Don’t let a shortage of space keep you from owning a washer and dryer when you have space-saving alternatives to yesteryear's clunker models. Choose from stackable, compact models and some of the latest technology in smallish appliances, but not until you’ve sorted through the pros and cons.
Whether you purchase a stacking kit for connecting a standard drier to a front-loading washer or you buy a laundry center that’s manufactured as a stacked appliance, you have considerations to weigh out. Although a stacked set of any kind takes up less space widthwise, they’re about 80 inches tall, restricting their use in homes with low ceilings. And due to the higher placement of the drier, a person of short stature could have trouble loading and unloading clothes.
Apartment-sized appliances aren't just for apartments; they're a smart alternative in any small space. Along with this space-saving feature comes the flip side -- smaller loads of laundry as compared to standard-sized appliances. Apartment-sized washers can have a capacity as small as 2.2 cubic feet, which may be fine for a single person or a couple but isn't ideal for a family. If an apartment-sized set -- with each appliance measuring about 24 inches across -- will work for your home and lifestyle, make the paired duo even more space-friendly by installing them as an under-the-counter set in your kitchen, bathroom or laundry area.
The portable-type washing machine might be the answer, if you have restricted space, or you don’t have laundry hookups or a designated area for a washer and a dryer. A portable washing machine comes with snap-on plumbing that you connect to a sink faucet much like the connections of a portable dishwasher. Although they’re relatively easy to push across the floor thanks to attached rollers or coasters, they restrict use of the kitchen while they’re in operation. And when they’re not in use, you’ll need a designated place to store the appliance. Countertop washers are available for very small laundry loads not including articles like bedding. As for a clothes-drying option, consider an indoor or outdoor clothesline.
Today’s technology includes an all-in-one electric appliance that both washes and dries clothes. This versatile unit doesn’t require a dryer vent. Instead, after washing the laundry, it condenses the moisture from the wet clothes and sends it out through a drain. The perks obviously include saved space, but the downfall is extended drying time as compared to a conventional dryer.
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