Washer Capacity: Before you settle on washing machine type, it’s helpful to know the capacity that’ll work best for you. Measuring capacity, the interior space of the machine, can be a bit tricky because different brands all have different names for their machine capacities. The standardized unit to look for is cubic feet, with machines ranging between 3-5 cubic feet.
But what do cubic feet and laundry really have to do with each other? Instead, it may be easier to think about your laundry in terms of weight. Generally speaking, a child’s outfit weighs 1-3 pounds while an adult’s outfit weighs 3-5 pounds. To figure out the weight of your average laundry load, go ahead and use a regular bathroom scale to weigh a load.
From there, here’s an approximate washing machine capacity guide:
Compact Washer (~2.3 cubic feet) = 10 pounds of laundry
Standard-Capacity Washer (3.1-4.1 cubic feet) = 12-16 pounds of laundry
Larger-Capacity Washer (4.2-4.5 cubic feet) = 20 pounds of laundry
Extra-Large-Capacity Washer (4.5-5+ cubic feet) = 20+ pounds of laundry
So, what size washing machine do I need for a family of four?
If it’s just one or two of you, a compact or standard-capacity washer will do the trick. If you have a bigger family of three or four or more members (or plan on having a bigger family — remember, a machine is an investment), a standard-capacity washer will work, but you may want to consider a larger-capacity washer that can handle larger loads.
What size washer do I need for a king-size comforter?
When thinking about capacity, also consider how many bulky items you tend to wash. For instance, something like a king comforter needs a larger-capacity washer of at least 4.5 cubic feet to fit comfortably.
What about dryer capacity?
The general rule of thumb is to have a dryer that fits twice as much as a washer, to give clothes room to spread out and dry.