Best Washing Machines and Dishwashers (Chapter 2)

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Chapter 2

Front Loading Washing Machines Although front loading washing machines have been used for commercial purposes for quite some time, it is only recently that they have gained both acceptance and popularity at homes. These days, you find most shops for home appliances displaying at least one, more often than not several models of such machines. Quite naturally, curious customers are now eager to understand what their main features and advantages are. Front loading washing machines operate in a manner different from their top loading counterparts. Their only similarities are that both use detergent and water and spin at the end of the wash to remove water.

Top-loading washers use a big agitator that forces clothes back and forth through soapy water, and then again through clean water to rinse out detergent. In these machines, the tub spins vertically. In front loading washing machines, however, the tub spins horizontally. Front loaders have no agitator to move the clothes through the water; the movement of the tub causes the clothes to be lifted out of and plunged back in the water again and again.

Front loading washing machines have several advantages over their top loading rivals. Front loading machines can save a lot of energy, and can prolong the life of the clothes washed in them. They also do not make much noise and have larger capacities. Due to its special wash mechanism, a front loading washing machine uses much less quantity of water than top loading machines. Use of less water means using less energy. As a result, one has to pay lower energy bills.

As front loading washing machines spin at a faster pace than top loaders, the clothes coming out of the former are drier than those coming out of the latter. It is a great advantage for anyone who needs to do several loads in one day as it saves the person a lot of time. In the process, front loading washing machines also use less dryer energy as the quantity of water required to be dried is also less. They also use less amount of soap. It is beneficial in two ways: first, it reduces the spending on detergents which are quite expensive and second, it spares the earth a lot of difficulties as detergents are known to contain several chemicals that are not biodegradable. Clothes can last longer if washed in front loading washing machines. In that case, users can save money. Clothes last longer because front loading machines are gentler and also because they reduce drying time.

However, front loading washing machines are more expensive to buy and available in fewer models. Buyers, however, can compensate for the initial expense by lower utility bills in the future.

As days pass by, front load washing machines are steadily and surely becoming the most sought-after choice among consumers. Conventional top load washing machines with agitators may still be a force to reckon with, but front load washing machines are gaining ground, because of their excellent washing performance, large capacity, water and energy efficiency, and noise-free, quiet operation. The mechanisms used by front load washing machines and top load washing machines are different from each other. They are akin to each other in just two respects: both use water and detergent, and both spin at the end of the wash to get rid of the water. Front load washers do not use agitators like their top load counterparts. Unlike top loaders where the tub spins vertically, front load washers spin horizontally.

Front load washing machines have an edge over their top load cousins in several aspects. Compared to top loaders, they are more energy-efficient and also quieter while in operation. Front loaders usually have bigger capacities than conventional washers.

The energy-efficiency of front load washing machines is because of the comparatively less amount of water they need to use for cleaning clothes. As a large part of the energy used by any washing machine is spent on heating the water, those using less water consequently use less energy. Front load washing machines, as they spin faster, are able to supply you with drier clothes making them great favorites of customers who are required to do a number of loads on a daily basis. Again, as these machines use less soap, they not only save money for users but also reduce environment hazards because detergents are costly and contain a lot of chemicals that are not readily biodegradable.

Clothes last longer if you wash then on a front load washing machine. The increased longevity of clothes also helps users save some money. Front load washing machines also offer consumers a number of options. One of them is washing clothes at temperatures that can kill bacteria and mildew. Another one is stackability, meaning that many of them are stackable without giving up much washing capacity, a welcome quality for people who live in compact homes.

Front load washing machines are, however, not without their drawbacks. First, they are quite costly although the initial expenditure can be recouped in utility bills later on. They still have much fewer models to choose from when compared to their top load cousins. As a result, one may have to remain content with a white set even if he/she wanted a different color. Besides, all detergents are not suitable for front-loading washing machines. Users may discover that they have to change brands, or even look in a few stores before finding a machine that will work.

Perhaps everybody has heard by now that washing machines that front load clothes, i.e., those that have doors on the front are much more efficient than their top loading cousins. Front loading washing machines, although seemingly more expensive, spend much less water and energy making them a profitable bargain in the long run. For comparing the two types of washing machines, i.e., front loading and top loading, we can use a jar with a lid, a rag that can be divided into pieces and a pair of scissors.

Assume that the jar is a washing machine and fill a quarter of it with water. Now cut the rag into small pieces of cloth by the scissors and put those into the water. Continue to add new pieces till the jar is pretty full, and then put the lid on. Keep the jar upright, and turn the jar first one way then the other. This is more or less the method in which top loading washing machines work. Now notice the change by putting the jar on its side and slowly turning the jar as you hold it on its side. This is the way a front loading washing machine works. It is evident that when you are front loading clothes into a washing machine, you will need less water, hence energy for cleaning them. The tumbling action of front loading washing machines ensures a much better cleaning performance by them.

Although both front loading and top loading washing machines use water and detergent, their mechanisms are entirely different. Top loaders use an agitator and are called vertical-axis washers, because the tub spins vertically. On the other hand, front loading washing machines spin horizontally, and are sometimes known as called horizontal-axis washers. Front loading washing machines do not have any agitator; the movement of the tub itself causes the clothes to be repeatedly lifted out of the water and plunged back in.

By virtue of these features, front loading washing machines are more energy efficient and quieter than top loaders. Generally of larger capacities, front loading washing machines also extend the life of clothing washed in them. As front loading washing machines spin faster, the clothes they churn out are drier than those coming out of a top-loader. This reduction in drying time leads to less spending of dryer energy, because there is less water to be dried by heat. As front loading washing machines use less soap, they save money for users and serve the cause of the earth by reducing the use of expensive, but harmful detergents that contain a lot of chemicals that are not readily biodegradable.


Compact washing machines If you are willing to add a washing machine to your existing home appliances, you should carefully consider a few factors. Or else, the huge number of washing machines vying for your attention will surely leave you confused. You should, to begin with, know for sure how much space is there in your kitchen, how much laundry do you wash per week, and what type of fabrics do you wash. You will need a compact washing machine if you do not have enough space at your disposal and need to wash only a limited amount of clothing every week. A compact washing machine with a load of 3-4 kg will then meet your requirements, although you won't get the rage of programs you are likely to get in a full-size machine. In case space is lacking, you can also stack a washing machine with a tumble dryer or get a washer-dryer.

While full-size washing machines are usually about 27 inches wide, compact washing machines are in most cases 24 inches wide or less. These compact machines are capable of washing 8 to 12 pounds of laundry. You can stack a compact front-loading washing machine with a compact dryer. There are a few compact machines that can be stored in a closet and rolled out to be hooked up to the kitchen sink. These compact washing machines cost between $450 and $1,700. Washer-dryer laundry centers contain a washer and dryer in one unit, with the dryer placed on top of the washer. These can be either full-sized or compact. Their prices vary from $700 to $1,900.

The Wonder Washer is an excellent compact washing machine that is most suitable for small loads and hand washables. It is easy o carry along, and is capable of handling delicate clothes. The Wonder Washer is the best solution for any place where there is shortage of space. So, it is ideal for dormitories, or apartments. This compact washing machine can wash woolens, silks, knitted dresses and cashmere garments. It has a patented pressure system that forces detergent into the fabric at high speed resulting in a fast, efficient, economic and easy wash. The machine, having a capacity of seven liters, weighs just 8 lb. Haier also makes several compact washing machines. Its 6.6-lb, 0.91 cubic feet capacity top loading portable washing machine is perfectly portable and is available with a handy sink adapter. You can hook it up if you need it, put it aside if you don't. The Whirlpool compact portable washer LCE4332PWH could also be a good choice.

Portable Washing Machines Many people still tend to believe that a portable washing machine is no more than a figment of some overoptimistic people's imagination. Cynics have always doubted the effectiveness of such portable washing machines, if there are any. Well, even if they fail to fully satisfy a demanding customer, some portable washing machines are now available in the market or on the anvil and they have found some users too. Although no sane person is likely to be too eager to take a washing machine while traveling, he/she may change his/her mind there is a lightweight, fully operational version that doesn't take up too much space.

Take for example the Astone Mobile Washer. Because of its unique inflatable design, the washing machine is so small that you can carry it anywhere you like. It is a perfect portable washing machine that can be used for campervan trips, weekenders, camping or motel stays. The machine weighs only2 kg, and when inflated, can hold 6.5 litres of water. In addition to being portable, it is also capable of giving the gentle treatment needed for delicate clothes. Another potable option may be the Kenmore 2.1 cubic foot compact portable top load clothes washer. This portable washing machine has two water levels and three temperature settings. That enables users to do just about anything a regular washing machine can handle. It is priced at about $500.

The GE Spacemaker WSLP1100DWW Washer is a 2.5 cubic feet top loading portable washing machine. Priced at about $600, it is ideal for small apartments where space is limited. Its ten wash cycles and three different water/rinse temperatures enable users to get the exact wash he or she is looking for. Everything is monitored by the user-friendly Electronic-One-Touch Controls with LED read out. Moreover, the One-Touch Loading Sensor automatically sets the water level to reduce waste.

Haier has also come up with a number of portable washing machines. Its HLP21E top load washer has 0.91 cu/ ft capacity, and can take 6.6 lb. load. The device runs without making much sound and is available in white. Its price is $236. Haier XQJ50-31, having electronic touch, digital display and delayed start timer, can handle a load of 11 lb. It costs $332.99. Haier XQB60-91BF is a top load portable washing machine that can handle a load of 13.2 lb. Its price is $350. Haier HLP20E has a capacity of 1.15 cubic feet featuring electronic touch, end-of-cycle signal, fuzzy logic. Priced at $249.00, the machine operates quietly.

Danby DWM99W top load washer can take a load of 9.26 lb. It costs $299 and operates quietly. At $319, Avanti W797 top load washer is yet another portable washing machine that can handle 12 lb.

Travel Washing Machines Carrying a washing machine while you travel does not seem to be a realistic idea for many. Most people tend to dismiss such an idea as nothing short of absurd. However, all such skepticism notwithstanding, some washing machines are already in the market, and a few more in the pipeline, with which you won't hesitate to travel. These lightweight, user-friendly washing machines may come in handy while traveling as they do not take up too much space.

Let us have a look at the Astone Mobile Washer. As the machine can be inflated, it is so small that you can carry it anywhere you travel to. Because of this quality, this washing machine is highly suitable for campervan trips, weekenders, camping or motel stays. The Astone Mobile washer weighs just 2 kg, and when inflated, can hold 6.5 liters of water. Apart from being portable, it can also give the gentle treatment required for delicate clothes. Another choice for travelers may be the Kenmore 2.1 cubic foot compact portable top load washing machine. This machine has two water levels and three temperature settings. Because of this, you can do everything a regular washing machine is expected to handle. The Kenmore machine costs about $500.

Another washing machine that deserves a look is the Wonder Washer. You can travel anywhere with this washing machine. It is most suitable for dormitories, apartments, RV, or any place where there is shortage of space. Campers will find it highly convenient and useful. The Wonder Washer can handle small loads and delicate clothes. Is ideal for campers, single persons and even for the housewife with small frequent loads like hand washables and diapers. It can wash woolens, silks, knitted dresses and cashmere garments. Its patented pressure system forces detergent into the fabric at high speed for a fast, efficient, economic and easy wash. You do not need plumbing either. Simply fill with water, detergent, and laundry and set timer for up to 15 minutes on high or low cycle. Weighing only 8 lb, it has a capacity of seven liters. Some such mini portable washing machines, which you can take along when you travel, are made in China. Shandong Littleduck Group Import and Export Co., Ltd. They can supply you a small washing machine suitable to be carried anywhere. Weighing 6.5 kg, it has body dimensions of 430x320x330 mm. The washing machine's pack dimensions are 505 x 395 x 360mm. Several such mini portable washing machines are available in brands Whirlpool, Avanti, GE, and Bosch.


Hand powered washing machines The first washing "machine" we know of was the scrub board which made its appearance in 1797. After nearly half a century, the hand powered washing machine was invented which resembled today's washing machines. An American by the name of James King patented the first washing machine in 1851. He used a drum in his machine which made it look like a modern machine. However, although referred to as "machine," it was still hand powered at that time. Clothes were scrubbed against the rough board thereby doing away with the need for sand. Still, the process of washing needed a lot of labor. There were mechanical washing machines in the early 1800s, but all of them were hand powered. Models developed in the early stages cleaned clothes by rubbing them, while later models performed the same job by moving clothes through water. Around the middle of the nineteenth century, commercial washers began to be powered by steam, but home washing machines remained entirely hand powered till the beginning of the twentieth century. In 1874, an American merchant named William Blackstone presented his wife with a washing machine devised by himself. His washing machine, although hand powered, succeeded in eliminating the hand-scrubbing from everyday washing. In Blackstone's washing machine, a small, flat, pegged piece of wood placed inside the tub was moved by an outer hand-crank to removed grit from clothes.

If we go back in time, we find that stonewashing was the order of the day 500 years ago when all clothes were cleaned using this method. It is another story that we still use stonewashing for our favorite jeans. In their formative years, washing "machines" used the simplest of tools: sand, stones, and old-fashioned elbow grease. Clothes were scrubbed with sand, pounded against rocks and then given a final stream-water rinse.

After Blackstone hit the market with his washing machines, he faced competition in full force. His competitors used more advanced technologies to get the better of Blackstone. Wringers were developed and added to washing machines; metal began to be used instead of at the turn of the century. After the invention of the steam engine, electric motors were added and by 1906, motor-powered washing machines made their appearance. Washing machines those days had motors that rotated the tub. In 1907, Maytag introduced its first washing machine that featured a rotary handle and flywheel. The first modern "wash cycle" appeared in the 1930s when Bendix Aviation Corporation came up with its automatic washing machine, that was capable of washing clothes and drain washing water away in one single sequence. As we look at the sophisticated washing machines of today, we realize we have come a long way from the days of hand powered washing machines.

Commercial Washing Machines Commercial washing machines are necessary in all those places where large-scale cleanings are required. As such, these machines are mostly used in hotels, motels, restaurants, industrial laundries, hospitals and professional cleaners all across the world. Some of these heavy-duty commercial washing machines may include user-friendly, state-of-the-art microprocessor touch controls. With the help of these controls, operators can choose the perfect wash and rinse temperature. These commercial machines use technologies that reduce water and sewer costs, and also automatically dispense and thoroughly dissolve starch. Those machines having water recirculation facilities allow water to be recycled, strained and re-pumped, allowing the water to "rain" down, much like hand washing. Some commercial washing machines also use an environmentally-friendly process for cleaning. Available in different designs, you can find commercial machines that fit all your needs regardless of the size of your business.

Companies such as UniMac make various types of commercial washing machines, flatwork ironer and tumble dryers. Like UniMac, Chinese company Jiangsu Sea-Lion Machinery Group also specializes in manufacturing commercial washing machines, churning out about 10,000 sets every year. The Sea-Lion products are popular in hotels and restaurants, and also in hospitals, railways, troops, universities and colleges and some washing and dyeing industrials, spread over nearly 30 nations.

UniMac's Rigid Mount UW35PV best suits medium to high volume laundries. This commercial washing machine gives more importance to lower operating costs than machine purchase prices. It is used mostly in hotels, nursing homes, professional sports clubs, correctional facilities, fire departments and professional cleaners. The features of this machine include four fast fill inlet valves, rapid Jetspray rinse, super high 300 G-force extraction, 39-cycle programmable control and ultra soft wash. The company's UW35AV will give you the same style frame design as the premium high performance models at a great value. This commercial washing machine is ideal for motels and shirt laundries. Its features include 160 G-force extraction, heavy-duty bearings, extra strong Gamma A-frame design, 30-cycle programmable control and 5-year limited warranty on mainframe and cylinder shaft assembly.

Sea-Lion RZ-II Portrait finishing machine is suitable for hotels, restaurants, hostels, laundering and dyeing fields to treat high quality garments after being dry cleaned or washed, such as coat, western style clothes, jacket, Chinese tunic clothes, and woolen clothes. The company's SX series commercial washing machines are suitable for laundry, laundering and dyeing shops, hostels, troops, hospitals, hotels, blanching and dyeing factories, large and middle size enterprises and service fields for washing various fabrics made of cotton, wool, linen and chemical fiber.

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