Stacked washer-dryer set from Bosch in contemporary kitchen

It’s hard to think of a more mundane task than laundry but it has a big impact on the environment. We found the most efficient laundry washer/dryer combinations so you can pick the best choice for the planet and your needs.

The average American family does laundry eight to 10 times per week. Not counting sorting and folding time, it takes about an hour and a half per load. That’s a lot of time running appliances that can use a lot of energy and water.

When it comes time to replace your washer and dryer, you want the most efficient ones. But making your laundry room as efficient as possible is harder than you would think because the most efficient washers are not the ones that match the most efficient dryers. Do you really have to buy mismatched machines to maximize efficiency?

Washer and Dryer Efficiency

Energy Star rates washers and dryers for efficiency. Because they use both electricity and water, washers are the more complicated of the two to rate. The performance metric for washers’ energy use is called the Integrated Modified Energy Factor. The higher the IMEF, the more energy-efficient the washer is. The metric for water use is the Integrated Water Factor. The lower the IWF, the more water-efficient the clothes washer.

The best-rated washers have an IMEF of 3.1 and IWF of 2.7. There is usually a trade-off between water efficiency and energy efficiency. Of course, the sources of your electricity and water will affect which of these you prioritize.

Dryer efficiency is simply a matter of electricity use. The most efficient dryers are ventless electric dryers that use heat pump technology. Clothes dryer efficiency is measured by Combined Energy Factor. The higher the CEF, the more efficient the clothes dryer. The most efficient dryers have a CEF of 9.75. But these dryers do not match the most efficient washers. In fact, they are not even made by the same manufacturers.

Matched Sets

Most people assume they will buy a matching washer and dryer set. But in most cases, there is no pressing reason to do so. It’s more economical to purchase your washer and dryer separately, rather than spending money on both at once. And unless your machines are very old, it’s wasteful to replace them both if only one has stopped working.

On the other hand, many laundry rooms are quite small, and buying a matched set ensures that both appliances will fit properly in the space available. If you need to stack your washer and dryer, it’s better to have pieces that were designed to fit together. Often matched washers and dryers have complementary features that improve performance or convenience. Or you may simply value the aesthetics of a matched set because you spend hours in the laundry room each week.

Fortunately, you can find a few highly efficient matching washer and dryer sets.

Earth911 BestBest Sets

Samsung VRT Washer and Electric Dryer With Steam

Samsung’s top-rated washer doesn’t have an Energy Star certified matching dryer. But just below the top-ranked Samsung washer is Samsung’s line of Front Load VRT Washers. Numerous Samsung front load washers with model numbers beginning WF45 and 4.2 or 4.5 cubic foot capacity perform almost as well as the best washer. Most of them have identical efficiency ratings, with IMEF of 3.0 and IWF of 2.9. Samsung’s Energy Star 7.5 cu. ft. dryer, model number DVE45M55**, has a CEF of 3.94 and matches many of these models.

SHOP: Samsung on Amazon (your purchase will support Earth911’s recycling database)

Samsung VRT Washer/Electric Dryer

LG 3700 Washer and Large Capacity Dryer Set

The most efficient washer available is the LG WM9500H*A. Unfortunately, its matching dryer, the DLEX9500K, isn’t even Energy Star rated. However, there is a high-efficiency matched set from LG. Coming in just behind the Samsung VRT washers for washer efficiency, the WM3700H*A is an Energy Star Most Efficient washer with IMEF 2.92 and IWF 4.7. With a CEF of 3.94, the matching DLEX3700* large capacity dryer is Energy Star certified. This pair made USA Today’s 2020 list of the best washer/dryer sets.

SHOP: LG on Amazon (your purchase will support Earth911’s recycling database)

LG 3700 Washer and Dryer set

Bosch 500 Series Stackable Washer and Dryer

The Bosch 500 Series stackable washer and dryer is a rare 24″ pair awarded the Energy Star Most Efficient rating in 2020. The washer is the only Bosch on Energy Star’s Most Efficient washers list with an IMEF of 2.2 and IWF of 3.7. The matching dryer, with a CEF of 6.8, is the most efficient dryer among the matched sets. In fact, it is the second most-efficient dryer certified by Energy Star.

SHOP: Bosch on Amazon (your purchase will support Earth911’s recycling database)

Bosch 500 Series Stackable Washer and Dryer

Electrolux Front Load Perfect Steam Washer and Matching Dryer

The Electrolux 4.4 cu. ft. Front Load Perfect Steam Washer with SmartBoost is available in IMEF of 2.92 and IWF of 4.7 models, which offer the same efficiency as the Bosch. It makes Energy Star’s top 50 Most Efficient washers list, but just barely. The matching dryer has a CEF of 3.93. That’s not good enough to make the Most Efficient list, but it is Energy Star certified. And the set was rated USA Today’s best washer/dryer set for 2020.

SHOP: Electrolux on Amazon (your purchase will support Earth911’s recycling database)

Electrolux washer-dryer set

Feature image courtesy of Bosch

By Gemma Alexander

Gemma Alexander has an M.S. in urban horticulture and a backyard filled with native plants. After working in a genetics laboratory and at a landfill, she now writes about the environment, the arts and family. See more of her writing here.