How to choose the right washer: 12 Essential Criteria
Choosing a new washer can be quite complex when you don’t know too much about it.
Between the type of model, the right capacity, and the different options, we can easily become disoriented and miss the machine we require.
To make the right choice, it is therefore necessary to look at several criteria that make all the difference and that ensure you a long life.
In this article, we will help you see things a little more clearly thanks to 12 important points!
1. The type of washer
First, choose your washer based on the space you have and where you will be installing it. A top-loading model, for example, does not fit under a counter or cabinet since the door is located on top of the unit. The majority of washers are around 27″ wide – 24″ for small capacity models – but vary in depth (25″ to 34″) and height (33″ to 46″). Measure the available space to ensure you choose a model that will fit.
Most people buy front-loading (by the front or front load) washers, so there will be a lot more options.
As the name suggests, loading clothes is done through a door located on the front of the washer.
The highlight is that you can install it under a counter or, in some cases, stack a dryer on top of it to save space.
Let’s say that it is an ideal model for small surfaces or living rooms, especially since the controls are generally placed on the front of the device.
This type of front-loading washer is less energy and water-intensive than top-loading washers, especially since clothes are tumbled clean in the tub.
Plus, stains are cleaned more efficiently, and rinsing and spinning are more powerful.
When looking for a washer, don’t be afraid to check out how they open and how well they work.
Note which way its door opens so it doesn’t block access to your dryer, or if you feel you have the space you need.
This is the oldest type of washer and has been around in Canadian homes for a very long time.
These washers are generally less expensive than front-loading washers and require less maintenance.
The controls are usually placed on top of the machine, towards the rear.
Also, their washing cycles are shorter, and the way they treat the linen is gentler.
What we appreciate the most is that you can add or remove items from it once the wash has started, which is very useful if you tend to forget your personal belongings.
In terms of ergonomics, it is certain that the space saving is not as optimal as with a front-loading model.
If you want to put things on it, you will have to move them to open the washer or unload the laundry. It
is therefore not the model to be preferred for small spaces.
When shopping, if you are tempted by this model, do not forget to calculate the space needed to open the door, especially if cabinets or shelves are above.
Top-loading washers without an agitator clean clothes through the movement of their drum, while those with an agitator agitate clothes using a mechanical “arm.”
High Efficiency Washers (HE Washers)
High-Efficiency (HE) washers have technology that cuts the amount of water and time it takes to wash clothes by a lot.
For example, they use up to 80% less water than traditional top-loading washers and offer an energy savings of 65%.
Plus, they’re up to 40% larger than traditional top-loading washers, so they can handle much larger loads.
2. A washing machine, agitator or no agitator
According to our various analyses of consumer opinions, washers with central agitators wash and rinse a little better than models without them.
However, they would damage the clothes a little more in the delicate cycle.
Also, for the same size, washers with agitators can hold fewer clothes than washers without agitators.
So it’s all a matter of taste: if you have a lot of fragile clothes that you don’t want to damage, then perhaps a choice without an agitator will be preferable.
If, on the contrary, the fragility of the laundry does not matter to you, and you are above all looking for an efficient machine, then a model with an agitator will do its job very well.
The size of a washing machine is very important because it determines how much laundry you can wash at once.
It is often displayed in cubic feet (ft3).
For a small family of one or two children, a washer of about 3.5 to 4.5 cubic feet will do just fine.
If you are a couple with 3 or more children, then a machine with a large capacity will save you a lot of time on large loads of laundry.
You certainly don’t want to spend your weekends making machines, so a model over 5 cu.
But keep in mind that these models with very large capacities are not very common. They are also bigger and cost more.
Be cautious; we recommend taking capacity figures with tweezers because not all manufacturers measure them the same way.
As a result, it is more or less true, but do not take it literally.
Instead, we recommend that you rely on the measurements of Natural Resources Canada, which calculates the useful volume of the tanks in a uniform way, in addition to finding the most energy-efficient models.
Lastly, if the size of the washer is the same, one with an agitator can hold fewer clothes than one without one.
4. Energy performance
If preserving the environment is a cause close to your heart, investing in a washing machine that consumes little water and electricity is a real plus.
Choose a model with responsible consumption, certified by Energy Star.
In addition, try to favour a fairly large volume of laundry, so as to avoid small loads, which therefore consume a lot of water for not much. We also recommend that you wash your clothes in cold water because it is the heating of the water that consumes the most energy in the use of a washer.
So you save up to 4 kWh per load.
If we observe a Canadian average of 392 loads per year, the money saved can reach $120 per year, with clothes that are just as well washed!
5. Different washing cycles
Wash cycles determine the type of laundry you wash.
The entry-level models and the easiest to understand are the washers that have the basic cycles: normal, delicate/hand wash, quick, etc.
On the other hand, the high-end and most advanced models have even more precise and specialised cycles, such as auto, steam, sanitary, etc.
Afterwards, these are features that have no influence on the overall quality of the washer, and are especially popular with consumers who want to treat their laundry in the best way.
If you want a washer that’s easy to understand and use, cut to the chase and buy a basic one, which will do just fine.
The basic cycles
- Normal or regular: the hot water cycle that suits most loads, which lasts an average of 67 minutes;
- Delicate or hand wash: this cycle is recommended for delicate and fragile fabrics. It lasts about 45 minutes and consumes less water and energy than the others.
- Auto or smart: smart sensors adjust the amount of water to the size of your load.
The other cycles
On the most advanced models, there are about ten other special cycles:
- The quick cycle washes lightly soiled items or small express loads in about 30 minutes.
- Intensive cycle: ideal for washing heavily soiled clothes, but it uses more water and electricity than other programs.
- Pre-wash or soak cycle: allows you to soak your clothes before washing them, which can be useful for stubborn stains, but it increases water consumption and the time needed to do your load. For example, the rinse
- cycle: it rinses the clothes a second time to get rid of excess detergent, animal hair, and tissue debris;
- Bedding Cycle: Useful for sheets and blankets or bulky items, but not essential.
- The sanitary cycle is performed at high temperatures and has the function of removing bacteria, allergens, and odors. Some models also use steam for better efficiency.
6. Sound level:
The noise level of the washer is an important factor to consider, especially if you don’t have a laundry room in your home.
If your machine lives with you, it should be as quiet as possible.
On average, most models produce 70 decibels, which is quite loud.
In comparison, a typical dishwasher makes about 50 decibels of noise, which is about the same as the noise level in a restaurant that isn’t very busy.
But decibel levels are rarely listed on the products or on the websites of the companies that make them.
Check out our buying guide to learn more about the best washer models in Canada!
Generally speaking, front-loading washers are slightly quieter than top-loading ones, while models with agitators are slightly louder than those without.
7. The logo
When you make an investment as important as a washing machine, you might as well choose a brand known for its reliability and the quality of its products, right?
In our buying guide, we evaluate dozens of washer models, taking into account their price, brand, strengths and weaknesses, to then determine the best products.
Naturally, manufacturers like Whirlpool, Maytag, or Electrolux stand out from the crowd.
These companies, established for decades, are constantly innovating and have fully understood the needs of Quebec households divided between saving money and responsible consumption.
In addition, you benefit from customer service that offers you good guarantees with quality, durable and reliable washers.
Some top-of-the-line models have a Wi-Fi connection that lets you control or keep track of the different washing cycles through an app.
It comes in handy if you like technology or you appreciate being able to plan your machines.
However, this is not a must-have feature.
Front or top-mounted controls
The controls on the front of the washer are easy to use because they are right in front of you.
Those on the top are less ergonomic if you want to put something on the machine, while having the advantage of being out of reach of children.
In any case, we recommend that you choose a model that clearly indicates the washing cycles rather than a dashboard indicating symbols that are not always easy to understand.
This function has the merit of making washing easier since detergent, fabric softener, and bleach are dispensed at the right time to ensure optimal fabric care.
This is an interesting option if you are still a little lost on the quantity of products to add.
10. Security features
If you have young children, choose a model that locks the opening of the door or that prohibits the change of controls when they have been engaged.
Anti-overflow and anti-flooding devices
Several models will automatically start a drain cycle if water keeps coming in. This reduces the chance of flooding.
Others also have a box that cuts off the water supply in the event of a leak in the inlet pipe.
The anti-foam gadget
The majority of appliances stop when they detect an excessive presence of soap suds.
Pay attention to the amount of product or detergent you put in!
11. Cleaning alternatives
Delayed start and scheduled end
This feature is perfect for people who have a busy schedule and don’t want to worry about putting on a machine in the evening when they come home from work.
With a delayed start, you choose when to start or end the wash cycle, avoiding a machine in the middle of the night or at peak energy consumption times.
It is very useful when you want to avoid peak hours of electricity consumption or to be able to fall asleep without being disturbed by noise.
Sensors automatically detect the load of clothes and adapt the amount of water needed for the wash cycle.
The most advanced models offer a “steam” function that removes the most stubborn stains, odors, and dust mites, as well as effectively smooths out the linen.
Some models allow you to select between different spin speeds based on the number of cycles.
High speed spins clothes efficiently, but increases power consumption.
On the other hand, the drying time is drastically reduced.
A slow spin is recommended, however, for items that are fragile or crease easily.
Automatic temperature adjustment
This option is offered on high-end appliances and adjusts the water temperature according to the chosen cycle.
However, as mentioned above, washing in cold water at all times saves electricity and performs as well as hot or lukewarm water.
Appliances are investments that you need to keep for the long term.
For this, it is sometimes necessary to put a good price on it from the outset, so as not to have any unpleasant surprises in the future.
To acquire a decent, efficient, and basic washer, you will have to pay a minimum of $700 or $800. There is no
need to invest in the best washer possible if all you need is a heavy-duty model that gets the laundry done.
Most intermediate washers are priced between $950 and $1050.
Beyond that, you are at the high end: a high-efficiency and compact device can then cost nearly $1,500.
It is also in this price range that you can kill two birds with one stone, by buying a washer-dryer directly.
The essential criteria for choosing the right washing machine
- the type of washer
- a washer with or without an agitator
- the capacity
- energy performance
- the different washing cycles
- sound level
- the brand
- the orders
- security functions
- cleaning options
- the price