The Complete Guide to Buying a Washer & Dryer for Families

With two kids in the house, my “laundry list” feels a ton longer than ever before. With loads of items on the to-do list these days, worrying about a bad purchase shouldn’t be one of them—especially when it’s a big ticket item.

If you’re in the market for a new washer and dryer (like I’ve been this year) then read on! I’m sharing my handy shopping guide on what to look for when buying your next washer and dryer.

Things to look for in a washing machine:

Now that you have kids, your old washing machine might not cut it. You’re going to want an efficient, larger basin that hopefully doesn’t occupy too much space or make that much noise, and gently banishes stains to oblivion.

Efficiency — You want to get tasks done quickly and ideally get some time for yourself. A front load washer cleans and freshens in half the time—gently and quietly. Fits the bill: Samsung’s Front Load Washer with SuperSpeed, $1,699 and GE DOE Top Load Washer with Extra Action Basket, $449.99

Heavy Load Capacity — Obviously, it goes hand-in-hand with efficiency. Look for something around 4.2 cu. ft capacity to fit more laundry at once and do fewer loads (think fewer trips up and down stairs!). Shopping Tip: Large Capacity Top Loader, $578

Steam Wash and Allergen Cycles — With a baby at home, or children like mine that have asthma, it’s super important to get a unit that offers powerful steam washing to wipe out stains without pre-treatment, minimize allergens, and kill bad bacteria for throw-ups and potty disasters when they’re young, and muddy sport stains later down the line.  Fits the bill: LG Ultra Capacity Front Load Steam Washer, $999

Innovative Technology — I can’t be the only one mesmerized by Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard’s Samsung Washer/Dryer Commercial. It’s kind of like mom porn—I’m not gonna lie. That little handy sink featured in the commercial had me at hello! The Samsung unit featured has activewash and offers a neat pre-treater and built-in sink/water jet designed to get rid of messes fast! Handy for infants, toddlers, and beyond! Not to mention adult messes, too!  Fits the bill: Samsung Top Load Washer with Activewash, $899 

Noise Reduction — New technology in washing machines today helps reduce noise and vibration, making it easier to do a load while you have a fussy, sleeping baby.  Fits the bill: Kenmore Top-Load Washer w/ Exclusive Triple Action Impeller, $699.99

Self-Cleaning  You have enough cleaning to do! Make sure your new unit offers a self-cleaning button. This will make a world of a difference when it comes to outside play gear and when your child has the stomach flu. (Trust me, we’ve all been there!)

Questions to ask about your next washing machine purchase:

1. Can this washer handle multiple loads a day? What’s the wear and tear on a model like this?

2. Do I need side-by-side units or stacked units?

3. Will this fit in my current space?

4. Will you haul away my existing unit?

5. Is this an HE model? What kind of detergent should I be using?

6. What’s the warranty? How are part replacements handled?

7. What size is best for my family size? Am I adding to my family now or in the next few years?

8. Should I get a front loader or top loader? What’s the difference between the two? 

Here’s a quick reference guide to copy and paste to your phone or pin to a shopping board:


 Things to look for in a dryer

Larger capacity dryers are a saving grace! Cutting down on drying time can sometimes mean cutting down on headaches.

Capacity — Determine the right capacity for your household by thinking about efficiency and the size of your household—this will save you time and money in the future. Ask yourself: How many are you in the household, how often do you use the dryer, and what type of items do you typically dry? This LG Mega Capacity Graphite Steel High Efficiency Top Load Washer, $999, offers huge loading capacity and delay-wash timer for multi-tasking!

Controls and Gadgets — Controls are really a personal choice. Think about whether you want a touch dial, knobs, or touch-sensitive controls. An easy-to-read control panel is important, as is a clear understanding of what each feature does. Learn firsthand (IRL on the sales floor) about what each control does. This Maytag White Gas Dryer, $599, offers wrinkle control. 

Cycle Features — Take into account the size of your household, the frequency at which you wash clothes, and the types of clothes you plan on washing. This Samsung White Front Load Gas Dryer, $678, offers perfect drying time technology. These are some key features you should pay attention to when shopping:

Sensor Dry: A moisture sensor that knows just how wet your laundry is and will dry the clothes accordingly. This feature is an awesome time and energy saver,

Eco-Cycle: Dryers that have an eco-cycle will use a lot less energy—it will save you money on energy bills and will lengthen the lifespan of your clothing (mama likes).

Steam: Steam is kind of the new “must.” This feature aids in the drying of your clothes, refreshes clothes you’ve already worn, removes wrinkles, and eliminates odors. (This is a must-have feature in my household.)

Delicate: This cycle uses a lower temperature to gently wash your delicates. This will help the clothes last longer and maintain their vibrancy. 

Here’s an awesome video on what to look for in your next dryer:

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Questions to ask about your next dryer purchase:

1. Will this dryer save me trips to the cleaners?

2. Ask about drying times and clothes best suited for that type of dryer.

3. Mom brain is real! Make sure your easy to understand control panel is REALLY “easy to understand.” Ask away while on the sales floor. Getting a clear understanding of your control panel means all the difference in the lifespan of your clothes. Think shrinkage.

4. What’s the lifespan on a unit like this?

Here’s a quick reference guide to copy and paste to your phone or pin to a shopping board:


Are you in the market for a washer and/or dryer? What’s the most important feature to you when selecting your family’s next washer/dryer?

Featured image: Getty/Hero Images

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