Friday, March 6, 2009

Washing Machines...what's the difference?

I went out on a venture recently to try to find out what the difference was between those fancy-looking front loader washing machines and just regular old-fashioned 'normal' washing machines.

It seems that there really IS a difference.
The front loaders actually use only about 1/3 of the water since they never actually 'fill up'.
It seems that they squirt a soapy water through them, while tumbling them off and on.
And then spin that out and run rinse waters through them while tumbling them and then
at a rate twice as fast as a normal machine, spin the water out.

So, they have two 'high points' from my findings. The first is they use lots less water. According to the 'sales pitch', they use somewhere around 12 gallons and the 'normal' machines use somewhere between 40 and 50. The second is that they spin about 1000 or more RPMs whereas the 'normal' machines spin around 400-500 RPMs, which means lots less drying time. According to estimations, they can dry in half the time.

Those two points are enough to make the machines a consideration I think. There's only one thing (other than they cost more) that I could find out that may make some 'if-y'. The machines using less water and tumbling the clothes, rather than agitating them in a tank full of water is certainly less wear on your clothes but for those who think there should be lots of water and lots of soap, this would require a new way of thinking! And well, sometimes our thinking is hard to change! :-)

But trying to determine how this actually figures in $$$$ is a little complicated.
But lets just pretend that your dryer is costing you $30 a month. You usually dry
the loads on 70 minutes, with one of these washers spinning more water out, you could cut your drying time in 1/2. That's a savings of about $180 a year.

And let's say you use 25 less gallons of water per load and you wash 10 loads a week. That's a savings of around 250 gallons per week and about 13,000 per year which is somewhere around $60 depending on where you live.

So, my conclusion is that these machines could likely begin to pay for the difference in price in two years, easy. And if your like me, you keep your machines until they won't go any more! At least 12 years or so! So in my opinion, it is a considerable investment when your next one spins its last revolution!

1 comment:

Prudent Homemaker said...


I have not regretted having a front loader. Nothing gets caught on the agitatitor and rips!

It DOES use less water, and the clothes are dry (in the dryer) in about 45-60 minutes (jeans take about 70 minutes). I just use the timed dry on my dryer and I dry everything (per clothing label instructions) on low. The clothes come out of the washer with very little water in them.

Because I used the timed dry section, the clothes only go until they are dry (if they need another 10 minutes I will add it) and they don't get static-y. They ONLY have static if they dry too long, and that always happens on the dryer settings that aren't timed. So, I never have to buy dryer sheets (you can do that too if you have a timed dry setting on your dryer).

They might tell you that you have to use special detergent for the front loader. It isn't true. When mine was delivered they told me you can use regular detergent--but just half of it. I use 2 TBSP of powdered detergent per load.

The other nice thing about not having an agitator is that you can wash large comforters without having to take them to the cleaners. They fit fine in the washer (I have a large capacity washer and dryer, so I don't know if this is true of smaller ones).

Do compare the front loaders; they are not all equal in using less energy. If you spend more up front you can get a machine that uses less energy in the long run.

I didn't buy a pedestal; I put cabinets above my washer and dryer instead. I don't mind the lower height; the little children can reach into the washer and dryer without any trouble and help me.