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There are two major types of washers: front loading and top loading. Front loading washers are available in greater capacities and some models can be placed under tabletops or have a tumble dryer mounted above them, while top loaders are easier to get clothes in and out of. Both kinds of washers come with a variety of features:
Capacity: This is measured by kilograms of dry cotton clothing. A typical top loading washer can hold 5kg of clothing, while some front loading models go all the way up to 9kg. A good rule of thumb is to buy 5kg plus another 1kg for each person in the household.
Fuzzy Logic, AutoLoad, and Sensor Technology: These features all do the same thing: calculate exactly how much clothing is inside, letting it adjust the amount of water and detergent used, ensuring a perfect wash with as little waste as possible. Washers with this feature only need to be set to the type of clothing that is being washed.
Spin cycle: The faster the washer drum can spin, the more water it can remove from your clothes, cutting drying time. Tumble dryers use much more electricity than washers, so buying a washer with good spin drying performance will also save on electricity. However, fast spin cycles can be hard on delicate clothes; if you're worried about this, look for a washer that lets you vary the spin cycle speed.
Timer: Some washers can be set to do a load of clothing at night when electricity prices are cheaper.
Like other appliances, washers have an EU energy label which provides information on its efficiency. Unlike other labels, there are three letter grades used on washer labels. The primary letter grade is for the electricity used per kilogram of clothing; this is based on a full load of cotton fabric at 60 degrees. An "A" rated washer will use one third less electricity than one with a "C" rating. There are also letter grades on washing performance and spin cycle drying. The large letter on the label is the average of these three measurements. The label also includes information on load capacity, water consumption, spin drying speed, and noise.
Combination washer/tumble dryers are also on the market for a little more than a separate washer and dryer. While this may seem convenient, keep in mind that the drying capacity is generally less than the washing capacity, so you may need to split the drying into two separate loads.
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