If you're in need of a new washer and dryer but don't want to spend a small fortune, here are some tips to help you find the best deal:
Look for the right features The true cost of a washer and dryer isn't just about the sticker you see in a store. Instead, key features can make a huge difference in terms of providing efficient operation for years to come.
The first feature is a large enough capacity. Since you don't want to have to do more loads than necessary, opt for a machine that can do 17 to 24 pounds of laundry in one cycle. The next feature you'll want is auto-load sensing, which is convenient and reduces the amount of water you use. Automatic temperature control will keep your wash temperatures consistent throughout the year and help maximize your washer's energy efficiency. A moisture sensor in a dryer is the best way to ensure that your clothes get fully dry without running your dryer longer than necessary.
What features don't you need? If you're not a fan of fabric softener, an automatic dispenser is optional but not necessary. Additionally, unless you're especially sensitive to detergent, a washer that offers an extra rinse cycle probably isn't needed. In terms of the most overrated features, overnight cycles, custom programming and steam options are the most common culprits for inflating prices without offering any truly useful functionality.
Regular maintenance Even the best wash and dryer won't be as efficient and last as long if they're not taken care of on a routine basis. For top loaders, occasionally running an empty load of bleach, followed by an empty load with two cups of vinegar will take care of any accumulated residue. If you have a front loader, run the two empty cycles detailed above, as well as clean the door's seal by using bleach and a toothbrush to eliminate residue and grime. And for your dryer, not only should you clean the lint trap every few cycles, but you should also clean out the exhaust once a year to eliminate lint that's built up. Buying a quality washer and dryer on a tight budget may seem a challenge, but once you know what features to look for, you'll be able to keep an eye out for the deal that right for you.
About the Author: Tyler Banfield covers a variety of subjects including marketing, consumer shopping and Tim Broas.