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How to save when buying a washer and dryer

Look for sales and rebates and don’t be afraid to haggle

Published: February 06, 2014 03:30 PM

If you had to put a price tag on a new washer and dryer, how high would you go? When Yahoo posted an article from Consumer Reports on impressive laundry pairs for $1,600 or less, readers made hundreds of comments—some said that was way too much money to pay for these two workhorses. A matching pair should last about a decade before an expensive part blows, according to several appliance manufacturers, but even so you have to pay now, wash later. Here are some ways to save money when shopping for laundry appliances.

Hunt online for deals. Look for rebates and special offers from manufacturers and retailers. Check for Energy Star washer rebates; we found one for $75. Not bad. Some manufacturers sell overstocked and discontinued washers and dryers through their outlet sites. On the Whirlpool outlet website, which sells Whirlpool, Maytag, and Amana appliances, we found a top-loader, the Whirpool WTW4900AW, for $390. It’s usually around $600 and while it didn’t make our top picks list, it was impressive at cleaning and gentle on fabrics, has a large capacity, and normal wash time on the heavy soil setting was 55 minutes. But like many models in this price range, it’s relatively noisy. This washer doesn’t have a center-post agitator and uses a lot less water than a regular top-loader, but was just so-so at extracting water and that affects drying time.
 
We also saw the Maytag MEDX500XW electric dryer for $419, a savings of about $130. It didn’t make our top picks list but was excellent at drying and has a large capacity, although it wasn’t as convenient to use as some and relatively noisy. Of course, you might not care about the noise if your washer and dryer are in the basement. Before choosing a laundry applaince, check our washer and dryer Ratings or to see how these outlet models did in our tests. They’re only a bargain if they do their job.

Practice your negotiating. When we surveyed 2,000 American adults about their haggling habits, we found that successful appliance negotiators saved $200 on average. Savvy negotiators know that politeness, friendliness, and a smile are harder to resist than tough talk. Here are some of the tips they shared in "13 ways to get to yes." And keep in mind that delivery and installation costs can add up, so ask about both before haggling and consider hiring a pro you know to install the appliance.

Consider these top-loaders. First, the good news. You can find a large capacity high-efficiency top-loader that uses a lot less water than a conventional top-loader yet is impressive at cleaning and costs $600 or less. We found five washers from Maytag, Kenmore and Whirlpool that fit the bill, but all five are relatively noisy. Here are the details.

Check out these dryers. The Whirlpool Cabrio WED5800BW is $700 and a CR Best Buy. It was superb at drying, has a large capacity, and is relatively quiet. We expect a similar model, the $600 Whirlpool Cabrio WED5500BW, to perform similarly, although it may differ in features. The $600 Maytag MEDE200X[W] didn’t make our top picks but was impressive in all our tests and is relatively quiet. Gas dryers cost anywhere from $80 to $150 more. When shopping for a dryer while trying to save money, pass on a thermostat model and choose a dryer with a moisture sensor. It will do a better job detecting when your laundry is dry and stop the machine. That’s easier on fabrics and saves money.

Impressive pairs for $1,600 or less. Now about those matching pairs. In our report "Top-rated matching washers and dryers," we found four sets that were impressive in our tests and range in price from $1,400 to $1,600. And yes, some are relatively noisy. For a quieter couple, you’ll have to pay so take the opportunity to try out your haggling skills.

—Kimberly Janeway

   

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