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What size washer do I need?

Washer sizes range from compact to large in capacities from about 1.5 to 6 cubic feet. What size washer you need depends on factors like the size of your household and the largest items you wash. If you’re having trouble translating cubic feet to real life laundry loads, know that any standard-sized washing machine should fit two laundry baskets of clothes1, with some larger capacities fitting three baskets and beyond. Whether you’re looking for a compact, standard size or large capacity washing machine, you have plenty of options.

What is a standard size washing machine?

Washing machines in the medium and large capacity category are most common, so look for capacities anywhere from 3.5 to 5 cubic feet if you want a more standard washer size. Any medium or large capacity washer should easily fit regular as well as large laundry loads.

Note that the outer dimensions of a washer don't necessarily affect the internal capacity of the washer drum. For example, medium and large capacity washers tend to have similar outer dimensions though their capacities are different. When shopping for a new washer, make sure to check both the overall washer size and the capacity for the right fit inside and out.

*Number of towels varies based on towel size

Small capacity washers: 1.5 – 3.4 cubic feet

You may want a small washing machine if you’re working with limited space or have a smaller household that doesn’t create much laundry. Washers and dryers designed for small spaces are becoming more available and more innovative, like all-in-one washers that do both the washing and drying in one machine. Stacked laundry centers are also a good option for small spaces since they’re often able to tuck easily into a closet, and portable washers provide flexible installation options for apartment living. Learn more about washer and dryer combos for tight quarters or browse Whirlpool® Small Space Washers and Dryers.

How much laundry can a small capacity washer fit?

Small capacity washers range from 1.5–3.4 cubic feet and can hold anywhere from 1–2  baskets of laundry. These kinds of laundry loads typically fit nine or fewer bath towels per load.*

*Number of towels varies based on towel size

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Medium capacity washers: 3.5 – 4.4 cubic feet

If you have a decent amount of space but don’t want to pay for a large amount of capacity that you don’t need, a medium capacity washer might be for you. These washers can handle most bulky items like bedding, though you may want to consider a larger capacity if you’re washing king-size comforters. In the medium to large capacity categories, exterior dimensions won’t change much as you move up in capacity, meaning you’ll likely need a similar amount of room for a medium capacity washer as you would for a large capacity washer.

How much laundry can a medium capacity washer fit?

Medium capacity washers range from 3.5–4.4 cubic feet and can hold anywhere from two to three baskets of laundry.These washers fit roughly 9–15 bath towels per load.*

*Number of towels varies based on towel size

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Large capacity washing machines: 4.5+ cubic feet

For an idea about how much laundry a large capacity washer can hold, consider that a Whirlpool® 5.0 Cu. Ft. Front Load Washer cleans over three baskets of clothing1 in a single load. A washer with 4.5 cu. ft. capacity or above should also be able to handle king-sized duvets and comforters, so make sure you’re getting the capacity you need to avoid trips to the laundromat. Here are some other reasons you might need a large capacity washing machine:

  • You have more than three people in your household

  • You have children that play sports

  • You currently wash more than seven loads a week

  • You have plenty of space and want to spend less time doing laundry
How much laundry can a large capacity washer fit?

Large capacity washers are typically 4.5+ cubic feet and can hold anywhere from two to more than three baskets of laundry.1 These washers typically fit 11–21 bath towels*—or a king-sized comforter—in a single load.

*Number of towels varies based on towel size

Learn more about Whirlpool® Large Capacity Washers.

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Compatible dryer sizes

You’ll need a dryer that’s compatible with your washer. Dryers always have more capacity than washers, to make room for loads to tumble, so don’t expect the cubic feet to match exactly. However, make sure you pair your washer with a dryer that has a similar capacity—a large capacity dryer goes best with a large capacity washer, etc.

Small capacity dryers: about 2 to 4 cubic feet

Medium capacity dryers: about 4 to 7 cubic feet

Large capacity dryers: 7 cubic feet and above

Learn more about types of dryers and how to choose a washer and dryer set.

No matter what size washer you need, Whirlpool brand has you covered

For well-known loading style and functionality, browse Whirlpool® Top Load Washers in a range of capacities. If you’re looking for something stackable without an impeller or agitator, explore Whirlpool® Front Load Washers. And if you need a washing machine and dryer to fit in your small space, check out a Whirlpool® All-In-One Model or Stacked Laundry Center. If you need help choosing the right washer for your household, this appliance finder can help narrow it down.

Planning on moving to a new home? Use this guide on how to move a washer and dryer if you’re taking your laundry appliances with you.

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More help finding the right answer

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1. Based on 7-lb per basket.