Laundry centers combine a washer and dryer in one stacked unit. Compared with high-end washers and dryers, laundry centers have fewer bells and whistles. Washers will have fewer wash cycles and options, but often simpler controls. Dryers are unlikely to have steam cycles or drying racks, and most won't have a moisture sensor -- something experts say is desirable as it can improve efficiency and prevent clothing damage from overheating. Most laundry centers require standard venting and a 240-volt electrical supply, the same as a standard washer and dryer.
It is also possible to get a laundry center that runs on gas (for the dryer). Experts say gas and electric dryer performance is similar, but a gas dryer should save owners money in fuel costs over the long run. However, gas laundry centers are initially a little more expensive and only make sense if there is already a gas connection in place where you intend to install the unit. Otherwise, you'll need to pay a licensed plumber to run a gas line and install a connection; for safety reasons, you should not even consider tackling that job on your own.
If you have the space for a full-sized (27-inch width) laundry center, the GE GTUN275EMWW (Est. $1,400) is probably your best bet. We couldn't find any professional reviews for laundry centers -- they aren't covered by ConsumerReports.org or Good Housekeeping -- so we turned to user reviews. At Lowes.com, the unit scores 4.3 stars in more than 100 reviews, with 88 percent saying that they would recommend the washer-dryer to a friend. HomeDepot.com has some additional reviews -- sourced from its own customer base -- and the GTUN275EMWW does just slightly poorer: a 4.1 rating with a "recommended" rate of 83 percent. The GE GTUN275GMWW (Est. $1,500) is the gas version of this laundry center.
Owners generally like the laundry center's cleaning performance, Most also find its capacity (3.4 cubic feet for the washer, 5.9 cubic feet for the dryer) adequate for their needs. We saw some complaints about this model's reliability and noise level, however. Despite these issues, the GE Spacemaker still gets better scores and more feedback than any other full-sized laundry center.
If your laundry setup can accommodate laundry appliances with a 27-inch width, as well as a little additional height, budget-priced stackable appliances, such as the LG WM3050CW washer (Est. $700) and the LG DLE3050W dryer (Est. $700) can provide more capacity, more features and better performance at a competitive price compared to an all-in-one laundry center. The LG washer and dryer, as well as other options are covered in our reports on washing machines and clothes dryers.
If a 27-inch wide appliance won't fit, the Whirlpool LTE5243DQ (Est. $1,100) might be a good bet. The laundry center is 24 inches wide and 72 inches tall. The gas version of this laundry center is the Whirlpool LTG5243DQ (Est. $1,200). Both have a one-year warranty.
The Whirlpool LTE5243DQ has a top-loading washer and is not Energy Star-certified. You'll sacrifice some capacity -- the 1.5-cubic-foot washer is about half the size found in 27-inch laundry centers. The electric dryer is also small, only 3.4 cubic feet. Owners like this laundry center's space-saving design and they generally say the machine cleans and dries well. However, we also saw complaints that this unit is simply too small and that it can get very noisy. The Whirlpool LTE5243DQ laundry center requires a 240-volt outlet, so you can use the washer and dryer at the same time.
Kenmore also makes a number of laundry centers, but most receive only a few reviews from users at Sears.com (the only site that sells Kenmore appliances). However, the 24-inch Kenmore 88752 (Est. $1,000) has amassed more than 40 reviews, with a middling 3.5-star average rating (out of 5). Like the Whirlpool LTE5243DQ, the Kenmore 88752 has a top-loading washer with a small 1.5-cubic-foot capacity and a 3.4-cubic-foot electric dryer. Other features include nine wash cycles, seven drying cycles, dial controls, an end-of-cycle signal and a one-year warranty. The dryer does not include a moisture sensor, and the washer is not Energy Star-certified. This laundry center runs on a 240-volt circuit, so the washer and dryer can be used at the same time.
Users at Sears.com are divided over the Kenmore 88752. Some users report great success with this laundry center, and they particularly praise the unit's convenience and space savings. It's also easy to use and operate, according to reviews. Others are frustrated by its small capacity. There are also a number of reliability complaints, including broken water pumps, leaks and loud noises that develop over time. Interestingly, the gas version of this laundry center, the Kenmore 98752 (Est. $1,100) does not seem to have similar problems. Although we found only a dozen or so reviews for thee 98752, several of them praise its reliability, saying it has lasted for 10 years or more.
If you want a compact laundry center with a little more capacity, the GE GTUP240EMWW (Est. $1,200 is worth a look. This unit features a 2.2 cubic-foot washer and a 4.4 cubic-foot dryer, yet still measures just under 24-inches wide. The feature set includes nine wash cycles, six dry cycles, auto water level sensing and more. There's no moisture sensor, though, and the unit is not Energy Star qualified.
There are no professional reviews for the GE, as is the norm with laundry centers, but user reviews are plentiful. Most can be found at HomeDepot.com, which hosts more than 160 written by its customers as well as by and owners posting at GE's website. It gets a rating of 4 stars, with 84 percent saying that they would recommend the unit to a friend. Complaints about capacity are scarce, but a handful of unhappy owners gripe about laundry centers that died prematurely, or about excessive noise. Some say that the GTUP240EMWW is a bit rough on clothes. The GE GTUP240GMWW (Est. $1,300) is the gas version.
Elsewhere in this report
Best Reviewed Washer-Dryer Combos
Two washer-dryer combos and two laundry centers make the cut as based on expert and owner feedback as well as analysis by ConsumerSearch Editors.
The most compact option as they wash and dry in the same tub, and the easiest to install since they don't require a vent to the outside, but can you live with their downsides? Editors explain, and name the best choices.
What are the upsides, downsides and other considerations you need to know before buying a laundry center or washer-dryer combo? Our Buying Guide explains the ins and outs, and how to find the best choice to fit your needs and budget.
Here are the reviews our editors used to find the best washer-dryer combos. Each review is rated and ranked according to its helpfulness.