Whether you're making the transition from a laundromat to an in-home laundry system or simply need to replace a washing machine that no longer works, finding a washing machine that fits your budget and needs can be surprisingly challenging.

Home Appliances
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Types of Washing Machines

For example, did you know that four basic types of washing machines exist? Although each promises to clean your clothes, some do a better job than others at handling exceptionally dirty laundry or large loads. Still, others are more environmentally friendly based on the amount of water they use.

Familiarizing yourself with the differences between each type can help you make an informed and confident decision.

Front-Load Washers

If you have a large family and often find yourself doing large loads, a front-load washer can easily handle those extra clothes. Bulky items like comforters also fit best in a front-load washer.

Because there's no basin to fill up in a front-load washer, less water is used per cycle. The front-load design also makes this an ideal choice for apartments or small laundry rooms because it can be stacked with the dryer.

One notable downside to front-load washers is a propensity for musty odors if the washer isn't cleaned regularly or allowed to air dry.

Top-Load Washers

Traditional top-load washers have an agitator in the center of the tub. The tub fills with water and the agitator swishes the laundry through the soapy water to loosen dirt. This model proves effective at cleaning but can be harsh on fabrics over time and uses more water than other models.

If you feel like you constantly find an extra pair of dirty socks or a rogue hand towel after the cycle has started, a top-load washer makes it easy to open the lid and pop in the additional items. This is more difficult to do with a front-load washer.

Because the agitator takes up so much space in a top-load washer, it can be difficult to do large loads or wash bulky items.

High-Efficiency Washers

High-efficiency washers are top-load washers that promise to use less water and energy to achieve the same level of cleanliness. They have a smaller agitator, which means you can potentially fit more laundry into the tub.

However, it's important not to overload a high-efficiency washer and to load items carefully, otherwise, these types of washing machines can become unbalanced. Users have also noted that clothes are more likely to become tangled together in high-efficiency washers.

Steam Washers

Steam washers heat the water to boiling point, or 212 degrees Fahrenheit. This high heat effectively lifts dirt and stains out of the fabric. Steam washers also allow for laundry to be truly sanitized, neutralizing allergens like dust, animal dander and pollen. These washers are an excellent option if anyone in your family is sensitive to allergens or if you struggle to get stains out of clothes. The price of steam washers reflects this unique technology.