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Why do washers and dryers cost so much?

Plus top-performing laundry pairs for $1,600 or less

Published: July 23, 2014 08:00 AM

Pricey pair
LG WM8500HVA washer and matching LG DLEX8500V dryer

Consumer Reports' top-rated front-loader, the LG WM8500HVA, has 14 cycles, holds about 26 pounds of laundry, and comes in eye-catching graphite stainless steel, but it costs $1,600. That’s $3,200 if you also buy the matching dryer, the LG DLEX8500V, and $3,800 if you add optional pedestals to raise the machines by almost 14 inches so that you don’t have to bend as much to load and unload laundry. Blame the rising cost of manufacturing and transportation, as well as much larger capacities, stainless-steel drums, added ­cycles and features, and even ­improved styling for machines that are meant to be seen.

But you can save money by following these tips: Specialty cycles take out the guesswork, but they also up the price. Our tests have found that basic cycles can handle most laundry chores, and our surveys have found that most subscribers use the normal cycles most of the time anyway. So ask yourself if you really want to pay for a dedicated bedding cycle to wash your sheets and comforters, or a special cycle for your jeans.

Before you shop, look online for rebates and special offers from manufacturers, retailers, and utilities. Then haggle to bring down the price, or have delivery or installation costs waived or lowered. If the price is still too high, search manufacturers’ online outlets, which sell overstocked and discontinued models. But see how the models did in our tests or the brand’s performance history. Remember, they’re only a bargain if they do their job.

Matching pairs for $1,600 or less

The best washers and top dryers in Consumer Reports' tests are typically among the most expensive. But if your budget is around $1,600 or less, take a look at the pairs that did well in our tests and that won't break the bank. A word of caution. Some are relatively noisy but that's okay if your laundry room is in the basement. Here are four pairs to consider.

Find more top-notch matching washers and dryers.

—Kimberly Janeway

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