There are advantages to both top loaders and front loaders. What suits you best will depend on your household, budget and lifestyle.
Top loaders have either an agitator or impeller. Agitators are more common, they stick up through the centre of the drum and spin to move the washing around. They're very effective at removing dirt, but can also be quite rough on clothes. Impellers are ridges on the base of the drum, which rotate to create turbulence. This process is gentler, but also uses more water and energy than an agitator.
Generally, both agitator and impeller top loaders will offer you:
Faster wash cycles than front loaders: bear this in mind if you do a lot of laundry.
A larger wash capacity: suitable for big households.
The ability to open the machine at any time during the cycle to add in more items.
Lower purchase price.
Lighter weight, meaning they're easier to move.
Front loaders are generally more compact in design: ideal for smaller spaces as most models fit underneath a standard height bench, or have room for a dryer to be put above it. If you have back trouble or difficulty bending down, consider purchasing a stand for your front loader. Front loaders use a tumbling action to gently turn the washing over, a process that:
Is gentler on clothes
Is more water efficient
Is more energy efficient when washing in warm to hot water than top loaders
Uses less detergent
Offers faster line drying and less energy usage for your dryer thanks to higher spin speeds
Washing machine capacity is measured in kilograms, which can be a little hard to gauge as we mostly tend to think of our washing in terms of armloads rather than weight!
As a guide:
A 5-6kg washer would suit a small household of 1-2 people
A 7-8kg washer would suit a medium household of 4 people
A 9kg + washer would suit a large household of 5 or more people
Nobody knows more about dryers than Fridge and Washer City! We can explain the difference between vented and condenser dryers, explain energy efficiency, explain the features, help you compare brands and give you the best deal.
You will need to decide between vented and condenser. Vented are the more common variety, they work by blowing hot air through the clothes. They're affordable, light and easy to use, but they also produce moist air which means they need to be used in a room with a window or exhaust fan.
Condenser dryers extract moisture and drain it away as water, either through a drainage tube that connects to the sink or a removable water container. This type of dryer is a better choice for apartments or where ventilation is restricted.
Some other things you might want to consider when purchasing a dryer are:
Does it have a sensor? A dryer with a moisture sensor will stop once your laundry is dry, saving on unnecessary energy usage and preventing over drying.
How energy efficient is it? Dryers are big energy users. It's worth weighing up the initial purchase price against your expected usage to find out if a slightly more expensive model with a better energy rating would be more cost effective for you in the long run.
Steamer – or iron?
If you haven’t used a steamer before, they are designed to be used as an additional clothing care item, or iron substitute. For those who struggle to use an iron and find the process frustrating, a steamer could be the perfect alternative. You simply hang the garment up and steam it from all angles. By placing the head of the steamer a couple of inches away from the material and slowly sweeping it across the surface, the steam acts quickly to get rid of wrinkles. Steamers use regular tap water to create the steam – there is no need for chemicals or detergents – and they are available in both standing and hand held models.
The specialists at your local Fridge and Washer City store are the people to talk to about steamers – we have all the advice you need!
Standing steamers provide an inbuilt hanger for your clothes to clip into while you steam. These machines are bulkier and hold more water than other products on the market, meaning you can do bigger jobs without having to refill the water too many times.
Hand held steamers are perfect for quick ironing jobs, and are a great option for those who frequently travel and want to keep their clothes looking presentable while on the road.
Light, compact, and often cordless, hand-held vacuums are a great option if you’re looking to clean up small areas or hard-to-reach places like cars or boats. This type of vacuum is not designed for heavy-duty cleaning, and is often used as a secondary vacuum for the household. They are ideal for those quick clean-ups when you don’t want to get the full size vacuum cleaner out.
Canister, or barrel, vacuums are one of the most widely used types and are known for their functional use on both carpet and bare floors. Canister models are available in bag or bagless, and come in a number of shapes and sizes that vary in practicality for each user. If you’re looking for a vacuum that’s readily available whenever you need it, it may be beneficial for you to opt for a bagless model as there is no need to go out and purchase replacement bags – you can just empty the canister and go for it! Either type will usually include filtration enhancements and air purification technology to ensure consistent suction and performance over time. Many canister vacuums nowadays are lighter weight with handles and designed for convenience when it comes to mobility, which is why they are such a popular choice for many households.
A better option if you’re looking for an alternative that is easier on your back and requires less bending to maneouver. The suction power is generally equivalent to a canister type, it is their shape and easier mobility that is the advantage. However they can be more difficult to lift up staircases in multi-storey homes.
For those who want to avoid vacuuming all together! A robotic vacuum is almost completely automated and only requires the user to empty the dust tray when indicated. They are hands-free, battery powered and have sensors to maneuver around your furniture, so they’ll work even when you don’t want to! However they are only designed for cleaning light surface dust and dirt, and are best suited to homes with fewer obstacles on the floor, to allow the vacuum free range to clean without obstruction.
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