What’s better in laundry…

What's better in laundry area - stackable washer/dryer (full-size) with utility sink, or side-by-side washer/dryer with no sink? (There are bathroom sinks down the hall, and a bathtub).

I'm asking because in the comments to the previous post, Dennis suggested that a stacking unit would be bad for resale, and even though we're not planning on resale, I'm curious. I have a stacking unit now (and did in the condo too), and I don't like them any less than side-by-side -- maybe even like them better, less bending. Although it does mean less folding space if you can't do it on top of the machines.

Am I in the minority on this?

12 thoughts on “What’s better in laundry…”

  1. You MUST have a sink in your laundry area. This is a non-negotiable.

    I hate having to wash muddy shoes or boots out in the kitchen sink because the bathroom sinks are too small or the counter surface around them is too porous to handle bleach or other things one might not want left behind on a porous surface.

    As a tall person, I like having a tall dryer to throw things into. It doesn’t hurt my back as much.

  2. Stacked washer/dryers are something I’ve only seen in apartments, and that’s due to the lack of space. I’m thinking of all the people I know who have houses, and none of them have stacked washer/dryers.

    Maybe if you had them side-by-side, you wouldn’t need the folding table as much, as you could fold and stack on top of the units? And then you could still have the sink? Not sure how the spacing would work out. Maybe you could have stuff drop from the chute into the sink, thus not needing the hamper? If you didn’t want stuff to just plummet into the sink, you could have a lid on the end of the chute that you could unfasten when you wanted to do laundry — it would just stay in the chute until then.

  3. I think the general consensus is that stacked washer/dryers are rarely as good and usually much smaller than side-by-side. I don’t have any personal feelings on the subject. I do agree with Elena that the vast majority of houses have side-by-sides.

    I like Elena’s idea about giving the chute a door and having it empty above the sink.

    Personally, I’d have side-by-sides and give up the folding space. You can always fold elsewhere. Or on top of the dryer. Actually, if you have front-loaders for both, you can fold on top of both. Plenty of space. And based on what my Mom’s been moaning about, it is almost impossible to get good top-loading washers anymore, so you probably will have a front-loader.

  4. I definitely would go with the side by side. Stacked is useful if you live in Manhattan or something but in a normal house with an actual laundry area, I’d get a proper side by side. Stacked seems cheap to me. don’t you fold while watching tv?

  5. I like the concept of stacked washer and dryer, but doesn’t that mean you need a front loading washer? In my experience, front loading washers, although they use less water, do not get clothes as clean as top loading ones do.

  6. Actually, we went and re-measured today, and it looks like we have two more inches than we thought — just enough to squeeze in both sink & side-by-side. So I think we’ll do that. Which just leaves the question of front-loading vs. top-loading. Opinions?

  7. Really no doubt about it. Traditional Top-loading is much much better. My parents had to replace their washing machine recently, however, and to their dismay found out that top loaders are scarce and generally only available in the cheaper makes right now. As I remember, most of the top loaders had stupid issues like sharp edges that ripped clothes and such. Now they may have had a limited supply because they were looking in Iowa, but I thought they said they did a websearch. So top loader if you can get a good one, but you may need side.

    By the way, while they tout the water-saving abilities of the sideloaders, they forget to mention you need much stronger detergents to make them work effectively. In Europe, home of frontloaders, they tend to use bio-active detergents. Ick.

  8. Laundries are so amazingly culturally specific. Dryers are relatively rare in Australia, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone having them side by side. On the other hand, I’ve equally never heard of a laundry without a sink.

    We have them stacked, and have the dryer above the top loading machine, mounted on the wall. I don’t use the dryer all that much, so it doesn’t matter much to me.

    None of this is helpful to you, since you’re unlikely to be selling to an Australian, but I think it’s interesting.

    I will put my bid in for a top loader – they usually wash better and have a bigger capacity, which matters a lot with kids! There are very water efficient top loaders these days, but generally you trade off water efficiency for length of wash cycle. It takes longer with less water.

  9. I’ve never had a need for a sink near a washer or dryer—I’ve seen them now and then (usually when the washer and dryer are in a garage), but I’m not really clear on what they’re used for.

    I had stackable washer and dryer at my condo, because that was all the available space would allow (a sort of tall narrow alcove). I prefer the look of side-by-side, but I don’t think I’ve seen much difference other than capacity and ease of moving the unit to get to the area behind it.

    For side-by-side front-loaders these days, you can usually get pedestals that raise each unit up so you don’t have to bend down as far. The pedestals are ridiculously expensive, though. Presumably one could build some kind of a box or stand for each unit to sit on, but I’d be hesitant—it would have to bear a lot of weight and vibration.

    One significant issue with front-loaders is mildew. When Twig was looking at front-loading washing machines for me last year, it looked like almost all of them required you to leave the door open most of the time to air them out, to avoid mildew smell. I didn’t like the idea of leaving the door open all the time, so she found me a model that didn’t require that—but now in fact it smells mildewed.

    Kirsten: I’m not clear on why the stronger detergents with front-loaders are a problem. Can you elaborate? Most of the detergents I see in stores these days have the HE label indicating use in high-efficiency washing machines. (Aside: some HE detergents use animal fats, which I gather can contribute to the mildew issue, but plenty of them don’t.)

    I haven’t seen any problems with front-loaders getting things less clean than top-loaders, but I don’t tend to do anything that results in really dirty clothes, so maybe I just wouldn’t notice.

    I just came across a pretty good summary of pros and cons; it doesn’t indicate that top-loaders get clothes cleaner, but it doesn’t claim to be comprehensive, either. Another article suggests that front-loader wash cycles are longer; I guess that equates to saying that they don’t get the clothes as clean per unit of time.

    Wikipedia indicates that top-loaders don’t get clothes cleaner (after a full cycle) than front-loaders, but the data they link to is kind of hard to interpret.

    Still, I haven’t seen any sites that suggest that a full cycle in a top-loader produces cleaner clother than a full cycle in a front-loader; I suspect that the variation among individual washing machines is greater than the variation between types.

  10. Ariane, you said that top-loaders usually have larger capacity—can you elaborate on that? The articles I’m looking at seem to say the opposite—that because of the absence of the agitator (the central post), you can put more clothes in a front-loader (by which I assume they mean in a front-loader of a given footprint, but I may be misinterpreting). Also, both top- and front-loaders come in a variety of sizes/capacities.

  11. Jed, I’m speaking, again, from the other side of the Pacific. I have an 8kg machine (which doesn’t have an agitator), and I think the largest you can buy in front loaders here is 6kg. All the top loaders I’ve ever owned have been at least 7kg capacity. You can fit a queen bed quilt in them, and I’ve never seen a front loader that can do that. But the US market might be different.

  12. We have a top-loader that’s like a front loader in that there is no agitator post in it. I love it – huuuuuge capacity. It’s a GE Profile Harmony, but 4 years old & I’m not sure the exact model is available anymore. No problems with it whatsoever (uses the same HE soap as front-loaders) except that dimes are exactly the right size to get stuck & grind between the barrels. We have to be very vigilant about emptying coins from pockets!

    We got it as an emergency purchase with very little research when our old washer & dryer broke at the same time just days after the birth of our younger son. We had an infant & a toddler & knew we needed something with a large capacity, available ASAP for delivery.

    My favorite feature is that the washer & dryer are connected by a USB cable (I think) & “talk” to each other. The washer tells the dryer how long the drying cycle should be!

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