Washing Machines: Washers buying guide
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Washing Machines: Washers buying guide

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Here's everything you need to know before you buy your next washer, all in one place.

Hi, I'm Katie Pilkington for CNET and today we're gonna be talking about certain features that you may find in a front-load washer. For our example today 'cause it's a pretty representative one, we're gonna be looking at the Samsung WF457 washer. This is a pretty standard looking front-load washer as far as they go. It's got a very sleek appearance and that kind of fish bowl feel that you get from looking through that clear window on the front of a drum. You'll first notice that it's sitting flat on the floor, which may be different in certain models you've seen. Most front-load washers are sold separately from pedestals. Others come with them, but you can always buy a pedestal mostly, which include drawers to set this up upon. It will elevate the washer about a foot and a half in height and also give extra storage space. You may prefer this extra height as it makes it easier to get in and out of the washer. Front-load washers operate almost exactly the same as your top-loading washers. You're gonna open the door and put your clothes in and shut at the same as you would with the top drum cover on a top-loading washer. This particular model is a 4.5 cubic foot washer that means it's got an extra large drum. It can handle comforters and including the Samsung 2.4 laundry baskets for the clothes. There are a lot of front-loading washers with similar capacities on the market. This also makes it a more efficient machine in addition to being able to wash larger quantity items such as blankets, comforters, pillows. It also means that because you can was more clothing at one time, you're washing less frequently, which saves time on your part and energy on the part of your home. One of the things that separate front-load washers from traditional top-load washers are how the detergent is put into the machine. With front-load washers, there is a drawer that pulls out that has all of the compartments for fabric softener, bleach and detergent that are really easily labeled and you just pour in the top. Smart technology is kind of a buzz concept right now particularly in the appliance world and a lot of different manufacturers are trying to get a piece of that pie. Samsung is an example of how manufacturers are adding touchscreens to their washers and dryers, although they are adding them to a lot of other appliances as well. You may have noticed the lack of dials and buttons on this that made currently exist on your washer at home. It does include a power button and stop button, but aside from that all controls are done through the use of the touchscreen. Many Smart washing machines also include corresponding smartphone apps where you can check on the progress of a wash or run diagnostics if your machine is not working properly. The washing machine is one of those appliances that have certainly evolved over the last couple of years. It used to be that you could wash in just a couple of cycles, delicate, permanent press, and there was a very little control over what temperature of water was used during the cycles. Your choices were hot or cold. But a lot of washers particularly front-load washers, although they are bringing this technology to more traditional top-loading washers as well, include a lot of different options. For example, this one has 21 different functions from which you can choose. Some functions boosted by front-load washers are baby clothes, sanitizing functions, cycles that can almost replace dry cleaning, they're so gentle on your clothes and with the addition of more high-powered jets and rinsing cycles, even some heavier duty programs that are really gained with athletic equipment or clothing that has been taking through the mud by your children or your athletes alike. This particular model is an energy star-approved washer. Most of your front-loading washer models now are high efficiency and, therefore, received the energy star seal of approval. This means that they require less power and water to run, but are just as effective and efficient. These machines are designed by their very nature to save energy and run more efficiently. But some of them include delayed start options that do this even more effectively. For example, you can delay your wash to run during non-peak energy hours like in the middle of the night, or if you want your washer to run when you're not at home, you can program that as well. So this has been a general overview of front-load washers, but then the rest of this buying guide who discuss top-load washers, compact washers, laundry centers and a variety of features and more specific details pertaining to all of these. So be sure to check that out. And be sure to check out the review for this washer as well as many other washers at cnet.com. I'm Katie Pilkington.

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