Let’s face it: Housecleaning is a pain in the neck, and doing laundry is perhaps the most dreary task. Many people with small homes, especially apartments or condos, need their own full-sized washer and dryer, but find the space for them to be lacking.

One solution is an all-in-one washer/dryer combo. These appliances are a combination of washer and dryer that do all the action in one device with one drum, both the washing and the drying.

Most of these units can handle up to a medium load size, so there’s no need to run multiple cycles on bulky items. And, because there’s only one machine, it eases the task of loading and unloading. Also, they generally use less water, which can cut down on your utility bills and aid the environment.

Some units are ventless and work on regular 120 volt current, so you can install them anywhere there’s a water line and a drain.

Pros of all-in-one washer/dryers:

Cons of all-in-one washer/dryers:

  • More upfront cost than separate units
  • Less capacity than full-size separate units
  • Cycles are longer, especially drying time. It takes at least two hours more than a separate machine and with only half the load, according to a recent Wirecutter story
  • Repair rates can be much higher than regular machines

Prices of all-in-one washer/dryers

The sticker price on all-in-one washer/dryers is higher than those for separate washers and dryers. For example, prices at Lowes recently ranged from $800 to $3,100. The more expensive combo machines tend to be larger capacity, smart (Wi-Fi enabled) and ventless. The best-sellers at Lowes ranged in price from $1,200 to $1,800.

But a good basic washing machine can be had for around $400 and a basic dryer for around $500.

If you’re remodeling, adding a new washer/dryer unit is a great way to improve your laundry situation, but you’ll also want to consider the cost of installation (and no, you shouldn’t try to DIY the job). Some units may require additional wiring and a lot of people don’t realize they need plumbing permits, which adds to the bill.

Bottom line

The all-in-one washer/dryer is a space-saving solution if you live in an apartment or a condo where space is at a premium — a convenient option that combines the tasks of washing and drying clothes into one device. It can also be a boon if ventilation is limited in your home’s layout.

But if you have the space, you’ll be much better off with separate machines. They will be cheaper to buy and service, plus they’ll do the clothes much faster.