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The 21st Century has seen some great technological advancements, and the laundry room has not been left behind. Combining washing and drying in the one appliance sounds like the ultimate laundry convenience. In go the dirty clothes and out come the dry, clean and fresh clothes! And the best part is that most are compact enough to sit under a kitchen bench. Does that sound too good to be true? Well… that’s because it sometimes is.
Studies and reviews all around the internet have shown that these machines often can't match the performance of their separate counterparts. While the washing performance can be comparable to front loaders, a combination machine's drying function often leaves a lot to be desired. Are you on the brink of buying one or the other? Well, let’s look at the pros and cons of buying a washer-dryer combo.
- Washing performance roughly matches that of a comparable stand-alone washing machine, especially when compared to a front-loading washing machine. Natural laundry pods will work perfectly on this type of machine, as will most types of leading brand liquid detergents, powder detergents and natural laundry detergents.
- You'll save on space over two separate appliances. A combo washer-dryer, naturally, takes half the space of separate appliances.
- You could use either the wash or dryer function separately; they don't have to be combined. If you prefer to hand wash some delicate garments or baby clothes and then have them dry in your machine, it can be done. Same thing if you prefer to wash your clothes on any cycle in the washer and then air dry them.
- Purchase and running costs are roughly equivalent to owning a separate front load washer and condenser dryer. The quantity of energy consumed when using on or the other is going to be similar.
- The dryer component can only dry around half the capacity of the washer. So if you washed a big load of baby clothes or winter clothes, then you would have to dry them in two different cycles.
- They can use a staggering amount of water for drying - up to 210 litters on some machines – as the dryer's condenser mechanism uses water from the tap for cooling. This is in addition to the water used for washing. So it can be said that they are very wasteful of water.
- However, heat-pump washer dryer combos are now available which don't use any water to dry, but their cost is pretty steep.
- Too much time! A combined wash and dry cycle takes a long time – anywhere from three to more than six hours. Doesn’t matter if you use the best laundry detergent, your cycle is still going to be extremely long.
- Studies show that washer dryer combos are the least reliable laundry appliance and 22% of owners experienced a major problem with their machine. Owners of these types of machines also had significantly lower owner satisfaction than front loader and top loader owners.
Unless you have no other choice, an all-in-one, single-drum, washer-dryer combo is almost never the best way to do your laundry. The washing aspect works fine, but trying takes a couple hours longer than a separate machine would, and that’s if you’ve loaded the machine to only half capacity. And since you can’t wash other clothes while those are drying, this means that your laundry day comes to an awkward halt. So while they are a great technological advancement, washer-dryer combos still have a long way to go.