When a family is dealing with a small laundry room, one way to save space is by opting for either a stackable washer/dryer or an all-in-one washing machine. Knowing the advantages one has over the other and each type’s unique drawback will help greatly in making the right choice for a small laundry room.
Small laundry room space saved
Stacking frees up more floor space for use as additional storage space or, at the very least, provides more elbow room within the laundry area. It uses up vertical space though, so it may limit overhead storage space.
An all-in-one unit saves both vertical and horizontal space. Those with cramped laundry areas will appreciate this benefit greatly. A Viewpoints reader had this to say about the LG 2.7 CF Combo Washer-Dryer White, an all-in-one washing machine:
“I wanted a washer and dryer in the barn to make it more convenient. With limited space next to the shower in the barn, this LG combo washer/dryer was the perfect solution.” —Mishie01
Larger families that generate a lot of laundry will find that a large-capacity stackable washer and dryer saves more time than an equivalent capacity all-in-one. The main reason for this is that both the washer and the dryer can be operated at the same time. A stackable dryer’s capacity is also generally somewhat higher than a comparable all-in-one.
The dryer capacity of a combo machine is generally lower than its wash capacity by as much as one third. Large households will find having to dry a wash load in batches to be time-consuming. However, if the load is small enough for the dryer to handle, a lot of time can be saved, making it more ideal for those living alone or for small households.
The following comment made by a Viewpoints reader with a small family reflects the difference between the two machines. She also has an LG combo washer-dryer.
“It is a washer dry combo. It takes time. It drys with steam. I don’t mind the time it takes.” —claxtonapril
Small laundry room ease of use
The height of the user is important when using a stackable washer/dryer. In general, people below 5’6″ in height will find this setup very trying. Reaching for dried laundry and reaching for the controls would be challenging. Some dryers get around the second difficulty by providing a moveable operating interface that can be transferred from top to front. When it comes to maintenance, a washer-dryer stack would also be harder to manhandle than an all-in-one.
Some people may complain that a front loading all-in-one is not that easy to use because one has to bend over to access it. This can easily be solved by placing the machine on a pedestal. In terms of maintenance, its lighter weight and overall smaller dimension make it more maneuverable. People who are not tall, or are confined to a wheelchair, will find such a combo machine easier to use than a tall stackable washer-dryer pair.
This repairman comment from a Viewpoints reader indicates that a stackable washer/dryer—a Kenmore Front Load Stacked Washer/Dryer in this case—is harder to fix than an all-in-one machine:
“One of the main problems with it as we have found is [it's] hard for the repairman to fix. We’ve had it fixed only once in the past 8 years. But he said these things are hard to fix because [it's] hard to get to.” —tmaadman
If one component of a washer-dryer stack needs to be replaced, the owner only disposes of the component – either washer or dryer – that needs replacing. For what it’s worth, if one is undergoing repair, the other may still be used. Neither of these is true for an all-in-one.
Which one would be best depends on available space, typical load, and the person who would be operating the machine. In general, larger families would probably find a stackable washer/dryer more suited to their needs while those living alone might like an all-in-one better.