haul on the chance that you end up with a lemon that has lots of problems. Check out the user reviews for the stackable washer and dryer you choose to see if there are complaints about the units having problems within the first few years. If most past customers seem happy, then you can probably count on hanging on to your washer and dryer for years to come. Settings What sort of settings do you usually wash your clothes on? Different washers and dryers will offer different preset options, although most will cover the standard options, like hot, cold, and warm water temperature settings. If you have any clothes that require especially delicate or particular settings, then you should be sure to look for a washer and dryer that offer what you need. Some newer models come with a wider array of options than is standard, including features that can minimize water and energy use. If you’re satisfied with any washer and dryer that will simply get the job done, than there’s little need to be picky with the settings. If you like the idea of having a lot of different options though, you should spend some time browsing what settings are available in different models to see what your options are. Popular Washer and Dryer Brands Many of the popular appliance brands make stackable washers and dryers, so you’ll see some familiar names in your search. To give you a sense of what you can expect from some of the main players in the stackable washer and dryer space, we looked over the reviews of products provided by each to bring you a summary of what actual customers are saying about the washers and dryers from each brand. Click Here to View All Washers and Dryers Avanti Avanti makes compact washers and dryers along with a mounting bracket that makes it possible to stack them. Most of the reviews of their compact washers and dryers are positive. Reviewers like the amount of clothes they can handle for the small size and how well they work. Customers also praise the mounting bracket, saying it’s a great tool for helping them save space and that it’s sturdy enough to hold the appliances effectively. LG LG’s washers and dryers get predominantly positive reviews, but we did see some complaints from reviewers about units not lasting long enough for the cost and dryers not drying clothes completely. Their stacking kits get solid reviews across the board though, with customers saying that they’re easy to set up and strong. Samsung Samsung sells stackable washers and dryers that are generally positively reviewed. Customers say they work well and aren’t too loud. They also praise the stacking kit as being easy to install and functional. We saw a few complaints amongst the reviews from customers who had problems and found the company’s customer service to be lacking, but most customers had units that worked well enough that they didn’t need customer service to begin with. Speed Queen Speed Queen offers front-loading stackable washers and dryers in both electric and gas. There aren’t as many reviews of their models online as some of the other brands we looked at, but the ones we found were largely positive. People praise the brand for easy installation, offering useful preset cycles, being quiet, fast, and lasting for a long time. Summit Summit is known for making appliances that don’t take up too much space, so those with small apartments or washrooms may appreciate their washer/dryer combo. Customers like how snugly the machines fit into the space they have available and are pleased with how well the washer works, although some complain that the dryer doesn’t get clothes as dry as they’d like. Whirlpool Whirlpool makes a number of stackable washers and dryers that receive mixed reviews. Some models mostly get great reviews; others earn their share of complaints. Some customers complain that their washer and dryer are loud, can only handle small loads, and get out of balance easily. Others say their units work great for the price and last for years. If you decide to go with Whirlpool, give the reviews a look to get a feel for the specific model you have in mind. Conclusion Having a small apartment doesn’t have to mean trips to the Laundromat once a week. You can save yourself the trip and start doing laundry in your own home. Stackable washers and dryers bring the convenience of home laundry to the wide array of people who live in small spaces. Review your options, find the right stackable washer and dryer for you, and enjoy your new free time.