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Compact washer-dryers are a great choice for customers who live in apartments, small homes, or just have a small laundry room without space for a full-sized washer and dryer set.
Though compact units don’t always have the same bells and whistles as a full-sized set, they can still clean your clothes quickly and effectively. Many modern compact washer-dryer sets are stackable, allowing you to save even more space in your laundry space. And, despite their size, plenty of compact washer-dryer models still feature a large capacity for fitting large loads of laundry.
The amount you should expect to spend on a compact washer-dryer varies depending on the type of unit and the make and model. Portable all-in-one units, ideal for RVing or studio apartments, can be found for a few hundred dollars. However, more in-depth sets that come with both a washer and a dryer typically cost in the range of $1,500-$3,000.
To help you narrow down your choices, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the top compact washer-dryer sets on the market. Overall, our top choice is the Electrolux Stackable Washer and Dryer, which features a sleek black design and top-of-the-line features such as SmartBoost stain removal. Read our buying guide below for more of our top picks.
Top 4 Compact Washer-Dryers
- Best Overall Electrolux Stackable Washer and Dryer
- Most Versatile: GE Stackable Front-Load Washer and Dryer
- Best Smart Features: LG Stackable Smart Front-Load Washer and Dryer
- Best Portable: Costway Portable Compact Washer-Dryer Combo
Compare Top Compact Washer-Dryers
|Electrolux Stackable Washer and Dryer
|4.5 cubic feet
|8 cubic feet
|GE Stackable Front-Load Washer and Dryer
|2.4 cubic feet
|4.1 cubic feet
|LG Stackable Smart Front-Load Washer and Dryer
|2.4 cubic feet
|4.2 cubic feet
|Costway Portable Compact Washer-Dryer Combo
Good for: Homeowners looking for a stylish washer-dryer set that saves space.
What Are People Saying About the Electrolux Stackable Washer and Dryer Set?
Our team read more than 100 verified buyer reviews of this stackable washer-dryer set. Our research found that customers liked that the washer had quiet operation and had various wash cycles. However, we also learned that others had issues with clothes getting stuck in the seal while a load was running.
“I’ve had this washer for less than a week, but I’m liking it already, it is sleek, roomy and has a lot of button functions. You gently touch a button, and you’re ready to go. I’ve done a couple of washes, and I’m happy with how clean they come out.” — Lady via Best Buy on the Electrolux Front Load Washer
“We bought this washer after research and good reviews. However, every time we use it at least one to two pieces of clothing gets stuck in the rubber seal. This blocks the drain, and the clothing that is stuck comes out unclean and soaking wet.” — Bestbuycustomer on the Electrolux Front Load Washer
“The titanium finish gives the appliance a sleek and modern appearance, effortlessly blending with my laundry room decor. The stackable design is a space-saving solution, perfect for those with limited laundry room space. The exterior is not only aesthetically pleasing but also durable, showcasing the quality craftsmanship that Electrolux is known for.” — YujiaX on the Electrolux Stackable Electric Dryer
“Dryer does its job, a little noisy but gets the job done efficiently. Only complaint so far is the constant knocking sound from the drum wheels getting flat spots.” — JasonK on the Electrolux Stackable Electric Dryer
Most Versatile Compact Washer-Dryer
Good for: Homeowners who want to customize their spin cycle without wasting space.
What Are People Saying About the GE Stackable Front-Load Washer and Dryer?
During our research, we found that customers liked that this washer had a large capacity for its size and allowed for complete customization. Some felt that it vibrated a lot on fast spin cycles. Reviewers liked that the dryer was easy to program, and many were impressed with its ventless feature. However, we also learned that some buyers had issues with the unit shutting off on its own.
“Fabulous washer! I bought the matching dryer too. These fit perfectly in the laundry area in my bathroom. Just the right size for me. The washer handles five bath towels, five hand towels and multiple washcloths with no problem.” — Crazynana via Best Buy
“Good for small spaces, and fairly quiet for a washer. Huge downside – doesn’t clean loads as well as a top-load washer. Even with the pre-wash, heavy soil, and extra rinse settings selected, not all the clothing comes out clean.” — thatgirlMalie via Best Buy on the GE Stackable Front Load Washer
“This dryer machine is powerful! Its drying power is amazing. I love the compact size. It’s great for a small apartment living. No need to vent out!” — DeniseS via Best Buy on the GE 13 Cycle Electric Dryer
“Shuts off a lot telling me to clean the filter and empty the water tray I have the hose going out the drain, so I don’t know why it does that. And the lint filter is always clean. Very small loads only.” — Thomas via Best Buy on the GE 13 Cycle Electric Dryer
Best Smart Features
What Are People Saying About the LG Smart Front-Load Washer and Dryer?
According to our Review Team’s findings, customers were impressed with the washer’s high efficiency, functionality, and smart features. However, others felt it was too loud. When looking at reviews of the dryer, we learned that many reviewers were partial to the unit because of its looks and ease of installation. However, some felt it took significantly longer to dry clothes than a vented dryer.
“There seem to be infinite cycles depending on how much time you want to spend customizing on the app. As far as washing: clothes are clean and smell fresh.” — Jason via Best Buy on the LG Stackable Front Load Washer
“This washer’s capacity is much smaller than its accompanying stackable dryer, but it is still sufficient for our needs. However, it does shake and vibrate more (on the spin dry cycle) than our previous washer, that was almost twice the capacity.” — RobertR via Best Buy on the LG Stackable Front Load Washer
“Super stylish and efficient! Smaller loads as expected, but certainly sufficient for two. Love the fact that it’s ventless!” — Beautiful via Best Buy on the LG Stackable Electric Dryer
“Biggest issue is cycle time. Most loads take ~1 1/2 hours, with towels, sheets, etc taking more time. This unit is a ventless dryer, which also means there is some heat. It can also be on the noisy side.” — Matt via Best Buy on the LG Stackable Electric Dryer
Good for: Customers looking for a portable washing machine that can wash one to two people’s clothes on the go.
What Are People Saying About the Costway Portable Washer-Dryer Combo?
Our research into buyer reviews revealed that customers enjoyed this washer’s compact size, low noise level, and easy hookup. On the other hand, we encountered some critical reviews in which a handful of buyers said they experienced issues with the agitator or spinner, and some said the clothes left lint on them after being washed.
“When our full-sized washing machine stopped working, we didn’t have the money to replace it, so we opted to try this portable one until we could. So far, it’s been a dream. Way cheaper than having to use a laundromat and so much more convenient. It holds more clothes than I had hoped, and the power of the agitator is a lot stronger than I expected. The spin cycle is even more impressive, though. I feel like if I forgot to do laundry and only had 15-20 minutes before I had to leave somewhere, I could do a short wash cycle and wear whatever I needed straight out of the spin cycle, and it’ll dry the rest of the way while I was out wearing it. I am genuinely surprised at how well this unit has worked out for me.” — Blehxor via Amazon
“I like the agitator on the washer, and the spin dryer is very nice. The main downside of the machine is the lint that accumulates on the clothes, which is very difficult to remove after drying. The clothes are clean, but they look like there are damaged areas everywhere. I think it’s because the washer basin doesn’t spin while draining. With my most recent load, I rinsed three times and still had lint on every garment. Maybe next time I’ll try rinsing by hand in a bucket.” — ronworf via Amazon
Buying Guide for Compact Washer-Dryers
Compact washer-dryers can provide an optimal washing experience without the bulk of traditional washer-dryer units. However, there are some critical factors to consider to ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.
Before deciding on which washer-dryer set is best for you, consider the capacity and how much laundry you typically do on a daily and weekly basis. You’ll also want to consider the portability of the unit if you move frequently or plan on bringing it with you on the go. From there, decide if you like top-load or front-load washers and gas or electric dryers to narrow down your options.
Finally, you can look at extra features, the design, and the brand reputation to help you make a final decision. Read our buying guide below for more on the most important factors to consider when buying a compact washer-dryer.
What is a good capacity for a compact washer-dryer?
Your washer and dryer’s capacity determines how many clothes you can fit in at once. Compact washers often have a smaller capacity than regular ones. Most compact washers max out at around 5 cubic feet of space, while compact dryers will have up to 8 cubic feet.
What if I need a portable washer-dryer?
Portable, all-in-one washer-dryers are ideal for tiny spaces that don’t have a proper washer-dryer hookup or for living spaces that don’t have convenient laundry machines on-site. They can also be useful if you need to wash clothes while traveling.
However, if you’re buying a washer-dryer for your home that you plan on using as your primary unit, portable models likely won’t provide enough capacity or a high enough power level to fulfill your washing needs.
What’s the difference between front-load and top-load washers?
Most compact washer-dryers are front-loader models since this allows you to stack the units on top of each other. Top-load washers aren’t generally considered compact unless they’re portable. If you want a top-load washer-dryer but need to save space, look for models with a minimal width.
How many cycles do compact units typically have?
Both washers and dryers typically come with several preset wash or drying cycles. Most units include five to 15 preset cycles. The more that are included, the more convenient it will be to wash various items. Some standard wash cycles include cotton, permanent press, towels, delicates, extra-large, blankets, or rinse and spin.
What smart features should you look for in a washer-dryer?
Modern washer-dryers sometimes include smart features such as app control, push notifications, Wi-Fi capability, smart settings, and voice commands.
The downside is that these features typically increase the unit’s price, so you’ll need to determine if they’re worth paying more.
What are the top compact washer-dryer brands?
Numerous brands make compact washer-dryers, but here are some of the most well-respected:
- Speed Queen
Things To Remember Before Buying a Compact Washer-Dryer
Once you’ve found the best compact washer-dryer combo for you, there are a few other important steps to take before buying, especially if you’re dealing with a small space.
Measure the Size
Knowing how much space you have before purchasing a new washing machine and dryer is essential. Measure the width, height, and depth of the area where you plan to install the unit and compare that to the measurements of the product you want to buy. Leave a few additional inches on each side to minimize noise output.
Check the Installation
Small spaces may not have the proper hookup for a washer-dryer. While that doesn’t mean you can’t get one, you should call a professional and ensure the unit can be installed properly.
Stackable vs. Side-by-Side
One great way to save space is to use a stackable washer and dryer unit rather than installing them side-by-side. Of course, this is only possible if you’re using front-load washers. If you have your heart set on a top-load washing machine, you’ll need to ensure you have enough room to put the units next to each other.
FAQ About Compact Washer-Dryers
What’s the difference between a compact washer-dryer and a standard washer-dryer?
Compact washer-dryers are smaller than standard washer-dryers and typically have a width of 27 inches or less. However, washer-dryers can also be compact in other ways, such as being portable, stackable, or an all-in-one unit.
Do compact washers take longer?
Compact washers take longer to complete a full load of laundry than larger units because they have less capacity. Cleaning cycles with compact washers typically take at least an hour, with wash times of heavy-duty cycles taking multiple hours. Drying times are also longer for a compact unit.
Are compact washers less expensive than traditional washers?
Compact washer prices vary by unit and brand, but you shouldn’t expect compact models to be significantly cheaper than regular-sized models. This is because manufacturers try to fit as many features as possible into a smaller unit to ensure it works as well as a larger device. Compact washer-dryers are a good choice if you have limited space to work with, but they shouldn’t be something you shop for if you’re only looking to get a washer on a budget.
Buying a portable washing machine such as the Costway Portable Compact Washer-Dryer Combo can save you money, but performance won’t be comparable to a standard washer-dryer.
Who This Compact Washer-Dryer Guide Is For
Whether you’re a renter, homeowner, renovator, or somewhere in between, a quality washer-dryer can level up any laundry room. Our Reviews Team considered a variety of compact washer-dryers, including a large-capacity compact model, a portable model, and more.
Our Rating Methodology
The This Old House Reviews Team is committed to providing heavily researched recommendations and insight into the categories we cover. We seek to earn and keep your trust by practicing ongoing transparency about the process of our reviews and the factors we take into account.
We chose the laundry appliances in this review and then rated them on a 100-point system across seven key factors:
- Capacity (up to 30 points): Compact washers with a capacity of 2.4 cubic feet or more received more points than their smaller counterparts.
- Features (up to 15 points): This category accounts for the most commonly sought-after compact washer-dryer features, including number of preset cycles, quick-wash options, delayed start, energy efficiency, and stackability.
- Finishes (up to 2 points): Compact washer-dryers with more than one finish were rated higher than those with only one finish option.
- Average customer rating (up to 15 points): Each product received a score from zero to 15, depending on its average customer rating. We rounded up decimal ratings to the nearest whole number.
- Smart technology (up to 5 points): Products that included app integration or Wi-Fi compatibility received five points.
- Manufacturer’s warranty (up to 20 points): We researched each product’s manufacturer’s warranty and awarded each product 20 points if it came with any kind of warranty or guarantee.
- Customer service (up to 10 points): We researched the customer service options available to customers after they’ve purchased their items. Each product received points if its manufacturer offered phone, chat/text, or access to replacement parts.
Why Trust The This Old House Reviews Team
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Our team focuses on creating in-depth product and service review content. To date, we’ve published over 1,600 reviews on products in the home space, from doorbell cameras and backyard fencing to pool vacuums and snow blowers.
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