Is It Worth Buying A Washer Dryer?

If you’re short of space the idea of a combined washing machine and tumble dryer might be appealing. But is it really worth buying a washer dryer? 

In this article we look into the pros and cons of washer dryers and whether a washer dryer is the best choice.

What Is A Washer Dryer?

Instead of having two stand alone appliances, taking up all that floor space, a washer dryer is a combined washing machine and tumble dryer. On the face of it, having just one machine that performs both functions sounds like a good idea.

They offer all of the programs available on a mid to high end washing machine and tumble dryer, but take up only as much space as a single appliance. If you live in a relatively small home, you can already see the main advantage.

However, washer dryers have a far more complicated plumbing system than stand alone washing machines and tumble dryers. The washing process is pretty much the same as on a stand alone washing machine, it’s the tumble drying aspect where things differ so much.

The dryer on a washer dryer works in a similar way to a condenser dryer using a heat exchange unit to convert the hot air into water that is pumped directly out through the drainage pipe. In a condenser dryer, the fins on the heat exchanger are air cooled but on a washer dryer they are water cooled.

Which means washer dryers use far more water than regular tumble dryers. If you’re on a water meter, or you’re concerned about your water usage, washer dryers might not be the best choice for you.

Who isn’t looking for an easier way to get the laundry done? Using a washer dryer, you can put the dirty washing in the machine, and allow it to wash and dry your clothes without having to touch it again.

But can you? Let’s look into washer dryers in more detail, we’ll start with the pros and cons.

What Are The Pros & Cons Of Washer Dryers?


There are good and bad points with everything in life and washer dryers are no exception. As we said, in theory, washer dryers appear to be a great solution to the type of problems facing many people nowadays. Let’s start with the pros;

What Are The Advantages Of Washer Dryers?

The main advantages of owning a washer dryer include;

  • They’re space saving
    Takes up half the space of two separate machines
  • Overall good washing ability
    The quality of washing is comparable to an equivalent stand alone front loading washing machine
  • They’re completely hands free
    Once loaded into the machine, clothes can be washed and dried without any need for your interference (no need to load wet clothes into the dryer)
  • Can be used as individual appliances
    You can use the washer or the dryer independently of each other
  • Comparably priced
    Although the price of a washer dryer is typically more than a washing machine or tumble dryer,the purchase cost is roughly the equivalent to less than buying a separate washing machine and tumble dryer
  • There’s no need to drain the water removed by tumble drying
    As the machine is plumbed in, there’s no need to manually drain the water after tumble drying
  • There’s no need for a vent on the tumble dryer
    As the machine is plumbed in and works as a condenser dryer, the need for a vent and a position near an outside wall is eliminated.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Washer Dryers?

The main disadvantages of washer dryers include;

  • You can only dry half as many clothes as you can wash
    Washer dryers can only typically dry half as many clothes as can be washed. Which means washing a lower amount in each wash if you require drying too
  • You will probably overload the machine
    There’s a strong likelihood of overloading the washer dryer as a result of not being able to dry as much as you can wash
  • It takes extra time
    You have to wait for the machine to finish drying before you can wash another load (not so good if you have several wash loads to do)
  • Don’t always fit under worktops
    Some washer dryers are bigger than standard washing machines which can cause problems with fitting the appliance under a worktop etc
  • It uses excess water
    Many washer dryers use a huge amount of water during the drying process to cool the heat exchanger. This water is drawn through your water supply which can be expensive if you’re on a water meter.
  • The potential for more frequent breakdowns
    Washer dryers tend to be more complicated machines than washing machines and separate tumble dryers (extra components and more to go wrong)
  • Not generally considered to be as reliable as separate appliances
    Although not so much now, earlier washer dryer combos were the least reliable appliances
  • Extremely long washing and drying times
    Washer dryers have programs that are far longer than those found on typical separate appliances
  • Inconvenient downtime
    If the washing function breaks down, there’s a strong possibility that you won’t be able to use the dryer until it’s fixed and vice versa
  • Poor drying capabilities
    Washer dryers often don’t dry clothes as well as tumble dryers due to poor sensors
  • Insufficient rinsing
    Washer dryers are not usually too good at rinsing clothes which often means the clothes need an extra rinse before they can be dried. This adds to the overall washing and drying time or leaves clothes with detergent residue which could cause problems to those with sensitive skins

What Are The Pros & Cons Of Having Separate Washing Machines & Tumble Dryers?

Washing Machine

Many of the pros & cons of owning a separate washing machine and tumble dryer are obvious after reading the pros & cons of washer dryers but let’s go through them.

What Are The Advantages Of Having A Separate Washer & Dryer?

The main advantages of owning separate washing machines and tumble dryers include;

  • You can use both appliances at the same time
    There’s no need to wait for the wash load to finish before drying a previous load.
  • The machines are independent of each other
    If the washing machine breaks down, you can still use the tumble dryer and vice versa
  • You can wash and dry larger amounts of laundry
    You can wash and dry similar amounts of washing because tumble dryers tend to have greater drying capacity than washer dryers
  • Both machines do what they do best
    Washing machines are designed to wash clothes efficiently and tumble dryers are designed to dry clothes efficiently. Enabling you to select the perfect washing (and drying) program for your laundry and not a compromise between the two

What Are The Disadvantages Of Having A Separate Washer & Dryer?

The disadvantages of owning a separate washing machine and tumble dryer include;

  • The initial outlay is greater
    Buying two separate appliances will cost more money than buying one washer dryer. You could reduce the price somewhat by not purchasing the most expensive appliances but a separate washing machine and tumble dryer will still cost more than a single washer dryer.
  • The floor space taken by two appliances is greater
    Obviously, buying two full sized appliances will take up twice as much space as a single washer dryer. You can get stackable appliances but they can be limiting and you need the vertical space to accommodate them.
  • Extra installation costs
    If you’re installing a single washer dryer, all of the installation is done in one go. However, separate appliances will both need to be installed. The washing machine will need to be plumbed in and the tumble dryer will need to be either vented or you’ll need to remember to empty the water reservoir after every use.

So, Is It Better To Buy A Washer Dryer?

The reality is only you can decide whether a washer dryer is worth buying for you. 

Washer dryers are typically cheaper to buy than separate washing machines and tumble dryers and are great if space is at a premium in your home. Plus they work well for smaller families, couples or single people.

However, they tend to use more water, take longer to wash and dry your laundry, have limited drying capacity (often half that of the wash capacity), and there are more components to break down which can mean expensive repair bills.

Separate washing machines and tumble dryers on the other hand, are designed specifically to wash or dry clothes and work well for large families or households that generate lots of laundry. Added to which, if one appliance breaks down, you can still use the other one.

However, it will cost more to buy and install two separate machines and they need extra floor space.

As with so many things in life, the choice is yours. We hope this article has highlighted the main pros & cons of each choice and allows you to make the best informed decision for you and your household.

Why are goalkeepers so good at doing their laundry?
Because they love keeping clean sheets! 😂


Frequently Asked Questions

Why does a washer dryer only dry half as many clothes as it can wash?

The washing and drying capacities of a washer dryer are different because clothes can be crammed in tighter to wash them but to dry properly they need extra space around them.

Do washer dryers have lint filters?

No, washer dryers don’t have lint filters because the lint is flushed directly down the drain.

Why do washer dryers use so much water?

Washer dryers use a lot of water in the drying process. This is because the heat exchanger is water cooled and as the dryer takes so long to dry laundry, it needs a lot of cold water to dry.

Is it advisable to buy a washer and dryer or a washer dryer?

Whether it’s better to buy a washer dryer or a separate washing machine and tumble dryer depends on the amount of room you have and the size of your household. Washer dryers work well in small homes with one or two occupants. For larger families, a separate washing machine and tumble dryer is more suited.

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