“Washer-dryer combo units tend to be popular with urban dwellers, as high-rise apartments tend to have smaller square footage, making these units extremely viable to maximize every inch,” says Ron Shimek, the president of Mr. Appliance, a Neighborly company. “These units come in a variety of load capabilities and sizes, but even the larger options are around the size of a full-size dishwasher.
Their benefits go beyond just their space-saving nature, though. They’re incredibly convenient, too. “Do you always forget to move your clothes from the washing machine to the dryer?” Shimek asks? “Or do you work long hours and aren’t home long enough to finish a full load? Whatever the reason may be, a washer-dryer combo unit does the job for you, as it does not require a manual transfer between the washer and dryer. After washing, the unit automatically initiates the drying cycle — talk about a win, win!”
What’s more, washer-dryer combos are also notably more sustainable. “As part of the washer-dryer combo units’ smaller size, these appliances can utilize less water and energy compared to full size washer and dryers,” Shimek says. “If you are looking for the models that are considered energy-efficient, there are a handful of brands that are Energy Star certified from leading brands including LG, Samsung, Whirlpool, Maytag and more.”
Of course, even with all those benefits, compact washer-dryers do come with their own share of cons, too—which are important to understand before buying a unit.
“If you have a large family, doing laundry with these smaller washer-dryer combo units will take significantly more time, so you’ll want to be mindful of this,” Shimek says. “However, certain models do have a ‘quick wash’ option and can clean a full load of laundry in one hour.”
Another thing that can take extra time in general with washer-dryer combo units is drying. “The heating element is only 110V (like a hair dryer) so it will take longer to dry your clothes,” Shimek says, noting that not all wash cycles offer automatic dry cycles. “So, you might still have to turn the washer to dryer and set the cycle.”
Additionally, compact washer-dryer combo units have less bells and whistles overall.
“While they can come with certain features like quiet operation and anti-wrinkle mode, overall, you won’t be seeing any extravagant functions compared to standard units, and this can be seen as a downside for some consumers. If you do see a combo unit with multiple features, you’ll likely notice a steeper price tag as well.
And, lastly, since they’re so compact, they’re often more complex to repair.
“Also, because there are fewer sold, parts are much harder to come by and it could take longer to fix the broken appliance,” Shimek adds. “It’s risky as it is to try to DIY repairs when something breaks on standalones, but downright a gamble and a half to try to fix combos yourself. The mechanics are in such close quarters, that it’s best to let a trained appliance repair service professional do the work, rather than make the problem worse by just poking around.”
And with that, keep scrolling for five washer-dryer combo units worth considering for your space.
The best washer-dryer combos for small spaces
This 2.8 cu.ft. washer-dryer unit, which is sold in white, has a glass touch LCD front control panel that lets you choose your settings with a simple touch of a finger. It comes with five washing temperatures, including Extra Hot, Hot, Warm, Cold, and Tap Cold, all of which come with cold rinses to close them out. Additionally, the machine features five soil levels and nine overall wash options (TurboWash®, Prewash, Hygienic Rinse, FreshCare™, Delay Wash, Add Garment, Auto Dispense, Extra Rinse, and Child Lock). As for its drying capabilities, the machine features Normal, Outdoor, Time Dry, Wash+Dry, Perm. Press, and Delicates options. In this way, the LG Signature Wi-Fi-enabled washer-dryer combo is perhaps the most compelling unit on the market.
LG is one of the biggest players in the best washer-dryer combo space. This 2.3 cu.ft. machine has nine wash cycles, five spin speed options, and seven drying cycles—so it can accommodate just about any fabric you toss its way. Additionally, it can be programmed to delay start as far as 19 hours ahead of time. The motor comes with a 10-year limited warranty, too, so it will give you a little peace of mind to boot.
This two-tub washer-dryer combo is a little larger than the other options, as it can hold 12 pounds for washing and eight pounds for drying. It’s also different thanks to its top-load nature. And the lid itself is clear, so you can easily peer in to see how well it’s spinning the water out. Of the over 500 5-star global ratings it’s received, one reviewer wrote, “I live full time in an RV, so this is a life saver. It washes decent sized loads pretty quietly. It will wash a queen or king sized sheet, and you can fit them in the spinner. You won’t be able to fit a mattress topper though, just for size reference. I love how well the spinner works; it spins them until they are completely water free, and they only need a few hours to air dry. I also like that I can simply fill it directly from my shower head instead of using their flimsy hose. It’s really light to lift, easy to use, and awesome!”
If you’re hoping to find a combo washer-dryer in more unconventional colors, this is a great option. It’s sold in six colors, including pink, red, and champagne gold. The all-in-one unit has a 13-pound capacity and, for reference, can easily wash up to seven bath towels at a time. It stands just under three feet tall and two feet wide, and is just under two feet in depth, so it will be relatively easy to find a home for it within your space. It has 14 wash and dry settings, along with the option to wash and dry, or wash or dry separately. Best of all, it can be customized to start on your schedule, so you don’t have to physically be there to turn it on.
Last but not least, we have a small portable washer-dryer that’s as great for apartments as it is for RVs. It has an 11-pound capacity, eight washing programs, and 10 water levels. It comes with a water inlet hose and drain hose, so it’s best set up by a sink. Overall, shoppers approve.“This is about the size of a garbage tote,” one Amazon reviewer wrote. “It works very well. It takes longer to clean the clothes, as I found it cleaning better on the heavy cycle (55 minutes) or soak cycle (96 minutes). I’ve been washing and hanging laundry and the results are superb. It’s really not too noisy or heavy.”
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