I'm going to have my first baby in August, and my mom wants to gift me a washer and a dryer to help me with all of the added laundry. I'm really grateful, but I'm not sure where to start looking. I know that I want something that's Energy Star rated, can be separated or stackable, and has a good warranty. Since my house is pretty small, I'd also like to have something that's not that big. Any ideas?
To see my advice for Jen,
Congratulations on the new baby, and the generous soon-to-be grandmommy! A new washer and dryer should definitely help to make your life a little easier once your baby arrives, and I'm glad to see that you're interested in getting an energy-efficient set.
You'll definitely want to get a front-load washer. Why? Since front-load washers don't use an agitator (the post in the middle of top-loading machines) you can get more laundry in there — an average of 30 percent more. They also have a high-speed, high-efficiency extractor, which means your clothes come out of the washer dryer than they would from a top-loading machine. They're gentler on clothes, quieter, and are often stackable. In addition, they're much more energy- and water-efficient, using half as much water as top loaders. And while I recommend using cold water cycles whenever possible, if you have to use hot water, front-loading machines use almost 70 percent less electricity to heat the water.
So, what machine do I recommend for you? I'm going to go with the Maytag Neptune MAH2400 ($750).It's pretty darn small, at just about two feet wide and deep and 34 inches high, but boasts a large, 2.4 cubic feet capacity (the equivalent of 16 bath towels). It's part of Maytag's QuietSeries 300, which means it won't wake up Baby while you're tossing in laundry during naptime. It also comes with a warranty, can be stacked, and has a high-efficiency wash system. And yes, it's Energy Star qualified.
Why a Maytag? Well, if your mom buys this machine by the end of the month, she can save big bucks. Maytag appliances are eligible for an up to $600 rebate through the Energy Star program.
You can, of course, pair this washer with the Maytag Neptune Electric Dryer ($700), but since dryer technology hasn't improved nearly as much as washer technology, it's not as much of an urgent issue. Since these two machines are matched, they will stack easily. However, whenever you can, be as eco-efficient as possible and dry your clothes on a clothesline.
If you're not interested in the Maytag, I've also included some stackable machines in the widget below. Good luck with your new baby and your new washer and dryer!