If you’re at the stage where you’re considering investing in a new washing machine and don’t know whether to go for a combined washer-dryer or to buy the washing machines and tumble dryer separately, then save yourself some fretting and read on.
We consider the pros and cons of both options and hopefully provide you with enough information so that you can make an informed decision when it comes to some of the most important appliances in your home.
Which is best?
Most experts agree that buying separate appliances is the best option because, as dedicated machines, they do each job better than a combined appliance, which necessarily makes some compromises.
However, experts also agree that having a washer-dryer combo is better than having a washing machine with no dryer at all. So if a dryer is not negotiable for you, and space is an issue, a washer-dryer could fit you to a T.
What’s the difference?
A major difference between having a washer-dryer and two separate appliances is drum capacity. Washers and dryers have different sized drums; tumble dryers usually have bigger drums than washing machines, but they have a smaller capacity because the clothes need more space to tumble about and dry in the hot air.
If you’re using a combo machine, you will have to remove wet clothes from the machine before the drying cycle starts.
Another difference is time efficiency. With separate appliances, you can wash a second load while the first load is drying, so if your laundry has a tendency to pile up, you can quickly go through several loads a day.
If you’re using a washer-dryer, you can only use one section at a time (there is only one motor, after all). So you have to wait for all of your laundry to be washed and dried before you can put on another load. This doubles the time is takes to finish one load.
A third difference has to do with reliability. Washer-dryers have more components, some of which have to work double-time (like the motor), so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they breakdown more often than separate appliances with fewer parts and who only do single-duty.
Bear in mind, however, that most reliability and breakdown comparisons involve comparing a washer-dryer to a single washing machine, instead of considering a washing machine and tumble dryer together. Comparing the combined washer-dryer to two appliances can be considered fairer because it does the work of two machines.
Let’s look at pros and cons
Pros of separate appliances:
- Can wash and dry at the same time
- More reliable, fewer breakdowns than a combined washer-dryer
- Washing and drying functions are carried out more efficiently and effectively as they are separate, dedicated machines
- More water and energy efficient than a washer-dryer
Cons of separate appliances:
- Two appliances take up more space than one
- More expansive than buying a single appliance
Pros of combined washer-dryer:
- Take up less space than two separate appliances
- More affordable than buying two separate appliances
Cons of combined washer-dryer:
- Can only use one function at a time
- Dryer function may not be as effectively as a tumble dryer
- Clothes need to be removed between cycles for the dryer to function optimally
- More breakdowns than a dedicated appliances with a single function
- Dryer function uses more water which adds to total water consumption
- Dryer function may use more energy than a separate dryer, which makes washer-dryers less energy efficient.
Each has its pros and cons, so your decision may come down to something as simple as how much space you have available.