If you’ve been having trouble getting your clothes properly dry after a wash, then you’ve maybe been thinking about getting a dryer.
A washer dryer combo can seem like a great compromise, especially if space is an issue, as they are the same size as a regular front load washing machine.
But is having a washer dryer combo better than a standalone washing machine and a tumble dryer?
Washer dryer combos merge the aspects of both standalone washing machines and dryers. They can wash and dry your clothes in the same cycle, which can take a long time, but can sometimes be more efficient. These combos can be quite effective, but sometimes it can be better to have individual units.
This guide will look at the various aspects of the combo appliances and show the advantages and disadvantages over standalone appliances.
What is a Washer Dryer?
So, as mentioned above (and what it sounds like), a washer dryer is a is a front load washing machine that can also perform drying cycles like a tumble dryer.
In terms of power, they tend to have some of the same options and programs of some of the mid and high tier washers and dryers.
This means they can be about as useful as a solid standalone washer and dryer, but they take up half the space and can potentially only use half the energy and water.
How Do You Use a Washer Dryer?
These combo appliances can be used in a couple of different ways.
Washing and drying
Both washing and drying cycles can be queued up for sequential use.
This means you could start a wash cycle and set it up to carry out a drying cycle once that has finished automatically.
This usually would take a long time so this is perfect for if you leave for work, allowing you to set it going before you leave.
This way you would come back to clean and dry clothes, without the need to do anything in between like hanging them up or transferring them to a different appliance.
It is also possible to use each function separately.
This means that you can simply use the combo as a regular washing machine and carry on hanging your clothes to dry them as normal.
When using the appliance in this way, it’s a good idea to use the highest spin speed available, to minimise the drying time needed afterwards.
There are a number of washer dryer combos that actually do not do a great job with the drying cycle.
This is usually because, while they can handle about the same loads as a washing machine, they typically can only actually dry about half of that.
If you’re using a washer dryer combo, then it actually can be best to use it in this way and dry your clothes normally.
If space is an issue, then using the dryer cycle will still work and it’s good to have the option if it’s raining outside and you can’t dry your clothes by hanging them up.
So whichever method you’re going with, it’s still useful to know the good and bad points about washer dryer combos, which we’ll look at next.
Pros and Cons of a Washer Dryer Combo Appliance
This section will help categorise the advantages and disadvantages of the combo appliance.
Washing Performance: The washing power of the combo appliance is pretty much the same as a standalone washing machine.
Even if you opt for the combo appliance, you won’t be missing a regular washing machine and you’ll save space.
Footprint: This appliance will have half the environmental footprint compared to if you had both a washer and a dryer.
Automatically Wash and Dry: As mentioned before, you can wash and automatically dry your clothes afterwards without any intervention, great for if you are usually out for the whole day.
Independent Washing and Drying: They can be used as a regular washing machine if you want, as the drying cycle never has to be turned on.
Combined with the washing performance mentioned above, they can then just be used as you would with a regular washing machine.
Cost: In terms of up front purchase cost and continual running costs, they actually cost about the same as having a separate washer and dryer.
So this way you can get the same use of each but only use half the space which can be great if you have a small place.
They sound great like this right? But let’s look at the cons.
Drying Capacity: I mentioned before that actually the drying capability isn’t all that great.
This is something I’ve experienced too as my old place had a washer dryer combo, and I would find that if I really wanted my clothes dry at the end I would only wash and dry half a load as normal.
The washing load is fine, you can load it as you would with a regular washing machine, but if you try and dry that much it just doesn’t work.
If you can get into the habit of only loading half loads, then great, but this can be a big drawback.
Since some drying cycles can last about 6 hours, if you were to use full loads you may end up having to do this twice, which can quickly become unrealistic.
Size: Some combos are actually a bit bigger than their standalone counterparts, making them too large to fit under kitchen benchtops.
This is easily solved by measuring before you buy, but it’s good to be aware of.
Water Consumption: For washing these use about the same amount of water as a regular washing machine.
But it turns out they actually use a lot of water for drying as well! This can average out to about 10 litres per 1 kg of washing.
This extra water is in addition to the water the appliance has already used for washing.
If you live in a particularly dry area this is definitely bad news and not great for the environment in any case.
There are heat pump variations of these that mitigate this water usage, but these can be very expensive.
So you can see that in some cases, washer dryer combos are very useful, if you don’t have space for both appliances or if you can handle the long drying times.
Since it’s also possible to use them as a regular washer they’re pretty versatile too, but if it comes down to money, you may as well opt for a normal washing machine and dry your clothes the old fashioned way.
If you are deciding between standalone washer and dryer and a combo, then the price will be the same but you won’t be able to dry as much as you wash, so it’s up to you!