In the market for a washing machine and dryer but tight on space? Or exploring an alternative to your full-size, energy-guzzling setup? Consider a compact washer and dryer. Small enough to slide under a counter and efficient, they're now loaded with features that used to be reserved for the big boys.
Above: Not surprisingly, the compact laundry category is dominated by European brands, such as Asko (shown), Miele, and Bosch, whose compact designs are the standard size in Europe.
What exactly does compact mean? These machines measure in at the same size as most dishwashers: 34-inches high, 24-inches wide and 24-inches deep. They're not the apartment-style combination machines of yore; instead, they're like sports cars: compact, high-performance machines that get the job done efficiently and well.
• At standard cabinet dimensions of 24-inches wide and 34-inches tall, compact machines are easily installed into kitchen, bathroom, and other cabinetry.
• Compact machines are versatile: they can be stacked or placed side by side and slid under a counter.
• These machines are easy to camouflage. Some are available with fronts that seamlessly blend with your existing cabinetry.
• Compact machines are not budget items. While they do cost less to run, they're more expensive than their full-sized counterparts.
• They're not for high-volume laundry households. Compact washers accommodate loads about two-thirds the size of full-sized, 27-inch-wide machines. Washing for a crowd? See 10 Easy Pieces: Front Loading Washers.
Here, our picks in the compact category:
Above: Family-owned German company Miele dominates the compact laundry machine market in terms of experience and quality. Miele models also offer the largest capacity and highest spin speeds in the category. The Miele 24-inch Front Loading Washer (W3037) has a 2.52 cubic-foot capacity and 18 wash programs, the most gentle of which allows you to launder clothing formerly headed to the dry cleaner. It's $1,999 and pairs with the Miele 24-inch Electric Dryer (T8003), which has 8 drying cycles and a stainless-steel honeycomb drum to facilitate fast drying; $1,499, both at Abt.
Above: Miele offers a compact washer with door panel (instead of a porthole glass drum) and a flat control panel. The Miele Decor 24-Inch Washer (W3039i) can be stacked or placed side by side (as shown). Available only in white, it is $2,399. It partners with the Miele Decor Electric Condenser Dryer (T8019Ci), which offers 3.9 cubic-feet of ventless drying, flat controls, and a cabinet door panel; $1,999, both at US Appliance.
Above: Bosch's compact washers and dryers are Miele's biggest competitor: They're slightly less expensive and receive high ratings. The top-of-the-line Bosch Axxis Plus Series Washer (WAP24202UC) is an Energy Star-rated machine equipped with a 2.2 cubic-foot capacity and 15 wash programs, including a 15-minute quick wash cycle. It's $1,259.10. Pair it with the Bosch Axxis Plus Series Ventless Dryer (WTB86202UC) for $1,259.10. Both at AJ Madison. Looking for a compact size but not necessarily counter height? Consider using the Bosch Laundry Pedestal with Drawer, which raises the company's compact machines and provides storage space; $224.10.
Above: The entry-level Bosch Axxis Series Washer (WAS20160UC), priced at $899.00, is one of the more affordable options. An Energy Star-rated machine, it has 15 wash cycles and a 2.2 cubic-foot capacity. It pairs with the Bosch Axxis Vented Electric Dryer (WTV76100US); consider using the Bosch Stacking Kit ($71.20), which comes with a pull-out tray for an instant laundry counter. (Note that our sources warn that Bosch is winding down its production of vented dryers.) Available through AJ Madison.
Above: The 24-inch, front-loading Asko UltraCare Line Series Classic Washer (W6424) has a 2.12 cubic-foot capacity and features 9 wash programs, a stainless steel drum with a glass door, and Energy Star rating. Available in a white or titanium finish; $1,249 and $1,349 respectively. It pairs with the Asko Line Series Classic Vented Electric Dryer (T754), which has a 3.9 cubic-foot capacity, 6 drying functions, and comes with a cabinet-style door in white or titanium, $929 and $949 respectively. Asko also offers a condenser dryer for setups that can't accommodate vents. The Asko Line Series Classic Condenser Dryer (T754C) is $1,199. All available at Elite Appliance.
Above: The Asko Designer Series Fully Integrated Washer (W6984FI) and its mate, the Asko Fully Integrated Electric Dryer (T794FI), blend in seamlessly with existing cabinetry. The cabinet-size units come ready to accommodate your custom cabinet panel. The fully integrated, front-loading washer and dryer can sit side by side (as shown) or stacked; they offer a multitude of features and hidden control panels for complete invisibility. The washer is $2,299 and the dryer $1,749 (for the vented model). Available at AJ Madison.
For more ideas, peruse our gallery of posts on Laundry and Utility Rooms, including 10 Favorites: Clever Laundry Rooms, Space-Saving Edition and Design Sleuth: 5 Sources for Built-in Ironing Boards.