Finding the best choice for your family

Buying a New Washing Machine

by Debra Karplus

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For years, your washing machine's been noisy and vibrates almost uncontrollably. However, any sales or repair person will tell you that they don't make them like they used to! Finally, facing a $300 repair, you decide it's time to purchase a new washing machine, but which one should you buy?

Top load, front load, or high efficiency? Which is best for you?

Before you start looking at individual washing machine models, decide which type is most appropriate for your needs. Top loading washers tend to be least expensive but may not necessarily get your clothing cleanest. Expect to pay between $250 and $800 for a top loading washing machine, depending on the manufacturer and the features you choose. Front loading machines claim to get your washables cleaner, but expect to pay no less than $600 for a model with minimal features.

High efficiency washers have been around for about a decade and claim to get your clothing cleanest, but for a price. Expect to spend between $500 and $1500, depending on your selection. If you do laundry frequently or wash very large loads, you may save about 50% on water and another 30% on energy to operate the machine. Therefore, a high efficiency model may end up providing you with the biggest savings in the long term.

What features do you need on your new washing machine?

A basic washer will have control for temperature, load size, type of load, and number of rinses. For less than $300, you can buy a simple washer, including delivery and installation. If you desire more bells and whistles on your washer, you may opt for a pricier model that has automatic dispensing of bleach and other laundry liquids. Assess what features you really need by searching online first and reading about options and their cost.

Where is the best place to shop for a washing machine?

New washing machines, as well as other major household appliances, can be purchased at most appliance stores, big box stores, and many discount stores. Prices tend to be set by the manufacturer and are typically about the same regardless of where you buy your machine.

Besides the purchase of the washing machine, you must consider that you probably want your old one hauled away, the new one delivered and installed, and possibly the purchase of new hoses or connections (approximately $20). Washing machines are fairly lightweight, about 135 pounds, and a couple of guys can load one on or off a small pick-up truck. If you are handy enough to do installation which takes less than 15 minutes and have access to a truck, this may be a way to save money on your new washer.

Remember to pay attention to the sales, especially around major holidays. Very often hauling the old machine and delivery and installation of the new one are included in the price of the machine. If you are not in a hurry to replace your current washing machine, it may be worth waiting for special offers. Additionally, sometimes there are good deals if you also buy a clothes dryer. That does sound like a fantastic deal, but only if you really need a dryer now or expect to need one in the near future.

When your new washer arrives, check it carefully for nicks and scratches that may have occurred from its ride on the truck. Also, launder a typical load immediately to assure that your new machine was installed properly and operates as expected.

These days, any place selling major (or even smaller) appliances will try to sell you the extended warranty. Typically, an extended warranty on an appliance is simply a waste of your money. Read the manual when you get your new washer. If you use your machine according to the instructions, it should have a long and happy life.

Reviewed August 2017

Debra is an occupational therapist, accountant, teacher and freelance writer. She is a writer for Advance for Occupational Therapy Practitioners. She also writes for Grand Magazine, has some items (fiction and non fiction) selling on (kindle), has written several travel articles for the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette and several articles for and volunteers as a money mentor for the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension money mentoring program. Learn more about her at

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