What is a Smart Washer and Dryer?
Laundry. One of the least favorite household tasks there is, at least at my house. There is no way around, people need clean clothes. Smart Technology is supposed to make our lives easier, so will adding those smart features to your washer and dryer make this task any easier, or at the very least bearable?
Well, lets first start by defining what a smart washer and dryer actually is. Smart washer and dryers are connected to your smart home ecosystem and allow you to automate and monitor the progress of your washing and drying cycles from your phone or tablet. You can receive notifications when a load is done, set schedules, and when appropriate, control them with your voice assistant.
Will adding a smart washer and dryer to your connected home help make this task any easier? Maybe. There are a lot of benefits of these smart appliances and there are a lot of features most people just won’t get any use out of. It really comes down to how you plan on integrating these into your home and if the added features will be of use to you and your family.
At the very least, most of the smart washer and dryers look pretty cool. This alone makes doing laundry a little better, right?
“Dumb’ Vs. “Smart” Washer and Dryers
A lot of us have the “dumb” washers now and know how they work. Put dirty clothes in, set the load size and push start. Then hope we don’t forget about it and come back later to a stinky, mildew filled tub of cleanish dirty clothes that need to be washed again (story of my life).
In many ways, smart washer and dryers are similar to there “dumb” counterparts. Both wash and dry the clothes, some better than others. Both still require you to load them and switch them over from the washer to the dryer. Both have different wash setting for the different types of clothes you may have, again some have more than others. When you look at what they were designed to do, there is not much difference.
Hot or cold washes, no matter the washer or dryer you choose, you will be covered. Most new washer and dryers are coming out with noise reduction, something my household could desperately use for sure.
What is different is how you interact with them. Smart washer and dryers give you the ability to check in on them when they are doing what they do, which is keeping your favorite shirt or best jeans clean. These smart appliances tie into your existing connect home and bring those automated and monitoring ability to your laundry room.
You will have the ability to start a wash when you want from your phone or tablet or ask Alexa to start it for you. The questions is, does that make your life easier. Again, thats up to you to decide.
Some of these new washers and dryers do have another cool feature where instead of telling the wash when to start, you tell it when to finish. Don’t want your clothes sitting in the washer all day when you are at work? Well, have them finish right when you plan to be home. Not every smart washer will offer this feature at the moment but the WF45R6300AV washer by Samsung recently debuted and includes it. Sounds pretty useful to me.
Samsung is also offering a lot of cool features in its new app. Tell the washer what types of clothes you are washing and it will recommend some wash cycles for you.
Some also offer self monitoring related to maintenance. If something does go wrong, the app can help point you in the right direction.
Smart washers and dryers let you monitor the washing progress and let you know how much time is remaining on a cycle. When a load is done, you will receive a notification reminding you. Kind of cool, right?
Now some of these features are not offered with every smart washer and dryer. Be sure to look at the specs so you know exactly what you are getting.
Surprisingly, there is not much of a price difference in smart washer and dryers. Now, this will come down to the brand and model you are looking at but you will find most washers and dryers fall into the $800-$2500 price range.
Price will vary based on the type and size of washer and dryer you are looking for. With all of the features being offered in washer and dryers, smart or not, prices tend to crawl pretty high.
Front load, top load, double din and whether the dryer is gas or electric will all come in to play when pricing the appliances.
The price may seem like a lot but the average front load washer will last about 14 years. That number is based on 1 load of laundry every day, seven days a week.
Dryers can last up to 12 years. That span extends if you maintain it properly and clean the lint trap regularly.
Fun fact: While front load washers may typically cost more, they have been shown to wash clothes better and be more energy and water efficient. They use on average 40% less water than top load washers.
Your top models from Samsung, LG or Whirlpool will obviously set you back a bit more but those guys are really pushing the smart appliance game to the next level.
It all boils down to the features you are looking for and the price range you want to stay in. If your budget allows, you will obviously be able to get a little more. If your budget is a bit more tight, you can still get an awesome smart washer or dryer. If none of the smart features appeal to you, go ahead and pick up a decent older washer and dryer. At the end of the day, as long as it gets your clothes clean and dry, its all good.
What can A Smart Washer Do?
So what all can these smart washers really do? Here is a quick list of some of the functionality you can expect with smart washers. We will not be talking about one specific brand or model here, just an overall generic landscape.
- Wi-Fi connected. Connect these washers to the internet and enable remote controlling, automation and monitor them right from your phone or tablet.
- Voice assistant compatible. Control the wash cycles with your voice using Google Home or Amazon Alexa. Make sure the washer you choose is compatible with your favorite voice assistant.
- Get Notifications. When a load is complete, the washer will let you know with a notification to your phone.
- Apps. Manage everything from an app.
- Monitor cycle progress. Check in to see how much time is left on the current wash load.
- Detergent level warning. If the washer has the detergent built in, get a notification when the fluid is low or empty.
- Cycle Recommendations. Let your washer know what type of clothes you are washing and have it recommend the best wash cycle for you. If your washer doesn’t have that capability, download new cycles your wash can use.
- Energy reporting. Know how much energy the washer is consuming. Take it a step further and have it run during off-peak hours to save you a little money.
- Set a time for the load to finish. Instead of scheduling a time for the load to start, set a time you want it to finish. Pretty handy if you ask me.
- Dual bins. Wah two loads at a time with different cycle settings and/or temperatures. This won’t be available in every washer but is still pretty cool, smart or not.
- Download new cycles. Find new cycles online to add to your washer.
I see a lot of benefits in that list, but also a lot of features I just couldn’t see myself or my family really using. Even still, more features sometimes isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
What Can A Smart Dryer Do?
Alright, smart washers are pretty interesting. But what about there dryer counterparts. Here is a quick rundown on some of the functionality you can expect from a smart dryer. Again, we will not be talking about one specific brand or model here, just an overall generic landscape.
- Wi-Fi connected. Connect these dryers to the internet and enable remote controlling, automation and monitor them right from your phone or tablet. Need more time to fluff the clothes? Do it on your phone.
- Sensors. Your clothes won’t be in the dryer longer than they need to be. it will know when the clothes are completely dry and prevent overheating sensitive clothes.
- Voice assistant compatible. Just like smart washers, these dryers can be controlled with your favorite voice assistant. Be sure to check for compatibility
- .Get notifications. The dryer will let you know when a load is done and dry and send you over a notification to your phone.
- Monitor dryer progress. Check in with the dryer to see how much time is left on your drying cycle.
- Apps. Manage everything from an app.
- Steam settings. Need those wrinkles out quick? A lot of dryers have added steam drying options, smart or not.
- Two dryers. I’ve seen this more lately where I dryer has two drying chambers that can be controlled independently.
- Eco dry. Use less energy to dry your clothes. It will take a bit longer, but in the long run, it will reduce the amount of energy required to dry one load.
Now you are going to want to make sure that the dryer and washer have similar sizes. The sweet spot is the 1:2 ratio. If your washer has a size of 3 cu. ft., the dryer should be around 6 cu. ft.
There is a lot of good in that list.
What About Repairing These Appliances?
One great feature with smart washers and dryers is how they can self monitor its own parts. If something is wearing out, chances are you will know before it goes completely out.
When it comes to actual repair costs, most of the components are in the same range as there “dumb” counterparts. If a drain pump goes bad in your washer, its going to cost about the same to fix no matter if the washer is smart or not.
These smart appliances are outfitted with more sensors, though, that may cost a bit more to fix. You can’t really compare these expenses to the non smart washer or dryers because they just don’t have them.
If you are handy at all, the actual parts are not that expensive and could be fixed fairly simply yourself.
Make sure to check on the warranty they come with too. Samsung typically offers a 24-month warranty that could help you out of a bind if you find yourself with some technical difficulties.
Are They Worth It?
Smart washer and dryers are definitely an interesting way to extend your smart home capabilities. I don’t know your situation or if any of this added functionality will fit into your life but I know it would sure help me out.
I have a huge problem of forgetting to switch my clothes around when they are done. Huge! Notifications might be that reminder, or when I am feeling lazy, that extra push I might need to finish a load.
We also run our dryer a lot. Most likely way more than we need to. Having the sensors in the dryer that can tell you when the clothes are actually dry is a huge benefit. We literally always put the dryer to the max time allowed, no matter the size of the load. Those sensors would definitely come in handy and save some energy.
Now it won’t be enough for the dryer to pay for itself, but hey, saving money is saving money, right?
Voice control for a washer and dryer seems like a waste. Who doesn’t start a was or dry cycle while they are there and decide to yell at Alexa later to start it for you. I don’t know, I could be wrong but seems like something that wouldn’t get much use in many households.
What would get a lot of use is the apps they come with. I can see loading it before I go to work and scheduling it to finish right when I get home.
The steam dry feature, though not specific to smart dryers, is also really great. I don’t know how many times I have walked out of the house with a t-shirt that is a hot wrinkled mess. Sometimes I’ll even try throwing shirts in the dryer to help a bit but that yields spotty results. Some times it works, some times it doesn’t. That extra steam would be life-changing for me.
I don’t know much about how to wash certain types of clothes. In fact, I’m pretty sure I wash everything the same way (adulting is hard). Getting recommendations from my washer and having it take over would be so helpful. I might be able to learn a thing or two about how to wash clothes properly too.
So are they worth it? I’m gonna say yes. I know my family and I would see a lot of benefits from one of these smart appliances. Will they be worth it for your household. That’s up to you to decide.
Now only if they would fold and put the clothes away too. THAT would be amazing!
We are not talking about those stackable washer and dryer combos here. We are talking about the washer that also dries clothes too. An all-in-one solution to laundry. Interesting, right?
Don’t get too excited, these haven’t exactly taken off and received mixed reviews. These things have been around for a while and in that time, no company has really got it right. If they had, everyone would have one of these things in their house now.
Basically, if you have no other choice and space is super limited in your home, then these might be the best solution for you. Maybe you have a vacation home and have no other option.
Washing is not the issue with these combos, it’s the drying that really slows you down. A load can take a couple hours longer to completely dry than a standalone dryer. That and you won’t be able to have another load going while you wait hours for the dryer cycle to complete.
Like I said before, really only consider one of these if its a last resort. I’ve read a lot of good reviews on the LG WM3488HW.
Some Top Models We Have Found
Samsung has a new line of washer and dryers coming out in 2019. The WF45R6300AV washer and its accompanying dryer have a spec sheet that is very impressive. Since they have yet to be released, there are only tidbits available but you can find a really good write up on them here.
Samsung’s WV9900 FlexWash. Now this one is pricey. Very pricey! A washer and dryer set will be in the thousands but you almost get two washers and two dryers. These come with two different units where you can independently control each chamber. It also comes with the app for automation and progress reports.
LG WM9000HVA TurboWash. This is 5.2 cu. ft. and has really good reviews. It is not quite as pricey as the Samsung model above but is still up there. It does have Wi-FI capability so you will have all of the connected home benefits too!