Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

What is the right size washer for you?

Choosing the right washer for your home can be easy -- if you know what to look for.
Choosing the right washer for your home can be easy -- if you know what to look for.

Your trusty old washer has finally sputtered out. It's not the worst news, because now you get a newer model with all the bells and whistles that will make your life that much easier. And you're pretty in tune with the laundry needs of your family by now. You have kids who play sports, so you know you'll need a washer with a stain wash setting. You ran out of time to hand wash your undergarments a decade ago, so a delicates cycle is a must. But how big should your new washer be?

A lot of the factors that determine what size washer to purchase lie in how big your loads are and how much space you have to accommodate a washer. The smallest washers average about 24 inches wide and can handle between 4 and 8 pounds of laundry. If you're apartment bound and there is only one or two of you, this may be just what you need. But what about that king-size quilt you always have to lug to the Laundromat?

Full-size models are about 27 inches wide and can handle 8 to 10 pounds of laundry, which covers the average family -- as well as your king-size comforter. There are also large capacity models that hold 10 to 12 pounds at a time, which may be the ticket if you pretty consistently wash large loads and have the space to house it. Larger laundry loads save time and money, so they're always recommended over small loads. We say buy the largest size you can afford that will fit into your existing space.