Given the choice, most people would probably buy separate machines for washing and drying their laundry. However, the living circumstances of many of us will mean that this is just not an option and washer/dryer combo machines offer a good alternative. These machines can wash and dry your clothes all in the same unit, and the more modern models do a pretty good job at both tasks.
If you are looking to purchase a washer dryer, then you have a great selection of products to choose from. Almost every major manufacturer makes at least of few washer dryers, and there are units that are priced for every budget (ranging from about £300 up to about £1,200 for a Miele washing machine combo).
In this article, we are going to look at a few of the points that are important for potential buyers, and then we are going to provide a few recommendations for the best washer dryers that are currently available.
Why buy a Washer Dryer?
Almost any appliance expert is going to tell you that buying separate units for washing and drying is better. With each machine being dedicated to its task, the different units can be engineered specifically for the job they need to do. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the technologies involved in washing and drying are pretty different.
Space Saving – The big advantage, and the number one reason that people buy these combo machines, is that they are space saving by design. Many homes do not have room for two separate units, so a washer dryer combo allows the homeowner to get both functions in a space that can only fit one machine. This could be the kitchen or a storage cupboard or utility room.
Up-Front Cost – As an additional option, the combination machines tend to cost less than buying separate machines. For many, when they consider the ability to save space combined with the cost savings, it makes the washer dryer combo a great option.
Running Cost – One point to consider though when it comes to saving money on the cost of the machines is energy efficiency. The combination machines tend to be less energy efficient than separate units. While you may save money on the initial purchase, it is going to cost you more on the electricity bill in the longer term (but probably not a life-changing amount). If you buy your machine from a site like ao.com (who we recommend) you’ll find they list energy ratings and annual running cost of each machine as part of the product details. You can compare and contrast with dedicated washing machines etc to be sure you’re comfortable with the ongoing costs before you buy.
All of that being said, if you do not have the space for two machines, getting a combo model will be more convenient than just getting a washer. When you consider the amount of time it takes clothes to dry naturally and the issues that can come with poor weather, most people will take the compromise over having no dryer at all. You can find out more in our washer dryer buying guide here.
Things to Consider
When you shop for a washer dryer, you want to do more than just look for a machine that can do both jobs. There are some design elements that can make a big difference and you want to consider the types of features that come with the machine.
Washing Capacity vs Drying Capacity
The first big consideration is the difference between the washing capacity and the drying capacity. As you know, both functions occur in the same drum, but this does not mean that both functions can handle the same load capacity. With a washer dryer, you are always going to be able to wash more than you will be able to dry. For effective drying, the clothes need more room to move, and the air needs room to circulate.
This means that you are basically going to have to approach your laundry in one of two ways. You could always just load the machine to the (lower) drying capacity so you can leave the machine to run its full cycle, or you can load it the full washing capacity, and remove some clothes to hang dry before the drying cycle starts.
Drum sizes range from 6kg all the way up to 13kg for this Hoover washer dryer and obviously, the larger the drum size you opt for, the less of an issue the differing capacities will be. That said, if you choose a machine that is significantly larger than you actually need you’ll end up spending more than you need to on electricity and water.
Integrated or Freestanding?
Another point that you are going to want to consider is whether you want an integrated washer dryer or one that is freestanding. In this article, we are going to focus on freestanding washer dryers. While the integrated models are nice aesthetically and can fit with the design of the kitchen, the freestanding models are a little more convenient because they are easier to install and the buyer will have more placement options for positioning them in the home. If you’re interested in integrated washer dryers check out our integrated appliance buying guide here as well as this post to see our recommended integrated washer dryers.
Modern washer dryer spin speeds range from 1200rpm (revolutions per minute) to 1600rpm. You’ll tend to pay more for a model with a fast spin but there are benefits to doing so. If the machine has a fast spin of say 1400 – 1600rpm it will expel more water from the wash load during the spin cycle(s). This means there will be less moisture remaining in the clothes when the drying cycle kicks in, which in turn means your laundry could be ready sooner and the whole process could be more energy efficient (as you’ll need to apply less heat to get the clothes dry).
As a smart shopper, you are also going to want to look at the different features and programs that come with the machine. Even with the combination models, you can get a nice assortment of programs for both washing and drying, and you can still find many of your favourite features. Take the time to consider these points to ensure that you are getting a machine that will work well for your lifestyle. Also check out the energy ratings of each machine to ensure the one you choose is as energy efficient as possible – this will save you money in the long term as well as being good for the planet (if Donald Trump hasn’t already destroyed it by the time you read this). To find out more check out our buying guide here.
And so, without further ado, below you’ll find a list of the washer dryers that we would consider to be ‘Best Buys’. Please bear in mind that these machines can vary significantly in price, so not all will be appropriate for everyones’ budget. As a general rule, as with any major appliance purchase, you get what you pay for, but that doesn’t mean that the cheaper models are no good. It simply means they probably won’t perform quite as well as the top-of-the-range machines or offer as many features and functions. We highly recommend reading existing owners reviews and comments on your chosen retailer’s site before you make your final decision.
Under each machine you’ll find a list of the latest prices and deals being offered by major online retailers including John Lewis, Currys, ao.com, Argos, Appliances Direct, B&Q, Boots Kitchen Appliances, Very, Co-op Electrical Shop and we’re hoping to add Tesco Direct soon. These retailers all offer a wide range of large kitchen appliances including washing machines, washer dryers, tumble dryers, fridge freezers and chest freezers as as well as smaller electrical items (vacuum cleaner, steam cleaners etc) so you should find one that suits your budget and delivery requirements. Our prices are updated daily (at 5am) so should always be up-to-date but t’s always worth clicking through to the sites that interest you however to double-check the very latest offers and discounts before you make up your mind, as prices do tend to fluctuate as retailers compete to offer the best deals.
One other thing to bear in mind when you compare prices for large kitchen appliances is that you also need to take into account any additional costs that may apply, for example delivery charges, installation costs and recycling/removal of old units.
Shopping for a washer dryer can be a bit confusing. Instead of looking at a machine that does just one or the other, you have to consider the features and performance of both functions. The models above include some of the best in a variety of price ranges, but there are other probably machines on the market that provide comparable performance so we recommend shopping around. When you shop for your washer dryer, it’s important to look closely at the features and the design of the machine. You not only want to make sure that you are getting good performance and value for money, but also that you’re buying an appliance that will last a long time and provide years of faithful service. Find out more in our washer dryer buying guide here.
Good luck finding the right option for you and please feel free to get in touch if you need further help or advice.