We all enjoy the thought of saving something. Regardless of whether we are saving time, money or even space, the idea of saving is always music to anyone’s ears. That’s why the idea of a washer that could also function as a dryer is not only interesting, but also quite exciting.
Laundry typically involves two machines. The first machine is the washer that does the cleaning. It is designed to ensure that it comes with all the cycles necessary to get rid of all the dirt from the clothes while staying gentle on the fabric.
Although the washer leaves the clothes looking clean, it is not capable of leaving the clothes dry enough to be worn. There’s always some little moisture that is left behind on the clothes. That is the reason why the second machine becomes necessary.
The second machine in the process is the dryer that works as hard as the washer in ensuring that the clothes are dry enough for you to wear. Most laundry rooms have these two machines, and the cleaning process is pretty much standard.
The million dollar question then becomes: What exactly is a washer-dryer combo and why is it special? As the name suggests, a washer-dryer combo does both the cleaning and the drying. So instead of buying and using two machines, you only need one. It saves space and eliminates the need to move clothes from the washer to the dryer after the cleaning cycle is over.
Is a washer-dryer combo worth buying? Keep reading to find out.
Why You Need a Washer-Dryer Combo
Most laundry rooms in the country have separate washers and dryers. However, there are some advantages that only a washer-dryer combo can offer. Let’s take a look at some of these advantages and why getting a single machine for washing and drying might be a good idea.
If you live in a house without a dedicated laundry room, then the amount of space that your laundry setup is going to occupy will be an important consideration. In such a setting, the washer-dryer combo will be ideal for you. It occupies the space that your washer alone would have occupied, but it does the job of both the washer and dryer.
This is important if you live in a small apartment or if you are shopping for an RV because it will help you save a lot of space.
Although it’s true that there is no standalone washer or dryer that is cheaper than the washer-dryer combo, you will still save some money by buying the all in one machine. This is because if you compare the cost of buying both the washer and dryer, you will find that the washer-dryer combo is cheaper.
This is because instead of having two separate drums driven by two separate motors that you will have to pay for when purchasing the two different machines, the washer-dryer combo does everything in the same drum. This drum is driven by the same motor that drives the drum during the wash cycle, so everything is done efficiently.
With this machine, you get to kill two birds with a single stone both in the cost of equipment and in the space requirements.
No Manual Intervention Needed Between Washing and Drying Cycles
In the standard setup, more of your input is required in the laundry process. This is because you have to wait for the washing cycle to conclude so that you can transfer the load from the washer into the dryer for the clothes to be dried.
In the washer-dryer combo, the machine takes care of everything. Your input is only required when adding the clothes into the machine and when removing them after both the washing and drying cycles have concluded.
This setup is more convenient because you will not need to wait until washing is complete so that you can transfer the clothes to the dryer for the second part of the process to begin. You can load the clothes in the morning before you leave for work and come home to clean laundry that’s already dry.
You Can Wash or Dry Independently
Despite being able to wash and dry your clothes, the washer-dryer combo gives you the freedom to choose what you want the machine to do. If you like, you can tell it to just wash the clothes or to just dry the clothes. This means that it can function as a standalone washer or standalone dryer depending on your needs.
One of the major challenges of the washer-dryer combo is the drying time. Although manufacturers are releasing new models with relatively lower drying times when compared to earlier models, they still take longer periods to dry when compared to standalone dryers.
To overcome this challenge, you can opt to use the combo unit only as a washer and your old standalone dryer for drying. This way, you will enjoy the peace of mind of knowing that you have an ‘extra’ dryer for emergencies.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Washer-Dryer Combo
Now that we know when a washer-dryer combo would be the perfect solution for your laundry needs, it’s time to make sure that you get the best value for every penny spent on a washer-dryer combo. Let’s take a look at some factors that you should consider when choosing one.
One of the main reasons why most people choose to purchase a washer-dryer combo instead of two standalone machines is the savings in space. However, don’t just assume that the all-in-one machine will fit in the space designated for the regular washer.
Although they are generally the same size as the standard washing machine, washer-dryer combo machines do not come in a standard size. With this in mind, it is important that you find out the exact width and height of the specific model that you want to purchase and you compare these value with the space that you have available in your home or RV. This way, you won’t get unpleasant surprises when trying to install it.
Unlike standalone dryers that are vented, most washer-dryer combo machines use a different method to dry the clothes because of the absence of vents. Vented dryers work by forcing hot dry air through the load to absorb moisture then releasing the hot wet air to the environment through the vent.
On the other hand, washer-dryer combos use condensation to get rid of the moisture from the clothes. Dry air is heated and passed through the clothes just like in the vented dryer to produce hot wet air. However, instead of being released to the environment through the vent, this hot wet air is sent to the condenser where it is cooled to condense the moisture to produce water and cold dry air.
The water is pumped out through the machine’s used water drainage outlet while the cold dry air is heated and passed through the load again to collect some more moisture. The process is repeated until the clothes are dry.
So where does the drying part of the cleaning process consume any water? So far, we’ve seen that the only water coming from the machine’s outlet is from the clothes, so how does drying affect the machine’s water consumption?
To help answer this question, let’s discuss the condensation process inside the machine. Basically, the condenser is a heat exchanger that works like the radiator in your car where cold air is passed through radiator fins to cool hot water from the engine. However, in this condenser, the hot wet air from the dryer is the one being cooled.
The condenser in washer-dryer combos uses cold water from the machine’s water inlet line to cool the hot wet air from the clothes. This provides more efficient cooling because cold water will absorb more heat faster than if it was cooled by air.
However, after a few runs, the water in the condenser will become warm and lose its power to cool the hot moist air hence it will need to be discarded and replaced by fresh cold water from the inlet. The process is repeated until the clothes are dry.
The size and design of the condenser will determine how much water will be needed to dry the entire load so it’s important that you find out how much water the machine will need for drying before you buy.
Top 10 Best Washer-Dryer Combos for a House and an Apartment
Now that we know what to look for in a washer-dryer combo let’s dive in and look at some of the options available in the market. We have compared dozens of models and picked ten of the best for a house and an apartment based on features, practicality, functionality and user reviews.
Here they are:
Although they are not very popular, washer-dryer combos solve a very particular need that no other laundry setup can solve. If you find yourself in this situation, this guide will tell you everything you need to know about these machines as well as giving you a number of popular options that have already been proven to work.
We hope that this guide was able to help you identify a washer-dryer combo that best solves your particular needs within your budget.