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How to Buy a Washer and Dryer [Tips & Tricks]

by Ann Ferguson

We get it. Shopping for a brand-new pair of laundry appliances can be daunting and a tad pricey. Luckily, our experts at Big Sandy Superstore are equipped with the industry knowledge to point you in the right direction. We will help you select the best laundry pair for your home, budget, and lifestyle from our wide selection of washer and dryer sets that are sure to provide high functionality and efficiency.

Whether taking the initial step into your first home or keeping up with your family, we provide accommodating options that make everyday laundry just another check on your to-do list. And it all starts with asking the right questions. Read our tips to learn how to measure for a washer and dryer through four critical questions.

How to Buy a Washer and Dryer: Questions to Consider

From pet dander to work uniforms, here are some considerations for buying a new washer and dryer set.

Question #1: How many are in the household? 

mother doing the laundry at home and looking at the camera smiling with her family

When it comes to laundry appliances, size does matter—household size, that is. But that shouldn’t be surprising. Finding the right capacity for your new laundry set means getting more laundry done in fewer loads. Not only that, but the right washer and dryer measurements ensure that your new laundry appliances can handle any-size load, from large, bulky items you need to wash to smaller, less-wasteful loads. Lifestyle should also be taken into account, as more active families will likely produce heftier piles of laundry, requiring a large-capacity washer and dryer set.

All manufacturers list the capacity on each washer or dryer model, but it’s not as simple as it sounds. The usable space inside the tub doesn’t always align with the listed capacity. Certain washer designs limit the usable capacity of a larger tub, which means less space for your clothes. In addition, different washers clean your clothes in different ways, and some units make better use of the available space than others.

The real question then is, “How much can my new washer actually wash?

We won’t list each manufacturer’s usable capacity, but here are some key things to remember. The usable capacity of ALL front load washers, regardless of the manufacturer, is the same as the listed capacity. Front load washers clean your clothes using gravity and spin speed utilizing the entire tub. If you can fit it, you wash it. Just make sure you’re not overstuffing.

Figuring out the capacity on top load washers can get really tricky. Luckily, our trained sales professionals can assist you in analyzing each model and finding the one that best fits your lifestyle. One manufacturer that makes the most of its usable capacity is LG. LG top load washers, backed by a top-rated consumer magazine, are engineered with advanced wash action to allow for more usable capacity. Ultimately, this means LG top load washers can handle (and more thoroughly clean) bigger load sizes compared to a same-capacity washer from other manufacturers. But no top load washer can match useable capacity to tub capacity as a front load washer can. For reference, at least 4.5 cubic feet of usable space is needed to wash king size comforter.

Question #2: Do you have pets?

French bulldog loading dirty laundry to the electric front load washer

Pet hair, or large amounts of any type of hair, has the potential of shortening the lifespan of laundry appliances. In fact, hair salons, veterinary clinics, and animal shelters regularly purchase washers and dryers from our catalog to replace broken and worn-out appliances that quickly deteriorated due to loose hairs.

If you have pets, it’s likely you also have pet beds, and cleaning those can be a challenge. You shouldn’t put them in the washer, but you do want to make sure they get clean. Steam sanitary cycles are now available on several dryers that will allow you to not only clean but also sanitize items like pet beds, sofa pillows, stuffed animals, bed pillows, hats, and tennis shoes. It’s a new solution for anything that gets dirty but that you can’t normally clean in your washing machine.

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Question #3: Does your occupation require clothing that needs special care?

personal protection equipment including hardhat, gloves, protective glasses

Along similar lines, we commonly get medical professionals and those working in hazardous environments requesting a Sanitize option for their washers. These cycles kill bacteria and limit exposure or contamination of other items. Our sales professionals love the Steam Dry option in a dryer because it freshens up professional attire. A steam sanitize dryer is also great for people who work outside or on mechanical equipment. Essentially, the hot steam opens up the fibers of fabric for a deep clean on heavily soiled clothes.

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Question #4: Why does your height matter when buying a washer and dryer?

woman uses controls on LG stackable washer and dryer

Since most units are 27” wide, the only way to get more capacity in top load washers is to make them taller. If you’re under 5’5” it may be a challenge to reach down into the bottom of the tub. Each manufacturer constructs its products differently, so we encourage everyone to reach into the washer as a test before purchasing. And trust us: You won’t want to return a washer because it is too difficult to reach the bottom.

Shop Washers and Dryers at Big Sandy

Learn more about our best washers and dryers by scouring our vast catalog of laundry appliances! If you have any questions on how to buy a washer and dryer, feel free to call our experts at 1-888-610-2449 or visit us at any of our Big Sandy Superstore locations across Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Michigan, Indiana, and Missouri. More available than ever, our staff can also be reached via chat!