Matching washer and dryer pairs are a popular choice but some don’t make a great couple. Their coordinating style and color make a statement, but you’ll question how a terrific washer and a noisy dryer that’s tough on clothes ended up together. Enter the matchmaker. Consumer Reports’ tests found a number of matching pairs that are worth a look.
About six out of 10 buyers choose a matching laundry pair, according to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, a trade group. Special pricing and promotions help move these pairs from the warehouse to your house and so does their appearance. No longer destined for a basement corner, these washer and dryer pairs offer a complementary look that’s often stylish and come in fun colors such as cranberry and lemongrass. And having these machines nearby is convenient, unless they’re so noisy they drown out conversations or wake the kids.
CR Tip: Take a look at the washers and dryers that scored very good or better in our tests for noise. You’ll know they’re working but they shouldn’t disturb you. You’ll hear the machines that scored good or lower. They make sustained sounds that can be annoying.
Full washing machine Ratings and recommendations.
Full clothes dryer Ratings and recommendations.
The quietest couples
Our tests found a number of matching washer and dryer pairs that are quiet enough for prime placement near a family room or bedrooms. All offer large capacities and the dryers have moisture sensors that help save energy by turning off the machine when the laundry is dry. We frequently show appliances in white but many pairs are also available in other colors. Here’s a glimpse.
For more details on their performance and features, see our Ratings of washing machines and clothes dryers.
Kenmore sets. The Kenmore Elite 41073 is among the top scoring front-loaders and offers excellent washing, a large capacity, and is relatively quiet. But normal wash time, using the heavy soil setting, is 95 minutes and this washer costs $1,500. The matching electric dryer is the Kenmore Elite 81073. It’s $1,350. The gas model is Kenmore Elite 91073 and costs $1,450. They’re recommended too. Both the washer and dryer have steam options.
LG duos. The high-efficiency top-loader LG WT5070C[W] washer, $1,000, and LG DLEX5170[W] electric dryer, $900, are a dynamic duo. The washer was impressive at cleaning and gentle on fabrics. The dryer excelled at drying and of the dozens of models we tested, few scored excellent in our noise tests but this LG was one that did well. The gas dryer is LG DLGX5171[W], $1,050.
The front-loading LG WM8000H[V]A washer and LG DLEX8000[V] electric dryer, each $1,350, were excellent at washing and drying. The washer’s capacity is the largest we’ve tested, but the normal cycle on heavy-soil setting takes 100 minutes for an 8-pound load. And when we filled the washer to capacity it took more than two hours to clean 24 pounds of laundry. Try the TurboWash option. It delivered comparable cleaning of our 8-pound load and cut wash time by about 20 minutes. Each machine is two inches wider than usual. The gas dryer is LG DLGX8001[V], $1,440.
The LG WM3470H[W]A front-loading washer, $1,100, and LG DLEX3470[W] electric dryer, $1,000, were superb at cleaning and drying. The dryer was one of the quietest we tested. The gas model is LG DLGX3471[W], $1,200.
Maytag mates. The front-loading Maytag Maxima XL MHW7000AW aced our cleaning test. Normal wash time was 90 minutes in our tests. It’s relatively quiet and so is the matching electric dryer, the Maytag Maxima XL MED7000AW that offers excellent drying. Each costs $1,150 and has a large capacity and a steam option. Our dryer tests found that steam left shirts wrinkled but removed more odors than conventional dryers, and steam washer settings slightly improved stain cleaning. Gas dryer is Maytag Maxima MGD7000AG, $1,300.
The Maytag Maxima XL MHW8000AG front-loader performed slightly better overall and normal wash time was 80 minutes—10 minutes faster than the other Maytag Maxima XL—but costs $1,450. That’s among the priciest tested. The matching electric dryer is Maytag Maxima XL MED8000AG. It’s among the quietest tested and is recommended. But at $1,450, it’s pricier than most. The gas dryer is the Maytag Maxima MGD8000AG, $1,550. All of these Maytags are made in the U.S.
Samsung sets. The Samsung WF457ARGS[GR] washer and Samsung DV457EVGS[GR] electric dryer, each $1,550. The washer was one of the few front-loaders that did superbly in our vibration tests, but normal wash time on the heavy-soil setting takes 100 minutes. The dryer aced its job. The gas dryer is Samsung DV457GVGS[GR], $1,700.
The Samsung WA422PRHD[WR] high-efficiency top-loading washer, $750, delivers impressive wash performance. It uses less water and extracts more of it, cutting drying time, compared with regular top-loaders. It’s relatively quiet but only so-so in gentleness. Normal wash time is 75 minutes. The electric dryer, Samsung DV422EWHD[WR], $750, isn’t a recommended model but did a superb job drying our laundry and is relatively quiet. Both models have large capacities. The gas dryer is Samsung DV422GWHD[WR], $850.
Whirlpool pairs. Take a look at the Whirlpool Duet WFW96HEA[W] washer, and Whirpool Duet WED96HEA[W] electric dryer, each $1,300. The washer was one of the few front-loaders that was excellent in our gentleness test. Normal wash time, on heavy-soil setting, is 85 minutes. The dryer was one of the quietest tested. The gas dryer is the Whirlpool Duet WGD96HEAW, $1,400.
The Whirlpool Duet WFW88HEAW front-loader, $1,000, did an impressive job cleaning in 80 minutes using the normal wash cycle. It’s also relatively quiet. So is the electric dryer, the Whirlpool Duet WED88HEAW, which offers excellent drying. Each costs $1,000 and has a large capacity, steam option, and is made in the U.S. The gas dryer is the Whirlpool Duet WGD88HEAW, $1,200.
The Whirlpool Duet WFL98HEBU front-loader offers excellent overall performance and is relatively quiet. Normal wash time, on heavy soil setting, is 75 minutes. That’s among the fastest of the recommended washers. But at $1,500 this front-loader is pricey, in part because its Wi-Fi enabled, providing remote control via your smart device, letting you monitor your laundry’s progress, start/stop the machine, and more. The matching dryer is also recommended and among the quietest tested. The electric dryer is Whirlpool Duet WEL98HEBU, $1,500. It can also be controlled remotely.
Impressive pairs for $1,600 or less
The best washers and top dryers in Consumer Reports’ tests are typically among the most expensive, so if you want a matching dryer for your new washer you might have to spend lots of money to do loads of laundry. You’ll pay about $3,000 for a top-rated front-loader and its matching electric dryer. But if your budget is around $1,600 or less, take a look at the pairs that did well in our tests and that won’t break the bank. A word of caution. Some are relatively noisy, something to think about if you want to install them near bedrooms or a family room.
CR Tip: Before you give up on your dryer consider that most of the improvements in performance and efficiency are found on washers. If you’re set on a matching duo, in general it’s smart to select your washer first and then the dryer. Here’s a look at several matching pairs, most of the models did not make our Recommended list, but all of these washers and dryers were still impressive at cleaning or drying. For more details on their performance and features, see our Ratings of washing machines and clothes dryers.
LG duos. The LG WT1101CW high-efficiency washer top-loader was impressive at cleaning our laundry and it’s only $700. Normal wash time is 75 minutes. The matching electric dryer, LG DLE1101W, also $700, was superb at drying but fell short of our top picks list. Both machines have front control panels, large capacities, and are relatively quiet. The gas dryer is LG DLG1102W.
If you prefer a front-loading washer, the LG WM2250C[W], $720, was very good overall but relatively noisy and normal cycle time is 95 minutes. Its matching electric dryer, the LG DLE2250[W], $800, aced our drying tests. The gas dryer is LG DLG2251[W].
Maytag mates. Among front-loaders, the Maytag Performance Series 2000 MHWE201Y, $750, offers impressive wash performance and a large capacity, but is relatively noisy. Its matching dryer, Maytag Performance Series MEDE201Y, $750, was impressive in all tests. Neither machine made our recommended list but they’re worth a look. The gas dryer model is Maytag Performance Series MGDE201Y.
How we test washers and dryers
In addition to washing performance Consumer Reports washing machine tests look at how gentle a washing machine is on fabric as well as its energy and water efficiency. We also look at such factors as noise and vibration that might annoy you if your laundry room is adjacent to a living area. And we compare cycle times. Front-loaders usually take anywhere from 65 to 105 minutes to wash an 8-pound load. Top-loaders are a little quicker, ranging from 45 to 90 minutes. As for capacity, models rated excellent in capacity fit 17 to 24 pounds of laundry.
In our clothes dryer tests we run the machines with different sized loads and a variety of fabrics. We also measure noise, capacity and convenience. Models that earned excellent capacity scores in our dryer tests can hold large loads as well.
You can find more details on the model page for each washer and dryer. You can also compare up to five washers or dryers using the comparison feature in our Ratings. Before you buy look online for sales as well as rebates from manufacturers and Energy Star (washers only).
A word about washer types
Front-loaders use less water than top-loaders but typically have longer wash cycles—some take 100 minutes or more. That’s not the end of the world, but it may be the beginning of laundry pile-up. Since front-loaders use less water, the detergent is more concentrated and the machine’s tumbling action can also help boost cleaning. Manufacturers recommend using HE detergent—that’s high efficiency—for front-loaders and HE top-loaders. Regular detergents are too sudsy for these machines.
The best front-loaders clean better and use even less water than the best HE top-loaders. Front-loaders spin faster than HE top-loaders so more water is typically extracted, reducing drying time but front-loaders generally have longer wash cycles. HE top-loaders don’t have a center agitator and use a variety of methods to lift and tumble laundry. They’re high-efficiency because they use less water and spin faster than conventional top-loaders, also cutting dryer time.
—Kimberly Janeway http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2013/06/the-best-matching-washers-and-dryers/index.htm