Buyer's Guide \ Washers \ A helpful guide to buying a washer for your home

A helpful guide to buying a washer for your home

There are several factors to consider when shopping for a new washing machine. Start by asking yourself these questions. This will help narrow what kind of washer could be the right one for you.

Table Of Contents

1. Planning Considerations

Is this a replacement, renovation or upgrade?

  • If it is a renovation, buying a bundle pair (washer and dryer) can cost less as there are often deals. Keep this in mind when setting a budget.

2. How much space do you have to work with?

  • This is key to determining which layout you should purchase. If you are facing limited space, then a stacked set could be a good option. This is where the dryer, which is lighter, is on top of the washer. This is a popular set-up for apartments or condos. If more space is available and you prefer to have your laundry pair side by side, then note the layout of the room, including the need to completely open the door.
  • If space is extremely limited, then an all-in-one washer and dryer could be an ideal option. It’s one machine that can do both while freeing up valuable space.

Size of family?

  • This question can help determine if you require a machine with more capacity. A bigger washer capacity allows for less washes, ideal for larger families. If you are living on your own or simply want a smaller washer, there are smaller sizes starting at 24″ (61 cm) width.


  • Price Ranges
    • If your budget is smaller, then a top load washer and dryer combo might make the most sense. Front load washers and dryers often start at a higher price point due to their features including typically being more energy-efficient. Buying a pair can potentially save money. Top loads vary from low price point value washers to high-end options, which include impressive features like a larger capacity, Wi-Fi connectivity, steam clean, to name a few.

How often do you do laundry?

  • Laundry frequency can impact quality, cost of maintenance, electricity bills, and water efficiency. The good news is that many machines are ENERGY STAR® certified so they use less water and take less power to run.

3. Types of Machines Available

Washer Type Capacity (Approx) Information to Note when Shopping
Top load 3-6.2 Cu.Ft.
  • Models are available across price ranges
  • Newer and often more expensive models now offer ENERGY STAR® certification to improve energy efficiency
  • Economical choice with reliable performance
  • Considered easier to load as you will not have to bend over
Front load 3-6 Cu.Ft.
  • Typically provides greater energy efficiency that conserves water and energy
  • Most models are stackable to minimize space used in your home
  • Impressive features that can help suit your laundry needs
  • Typically begin at a higher price point
Compact 2-2.8 Cu.Ft.
  • Available in front load
  • Ideal for apartments, condominiums or houses with limited laundry space
  • Can include the same features found in full-size machines
  • Stackable options are available
  • Units are typically 24" (61 cm) wide
All-in-One 1.5-5 Cu.Ft.
  • Allows for washing and drying in the same machine
  • Saves the most space
  • Often have a higher starting price point
  • Option to be ventless, allowing for freedom of placement

Front load

  • Front load washers use gentle rotations to help combat stains.
  • Usually feature a direct drive motor to help achieve and maintain high spin-out speeds for appropriate cycles. This can potentially shorten dry times.
  • With respect to high efficiency, front load washers paved the way. They have the ability to save on detergent and use less water. While they may need longer wash times, their high spin speeds wick away more moisture, resulting in shorter dry times.
  • Front load washers are typically more expensive than top load options but are considered to be more energy efficient.

Benefits of Front Load Washers

Some front load washers have certain features available across brands. Here are a few:
  • Some washers have a cycle that can periodically tumble dry your clothes in the washer up to 24 hours.
  • If you often find that you don’t have a lot of time, there are features on some models designed to help save time by automatically dispensing detergent. This feature also calculates how much detergent is needed. It eliminates any uncertainties about the right amount of detergent.
  • Since you are loading it from the front, the top of the machine can be used for storage without having to move or rearrange anything. You can place your detergent or other laundry materials on top if you want. The exception, though, is if you choose to stack your washer and dryer, then you will not be able to utilize the top of either appliance.
  • Capacity and dimension ranges:
    • Typical capacity size range for a front load ranges from 5.0 to 5.8 cubic feet.
    • Compacts are available at around 24″ width, with a capacity of 2.1 to 2.6 cubic feet.
    • Height of an average front load washer ranges from 38″ to 43″ (96 cm to 109 cm), with a typical width of roughly 27″ (69 cm), and a depth of 28″ to 34″ (71 cm to 86 cm).
  • Prices can generally range from $1,399 to $3,299.

All-in-One Washing Machine Option (Front Load)

  • A machine that can perform both washing and drying functions. This is great for tight places like bathrooms or closets. Additionally, it can open up available space and, since it has the ability to be ventless, it can be moved to different locations.
  • Can cost more than some front load washers because it also features a dryer. The price typically increases as more features and options are added.

Installation for Front Load Washing Machines

  • Installation choices include stackable, under counter, side by side or in a closet.
  • When purchasing a front load washer and dryer, you will have several installation options to choose from. If you have a front load washer and dryer, you can stack them to free up more space. With stacking, you will also have the option to stack them inside a closet, a common strategy for apartment buildings and condominiums. These machines are usually slightly narrower and smaller so that they can be stored in a closet.
    • Accessories required: Stacking kits and Pedestals
  • Always check and follow your appliance and product use and care instructions before beginning any task, as they should be your primary source of information.

Pedestals (Sold Separately)

  • Pedestals are usually sold separately, and go underneath the machine to raise it. They are made out of metal and act as risers for both the washing and drying machine.
  • Pedestals can only be used for front load machines that are placed side by side.
  • The pedestal can raise your machines anywhere from 12″-16″ (30 cm to 40 cm). They are not adjustable. This can help make loading and unloading easier.
  • Many pedestals have drawers for those looking for more organization. They can even be used for storing detergent.
  • Not all models can work with pedestals, so you have to check that your machine is compatible.
  • Pedestals come in different sizes to accommodate machines of different sizes. This is also something to double-check before purchasing.

Stacking Kits (Sold Separately)

  • These kits include metal brackets that help stack the washer and dryer.
  • They help stabilize the dryer, making sure it sits sturdily on top of the washer. The dryer should always be on top since it is usually lighter than the washer.
  • Stack kits help absorb vibrations, reducing the noise when in use.
  • Due to the weight of the washer and dryer, it is recommended they not be stacked if there is a pedestal underneath.

Top Load

  • The common set-up that many households rely upon.
  • More comfortable since you load the washer from the top and don’t have to bend over. Remember to consider that it might be hard to grab items from the bottom depending on your height.
  • Top Load lets you easily keep the lid open in between washes regardless of the laundry room set-up.
  • On washers with an agitator, the central spindle often takes up room in the wash basket. Washers with an impeller offer additional space for bulky items and easy loading/unloading.
  • Two types:

    • Agitator
      • An agitator is a tall vertical spindle in the middle of the washer.
      • Available in top load washing machines.
      • Works by physically rubbing against each article of clothing to help fight stains and loosen dirt.
      • Usually offer shorter wash times. This does depend, though, on which soil level is selected.
      • ENERGY STAR® certified models are available.
      • Deep water levels cycles or options available for those who prefer more water.
    • Impeller
      • Impellers are available in top loading washing machines.
      • Uses low-profile cones, wheels, fins or discs that are engineered to spin and gently rub clothes against each other.
      • No spindle in the middle of the washer so it is easier to load.
      • High spin speeds reduce drying time.
      • Uses less motion and less water than a washer with an agitator.
      • Moves clothes from the outer rim of the wash basket to the centre, using only a small amount of water to optimize friction.
      • ENERGY STAR® certified models are available.
    • Capacity and dimensions ranges
      • Common capacity size range for a top load is from 4.2 to 6.1 cubic feet of volume.
      • Average height of a top load washer is 42″ to 43″ (107 cm to 109 cm), with a common width of 27″ to 27.5″ (68  cm to 69  cm), and a depth of 25″ to 28″ (64 cm to 71 cm).
    • Prices can generally range from $899 to $2,999.
    • When buying a new washer, read the installation guide to ensure you have everything to install the parts (hoses, steam kits, etc.).

Stacked (Laundry Centres)

If you are lacking space, then stacking your washer and dryer might be a good option. This style allows for additional room and/or storage and is commonly found in apartments and condominiums. Each member of the pair must be front loading so that owners can properly load and unload their laundry.
  • Dimensions:
    • For full-size stackable washers and dryers, you’ll typically need a space that’s 80″ (203 cm) high x 28″ (71 cm) wide x 31″ to 34″ (79 to 86 cm) deep.
    • You may also consider a stacked laundry centre at 74″ to 76″ (188 cm-193 cm) high x 24″ to 28″ (61 cm-71 cm) wide x 27″ to 33″ (69 cm to 84 cm) deep.

4. Available Features

These features are available on the market, but are not necessarily included on every washing machine.
  • Cleaning performance

    • If your or someone in your household’s job often results in their uniform or clothes being heavily soiled, then washer performance is key.
    • Performance isn’t merely how well it washes clothes, but also considers maintenance needs and price point.
  • Wi-Fi Connectivity

    • Washers and dryers are now equipped to be connected through your smart device(s) (phone/tablet). This way you can monitor the stage of the cycle even when you’re not home.
  • Wash Cycles

    • Many new machines offer a suite of cycles to ensure your clothes are properly cleaned and the needs of your household are met. A typical wash detects the soil level, and then adjusts with pre-soak, deep/heavy clean, rapid wash time and even one for delicates. If wash cycles are important to you then this is something to think about!
  • Temperatures

    • Machines now include more than just hot or cold options. They have temperature settings like warm or even allow you to select specific wash and rinse temperatures. Options can include hot/cold, warm/warm, or even warm/cold.
  • Sensing a Load

    • Offers the convenience of not having to determine the wash cycle. The machine will sense how heavy the load is and determine the right settings to proceed with.

5. Installation Considerations

  • A good resource for measuring out your space:
  • Follow these steps to help measure your space:
    • Decide on a set-up: side by side, stacked, or pedestals (for front load only).
    • Give thought to distance: you will need approximately 4 feet (48″ or 122 cm) in front of the pair to ensure easier loading and unloading. Make sure to check where the door of the appliance is in proximity to the door of the room/space.
    • The next step is to look behind the pair and add about 6″ (15 cm) for hoses and venting space. To reduce noise, add about 1″ (2.5 cm) on each side of the unit. Above the washer, add some additional space for easy opening/closing (only applicable to top load washers).
    • Next, measure the height, length and width of the space. Add in the extra height from the pedestals if you choose to purchase them separately. 
    • Lastly, figure out the best path from entry to installation location. This is paramount as you need to ensure that your purchased unit will fit through each doorway and hallway on its way to its installation location. Measure your new unit to confirm it can be transported safely through the chosen path.
  • Always check and follow your appliance and product use and care instructions before beginning any task, as they should be your primary source of information.

DIY Installation

  • Always consult the installation guide for all electrical requirements, and check that both the inlet and drain hose are installed as recommended. Also, review your installation guide for all information as this will ensure a safe process. Please consult with a professional if you have any questions or for installation help.
  • It might sound simple but there still needs to be a water connection while the electrical is being done. Please be safe and cautious while performing this installation and always check—or even double-check— your installation guide.

Professional Installation

  • If you are unfamiliar or uncomfortable or would just prefer to have a certified professional install the washer, then make sure you clear the space around the machine and that the specific parts are available for the professional. Again, check with your installation guide.
Ready to start looking for a new washing machine? Our Buying Guide tool can help narrow your search so you can find the one that meets your needs. Click here to find a washer that’s right for you.
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