- Days left

Washers cost less and save more says Consumer Reports

washing machinesConsumer Reports latest tests on washers show price drops of as much as 33% compared with a year ago. Along with the federally funded "Cash for Clunkers" rebates of up to $250 for qualifying models, consumers are benefiting from more energy and water efficient models that save money in the long run.


"Price on washers are more affordable, models are more energy efficient, and rebates enhance the desire to buy," said Celia Kuperszmid Lehrman, deputy home editor at Consumer Reports. "There are tons of features available, but it's important to consult our ratings to see which features really make a difference."

With so many models and features to choose from, here are several tips from Consumer Reports to help you make the right decision for your needs:

  • Noise considerations. If the laundry room is near living spaces, check Consumer Reports noise and vibration ratings and look for models that offer silent, end-of-cycle signals and remember concrete floors can absorb vibrations well, unlike wood-framed floors.
  • Top- or front-loader? Most top-loaders with a center-post agitator cost the least and wash the fastest, but they aren't the most stellar performers and use more energy and water. Front-loaders generally use less water and spin even faster, making them the most efficient washer.
  • Focus on features. An auto temperature control blends hot and cold water to provide consistent temperature and wash performance on a given setting. Manufacturers claim that steam settings and allergen cycles clean better and remove allergens. Consumer Reports found that steam did clean stains slightly better, but machines with that option washed very well even with the steam option turned off. Steam settings might also increase energy use. To kill allergens, wash water needs to be around 127 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 minutes.
  • Skip extended warranties. Consumer Reports surveys show they're usually not worthwhile.

Finally, don't look for improved energy efficiency from dryers. While washers have become more efficient, dryer technology hasn't changed dramatically in the past decade. The Department of Energy says that most use the same amount of energy, which is why there are no Energy Star models, and state rebates won't apply.

However, since high efficiency washers spin far more water out of clothes compared to their less efficient predecessors, using a newer washer means shorter run times for dryers, lowering energy costs as a result.

The full ratings of washers and dryers appear in the February issue of Consumer Reports, which goes on sale Jan. 5, 2010. The reports are also available to subscribers of www.ConsumerReports.org.

Tom Kraeutler delivers tips on saving energy each week as host of The Money Pit, a nationally syndicated home improvement radio program. He is also AOL's Home Improvement Editor and author of "My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure."


Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Intro to Retirement

Get started early planning for your long term future.

View Course »

Finding Stock Ideas

Learn to do your research and find investments.

View Course »

TurboTax Articles

Video: Who Qualifies for an Affordable Care Act Exemption (Obamacare)?

The Affordable Care Act requires all Americans to have health insurance or pay a tax penalty. But, who qualifies for an Affordable Care Act exemption? Find out more about who qualifies for an exemption from the Affordable Care Act tax penalty, how to claim an exemption on your tax return and how the Affordable Care Act may affect your taxes with this video from TurboTax.

Video: How to Claim the Affordable Care Act Premium Tax Credit (Obamacare)

The Affordable Care Act Premium Tax Credit is a new refundable tax credit that can lower your monthly health insurance premiums. If you qualify for the tax credit, you can claim the Premium Tax Credit throughout the year to lower your monthly health insurance premiums, or claim the credit with your tax return to either lower your overall tax bill or increase your tax refund.

Deducting Summer Camps and Daycare with the Child and Dependent Care Credit

If you paid a daycare center, babysitter, summer camp, or other care provider to care for a qualifying child under age 13 or a disabled dependent of any age, you may qualify for a tax credit of up to up to 35 percent of qualifying expenses of $3,000 for one child or dependent, or up to $6,000 for two or more children or dependents.

What Is Schedule H: Household Employment Taxes

If you hire people to do work around your house on a regular basis, they might be considered household employees. Being an employer comes with some responsibilities for paying and reporting employment taxes, which includes filing a Schedule H with your federal tax return. But even if you have household employees, filing Schedule H is required only if the total wages you pay them is more than certain threshold amounts specified by federal tax law.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum