How To Buy Guide

Learn About Washing Machines


If you have a busy family, purchasing a washing machine is an important investment. But before you buy one, do your research. When it comes to washing machines, there are many options available. Our guide can help you make an informed decision that meets your family’s needs.


Planning Considerations

There are several factors to consider when shopping for a new washing machine. Start by asking yourself these questions. This will help narrow what kind of washer could be the right one for you.

How much space do you have to work with?

If you are facing limited space, then a stacked set could be a good option. This is where the dryer, which is lighter, is on top of the washer. This is a popular set up for apartments or condos.

If more space is available and you prefer to have your laundry pair side-by-side, then note the layout of the room, including the need to completely open the door.

If space is extremely limited, then an all-in-one washer and dryer could be an ideal option. It’s one machine that can do both while freeing up valuable space.

Click here for more details on measuring your space

What is the size of your family?
  • For larger families, a larger capacity washer allows for fewer washes. For individuals or small families, washers are available in smaller sizes, starting at 24" (61cm) width.
What is your budget?
  • If your budget is limited, then a top load washer and dryer combo might be the best option. Front load washers and dryers often start at a higher price point due to their features, including often being more energy efficient.
  • Buying a pair can potentially save money. Top loads vary from low price point value washers to high-end options, which include impressive features like a larger capacity, WiFi connectivity, steam clean, to name a few.
How often do you do laundry?
  • Washing frequency can impact quality, maintenance costs, electricity bills, and how efficiently your laundry machine works. The good news is that many machines are Energy Star® Certified, so they use less water and take less power to run.

Types of Washing Machines

Top Load

Capacity (Approx): 3-6.2 Cu.Ft

  • Models are available across price ranges
  • Newer and often more expensive models now offer Energy Star® Certified to improve energy efficiency
  • Economical choice with reliable performance
  • Considered easier to load as you will not have to bend over
Front Load

Capacity (Approx): 3-6 Cu.Ft

  • Typically provides greater energy efficiency that conserves water and energy
  • Most models are stackable to minimize space used in your home
  • Impressive features that can help suit your laundry needs
  • Typically begin at a higher price point

Capacity (Approx): 2-2.8 Cu.Ft

  • Available in front-load
  • Ideal for apartments, condominiums or houses with limited laundry space
  • Can include the same features found in full-size machines
  • Stackable options are available
  • Units are typically 24” (61cm) wide

Capacity (Approx): 1.5-5 Cu.Ft

  • Allows for washing and drying in the same machine
  • Saves the most amount of space
  • Often have a higher starting price point
  • Option to be ventless, allowing for freedom of placement

Front Load Configuration

Front load washers use gentle rotations to help combat stains. They usually feature a direct drive motor to help achieve and maintain high spin out speeds for appropriate cycles. This can potentially shorten dry times.

With respect to high-efficiency, front load washers paved the way. They are typically more expensive than top load options, but are considered to be more energy efficient. They have the ability to save on detergent and use less water. While they may need longer wash times, their high spin speeds wick away more moisture, resulting in shorter dry times.

Front load washers have flexible installation options, including side-by-side, stacked, or under a countertop with a work surface above the machine that can be used for storage and folding clothes.

Capacity and Dimensions
  • Typical capacity size for a front load ranges from 5.0 to 5.8 cubic feet.
  • Compacts are available at around 24” (70cm) width, with a capacity of 2.1 to 2.6 cubic feet.
  • Height of an average front load washer ranges from 38” to 43” (96cm to 109cm), with a typical width of roughly 27” (69cm), and a depth of 28” to 34” (71cm to 86cm)
All In One Washing Machine Option (Front Load)

These combination machines perform both washing and drying functions. They are great for spaces such as bathrooms or closets where space is limited. Additionally, they can open up available space and, since they have the ability to be ventless, they can be moved to different locations.

These machines can cost more than some front load washers because they also feature a dryer. The price typically increases as more features and options are added.

Whirlpool offers a 3.2 cu.ft, 24” wide Smart All in One Washer and Dryer that helps you do laundry in fewer steps with less hassle.


Installation for Front Load Washing Machines

Installation choices include stackable, under counter, side by side or in a closet. When purchasing a front load washer and dryer, you will have several installation options to choose from. If you have a front load washer and dryer, you can stack them to free up more space. With stacking, you will also have the option to stack them inside a closet, a common strategy for apartment buildings and condominiums. These machines are usually slightly narrower and smaller so that they can be stored in a closet.

For full-size stackable washers and dryers, you'll typically need a space that's 80" (203cm) high x 28" (71cm) wide x 31-34" (79 to 86cm) deep.

Always check and follow your appliance and product use and care instructions before beginning any task, as it should be your primary source of information.


Pedestals (Sold Separately)

Pedestals are usually sold separately, and go underneath the washing machine to raise it. They can only be used for front-load machines that are placed side-by-side.

Pedestals are made out of metal and act as risers for both the washing and drying machine. It can raise your machines anywhere from 12”-16” (30cm-40cm). This can help make loading and unloading easier. Note, that they are not adjustable.

Many pedestals have drawers for those looking for more organization. They can even be used for storing detergent.

Not all models can work with pedestals, so you have to check that your machine is compatible. Pedestals come in different sizes to accommodate machines of different sizes. This is also something to double check before purchasing.


Stacking Kits (Sold Separately)

These kits include metal brackets that help stack the washer and dryer. They help stabilize the dryer, making sure it sits sturdily on top of the washer. The dryer should always be on top since it is usually lighter than the washer. Due to the weight of the washer and dryer, it is recommended they not be stacked if there is a pedestal underneath. Stacking kits also help absorb vibrations, resulting in less noise when in use.

Top Load Configuration

Top load washing machines are common for many households. They are more comfortable since you load the washer from the top and don’t have to bend over. Remember to consider that it might be hard to grab items from inside the bottom of the washer, depending on your height.

Top Load machines allow you to easily keep the lid open in between washes regardless of the laundry room set up. On washers with an agitator, the central spindle often takes up room in the wash basket. Washers with an impeller offer additional space for bulky items and easy loading/unloading.

There are two types of top load washing machines


  • An agitator is a tall vertical spindle in the middle of the washer. It works by physically rubbing against each article of clothing to help fight stains and loosen dirt.
  • Agitators usually offer shorter wash times. This does depend, though, on which soil level is selected.
  • Energy Star® certified models are available that use less energy and water than regular washers.
  • Deep water wash options are available for those who prefer more water to help break down loose soils.


  • An impeller uses low-profile cones, wheels, fins or discs that are engineered to spin and gently rub clothes against each other. There is no spindle in the middle of the washer so they are easier to load.
  • An impeller uses less motion and less water than a washer with an agitator.
  • It moves clothes from the outer rim of the wash basket to the centre, using only a small amount of water to optimize friction.
  • Furthermore, high spin speeds reduce drying time.
  • Energy Star(R) certified models are available that use less energy and water than regular washers.

Don’t know which type you prefer?
Wash the way you want with Whirlpool’s industry-first 2 in 1 Removable Agitator. Easily swap the agitator post in or out!

Capacity and Dimensions
  • Common capacity size range for a top load is from 4.2 to 6.1 cubic feet of volume.
  • Average height of a top load washer is 42” to 43” (107cm to 109cm), with a common width of 27” to 27.5” (68cm to 69cm), and a depth of 25” to 28” (64cm to 71cm).


Stacked (Laundry Centers)

If you are lacking space, then a stacked washer and dryer might be a good option. Also called laundry centers, these combine both a washer and dryer in one body/frame.This style allows for additional room and/or storage and is commonly found in apartments and condominiums. Stacked washer and dryer units are available in both gas and electric options.


Capacity and Dimensions
  • A stacked laundry center is typically 74-76" (188cm-193cm) high x 24-28" (61cm-71cm) wide x 27-33" (69cm to 84cm) deep.

Available Features

These features are available on the market, but are not necessarily included on every front load or top load washing machine.

Tumble Cycles

Some front load washers have a cycle that can periodically tumble dry your clothes in the washer. Select front load Whirlpool washers offer a FanFresh® Option - a built-in fan activates after the wash cycle is over, tumbling clothes for up to 12 hours so you can finish laundry when you're ready.

Automatic Detergent Dispensing

There are features on some models designed to help you save time and give you an effective clean by automatically dispensing detergent. This feature calculates how much detergent is needed and eliminates any uncertainties about the right amount needed. Furthermore, it removes the hassle of adding detergent to every load.

Select Whirlpool top and front load washers feature the Load & Go™ dispenser, where you can simply add detergent once and, depending on the model, skip refills for 20-40 loads (based on an 8-lb load)

Pretreat Station

Some top load washers feature a water station, where you can soak and pretreat garments with water or water plus detergent to help treat stains before they go in the wash cycle.

Select Whirlpool top load washers offer this Pretreat Station feature, where you can soak, scrub and wash all in one spot directly in the washer with a built-in dual temperature faucet and pre-treat brush.

Smart Features

Washers and dryers are now equipped to be connected through your smart device(s) (phone/tablet). This way you can monitor the stage of the cycle even when you’re not home.

Select Whirlpool washers have smart features, where you can use the Whirlpool app to set, start, or pause the wash cycle and track progress when you are away. Plus, you can use a Google Assistant-enabled device to send voice commands to your whirlpool smart washer - no matter what you’ve got on your hands.


Wash Cycles

Many new machines offer a suite of cycles to ensure your clothes are properly cleaned and the needs of your household are met. A typical wash detects the soil level, and then adjusts with pre-soak, deep/heavy clean, rapid wash time and even one for delicates. If wash cycles are important to you then this is something to think about!


In addition to hot and cold settings, machines now include warm settings, or even allow you to select different temperatures for washing and rinsing. Options can include hot/cold, warm/warm, or even warm/cold.

Some machines have Sanitize Cycles that use extra-hot water temperatures to eliminate high percentages of common household bacteria.

Select Whirlpool Washers offer a Sanitize Cycle, that uses increased water temperatures to remove 99.9% of common household bacteria. (Bacteria tested were K. pneumoniae, P. aeruginosa, S. aureus.)

Sensing a Load

Offers the convenience of not having to determine the wash cycle. The machine will sense the size of the load and determine the right settings to proceed with.

Installation Consideration

Follow these steps to help measure your space

Step 1
Decide on a set-up: side-by-side, stacked, or pedestals (for front-load only).

Step 2
Give thought to distance: you will need approximately 4 feet (48” or 122cm) in front of the pair to ensure easier loading and unloading. Make sure to check where the door of the appliance is in proximity to the door of the room/space.

Step 3
The next step is to look behind the pair and add about 6” (15cm) for hoses and venting space. To reduce noise, add about 1” (2.5cm) on each side of the unit. Above the washer add some additional space for easy opening/closing (only applicable to top-load washers).

Step 4
Next, measure the height, length and width of the space. Add in the extra height from the pedestals if you choose to purchase them separately.

Step 5
Lastly, figure out the best path from entry to installation location. This is paramount as you need to ensure that your purchased unit will fit through each doorway and hallway on its way to its installation location. Measure your new unit to confirm they can be transported safely through the chosen path.

Always check and follow your appliance and product use and care instructions before beginning any task, as it should be your primary source of information.


DIY Installation

Always consult the installation guide for all electrical requirements, and that both the inlet and drain hose are installed as recommended. Also, review your installation guide for all information as this will ensure a safe process. Please consult with a professional if you have any questions or for installation help.

Note, that there needs to be a water connection while the electrical is being done. Please be safe and cautious while performing this installation and always check—or even double check— your installation guide.


Professional Installation

If you are unfamiliar or uncomfortable or would just prefer to have a certified professional install the washer, then make sure you clear the space around the machine and that the specific parts are available for the professional. Again, check with your installation guide.

Ready to start looking for a new washing machine? Our Appliance Finder tool can help narrow your search so you can find the one that meets your needs. Click here to find a washer that’s right for you.

Learn more about Whirlpool Washers

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