Author Topic: Any thoughts on a washer-dryer combo?  (Read 6303 times)

Vilx-

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Any thoughts on a washer-dryer combo?
« on: December 03, 2013, 02:09:45 PM »
I know this is a long shot, since you're all from USA/Canada, and I'm from Europe (so appliances are vastly different), but maybe there is some general advice you can share...

We live in a small apartment, and space is really constrained. We don't have room for 2 separate devices (though maybe it would be possible with some kind of strong metal shelf so that we can stack them, but that's a pretty wild idea). Also, we don't have enough free money for both (and we have no desire to take on another loan).

So far we've made do with only a small washing machine (3.5kg max load or something), but it's obvious that it's too small, especially since our second child will arrive soon. We're already doing about 2 cycles daily. Also, during the winter we cannot hang dry the clothing outside on the balcony (and we're short on space inside), so we're thinking about getting a washer/dryer combo, which would help out. The dryer would need to be the condensing type, since I won't be able to attach it to the ventilation system.

The advice I've found on the Internet so far is uniformly "two devices are better than one". And while I don't seek to disagree, I wonder if a single device can be efficient too? Or is it really so that a washing machine without a dryer is better than a combo? Anybody have any experience with this? Any brands maybe you can recommend? (Miele would be out of my price range)

yyc-phil

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Re: Any thoughts on a washer-dryer combo?
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2013, 03:26:04 PM »
A friend of mine who lives in a loft bought an LG ventless washer dryer combo which is probably available in Europe. The pros with respect to size and space are obvious, as well as the fact that it uses 110-120V only (not an issue in Europe) and no external venting system (essential if you live in a small condo style apartment) but there are cons that may or may not matter to you. As far as I know, the whole cycle from start to finish is much longer than traditional appliances, sometimes 4 hours or more depending on the selected cycle. Load is also much lighter, I think the capacity is about 3.5 cubic feet, so if you have kids, you pretty much have the machine on most of the day or night. Price is another factor to consider, as the combo unit is a little pricier, but not by much, than a conventional washer-dryer set. But if you can live with the cons like I could as soon as the last kids are out of the house, these machines are a great option.

cosmie

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Re: Any thoughts on a washer-dryer combo?
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2013, 03:28:55 PM »
We live in a small apartment, and space is really constrained. We don't have room for 2 separate devices (though maybe it would be possible with some kind of strong metal shelf so that we can stack them, but that's a pretty wild idea). Also, we don't have enough free money for both (and we have no desire to take on another loan).
Could you elaborate on why you would need a strong metal shelf? Most front-loaders are designed to be stacked, so you would simply be able to set one on top of the other. Then there are also units the original 2-in-1 units. I don't know what all is available in the European market, but Bosch makes several stackable frontload models for small apartments, that fit about ~7kg.

I can't comment on the combined ventless washer dryer units, as I've never been able to find them in person here in the US.

jpdcpajd

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Re: Any thoughts on a washer-dryer combo?
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2013, 05:15:06 PM »
I bought a LG combo washer/dryer because I did not want to pay to put in a vent.  It is more money Home Depot $1500.  It does take more time but I do not need to be there to switch clothes from washer dryer so I set the timer to start the cycle four hours before I plan to be home from work and it is done when I get home. Then I can do another load while I sleep or before I go to bed.  The condenser dryer does leave the clothes not as dry as an electric dryer would but I like it because the clothes do not require much, if any, ironing.

ausername

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Re: Any thoughts on a washer-dryer combo?
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2013, 05:42:15 PM »
I had a washer-dryer combo in rented accommodation before and decided very quickly that I would have a separate washer & dryer whenever the time came to buy appliances myself.  I remember thinking at the time that it took a stupid amount of time to dry clothes.  The washing part was fine, but when you wanted to dry the clothes, the drum was still wet from the washing and it always seemed to take ages to dry even a small amount of clothes.   Whoever wrote the wikipedia entry seems to have the same opinion as me regarding starting drying when the drum is wet:
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Combo_washer_dryer

Obviously this being MMM, you may not be as interested in the drying functionality as the washing functionality - but ideally it should work and be reasonably efficient for the times that you do need to dry things in it!  The poor drying I experienced may be due to the washer-dryers usually having a condenser dryer either.  I think the vented dryers are more efficient, but I'm no expert on this topic - the wikipedia article on dryers says that condensers require approx 15% more power, but it sounds like you do not have a choice regarding condenser versus vented.

My preferred option would be stacking a separate washer and (vented) dryer.  I have done this with the washer on the bottom with a gap and a length of kitchen counter-top (cheap from ikea) above it, and the dryer resting on the counter-top.  That setup is working fine for me.

There are also small vented dryers available, and it might be possible to squeeze one of those in somewhere that a full size dryer wouldn't fit, however if you need a condenser that isn't much help:
http://whiteknightdryers.com/shop/category/white-knight-compact-small-vented-tumble-dryers/


I'm sure someone makes compact condenser dryers too though!

BTW: I'm from Europe too! 
« Last Edit: December 03, 2013, 05:50:10 PM by ausername »

Vilx-

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Re: Any thoughts on a washer-dryer combo?
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2013, 02:07:10 AM »
Most front-loaders are designed to be stacked, so you would simply be able to set one on top of the other.
Really? They don't look so sturdy from the outside. :D I hadn't thought of that, this could be worth looking into. Still, two appliances are more expensive than one (though I wonder which would be more cost-efficient in long term).

Left

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Re: Any thoughts on a washer-dryer combo?
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2013, 03:03:12 AM »
I used one in Taiwan when I was visiting family. It didn't go too well, I don't know if I didn't use it correctly or not but it didn't dry completely. It probably didn't help that I don't read chinese so I didn't know which options to pick and tried them all until I got one that somewhat worked.

It was either a LG or a whirlpool brand, forgot which already but I think it was LG

Greg

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Re: Any thoughts on a washer-dryer combo?
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2013, 08:36:44 AM »
Most front-loaders are designed to be stacked, so you would simply be able to set one on top of the other.
Really? They don't look so sturdy from the outside. :D I hadn't thought of that, this could be worth looking into. Still, two appliances are more expensive than one (though I wonder which would be more cost-efficient in long term).

Not necessarily, combo units cost almost as much as two separate ones, at least here in the USA.  I would recommend getting one that has as few "bells and whistles" or fancy features as possible, things like LED display/control boards seem to fail prematurely.

dragoncar

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Re: Any thoughts on a washer-dryer combo?
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2013, 06:43:13 PM »
I'd probably get one if I couldn't install a vent.  They don't dry as well but you can use this as an incentive to line dry most of the time.

cosmie

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Re: Any thoughts on a washer-dryer combo?
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2013, 09:34:32 PM »
Most front-loaders are designed to be stacked, so you would simply be able to set one on top of the other.
Really? They don't look so sturdy from the outside. :D I hadn't thought of that, this could be worth looking into. Still, two appliances are more expensive than one (though I wonder which would be more cost-efficient in long term).
Washers are fairly heavy, while dryers are relatively lightweight. So you use a stacking kit to strap the dryer on top of the washer, which acts as an anchor when tumble drying. Not every model has a stacking kit available for it, but they also make universal ones (not as secure as a brand/model specific, but work fine). The kits are cheap as they're just a piece of plastic and some straps. A YouTube to demonstrate.

Combo units aren't half the cost, they're generally as much if not more than a single unit, as combining the two functions into one machine is more complex than leaving them separate. They still require all of the internal components of both units, the only thing missing is a second outer shell (which isn't an expensive piece). They're more complex internal design also leads to more issues, and more expensive issues. With two units you can air dry if the dryer goes out; with a combo unit the whole thing goes out at once. You also lose significant drum space in order to fit both the drying and washing components into the space of a single-unit. And since the drying capacity is much lower than the washing capacity, you can't even fill it full (or if you do, you have to remove some before the dry cycle).

daverobev

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Re: Any thoughts on a washer-dryer combo?
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2013, 09:43:30 PM »
Do you have radiators? Can you do a high spin cycle, hang on a clothes horse in the bath, and finally dry on radiators?

My cousin used to live in a flat and have a clothes horse up in the living room drying stuff half the time.

Also, hanging to dry outside in the winter is still good (assuming it's not snowing or raining!) - even if it doesn't get stuff totally dry, it'll help.

Now... I'll admit to using our dryer (we just had our first child, so yeah the amount of washing has gone through the roof... last year I dried either outside or on a clothes horse inside).

Vilx-

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Re: Any thoughts on a washer-dryer combo?
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2013, 03:27:49 AM »
Our winters are fairly cold. Well, not as freezing as some, but mostly below 0C (32F). So hanging clothing out to dry would just produce blocks of ice, I think. At any rate, it'd take upwards of a week to dry a single towel, so even the slowest dryer is an improvement over that. And my wife tells me that she doesn't intend to use the dryer for ALL washes - just the ones that don't have enough space to hang dry them.

OK, so, basically... if I can't fit two separate units (which would be better in every way), there's still no compelling reason NOT to get a combo. Right?

Da Man

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Re: Any thoughts on a washer-dryer combo?
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2013, 06:00:37 AM »
Our winters are fairly cold. Well, not as freezing as some, but mostly below 0C (32F). So hanging clothing out to dry would just produce blocks of ice, I think. At any rate, it'd take upwards of a week to dry a single towel, so even the slowest dryer is an improvement over that. And my wife tells me that she doesn't intend to use the dryer for ALL washes - just the ones that don't have enough space to hang dry them.

Is it possible to buy or make a rack so you can hang more indoors (it probably won't look nice) and then simply buy a cheap dehumidifier (or better yet a small electric heater) for your room if it's too humid for things to dry. Money-wise you will come out a lot cheaper this way.

mensa

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Re: Any thoughts on a washer-dryer combo?
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2013, 06:51:07 AM »
We had a two in one unit when we lived in S. Korea. No venting required. Unfortunately, I can't comment on the drying cycle, as we never figured out (after a year) how to use it. Really should've learned to read Hangul...

Anyway, it was an LG appliance, which should be available in Europe.