Combined washing machine and dryer units sound like the ultimate laundry convenience - you put dirty clothes in, and take clean and dry clothes out! And most are compact enough to sit under a kitchen bench. All up, they sound too good to be true - and in some cases they are.

Past CHOICE tests have revealed that combined washer/dryers often can't match the performance of their separate counterparts. While the performance of washing machines in these combos can be comparable to other front loaders, it's their drying function that often lets them down.

Cons

  • The dryer component can only dry around half the capacity of the washer.
  • The dryer mechanism uses condenser technology, which uses more water after the wash cycle to dry the clothes – and it can range from as little as a few litres to as much as 58L.
  • Current water efficiency ratings only rate the washing machine component, not the dryer, however washer/dryers must be labelled to show the water consumption of their dryer function).
  • A combined wash and dry cycle lasts from over 3 hours to over 6 hours.
  • Some combos are too large to fit under a bench, so always check their exact dimensions if they need to fit in a specific spot in your home.

Pros

  • Washing and drying performance roughly match separate washers and condenser dryers.
  • You can use either the wash function or the dryer function separately; they don't have to be combined.
  • Purchase and running costs are roughly equivalent to owning a separate front load washer and condenser dryer.
  • The limited drying capacity mostly matches what we find most people use in their normal washers.

If space is an issue, a small washer/dryer combo may be the right solution for you. But consider buying a separate washer and dryer first. Not only will you be able to wash and dry more quickly, the washing and drying cycles are likely to be more efficient.

Who are washer dryer combos suitable for?

  • Small homes where you can't fit both a washer and dryer
  • A holiday house where you aren't time poor
  • If you live in an environment where you'll rarely use the dryer function
  • People with mobility issues who have trouble transferring clothes between machines. For more on this, see our guide to accessible washing machines.