Are you short on space but still need a washing machine? Look no further than an all-in-one washer dryer combo unit. These space-saving appliances allow you to wash and dry laundry in one machine, ideal for apartments, RVs, and other small living spaces.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about compact washer dryer combos, from how they work to top-rated models on the market. You’ll find an in-depth analysis of the pros and cons of combo units versus separate units, as well as expert tips for choosing the right size and features for your needs.
Whether you’re outfitting a tiny home, downsizing to a smaller space, or simply want to free up room in your laundry area, read on to discover why a washer dryer combo may be the perfect small space solution for you.
How Do Washer Dryer Combos Work?
A washer dryer combo machine combines both washing and drying into one unit. Here’s an overview of how they work:
- Washing – Combo units have a wash tub where you load dirty laundry. Add detergent and select a wash cycle based on fabric type and level of soil. The tub fills with water, agitates clothes to remove dirt and stains, rinses, and spins to extract water, similar to a traditional washing machine.
- Drying – After washing, the laundry remains in the same tub for drying. The heat and tumble action removes moisture and dries clothes. Some combo units recirculate air while others vent it outside.
- All-in-One – The entire wash and dry cycle takes place in the same drum, eliminating the need to transfer wet clothes from a washer to a dryer. Cycles typically take longer since it’s doing two jobs. Expect a full wash and dry cycle to run up to 3-4 hours.
Top 5 Benefits of Washer Dryer Combos
Why should you consider a washer dryer combo unit? Here are the top advantages:
1. Save Space
The main appeal of combo units is their compact size. By combining both appliances in one, you save space by avoiding the need for separate washing machines and dryers. This makes them perfect for small homes, apartments, RVs, and other tight spaces.
2. Increase Efficiency
Since clothes don’t have to be moved from a washer to a dryer, combo units streamline the process. You also conserve water by not having to rinse clothes twice – once in the washer and again when transferred to the dryer.
3. Improve Convenience
It’s more convenient to have just one machine to operate. You can throw in a load and walk away while it handles the entire wash and dry cycle. No more waiting around to move clothes from the washer to dryer.
4. Reduce Costs
Purchasing one unit instead of two allows you to save on upfront costs. Installation and maintenance are simpler with only one machine. Energy and water bills may also be lower.
5. Provide Flexibility
Combo units can be installed anywhere there is an electrical outlet and water hookup. Their versatility makes them easy to incorporate into existing spaces.
Key Factors to Consider When Buying a Combo Unit
Ready to go compact with an all-in-one washer dryer? Here are the key factors to evaluate when choosing a combo unit:
- Typical capacities range from 1.5 to 3 cubic feet, smaller than full-size machines
- Choose based on your household size and laundry needs
- 1-2 people -> 1.5-2.0 cu ft capacity
- 3-4 people -> 2.5-3.0 cu ft capacity
- Match the drying capacity to the washer tub capacity
- Most can dry full washer loads, but confirm dry ratings
- Consider whether you’ll regularly wash bulky items like comforters
- Look for basic cycles like normal, permanent press, delicates
- Extra cycles like sanitizing, allergen, steam can be beneficial
- Make sure cycles match the laundry you’ll regularly wash
- Timed dry and auto dry modes are common
- Added features like wrinkle prevention, air dry, eco dry extend functionality
- More cycle options provide better fabric care and flexibility
Ventless vs Vented
- Ventless – recirculates air, no ducting needed, better for tight spaces
- Vented – vents humid air outside, requires 4-inch ducting, faster dry times
- Consider existing ductwork and potential moisture issues
Water and Energy Efficiency
- Look for ENERGY STAR rated models for cost savings
- Compare water usage – 8-15 gallons per cycle is average
- Visit EnergyGuide.gov to estimate annual energy costs
- Combo units tend to be louder than traditional separate units
- Check decibel ratings (dB), ideally below 70dB for wash, 60dB for dry
- Consider noise-reduction features like sound dampening
Width and Depth
- Narrow and shallow units 24″ wide or less fit in tight spots
- Measure space limitations – depth ranges from 23″ to 33″
- Adjustable leveling legs add flexibility for uneven floors
- Budget $800-$2500 for a quality combo unit
- Prices vary based on size, cycles, efficiency, features
- Compare prices online and look for sales around holidays
Reliability and Warranties
- Read reviews and complaints to identify potential reliability issues
- Look for at least a 1 year labor and parts warranty, ideally longer
- Extended warranties may provide added peace of mind
By evaluating these key factors, you can zero in on the ideal compact washer dryer combo unit for your specific laundry needs and space.
Top 5 Compact Washer Dryer Combos
To help narrow your search, we’ve compiled this list of top-rated space saving washer dryers based on testing and reviews.
|GE GUD24ESSMWW||2.4 cu ft||12||Ventless||$1,100||WiFi, Sanitize cycle, ADA compliant controls|
|LG WM3488HS||2.3 cu ft||14||Ventless||$950||Allergiene cycle, water & energy efficient|
|Magic Chef MCSCWD20W||2.0 cu ft||13||Vented||$650||Reversible door, compact 24″ width|
|Equator EZ 4400 CE||2.0 cu ft||21||Ventless||$1,300||Moisture sensor, delay start, child lock|
|Midea MWFDS2021TW||1.6 cu ft||15||Ventless||$800||Self-cleaning, Dry Boost feature, stackable unit available|
While not exhaustive, this list showcases some of the standout options that deliver great performance, reliability, and features in a compact size. Continue reading for an in-depth look at the pros and cons of each.
This ENERGY STAR certified model from GE is packed with advanced features you’d expect in a full-size unit. WiFi connectivity allows remote monitoring and control. The Sanitize cycle uses hot water and an extended rinse to kill 99% of common bacteria. ADA compliant controls are easy to operate. With 2.4 cubic feet of capacity, it can tackle larger loads despite the slim 24-inch width. The ventless condensing design recirculates air without ducting. While on the pricier side, the quality and performance make this a top choice.
- Spacious 2.4 cu ft capacity in compact 24″ size
- Sanitize cycle
- ADA compliant controls
- WiFi enabled
- ENERGY STAR certified
- Ventless drying takes longer
- High price point
This LG combo unit is loaded with features and cycles for optimal laundry care. Allergiene technology reduces allergens to sanitize clothes. Sensor dry prevents over-drying to protect fabrics. At 2.3 cubic feet, there’s ample room for larger loads in this ventless unit. LG includes specialty cycles like hand wash/wool and speed wash options. With ENERGY STAR certification and an excellent reliability rating, it’s a great overall value.
- Allergiene cycle
- 14 wash cycles
- Sensor dry
- 2.3 cu ft capacity
- ENERGY STAR certified
- Ventless drying takes more time
- No steam cycle
Magic Chef MCSCWD20W
The most budget-friendly option on our list, this Magic Chef model offers surprising value. The reversible door and compact 24-inch width make it easy to install anywhere. With 13 wash cycles and auto dry features, it covers the basics well. The vented design provides faster dry times than ventless models. Reliability ratings are solid for the low price point. Overall, it’s an affordable alternative for small space laundry.
- Affordable price
- Compact 24″ width
- Reversible door
- Vented for faster drying
- 13 wash cycles
- Smaller 2.0 cu ft capacity
- louder than pricier models
- Limited cycle options
Equator EZ 4400 CE
Equator packs this combo unit with 21 different wash cycles for optimal fabric care. The moisture sensor adjusts drying time automatically for perfect results. Energy efficiency is boosted by an Eco Rinse feature. This ventless machine includes specialty cycles like Allergen, Bulky/Sheets, and 15/30 Minute Fast Wash. With solid reliability ratings and positive reviews, it’s a feature-rich upgrade pick despite the higher price.
- 21 wash cycles
- Moisture sensor
- Eco rinse feature
- Allergen and 15/30 min cycles
- 2.0 cu ft capacity
- Ventless drying takes time
- 24″ depth doesn’t fit all spaces
As the most compact option at just 1.6 cubic feet, this Midea machine is ideal for RVs or tiny homes. It can still handle small loads with 15 wash cycles and multiple dry settings. The reversible door and stackable design allow flexible installation. Unique features like a self-clean cycle and Dry Boost speed up drying. For small households doing light laundry, it’s a reliable compact pick.
- Only 24″ W x 22.4″ D
- Stackable and reversible door
- Self-clean cycle
- Dry Boost speeds drying
- Affordable price
- 1.6 cu ft capacity is quite small
- Ventless drying takes longer
- Limited cycles
Now that you’ve seen an overview of some top-rated options, selecting the right compact combo unit depends on your priorities – whether that’s cycles, capacity, efficiency, or budget. Use the buying guide tips to narrow your choices.
Compact Washer Dryer Combos vs Stackable Units
Combo all-in-one units aren’t the only space-saving laundry option. Stackable separate washer and dryers are another way to maximize space while allowing you to buy different sized appliances.
Here’s a look at how compact combo units compare to stackable laundry:
- Combos – Typically 1.5 to 3 cu ft capacity
- Stackables – Range from 3 to 6+ cu ft, larger capacity
- Combos – Matches washer capacity
- Stackables – Get any dryer size, choose larger if needed
- Combos – Single plug/hookup, generally easier
- Stackables – Require separate electrical/venting for each
- Combos – All-in-one cost is usually lower
- Stackables – Allows you to invest more in higher-end separate units
- Combos – Tend to be louder as two appliances in one
- Stackables – Can reduce noise by choosing quieter separate units
- Combos – Sufficient for most needs but can’t match highest-end separate units
- Stackables – Buying premium washer and dryer provides best performance
- Combos – More parts/functions in one unit increases potential repairs
- Stackables – If one breaks, the other still works. Individual warranties.
To summarize, stackable units provide more customization and best-in-class performance, while combo units win for affordability and simplicity. Consider your priorities to decide which works best in your small space.
7 Expert Tips for Buying a Compact Washer Dryer Combo
Ready to invest in a space-saving washer dryer combo? Use these expert tips to guide your purchasing process:
1. Measure carefully – Double check the exact height, width, and depth your space allows before selecting a model. Include minimum clearance requirements.
2. Ask about venting – Find out if you can vent before choosing vented or ventless. Ventless takes longer but doesn’t require ductwork.
3. Do a trial run – Wash and dry a sample load and time the cycles to get a feel for real performance.
4. Read the fine print – Make sure warranties, return policies, and delivery options work for you before purchasing.
5. Compare energy guides – Use the yellow EnergyGuide label to compare estimated annual energy costs between models.
6. Consider a pedestal – Adding a pedestal base raises the unit for easier loading and unloading.
7. Prep the install – Ensure you have proper electrical, water, drain hookups in place for smooth installation.
Following these handy tips will help you select the perfect compact laundry solution while avoiding disappointments.
FAQs About Compact Washer Dryer Combo Units
Still have questions about whether a space-saving combo unit is right for your small space? This FAQ tackles common questions about washer dryer combo units:
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Are combo washer dryers any good?
Yes, when selected properly, compact combo units effectively handle both washing and drying laundry in one machine. Advancements in technology have significantly improved performance. Many combo units now rival traditional separate machines, particularly for smaller households.
Focus on cycles, capacity, and features that match your household needs. Read reviews and buy from reliable brands for the best experience.
How long do combo washer dryers take?
Expect full wash to dry cycles to run from 3-4 hours. Drying takes the most time, especially for ventless models that recirculate air. Newer units have added cycles like speed wash and dry boost to help reduce cycle times. But in general, allow more time than washing and drying as separate tasks.
Do ventless dryers actually dry?
Ventless combo units do fully dry laundry. However, drying times are usually longer than vented models or separate dryers. This is because humid, moist air remains inside the drum instead of venting outside. New moisture sensor technologies help ventless units dry efficiently. Proper maintenance also improves drying performance.
Can you stack washer and dryer combo units?
Some compact combo unit models are designed for stacking. This allows you to double your laundry capacity by installing two units in a vertical configuration. Before purchasing, check that the model is stackable and purchase appropriate stacking hardware. This provides an excellent solution for expanding capacity in small spaces.
How long do compact washer dryers last?
With proper care and maintenance, you can expect a compact combo unit to last roughly 5-8 years, but closer to 5 for heavy usage. Some may last 10-12 years with light usage. Investing in an extended warranty can provide added coverage for parts and repairs.
Performing regular cleaning and following the manufacturer’s care guidelines will maximize the lifespan of your combo unit.
Are all-in-one washer dryers worth it?
For those with limited space, compact combo units are usually worth the investment. The space saving design makes laundry possible in small homes, RVs, and condos where separate machines won’t fit.
Focus on buying a quality unit sized appropriately for your needs. While performance can’t match two separate high-end machines, the convenience and space savings of an all-in-one machine make them ideal for tight spaces.
We hope this guide gives you all the tools to decide if a compact washer dryer combo unit is right for your small home or apartment. Combining both appliances into one helps you save space without sacrificing laundry functionality.
Look for the right capacity, cycles, venting, and features to suit your household. Measure carefully and read reviews to find quality compact machines that work in your existing space. With the convenience of washing and drying in one unit, combo washer dryers unlock laundry possibilities, even in the tiniest spaces.