How Much Space Is Required Around a Washing Machine & Dryer?

When you purchase a washer and dryer that don't fit your laundry room, you face expensive renovations to rearrange your space to accommodate your new appliances. Avoid wasted time and money by carefully measuring for your new units, including required clearance space, before making your purchase. While the space required around these units varies by design, some basic rule-of-thumb sizing recommendations can ensure your washer and dryer will not only fit but also function safely and effectively.

Laundry room with exit to backyard
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Top-loading washer and dryer with adequate space around each appliance.

Wide Loads

The average washer or dryer each measures 27 inches wide, so you'll need at least 54 inches of space just to fit the units themselves. Lowe's Home Improvement recommends adding 1 inch on each side of each of these appliances to allow for proper air circulation, for a total width of 57 inches.

Depth Perception

Washers measure 25 to 28 inches deep, while dryers can vary from 25 to 32 inches in depth. Sears suggests leaving 2 inches free behind the washer to accommodate water hoses, plus 4 inches behind the dryer for ventilation. Other sources, such as Lowe's, suggest adding 6 inches of clearance space for washers and dryers to accommodate all vents and hoses. Lowe's also recommends allowing 48 inches of free space in front of your washer and dryer so you have room to move freely when working in your laundry room.

Average Heights

Top-loading washers average 36 inches in height, while front-loaders vary from 34 to 39 inches. Dryers measure 36 inches high, plus a few inches extra for the control panel. For all top-loading washers, Lowe's recommends allowing 20 inches of clearance on top of the washer to allow for easy loading and unloading. If you plan to install the washer and dryer in a closet or recessed space, allow a minimum of 18 inches above each unit, recommends Maytag. You can reduce this minimum clearance to 12 inches when using a stacked washer and dryer in a closet or recess.

Other Considerations

While it's not required for successful dryer operation, Whirlpool recommends adding a full inch of extra clearance space on all sides of the dryer to minimize noise transfer. If you plan to add a pedestal to your units to raise them up, keep in mind that pedestals add between 7 and 15 inches of height to each unit. If you're concerned about width, consider using a kit to stack your washer and dryer, or choose a unit that comes prestacked to save on floor space.