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Strategies for buying the best washer and dryer

Strategies for buying the best washer and dryer
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Theo Thimou |
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If you’re shopping for a new washer or dryer, you don’t have to pay big bucks to get the reliability and performance you want.

Read more: 9 ways to buy discounted furniture and appliances

Best washers and dryers for your money

Consumer Reports rates the best washers and dryers. Among their top picks for top-loading HE washing machines were the Samsung WA52J8700AP ($850), Samsung WA56H9000AP ($1,200), Samsung WA52J8060AW ($900), Kenmore 28132 ($750), Whirlpool Cabrio WTW8500DW ($1,080) and Maytag Bravos MVWB855DW ($1,000) — all six marked as recommended buys.

When you look at brand reliability, the most reliable HE washing machine brand is Speed Queen, followed by Roper, Maytag and Samsung. Further down in reliability, it’s Whirlpool, Kenmore, GE and LG.

For front-loading washers, there were only two best buys: The LG WM3170CW ($720) and the Maytag Maxima MHW5100DW ($750).

When it comes to front-loading reliability, LG is tops, followed by Samsung, Amana, Kenmore and Maytag.

In the world of electric dryers, it’s a two-horse race. Consumer Reports gives recommended buy marks to two models from Samsung and two from LG.

For Samsung, it’s the DV56H9100EG ($1,200) and DV56H9000EP ($1,200). For LG, the magazine likes the DLEX8500V ($1,450) and the DLEX7700VE ($1,200).

On the question of brand reliability for electric dryers, LG takes first place. After that, you have Maytag, Kenmore and Whirlpool.

Interestingly, washers and dryers fail more than other common electronics purchases. About one in eight washers will fail over the first few years of ownership. With dryers, you get more reliability on average, with only one in 16 failing during that same time period.

Where should you buy these appliances?

When you’re ready to buy, look first for reliability stats from Consumer Reports or elsewhere and then shop at a scratch and dent store. Scratch and dent stores offer new appliances that have been sufficiently scuffed up during shipping to the point where they can’t be sold in a traditional appliance store.

Often you’ll find the prices can be half what you’d pay at a warehouse club!

You can get even more bang for your buck by purchasing mismatching colors of dryers and washers at the scratch and dent.

How can you find a scratch and dent store near you? Try calling local appliance stores and asking if they have a nearby outlet store or warehouse.

Sears Outlet operates some of the best scratch and dents outlets across the country. There’s also a regional chain called Appliance Smart that has locations in Georgia, Minnesota, Ohio and Texas.

Just be aware that delivery often isn’t included in the price, so you’ll need to arrange for that on your own or through the scratch and dent’s own delivery agent at an additional cost.

Should you get the extended warranty?

Extended warranties are a common add-on when you’re purchasing appliances and electronics. But before you go ahead and buy that extended warranty, do these two things:

  • Look at your model’s record of reliability and buy brands/models that are historically most reliable. That way you’re less likely to need that warranty!
  • Make your purchase on a credit card that automatically doubles the manufacturers’ own warranty. You’ll give yourself additional piece of mind without having to spend anything extra.

Read more: 11 ways to pay less for appliances