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The Best Washer and Dryer Sets Shopping Guide

Mar 19, 2021

A father and son are loading a washing machine.

Like any appliance you’ve had for years, you probably don’t think too much about your washer and dryer until you realize it’s time to replace them. Or maybe you have thought about what it might be like to get a new pair with some of the new bells and whistles. We have you covered on the shopping front with over 15,000 name-brand retailer partners who make getting a new set both easy and affordable. Simply visit a retail partner, begin a lease-purchase agreement* with affordable payments that work for you, your budget and lifestyle.

We also have you covered on the research front! Since washers and dryers can last several years, you may not realize that today’s models offer so many cool features and upgrades that it can leave your head spinning. We’ll walk you through some of the more popular options that you won’t want to miss out on in our washer and dryer buying guide below.

Washers

Because washing machine technology has continued to evolve over time, their cleaning performance is better than ever. Take a look at just some of the upgraded features you’ll find in today’s selection from the best brands.

  1. More Wash Cycle Options

    Typical wash cycles have gotten a big boost over the last few years! Some washers now offer more choices than ever to help you customize spin speed, water temperature and more to achieve the perfect wash for each load. Quick wash, pre-wash (for stain loosening), extra rinse and super-hot temps are just a few of the new cycles available as well as added choices for spin speed and number of rinse cycles.

    Or you can take your laundry to the next level with a washer that offers intuitive controls and smart capable connections, allowing you to create the perfect cycle combos for each load (even remotely). If you’re looking to upgrade laundry day, it doesn’t get much easier than that.

  2. Front Load vs. Top Load

    While each has their pros and cons, much of it comes down to personal preference (aesthetic style, where the washer/dryer will be located in the house, etc.) when deciding which of these washer styles to choose. That said, front-load machines are becoming more popular these days because they tend to clean and dry more effectively, and therefore are more energy-efficient. They are also known to be quieter, gentler on clothes and can better accommodate larger items (such as comforters).

    However, top-load models are still popular since they tend to be less expensive but still get the job done. They’re also easier to load and unload (especially for people who have trouble bending down) and have the advantage of allowing you to pause washing, open the lid and add clothes mid-wash.

  3. Agitators vs. Impellers

    If you do opt for a top-load washer, you then have the choice of one that features an agitator (the tall spindle) or an impeller (short cone or disc) inside the wash basket. The agitator is the one more traditionally found in washers, and rightfully so; it tends to loosen and reduce dirt more effectively as well as distribute enough detergent and water throughout the load, so clothes are cleaned quickly. It’s a standard you really can’t go wrong with.

    However, the impeller is becoming a popular choice for those who opt for more energy-efficiency appliances. It uses less water and a more gentler washing motion so your fabrics are protected (however, this may result in less effective cleaning). The absence of a large agitator in the middle gives you the space for larger loads or bulkier items.

  4. Steam Option

    This is becoming an increasingly sought-after option, and for good reason. Steam is known to help penetrate fibers better than water, releasing stains, odors and ground-in dirt in a gentler way. Use it before the wash cycle to loosen stubborn stains out more effectively. That’s good news for the items you tend to wear more often as well as for clothes that need more care.

  5. Detergent Auto-Dispense

    This could be a game-changer for those who do a* lot *of laundry during the week, as well as for those who worry whether the amount of detergent they’re putting in is too much or not enough. This feature releases detergent at the perfect time during your load to maximize cleaning power and minimize waste.

    And while pouring in a capful of detergent doesn’t seem like it takes a ton of time, you’d be surprised how convenient it becomes when you’re in a hurry. Depending on the model, one dispenser fill-up could take care of up to 40 loads so you can just throw in the clothes and go!

  6. Water Heater and Temperature Control

    This goes way beyond the typical hot, warm and cold cycles. More high-quality washers are being equipped with Automatic Temperature Control (ATC), which automatically ensures the optimal temperatures for each load and cycle type. Some also have built-in elements that enable water to reach higher temps consistently.

    With these features, you’re no longer limited to your household water heater’s capabilities. This is a bonus in the winter months or for people who live in colder climates, as ice-cold water can reduce the effectiveness of your laundry detergent.

  7. Built-In Faucet

    If you’re looking for a washer with a stain-fighting superpower, this may be it. Some now feature a built-in sink with a scrubbing board and integrated water jet that takes pre-treating and hand-washing laundry to the next level. This handy spot and stain treatment station is a great alternative to lugging clothes to the kitchen or utility sink; just turn on, treat and toss all within the same machine.

    If that wasn’t convenient enough, it also doesn’t get in your way. When you need it, it drops down from the lid, the powerful jet tilts so water flows right into the washer tub, then collapses back into the lid when you’re done.

Dryers

Dryer performance has also become increasingly elevated, offering a wide range of features designed to dry clothes just right, without causing shrinkage or other damage to your favorite threads. Here are just a few of them.

  1. More Dry Cycle Options

    Get ready to find a wider range of cycle choices on today’s models, each of which can provide more flexibility and control and therefore more precise care of all different kinds of fabrics beyond the standard choices of dryers from the past. In fact, you can now find up to a dozen cycles like reverse tumbling, extended tumbling, power boosts, wrinkle prevention and more.

    If you want to upgrade to even better technology, look for a dryer that features intuitive controls that guide you through ideal cycle combinations to help you care for unique clothing types. Or choose one that’s teched-out with smart capabilities and Wi-Fi so you can manage your laundry remotely.

  2. Steam Cycle

    If you are dying to retire your iron, this is one way to accomplish that goal. This popular cycle uses steam to relax stubborn wrinkles while reducing static buildup, so you can eliminate the extra step of ironing afterward.

    Dryers with this option also include a special setting designed to refresh clothing that's been waiting for a while to be dried, helping to avoid that mildew smell. That’s great news for those who don’t have time to stand in front of the washer the minute a load is done (i.e., all of us!). Some models even offer a steam-clean option, perfect for more delicate items that can’t go through the wash or just need a touchup.

  3. Dry Sensors

    You can’t wait for the dryer to be done so you can wear the brand-new outfit you just bought. But because you don’t realize the dry cycle wasn’t at the correct setting, your outfit shrunk two sizes before you even got to wear it. What if there were a way to know exactly when your clothes are perfectly dry?

    Now there is! The automatic moisture sensor adapts the drying time of each load based on the amount of moisture it detects. So it runs that optimal time and not a minute more, putting an end to those aforementioned, day-ruining scenarios. This feature also helps cut down on drying time, which may help your utility bill.

Get the Best Laundry Pair on Any Budget

Washers and dryers are built to last, of course, so you’ll want to make sure that the ones you buy have features you’ll love for years to come. Now that you have the dirt on some of the laundry tech that’s available as well as lease-to-own* appliance options that make them easy to get and enjoy as soon as today it’s time to go shopping for the washer and dryer of your dreams.