The 21st century has witnessed some amazing technological developments, and safe to say. Unfortunately, the laundry department hasn’t been left out. Merging washing and drying in an all-in-one washer dryer seems to be the ultimate laundry dream.
You throw your dirty clothes in the machine before heading to work and return to dry, clean clothes! Plus, the best thing about these appliances is that most of them are small enough to fit underneath a kitchen bench.
Does that sound too good to be true? Well, that’s because it perhaps is!
If you are planning to invest in a washer dryer combo, this article is perfect for you! Here, we will discuss everything you need to know about these appliances, including their pros and cons, so that you can make an informed decision!
What Is An All in One Washer Dryer?
In plain words, an all-in-one washer dryer integrates a front-loading washing machine with a condenser clothes dryer into a single appliance. Its size is also equal to that of a stand-alone washer.
Regarding brand affiliation and price point, an all-in-one washer dryer machine generally offers several features that are part of other standard mid-range to high-end washers and dryers, such as sanitize cycles, smart sensors, and Wi-Fi connectivity, and steam settings.
In short, an all-in-one washer dryer promises to perform everything that washer and dryer sets can do, but with nearly half the footprint. Because of this, the laundry machine is particularly beneficial for compact living spaces.
Now, let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of all-in-one washer dryers, so you can decide if these appliances are worth your money.
Pros of All in One Washer Dryer
Like always, we will start with the advantages of an all-in-one washer dryer.
As we mentioned above, a significant value-addition of an all-in-one washer dryer is that it takes up half the space of a regular washer and dryer set.
For individuals or small families living in compact apartments or homes, this combo appliance considerably reduces the amount of space required to perform a crucial household chore.
However, even if you don’t have space issues, it’s always good to enhance your living space by tactfully streamlining and downscaling your laundry setup.
Moreover, washer dryer combos use a ventless drying system, so they don’t require a vent to the outside and can be installed almost anywhere.
Increased Washing Performance
The washing performance of this appliance is similar to that of a stand-alone washing machine – once detergent, water, and clothes are added, the machine spins, rinses, and then spins again.
Gentler on Clothes
An all-in-one washer dryer unit is designed with a horizontal-axis drum, which is like the drum in many front-loading washing machines. The biggest advantage of this design is that it allows the machine to be gentler on the clothes being tumbled around inside it, consequently preventing snags.
Moreover, since an all-in-one washer dryer lifts the load out of the water to plunge them back inside for drying, their operation allows for a gentler cleaning process. This can help to prolong the quality and life of your clothes.
Higher Cost and Energy-Efficiency
Energy efficiency is another key benefit of all in one washer dryers. Since these appliances don’t need heat ventilation for exhaust, they don’t use as much energy as vented dryers.
Plus, you don’t have to incur the costs of installing a proper ventilation system, so that’s another cost-benefit there.
Also, the purchase and operating costs are almost equal to buying and running a separate front load washer and condenser dryer.
Easy and Simple To Use
Perhaps the best thing about an all-in-one washer dryer is its ease and simplicity of use. Since you are using a single machine in place of two separate appliances, the entire process of washing your clothes is as easy as choosing the preferred load settings and then pressing “Start.”
Moreover, this integrated appliance gives you the option to use the washer or dryer feature separately. For instance, if you want to handwash some baby clothes or delicate garments and then dry them in the machine, you can do that. Similarly, you can wash your clothes on your preferred cycle in the washer and simply hang them on the line for air drying.
Cons of All in One Washer Dryer
It’s only fair that we talk about the downsides of all-in-one washer dryers as well. So here are some of the most commonly reported problems with this machine.
Reduced Drying Capacity
Like we mentioned earlier, all in one washer dryer machines employ the same washing mechanism as the one in a front-load washing machine. Thus, their washing capability is quite comparable. Nevertheless, the drying power may not be as strong and successful as that of a stand-alone dryer.
A key factor for this poor performance is the size of the appliance. For several years, the standard size of all in one washer dryer has been just 24 inches in width with 4.1 cubic feet of load capacity. This load capacity is almost half the size of a full-size vented dryer capacity. Thus, if you wash a huge load of winter or baby clothes, you will need to dry them in two separate cycles.
Significantly Longer Drying Times
Even though all-in-one washer dryers clean nearly the same as a stand-alone washer, the drying part is where things tend to get tricky. As opposed to stand-alone dryers, all-in-one washer dryers encompass several water inlets and plumbing fixtures in the drum that support the washing part of things but are also co-opted for the drying part.
Just to remind you, all in one washer dryers are partly condenser dryers. Vented dryers pump hot, wet air right onto your laundry. However, condenser dryers collect the moisture from the clothes by blasting dry, warm air to extract the moisture and cool down the humid air in a heat exchanger to condense the moisture. The extracted moisture is then either pumped down the drain or collected inside a tank. The air that’s now dry is heated again, and the cycle gets repeated.
The meaning of all this is that, unlike vented dryers, condenser dryers take more time to dry your clothes. While a vented dryer can complete a usual load in almost 45 – 50 minutes, a condenser dryer might need to run for nearly 90 minutes.
Keeping this in mind, the total operating time for a combined wash and dry cycle can range between three to six and a half hours. Of course, the exact time depends on the size of the load.
Increased Water Intake
All in one washer dryer might consume nearly fifty-five and a half gallons on specific models because the dryer’s condenser method uses water from the tap for the cooling process.
This high quantity of water is in addition to the water required for washing (in some instances, the drying portion might need more water than the washing component). Thus, all-in-one washer dryers are more costly to maintain when it comes to your water bill.
Moving on, if you are searching for a more efficient alternative, you can look into heat-pump washer dryers. Even though these models don’t depend on water to dry the clothes, you should keep in mind that their upfront cost is higher.
Should You Invest in An All-In-One Washer Dryer?
All-in-one washer dryers are an excellent solution for small families and compact houses – their footprint is much smaller than stand-alone appliances. Moreover, the dryer capacity is highly suitable for households with one to two people.
And since you can wash and dry clothes without moving them between appliances, combination machines are also a great idea if you have mobility problems. Switching between machines can make the entire process challenging (with the condition that if you wash full loads, you will need to take half of it for drying.
However, if you use your dryer frequently and have a large family (or just larger laundry needs), you are perhaps better off with stand-alone machines. Plus, you will get a higher drying performance, and you can also put one load in the dryer while the next one is washing.
Suppose you use tank water or are concerned about the environment. In that case, the increased water consumption (while drying) for certain combination machines means you should stay away from those specific models.
Moreover, if you are on a budget, purchasing a stand-alone washing and drying machine can help you save some dollars if you go with a low-cost vented dryer (or skip the dryer entirely in favor of a clothes horse). You are also better off if something breaks down as you only have to replace one machine, not both together.
How Do You Use an All in One Washer Dryer?
An all-in-one washer is an easy way to take care of laundry day because these machines allow you to wash and dry clothes without manual intervention. So you can just put your clothes in the machine before going to work, and rest assured that you will get home to dry and clean laundry because you won’t have to hang them on the clothing line or move it between appliances.
Also, we will reiterate that you can use the washing and drying operations independently as well. According to us, all in one washer dryers wash as much as a regular washing machine. However, they aren’t too good when it comes to the drying function.
Thus, if you do have the choice, the hanging line will be the cheapest and perhaps the quickest method to dry your washed clothes. However, you can rest assured that you do have a rainy weather backup plan if there’s an emergency.
If you cannot line dry your clothes, and don’t have the room to house a separate washer and dryer, then an all-in-one washer dryer is maybe the best option for you. However, to get the maximum benefit of your combined washer dryer, you need to ensure you choose the highest available spin speed to extract the highest amount of water possible before the drying process. Despite that, it will take nearly six and a half hours to dry.
All in One Washer Dryers Vs. Stand-alone Machines
All in one washer dryers feature a similar washing mechanism as a front-loading washing machine. Thus, their cleaning power is quite the same. Nevertheless, their drying power isn’t too impressive.
Even though they use nearly the same amount of energy as a condenser dryer to dry, they take double the time to do it – on average three and a half hours but can go over more than six hours too.
This potentially long drying time is not a problem if you leave the laundry overnight or while you’re out at work. However, it can be pretty annoying if you’re in a rush to clean and dry your clothes.
Also, drying in an all-in-one washer dryer uses plenty of water – in some cases, even more than what is needed for washing. Hence, if you regularly use your dryer, a stand-alone dryer is perhaps better for your needs.
In addition, all-in-one washer dryers are more complicated than stand-alone appliances, and this complexity comes at a price. As a result, you might need to pay considerably more than you would for a stand-alone washing machine.
If you have to purchase a washer and a dryer, buying a combined appliance can save you some dollars. However, weak drying capability might turn this into a false economy. And as opposed to individual appliances that can be repaired or replaced separately, when your combination machine goes out of order, you will have to repair or replace the entire thing.
While there are many pros and cons, the best thing you can probably do is to think on or write down what your top priorities are when it comes to these all-in-one units or the separate washer dryer combos.
- Are you operating on a specific or lower budget?
- Do you have a smaller space?
- Do you have bigger sheets that won’t fit into these units?
- Do you do a ton of laundry where you can’t wait for things to dry for hours?
- Do you have really high energy bills or water bills where buying a couple of more efficient units makes more sense?
These thoughts, and more, are perhaps all things to consider when going for these units. Either way, they’re a great addition or option that does a lot in terms of giving us flexibility in what we need for our laundry needs!