Are washer/dryer combination machines energy efficient?

Combo Machine Considerations

There are a handful of things to consider when purchasing a washer or dryer, such as price, size and efficiency.

Combo machines range from less than $500 to more than $1,500. Washers and dryers sold separately start at around the same price, but they can cost up to several thousand dollars each. As with anything, you get want you pay for. In a 2010 study, most top-loading washers that cost less than $500 failed to wash as well or hold as much as more costly washers, and they also used more energy and water. The study also found that inefficient machines, compared with the most efficient models, can cost an additional $130 or more per year to run [source: Consumer Reports]. So what does this mean for you?

Take your plans for the future into consideration when choosing a washer/dryer combo. For example, if you intend to move relatively soon and don't plan to take your appliances with you, perhaps you can save money by skipping a high-end model for one at a cheaper price point. And if you plan to keep this appliance until the day it dies, it's probably best to buy a better-quality model that costs more because of the savings it offers over time.

Just like in traditional units, the tub inside a combo machine can vary in size from small to industrial, and many models come in a variety of colors, including stainless steel, champagne and cherry red. One big difference, however, is that because washer/dryer combos are relatively new to the U.S. market, fewer stores carry them, so you might have a hard time getting your hands on one.

There's a lot of marketing out there claiming that washer/dryer combos are energy-efficient. To learn how efficient they really are, click to the next page.

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