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Stackable Washers and Dryers: What You Should Know

by Megan Shaffer

If you are faced with a small space, there is a good chance that you are considering a front load laundry. Depending on the model, not only are front loaders biggest in capacity and save more water and energy, but also have versatile ways to install that best fit your space including being able to stack. Finding the right stackable washer and dryer requires a number of important factors to consider.

Related Article: Is a Top-Load or Front-Load Washing Machine Better?

Stackable Styles

There are three different types of stable laundry units:

1. Laundry Centers - These are units where the washer, dryer, and stacking kit are all in one unit.

2. Standard Front Load - These units are full sized units that are purchased separately and can be installed beside each other. Otherwise, the stacking kit must be purchased separately if they are going to be stacked on top of each other.

3. Compact Units - These are also two separate units that if to be stacked you must purchase a separate stacking kit. The difference with a compact unit is that it is going to be smaller in size, the dryer is going to be condensation dry, and there are not many brands to choose from.

Related Article: Don’s Laundry Appliances Buying Guide

Factors to Consider

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 that 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 to being restricted to a small size is that the capacity is not big if you don't have the space to fit a standard size front load machines. The capacity of a standard front loader is about 4.5 cu.ft (washer) and 7.4 cu.ft (dryer). When you get down to laundry centers and compact units size ranges from 1.6 cu.ft to 2.3 cu.ft (washers) and 3.4cu.ft to 4.9cu.ft (dryers) with laundry centers being the smallest.

Cost

Stackable units run more in price than top loaders and can be expensive. Even smaller combo washer and dryer models can cost close to $1,000 or up to $2,000. 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. Standard front loaders are going to be the lowest priced depending on the model and can start around $700 and up. Make sure you know your budget before you start looking, so you have a clear idea of what best fits your budget.

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 comes 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. Is you dryer gas or electric? What are the venting capability for your dryer, can it be vented to the outside, and does it need to be ventless? Standard front loaders and laundry centers are meant to be vented to the outside but in most apartment type living there is not a way to vent to the outside, so you must go to your ventless options which would be the compact units. These require no duct work. Instead of venting water by heating, a condenser dryer works by condensing the warm air from the wet clothes into water. Once the air condenses into water, it is channeled into the reservoir. The con to this type of drying is that it can take a lot longer for items to dry than standard front load units. If you are set on having a full sized unit in your ventless space, they do make ventless kits that can you purchase at a hardware store but are not totally effective and the best option.

Brands

Depending on the stackable style units you are getting will determine the variety of options for that set. Standard front load sets will have the most options. Your laundry centers and compact units do not have that many selections of brands to choose from.

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 have small spaces or venting limitations. Review your options, and find the right stackable washer and dryer for you.