My washing machine started leaking about a week ago, and after 30 years I had to admit it was time to buy a new one. I’m very pleased with what I now have, and that’s partly due to the process I followed. Even though I wanted a new machine as soon as possible, I took some time to evaluate my options.
I asked trusted people for recommendations
Both my plumber and my contractor recommended the same appliance store, and I can see why. The place has an informative website, a large selection, and salespeople who were helpful both on the phone and in person.
I got clear on my priorities
My washing needs are pretty simple, so I didn’t need or want complex controls. I had two priorities: size and quality. I have a relatively small alcove for my washer and dryer, so I needed something that would fit that space — even though most washers today are larger than my old one was. I measured a couple times to ensure the machine I was ordering would fit in the washing machine pan I already had.
And I wanted a washing machine that was likely to be trouble-free and last a long time.
I read online recommendations from reliable sources
I read Wirecutter’s recommendations and bought a one-month digital subscription to Consumer Reports so I could read about its selections. Although I didn’t wind up with the machines they recommended, they both helped me understand my choices. For example, I chose a top-loading machine rather than a front-loading machine because of what they wrote about the advantages and disadvantages of both.
I went to the store and saw the machine in person
After doing my research I was fairly sure what I wanted, and I could have just ordered it online. But while I’m often fine with online buying, for something this significant I wanted to put my hands on the machine, not just examine it on a website. The immediate positive reaction I had to the washer when I saw it in the store made me sure about my choice. As much as a washing machine can, this one sparked joy, to use a Marie Kondo phrase.
Once I had the washer, I actually read the manual
Since I went for simple controls, this might have seemed unnecessary. How hard can it be to pick water temperature, load size, and one of four types of wash cycles? But it helped to read how the gentle cycle and “eco” cycle work so I could use those appropriately.
And when I was done, I filed the manual away and recycled the one from my old washing machine. (I know you can get most manuals online, but this is one case where I prefer the paper version.)