Doing your laundry entails washing and then drying clothes. In many cases, this means having a washing machine plus a separate drying machine. But did you know with a washer dryer combo, you can perform both tasks in one machine?
Table of Contents
- What Is a Washer Dryer Combo?
- How Does a Washer Dryer Combo Work?
- How to Use a Washer and Dryer Combo
- The Pros of an All-in-One Washer Dryer
- The Cons of an All-in-One Washer Dryer
- Comparison to Stand-Alone Units
- Should You Buy a One-Unit Washer and Dryer?
What Is a Washer Dryer Combo?
In the simplest terms, a washer and dryer combo is a front-loading washing machine, and a dryer merged into one appliance. The machine is the equivalent size of a stand-alone washer but offers double the benefits and half the footprint. This makes the machines ideal for compact living spaces.
Regardless of the brand or the affiliation of a washer and dryer combo, you can expect to get the same features that separated washers and dryers provide. Combos offer sanitizing, steam settings, smart sensors, and even Wi-Fi connectivity. The units are perfect for loft dwellers, people in small apartments, large boats, recreational vehicles such as RVs, and generally anyone concerned about space.
How Does a Washer Dryer Combo Work?
There are two types of washer dryer combos — vented and ventless. Each has a different working mechanism.
Vented Washer Dryer Combos
A vented dryer and washer combo works like a regular front-loading washer. Here in the wash cycle, the clothes are tumbled with water and soap until they are clean. Secondly, a spinning process helps remove excess water from the clothes. For the drying part of the process, the machine takes up air from the surroundings and heats it up. Clothes are then spun with the heated air. The air picks up moisture, producing steam which then leaves the system through a vent. The machine then takes up new air and restarts the process until the clothes are dry. The process in a vented system is similar to that of standard dryers.
If you get a vented washer dryer combo, you’ll need to set it up in an area that’s conducive to venting hot air, such as through a wall or window. While vented models are not as mobile and may require ductwork, they can generally handle bigger loads of laundry than their non-vented counterparts.
Ventless (Or Non-Vented) Washer Dryer Combos
In a ventless system, the washing cycle begins in the drum, which also acts as a condensing chamber. The condensing chamber can be made from either metal or plastic. The air inside the chamber is then heated. During the spin cycle of the drum, the heated air takes up moisture from the clothes creating steam. The steam is then cycled back to the condensing chamber, which changes it to water through condensation. Water is released from the machine via the drainage tube. Dry, hot air is recirculated with the clothes, and the drying cycle begins again.
It’s important to note that the main difference is that in the ventless system, the steam is recycled back to the condenser and leaves the machine as water. In contrast, in the vented system, the steam will leave the machine through a vent. The amount of time taken in both a vented and ventless system will depend on the dryness level that the user requires.
How to Use a Washer and Dryer Combo
Laundry combo units are easy to use since they do not require manual intervention once the washing cycle begins. All you have to do is to load the dirty clothes and wait for the washing and drying cycle to be completed. You’llYou’ll have clean, dry clothes at the end of the process.
The washing capability of a one-unit washer and dryer is as good as a regular washing machine. However, the drying function is not as advanced. The drying process of the laundry combo may take as long as six hours under normal machine spin speeds.
Since one can use the washing and drying functions of the machine independently, you may opt to wash the clothes and dry them on a hanging line. In this scenario, the dryer would serve as a reliable backup on those rainy days or cloudy weather.
The Pros of an All-in-One Washer Dryer
A one-unit washer and dryer takes up roughly half the space of a traditional washer and dryer setup. This considerably reduces the amount of area that you would need to set up a laundry station at home. That makes combos a great choice for families or individuals who live in places where space is of crucial concern. Even without space issues, a one-unit washer and dryer will ensure that you can streamline and organize your house better. Additionally, with the choice of a ventless washer dryer system, vents are unnecessary, and the machines can be installed anywhere.
Simple to Use
One of the most important benefits of an all-in-one dryer is the ease and simplicity of use. This is because you’re using one machine for two separate functions. Under the normal laundry process, a person would have to use two separate machines for washing the clothes and drying them. But with a one-unit washer and dryer, all you need to do is select a preferred load and press start.
Moreover, this machine allows you to choose a washer or dryer separately. This provides more flexibility on what you want to use with the machine and how the laundry process will proceed.
Energy efficiency is one of the most important factors to consider when purchasing home appliances. After, efficiency will contribute to the total cost of using the equipment. A washer and dryer combo unit has roughly the same running costs as the cost of running a front-loading washer or a dryer. So, this saves you the energy costs you would have used on one of the two appliances. If you opt for a ventless model, you can also avoid the cost of installing a ventilation system.
Gentle on Clothes
A one-unit washer dryer is designed with a horizontal axis drum. This is the main drum used in front-loading machines. This design makes it easy for the machine to be gentler on the clothes as they tumble around them, preventing snags on clothes. This may prolong the life of your clothes.
With these machines, first, you don’t have to go through the hustle of switching clothes from one machine to the other. Secondly, the machine saves time since the washing and drying process is combined. This may eliminate the need for a second wash in case you forget to dry your clothes after washing.
The Cons of an All-in-One Washer Dryer
Reduced Drying Capacity
In washer and dryer combos, you can only dry half the load that has been washed. One of the key factors contributing to this is the size of the dryer in an all-in-one washer and dryer. For many years, the standard size of a dryer in such a machine has been 24 inches in width and 4.1 cubic feet. This is half the size of a fully vented dryer. If you wash a full load in the washer, you will have to dry them in two separate cycles.
Longer Drying Times
Washer dryer combo units require significantly longer drying times as opposed to traditional dryer machines due to two reasons.
First, in a vented washer and dryer combo, the machine must perform the washing function and drain the excess water before initiating the drying process. Even though the drying system works like that of traditional dryers, the time taken to remove the excess water makes the drying time take longer.
In a ventless washing and dryer combo, on the other hand, the dryer uses a condenser for drying. This is done by blasting the clothes dry, extracting the moisture and the humid air in a heat exchanger, and condensing the moisture that collects inside a tank. The dry air is then heated and pumped back into the drying cycle. This process makes for a longer drying time due to drying the air.
While a vented dryer will complete the drying process in 45-50 minutes, a ventless dryer will take as long as 90 minutes. Depending on the load size, the combined washing and drying process may take from three to six and half hours.
Increased Water Intake
These machines use a staggering amount of water for the drying process. The condenser uses water for the condensation process. This is in addition to the water used in the washing process. In most cases, the drying part of the process will use more water than the washing part. Laundry combo washers may use up to 55 gallons of water for specific models.
Comparison to Stand-Alone Units
One unit washer and dryers feature a similar washing mechanism to front-loading washing machines. The cleaning power is comparable; however, the drying function cannot match that of a stand-alone dryer. Even though the machine will take roughly the same amount of energy as stand-alone dryers, they will take double the time to complete the drying process.
Another major difference between an all-in-one washer dryer and a stand-alone unit is the water used. Unlike stand-alone dryers that use vents for drying, a washer and dryer combo uses water in drying, sometimes consuming more water than the water needed for washing. This makes stand-alone units more economical in the drying process.
Another key difference is the price; while a washer and dryer combo offers two functions simultaneously, it also comes at significantly higher prices than stand-alone washers or dryers.
If you need to buy a washer and a dryer, the all-in-one washer and dryer will save you some money. But if you’re looking to buy one, either a washer or a dryer, then it would be more economical to go for the stand-alone units. Buying separate units also minimizes the risk when the appliance is out of order. This is because when an all-in-one washer and dryer is broken, you are out of a washer and a dryer, but when a stand-alone unit breaks, you will only have to replace one machine, which will be cheaper.
Should You Buy a One-Unit Washer and Dryer?
Washer and dryer combos are an excellent choice for small families and individuals living in small or compact homes. Remember, the overall footprint of a washer dryer combo is smaller than that of two stand-alone appliances. Combos are best for small households with two or three people.
Using the machine is easy since you do not have to go from one machine to the other. This is great if you want to simplify the laundry process of washing and drying clothes.
However, the drying capacity of the machine is limited, and it will take more time if you wash a full load or several loads of clothes. The amount of water used in the drying process also means that you will have to factor in this cost when making the purchase.
This will be the best choice if you are looking for a laundry solution for a small household. However, you are best suited for stand-alone units if you have a large family. It is also important to consider your budget. If you want a washer and dryer, then buying a combined washer and dryer would be the best. On the other hand, if you are looking to ease the laundry process and are on a budget, it is better to go for a stand-alone unit such as a washer.
There are many pros and cons of purchasing a one-unit washer and dryer. The best approach you can take is to consider your needs and priorities and select a laundry unit that fits accordingly. There are several factors that you should consider, such as:
- The size of your space
- Your budget
- The size of your laundry loads
- The cost of running and maintaining the laundry unit, such as the water bill
These factors and more perhaps will be enough to inform your decision to purchase a combined washer and dryer or a stand-alone unit.