How to Compare Stackable Washer Dryer Units

Stackable washer and dryer units are often the most efficient technology for cleaning your laundry.

Compare Sizes

Stackable washer and dryer units can be a good fit in smaller homes.Stackable washer and dryer units can be a good fit in smaller homes.
These appliances take up less space, consume less electricity, use less water and extend the life of your clothing. While these units out-perform old-fashioned washers and dryers, there are a variety of features and special options to look for when comparing models in the store.

Size your stackable washer and dryer units to fit your lifestyle. A family of four would likely want a washing machine with a capacity of roughly 3.25 cubic feet. A larger family might need a larger model with a capacity of 4.0 to 4.5 cubic feet. A tumbling dryer that is 6.5 to 7.2 cubic feet should stack up as a good match for either sized washer. There are also much smaller stackable washer and dryer combinations designed for apartments. Washer unit capacities can range from 1.25 to 1.7 cubic feet, with dryers sized to match. These closet-sized components are designed for singles or couples who are willing to do their laundry a bit more often.

Compare The Options

Look for an expanded selection of washing and drying cycles on upscale models beyond the "Regular," "Delicate" and "Permanent Press" selections, such as wool cycles or silk cycles. You should also see if the units utilize any noise-reducing technology. While entry-level washers and dryers may feature painted interiors, the better stackable models will offer stainless steel surfaces. In addition, you can find stackable units in a larger array of colors including black, red, gray and blue.

The Steam Option

Some stackable units offer a steam option in both the washer and dryer unit. In the washer, steam is used to provide superior stain-removing power and may also do a better job of sanitizing your laundry. Some reports even suggest that steam may help eliminate bed bugs. When steam is used in the dryer, it can reduce wrinkles and minimize the need for ironing. Steam in the dryer also gives clothing a fresher scent.

Compare The Savings

Look for the Energy Star label on the washer portion of a stackable combo to ensure that it ranks among the most energy-efficient models available. Energy Star certified washers will lower your electric bills because they use about 20 percent less energy than conventional models. Advertising brochures for stackable washers will often compare the amount of water used in the wash cycle to traditional top-load washers. It pays to compare how different models perform. Some communities offer rebates for purchasing water-conserving appliances.

Compare the Warranties

In many cases, the interior components of stackable washer and dryer units have separate warranties. Rather than simply promising a free repair if anything goes wrong within a one-year period, many manufacturers also offer an additional year or more on the product's electronic-control circuitry. Appliance dealers often sell their own warranties or guarantees that extend your protection for several additional years.

About the Author

Mike Matthews is editor of Green Building Product News, a national publication that covers sustainable innovations in building and remodeling, and he has spoken at national conferences on green building. He has also served as founding editor of "Paint Dealer" magazine.