Space can oftentimes be a luxury. The challenge of a tiny house, small apartment, condo or studio demand the most compact solutions.
A compact washer and dryer in one appliance usually fits the bill for a variety of situations. These are small washer and dryer hybrids that take about half the space as conventional washer and dryer combos.
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They can usually fit underneath a counter top and are even ideal for mobile homes, larger boats and RV’s.
Many leading manufacturers of the compact washer and dryer are typically from Europe.
This is because most people there live in smaller, more efficient homes where small washer and dryer designs are the norm. If anyone has perfected space efficiency, it’s companies like Asko, Bosch an Miele.
The benefits of having a washer and dryer in one machine is five-fold:
- Being about the size of a standard dishwasher, they can fit in bathrooms, kitchens or any other practical spot and act as a counter top.
- They use less energy to run.
- They use less water due to the front load design.
- They switch the laundry from washer to dryer automatically.
- They are easily camouflaged. Some even come with designs to match an existing counter top.
The cons of these designs are fewer but just as convincing:
- They can be pricier than an average washer and dryer setup.
- Due to their small size, they’re not equipped for high-volume performance. They are better for smaller families up to 4 people and can handle just around 6 to 22 pounds.
- A ventless unit runs longer than any other design, usually 2 to 3 hours.
To Vent Or Not To Vent
Compact washer and dryers come either with or without a vent.
This has everything to do with the dryer and not so much with the washer. Whatever the current setup is determines which design is more suitable.
Vented varieties need an external exhaust to the outside. They work by taking in air and heating it up to dry the clothes. The air absorbs the moisture, turns it into steam and then sends it up and away through the exhaust.
Of course, this works well where there is already an exhaust, or where it may be convenient to set one up. It is typically the design that suits boats and RV’s the most.
The ventless version is most commonly used in apartments and condos.
They are convenient because they don’t need to be hooked up to an external exhaust, but they do still need to drain water out through the plumbing. They work like dehumidifiers: The hot air absorbs the moisture and sends it to another chamber where the moisture condensates back into water, where it is then drained out automatically.
The biggest fall-back of a ventless washer-dryer is that they take a little bit longer to dry – about an hour longer.
Some Extra Advantages
Even though a small washer dryer may take longer to run, there are some advantages to balance out the energy consumption. The front load design inherently uses less water than a top load design. This means less time and energy heating the water. They also have a mean last spin that sucks out extra water, meaning that it could potentially offset some time in the dryer.