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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) About Washers

Whether your old washing machine needs repairs or you're seeking an upgrade for your growing family, you may have questions when it comes to the best washer for your needs. These appliances have come a long way from the traditional top loading machine, offering advanced features that make them more efficient, eco-friendly, and gentle on your clothes.

What's the difference between a top load and front load washer?

Top load washers feature a top-mounted door that makes it a breeze to load and unload clothes without having to crouch down. Traditional top load washers are equipped with a central agitator that spins around to clean clothes, while modern high-efficiency models use motion and water jets to fight soiled laundry. Front load washers, like high-efficiency top loaders, lack an agitator and use drum movements to gently yet effectively clean clothes. They consume less water and energy than traditional top load washers, and are generally stackable with a dryer.

What size washer should I get?

The size of washer you need depends on how much laundry you do and the size of your household. If your laundry baskets are constantly overflowing, you live with a lot of roommates, or your family is growing, consider a larger-capacity washer that's 5 cu. ft. or more. If you're doing laundry for 2 or 3 people, a regular-capacity washer between 4 and 4.9 cu. ft. will probably suffice. And if you live on your own, a smaller-capacity washer up to 3.9 cu. ft. might be suitable. For dorms or other small spaces, consider a portable washer.

What is a portable washing machine?

Before you consider which washing machine features you’d like, you may want to consider whether or not you need a portable washing machine. A portable washing machine is a small, moveable machine that connects to your kitchen or bathroom faucet via a hose. To drain, you place an outflow hose in one of your sinks.

The most important benefit of having a portable washing machine is that it’s portable. It doesn’t need to be placed in a fixed location and it connects to a standard power outlet. This type of washing machine also washes smaller loads of laundry, stores in a small space, and uses less electricity and water than a standard washing machine.

What features should I consider when shopping for a washer?


Most washers come with standard wash cycles like normal, perm press, and delicate, making them suitable for everything from t-shirts and jeans to Oxford shirts and pencil skirts. However, if you need to wash things like wool sweaters, duvets, baby clothes, and other special care items, look for a washer with specialized cycles to meet your needs.


Is your laundry basket filled with soiled soccer jerseys or food-stained kids' clothes? For tough stains, consider a washer with a steam cycle. Steam penetrates deep into stubborn stains and grime for tougher cleaning power, and can even kill viruses and allergens lurking in your laundry.

ENERGY STAR qualification

ENERGY STAR-qualified washers use more efficient systems and technologies to launder clothes. High-efficiency designs and eco-friendly features such as load detection mean these models consume less water and energy than standard models, helping you go greener and save money in the long run.

Noise and vibration reduction

Having a quiet washer can be important, especially if you live in a small space or plan to put your washer near the bedroom, home office, or other frequently used area. Look for noise- and vibration-reduction features to keep things serene around the home.

Want more info? Check out some of our resources:

Washer Buying Guide