An Insiders Guide to Washing Machines

There was once a time in everyone’s life when buying something as a washing machine was just that – simple. However, times have changed dramatically, as I’m sure all of you are aware of. When walking down the street one becomes bombarded by technology and various “high-tech” things, it is of no surprise that this type of movement is being shoved into individuals homes. When I talk about their homes, I’m not just talking about their televisions and computers, oh no, I’m also speaking of their kitchen appliances. I worked at a national reseller for home electronics, which I worked in the appliance department. By doing this I obtained a vast amount of knowledge in dealing with the appliance world. When preparing this article, I wondered if I should delve into the vast details of specific appliances, however, that would take far too much time. So, please refer to this article for a general overview of the main appliance.

When one says appliances, they instantly have at least five or six various products that are considered an appliance. However, during this article I am going to discuss the various IMPORTANT details about the most common appliance, and that is the washing machine. This item has been found in worldwide homes throughout the past several decades. And due to its overwhelming presence, it is easy to begin to overlook the amazing new options and standards these items are now offering. Well, it is obvious that the washing machine industry is growing and expanding, but just how exactly? And are the expansions worth the rise in price? Are they even worth looking at?

Just for those of you who don’t know yet, there are two type of washing machines, there is the traditional top-load washing machine, and then there is the “newer” front-loading washing machine. The first thing that anyone will notice between the two of these machines is the price tag. The front loading machines are usually priced quite-a-bit more than the standard top-loading machines. However, this price gap is slowly beginning to shorten, although if you are wanting a high-quality machine with all of the upgraded features, than you are still going to pay a hefty price tag for a front load machine. But, right now, we’re not going to talk price, but we are going to discuss the features that you as a buyer should be aware of.

I’m going to discuss the various features to be aware of when shopping for a top load washing machine. One would easily think that the only consideration you should be aware of is the size of the drum, and possibly what the drum is made of. However, there is so much more buyers should be aware of in order to find a washing machine that will last them a long time.

The first requirement you need to look for in a new washing machine is the quality of the washing drum. Why is this important? Well, if you obtain a cheap drum, one that chips and rusts, than you will see exactly that on your clothes, tares and rust. The first sign of a cheaply made drum is the way it appears, anything that is “speckled” or just pure metal with a cheap layer of plastic is a tall-tell sign of a drum that isn’t going to last you quite as long as desired. However, what you DO want to look for in a drum is one that’s surface is smooth to the touch, preferably porcelain. Remember, the better quality your washing machine drum, the better quality your clothes!!! Use your best judgment – and also ask your trusted sales associate for their recommendation.

The second requirement one needs to be aware of is the agitator size. Yes, in this case, size really does matter, as well as the motion of the item. The reason for this is due to the fact that the agitator is what actually moves your clothes to get them clean! So, if the agitator is small and rounded, than your clothes are basically going to stay still, and the detergent, over time, will literally eat away at your clothes. In order for your laundry to get clean it must stay in motion, thus you MUST have a decent agitator. How do you spot a good agitator? Great question! The ideal agitator will come up to the brim of the washing machine drum, and will have very nice CURVED edges on it. There are some agitators in the lower-end washing machines that are literally straight edged. This will just move your clothes several inches back and forth, thus not letting your clothes maintain a constant level of cleaning. Lesson: Make sure your agitator is large and curved!

And the last main thing to check on your new machine is the features. This is last on the list due to the fact that there is literally a plethora of features out there, as well as many various different people. The reason why they are called “features” or “options” is because not everyone is going to need a washing machine that has 12 different washing cycles. However, there are some pretty important features that you need to be aware of in your search. One of these features is a weight sensor. These sensors literally weigh your clothes to determine the amount of water in which is needed to clean your clothes. Given, that you are still going to be looking at around 30 gallons of water, however, it is much better than the standard 45 – 50 gallons of water that top loaders usually spit out. Another feature that is very helpful with most households is the “load size” option. Basically, this features boils down to, whatever load size that you choose, there is a pre-determined amount of water that will fill the drum. This option is usually not attached with the sensor, thus making it a less expensive option to the sensor. There are about a hundred more features out there, all of which are important to certain people, so when shopping for your washing machine, be smart, ask questions, and realize what YOU REALLY NEED in you machine.

Checklist for buying a Top Loading Washing Machine:

1. Drum Quality
2. Agitator Size and Curvature
3. Features

Now that we’ve discussed top loading machines, I’m going to move on to the next genre of washing machines, and that is going to be the front loading washing machines – or easily known as, front-loaders. When I worked at my retail store, a day never went by when I would see customers looking at the traditional top loaders, and then turn around and compare the front loaders. The first thing all of my customers would compare is the PRICE. And, obviously, the front loaders are much more expensive than the others, and the most common question I received was simply, “why?” And it was my pleasure to let people know that the price is ACTUALLY WORTH IT! That’s strange to say nowadays.

The main reasons why front loaders are a million times better than top loaders is the money that you will save in the long run. All front-loaders use 50-60% less energy and water than top loaders. Which, if you pay for your water, this is a MAJOR difference. The average household will save in upwards of 15,000 gallons of water per year, just by switching to a front loading machine. As well as the energy savings, your clothes are going to last MUCH longer. This is due to the way that they are actually treated, and that is – – gently. When clothes are tossed back and forth in the top loading machines, they are being worn down. Front loaders actually care for your clothes, by literally washing them in a nice folding action. I could go on and on about the benefits of front loaders, but this is a guide to help you know what to look for when going out and buying a front loading washing machine.

The first of these is to make sure that the washing drum is made of Stainless Silver. Many of you are wondering why this is so important. You see, stainless silver is VERY scratch resistant, which is good when you are washing jeans with metal buttons. It is also an extremely smooth surface, which aids in the ‘babying” of your clothes. When looking at front loading machines, make sure that the drum in made of stainless steel.

The second feature to look for is to look at the drum, and make sure that it is tilted backwards – where the mouth is facing upwards, slightly. You’re not going to want your drum to lie flat, because that creates a very strange pool of water that is not efficient to the washing of your clothes. However, when the drum is tilted backwards, than the water is forced towards the back of the machine, and your clothes have a chance to escape the water briefly, which is ideally what you are going to want.

And the last thing to look for are the various features. I’m not going to delve into all of the features that are out there, because they are all model specific, and that would take months and the article would run several hundred pages. However, here is a brief list of some of the features that you might want to keep your eye out for: Steam washing, timed washing, delicate cycle, baby care cycles, and washing drum RPM variations.
Checklist for Front-Loading Washing Machines:

1. Make sure that the drum is Stainless Steele
2. A tilted drum – where the mouth is pointing upwards, slightly.
3. The various features.

And make sure that you ask QUESTIONS, QUESTIONS, QUESTIONS when you are looking for your new washing machine, no matter what kind you are in the market for. And good luck!

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