Buying a washing machine can be stressful, especially if you're on a budget. But knowing the types of washing machines that are available and which styles are best for what will help you make the right decision for you. There are a few general categories of washing machines, each with higher end and lower end brands. The style and brand you purchase depends entirely on your needs your budget.
The least expensive type of washing machine is the top-loader: they range in price from around $300 to $600 (or from $600 to $1,600 for high efficiency models). This traditional style of washing machine consumes more energy and water than other styles, however, and they generally have a smaller capacity than front-loading washers.
Top-loading washers wash clothes quickly, and you don't have to bend over to load clothes into it. However, there are some legitimate drawbacks. For example, if a load is unbalanced, it can stop the washing cycle; although this isn't going to cause any serious problems, it can be a quite annoying habit.
If you have a bit more money to spend, you can get a high efficiency model, which will, over time, make up for its higher cost through energy and water savings.
Check out the GE WDRR2500KWW washing machine, which retails for around $425. This inexpensive washer exhibits good performance, despite its small capacity. Its downside: it is not Energy Star-rated, which means it's not energy or water efficient.
Another budget washing machine option is a compact washer: they range in price from $450 to $1,700. These washing machines are not generally suitable, however, for families; they are best for those living in small, tight spaces because they can be pulled out when they're needed and stored away when they're not. On average, these models are 24 inches wide, 22 inches deep and 33 inches high.
Depending on your budget, you may consider a front-loading washing machine. With these models, clothes tend to be cleaner (compared with those in top-loading washers), and the machines typically use less energy, water, and detergent than other models.
While these models of washing machine may cost more initially, they can, over time, save you money by reducing your monthly energy and water bills. They range in price from $700 to $2,700.
If you are on a tight budget but you still want a front-loading machine, check out the Frigidaire Gallery GLTF2940FS. This machine, which costs about $550, is Energy Star compliant and boasts a reasonable price, but it is, based on tests, reliable and it performs well.
If you'll be buying a washing machine and a dryer, you could consider a combination unit. These units are popular in Europe where washing machines are expensive and space is limited. They are ideal for RVs and apartments. These units, which range in price from $800 to $1,800, don't wash clothes very quickly, but they both wash and dry your clothes, without requiring you to purchase two separate units.