Can You Stack Your Own Washer and Dryer? Here’s What an Appliance Pro Has to Say
Every now and then, I’m faced with a harsh reminder that I am, alas, an adult. My latest wake-up call came when I was watching “Love It or List It,” and I found myself drooling over, of all things, a renovated laundry room. It looked like the set of a detergent commercial: bright, spacious, and with plenty of shelving and surface area to fold clothing. In fact, there was so much space that I was puzzled by the decision to stack the washer and dryer.
I had always thought that stacking these two machines was a brilliant solution if you were tight on space, but again, this was not an issue in the featured home. I also thought that even though plenty of machines are indeed billed as stackable, it was sort of a dangerous thing to do, given that some washing machines can rumble when an uneven load of laundry is getting tossed around. So I decided to reach out to an appliance professional about setting the record — and a stacked washer/dryer — straight.
Can you stack your own washer and dryer?
I spoke with Steve Sheinkopf, the CEO of Yale Appliance, a company that serves the Boston area and Metrowest region of Massachusetts. The short answer is yes, you can stack most dryers on top of washing machines. As to the question of whether you should do it, it all depends on how you want to organize your laundry space.
The single yet impressive advantage of stacking your washer and dryer is that it saves space. This is certainly helpful if you need to relegate your laundry tasks to a utility closet or a corner of your basement and don’t have the luxury of more floor space. While most machines can be stacked, says Sheinkopf, there are some things to keep in mind:
- The washer must be a front-loading model. This is an important yet obvious point — if you stack a dryer on top of a top-loading washing machine, you’re going to have a tough time getting any clothing laundered.
- You must purchase a stacking kit. It’s not enough just to put a smaller dryer (or one that’s the same size) on top of a washer. You must also purchase a stacking kit that will safely connect the two machines, so double-check that the kit you purchase — usually sold separately — is compatible with your brand and size of machines.
- Everything must be installed properly. This is key to the proper and safe use of any appliance, but especially a stacked washer and dryer. “It comes down to the competency of the installer,” says Sheinkopf. “When someone says the dryer is ‘walking’ [moving or shifting from its spot], it hasn’t been installed properly.” Hire an experienced pro to do it, and you won’t have a problem, he says.
The argument against stacking machines
Wash towers have made it even easier to save space without the worry of properly stacking two separate appliances. The benefit of these two-in-one machines, says Sheinkopf, is that the controls are placed in the middle of the tower. If you’re vertically challenged, it’s much easier to reach the buttons and dials on a wash tower — though you’ll still likely have to leap and grab for those sock stragglers from the dryer on top.
I’m usually averse to appliance combos. The way I see it, if one feature conks out before the others do, you’re stuck with a huge appliance that’s only partially useful. As such, I assumed that by stacking a separate washer and dryer, there’s a good chance that you’ll need to replace just one unit if it should conk out before the other one does. Not necessarily, says Sheinkopf.
“You’ve got to make sure that the stacking kit is still available to stack that new one on top of the old one, and that’s not always the case,” he says. “In fact, most of the time it’s not, so you may have to buy a [new] set anyway to properly install that dryer on the washer.”
Your laundry, your way
Sheinkopf says the ultimate decision to stack your machines all comes down to how you want or need your laundry space to function. And since most machines can be stacked, he says to focus instead on wash cycles, temperature settings, or any of the many other available features when you’re shopping the seemingly countless models on the market. That’s the fun part — if you can even use the word “fun” when talking about laundry. Sheinkopf agrees. “Don’t be intimidated by it,” he says. “It’s just a washer and dryer.”