In recent years, we’ve seen an influx of stackable laundry appliances that are more modern and convenient than those of yesteryear. These compact washers and dryers have become the perfect solution for those living in smaller spaces (like urban apartments) or those who have started downsizing now that they’re empty nesters. These chic appliances offer many advantages — as well as a few drawbacks.

So, to help you decide for yourself whether a compact washer and dryer are right for you, here’s everything you need to know when considering a compact washer and dryer.

Expense

A compact washer dryer combo definitely has a smaller carbon footprint, which means that if you’re downsizing or there’s a smaller number of you in the home, it’s wise to grab a compact combo to match the smaller amount of laundry you do.

However, a compact washer dryer combo doesn’t necessarily mean a more compact price tag. Unfortunately, since these stackable combos are so specialized and fewer brands carry them, they can be quite expensive to buy. In some cases, they could be even double the price of a standard washer and dryer. Remember, although the upfront cost may make it seem not worth it, your utility bills could be smaller to run these smaller units.

Size

A compact washer and dryer are, of course, smaller than your standard unit. Standard washer and dryers are about 26 inches wide, whereas compact units are a couple of inches more narrow. Although it seems minute, those couple of inches could mean everything for you. Especially if you’re comparing to a unit that is even wider than 26 inches.

On the other hand, it’s important to note that the loss of a couple of inches could mean a smaller basket for laundry loads. So if you are use to rather large laundry loads, you may have to convert to more loads just to get everything done.

Ventilation

Standard dryer units must be vented outside. If you’ve ever noticed that light hint of a Bounce sheet scent in the air as you wander past your dryer’s vent outside, you know what we’re talking about. However, compact dryers are more often electric rather than gas, so they are actually ventless. Because of this, a compact dryer can be the perfect option if you can’t vent outside, like if you live in an apartment. Instead, you can get a compact dryer and a special indoor venting kit to bypass this obstacle.

Heat

Because compact dryers don’t require outside ventilation, this can result in the heat from your dryer entering your home or apartment, rather than escaping outdoors. Although for some this may not be a huge deal, if you live in a very small apartment or condo in a warmer region, that space can get really hot, really fast when drying your clothes. As a result, your cooling system may end up running longer just to keep your space cooler. You can get around this by hang drying as many clothes as you can or doing laundry in the cooler hours of the evening.

Time

Standard washers and compact washers will take about the same amount of time to run a load. However, while a standard dryer typically runs a drying cycle anywhere from 40 to 60 minutes, a compact dryer can take up to an hour and 40 minutes to get clothes completely dry. And of course, if you have bulkier items like a blanket or lots of towels, it could take even longer.

Along with this, if you tend to have large loads of laundry and are now using a smaller compact washer and dryer, you may have to split your loads up into smaller loads, making laundry a longer ordeal overall. If you live alone or if there’s only a couple of you in the home, this may never even be an issue. Or you could always take those larger items to a laundry mat or dry cleaner’s to use their industrial-sized appliances.

Options

Compact washers and dryers are considered specialty appliances, which means they don’t have a large category, or that many options to pick from. In fact, many popular brands may even not offer a compact option to pick from. If you prefer to not be overwhelmed by endless options though, this pick of a stackable washer and dryer could be the right thing for you.

A Few Final Thoughts

Here are a few more things to note as you consider a compact washer and dryer:

  • The washers vibrate a lot more to help extract more water and cut down drying time. But this high-speed spinning can cause issues if your units aren’t properly balanced on top of each other.
  • Some combo packs may not come with stacking kits, so if you’re needing an apartment washer dryer combo and need to save space, you may need to buy a separate stacking kit. These can range from $32 to $200 depending on the model of units that you’ve purchased.
  • Some units cannot be used with bleach. The chlorine bleach can degrade the plastic parts and internal rubber of the washer. However, you can use color-safe bleach or other specialized bleaching agents. be sure to research which options are safe before you try bleaching.

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