Washing and drying in one.

A washer-dryer does the job of a washing machine and clothes dryer in a single appliance. Is one right for you?

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A washer-dryer sounds like the ultimate in laundry convenience – you put dirty clothes in, and take clean and dry clothes out! All in one compact unit.

All up, they sound too good to be true – and in many cases they are.

Our tests have found these machines often can’t match the performance of their separate counterparts. While the washing performance can be comparable to front-loading washing machines, a washer-dryer’s drying function is, more often than not, very disappointing.

How they work

The dryer component is a condenser dryer, which uses a heat exchanger to remove heat and water from air that has passed through your clothes. The water is collected in a reservoir or funnelled down a drain. The heat exchanger uses water as its coolant, which means water is used for both washing and drying.


  • Good for compact spaces without room for both a washing machine and dryer.
  • The dryer doesn’t need to be vented outside.
  • The washing cycle time is comparable to a standard front-loading washing machine.


  • The drying cycle takes a long time. The washer-dryers in our test took between 222 and 403 minutes (that’s over 6½ hours!) to wash and dry a 3.5kg load.
  • The drying capacity may be less than their washing capacity.

Where they’re suitable

Consider a washer-dryer in these situations.

  • Small homes where you can’t fit both a washer and a dryer.
  • A holiday house where you won’t be in a rush for your laundry.
  • Households that rarely use the dryer function.
  • People with mobility issues that make transferring clothes between machines difficult.

If space is an issue or you only use a clothes dryer as a last resort, a small washer-dryer may be the right solution for you. But consider buying a separate washing machine and clothes 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.