Compact vs. Full-Size Washer and Dryers: What’s Best for Your Rental Property?

When it comes to outfitting a rental property, selecting the right appliances is crucial for attracting and retaining tenants while maximizing both functionality and space efficiency. In the world of laundry appliances, landlords and property managers often face a choice between compact and full-size washers and dryers. This decision not only impacts the satisfaction of potential residents but also affects the utility and layout of the property itself. The choice between compact and full-size units hinges on several factors including the size of the rental units, the demographic of potential renters, and even the location of the property. For urban apartments where space is at a premium, compact washers and dryers offer a space-saving solution that can mean the difference between providing in-unit laundry facilities—a highly valued amenity—or losing that competitive edge. Conversely, in suburban areas or single-family homes, where space may be more abundant, full-size washers and dryers can be a compelling feature for families or residents who have larger laundry needs. Moreover, the selection between compact and full-size models also involves considerations such as energy efficiency, water usage, capacity, performance, and cost. Compact models have evolved to be much more efficient and technologically advanced than they once were, offering similar features and cycles to their full-size counterparts while taking up less space. Meanwhile, full-size models typically offer greater capacity, which can be beneficial for tenants with more extensive laundry requirements or for communal laundry rooms that service multiple tenants. In this discussion, we delve into the advantages and disadvantages of both compact and full-size washers and dryers for rental properties, taking into account the varied needs of tenants and the unique characteristics of each property type. Whether you’re a seasoned property manager or a private landlord, understanding the key differences and the suitability of each option will enable you to make an informed decision that can enhance the appeal of your rental property and ensure the satisfaction and convenience of your tenants.


Size and Space Considerations

When it comes to outfitting a rental property with a washer and dryer, size and space considerations are among the most critical factors to address. Property managers and landlords must assess the available space to ensure that the appliances will not only fit but also be accessible and functional for tenants. Full-size washers and dryers typically require a dedicated laundry room or a sizable space within a unit, which might not be feasible in smaller apartments or homes. These units are generally about 27 inches wide, and when installed side by side, they can occupy a significant footprint. Conversely, compact washers and dryers offer a space-saving solution and are a particularly appealing option for rentals with limited square footage. These units can be as narrow as 24 inches and are often stackable, which can free up vertical space for other uses. Some compact models are even designed to fit into kitchen or bathroom environments, allowing for greater flexibility in layout and design. Choosing between full-size and compact appliances goes beyond just measuring the physical space. It is also necessary to consider the tenant demographic. For instance, a property catering to families might benefit more from full-size appliances due to larger laundry loads, whereas singles or couples in an urban setting might prefer the convenience and space savings of compact units. Moreover, landlords should weigh the implications of their choice on tenant satisfaction and retention. A well-chosen washer and dryer set that aligns with tenants’ needs and the space constraints of the property can add significant appeal to the rental unit and may become a selling point. Compact and full-size washer and dryer sets entail a tradeoff between space savings and load capacity. While full-size models can handle more substantial amounts of laundry, reducing the number of loads to be done, they require more space and may be overkill for small dwellings or tenants with minimal laundry. Compact models, meanwhile, address space limitations but may require tenants to do laundry more frequently due to their smaller load capacity. In the end, the choice between compact and full-size washer and dryers for a rental property should be informed by the layout of the units, the needs and expectations of the tenant base, and the overall goal of maximizing the appeal and functionality of the rental space while balancing the costs involved.


Capacity and Load Size

When evaluating washing machines and dryers for a rental property, capacity and load size are crucial considerations. Capacity refers to the amount of laundry that a washer or dryer can handle in a single cycle. Full-size washers and dryers typically have a larger capacity compared to their compact counterparts, which can greatly benefit tenants with families or those who prefer doing less frequent but larger loads of laundry. Compact washers and dryers are generally designed for smaller living spaces such as apartments, where space is at a premium, and they’re ideal when the rental demographic consists of singles or couples. These appliances might require tenants to do laundry more often due to their smaller load size but can be a perfect match for small households without large volumes of laundry. Full-size washer and dryers, on the other hand, usually come in standard sizes, which are about 27 inches in width for the US market. They provide a larger capacity, suitable for washing bulkier items like comforters or large amounts of laundry at once. This could result in less frequent wash cycles, which is more convenient and time-saving for tenants. For rental properties with enough space, such as family homes, full-size units are often the preferred choice. However, offering larger capacity appliances might not necessarily be the best option for every rental property. The decision should align with the size of the rental unit, the available space for appliances, the expected laundry habits of the tenants, and the initial investment costs. While full-size units might appeal to most tenants, they will require a larger initial investment and sufficient space to be properly installed. On the flip side, compact washers and dryers can provide an efficient and space-saving solution for smaller rental units. As a landlord or property manager, it’s also important to consider the type of appliances in terms of whether they are stackable or side-by-side units, as stackable configurations can save floor space while still offering a significant load capacity. Ultimately, the right washer and dryer for a rental property should balance between meeting tenant needs and the logistical considerations of the property. It’s important to assess the typical tenant profile, the space available for appliances, and the potential return on investment before making a decision.



Energy Efficiency and Utility Costs

Energy efficiency and utility costs are significant factors when considering appliances for a rental property, particularly washer and dryers. Depending on the model and type chosen, these costs can vary widely, having a meaningful impact on both landlords and tenants. When it comes to energy efficiency in washers and dryers, look for machines that have high energy star ratings. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides these ratings to help consumers choose products that save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The latest high-efficiency washers use less water and electricity per load. While they are usually more expensive upfront, the savings in water and power consumption can be substantial over time, leading to lower utility bills for tenants and making the property more attractive. Dryers also have variations in efficiency. Traditional electric dryers tend to use a lot of power, but newer models often feature energy-saving modes. Gas dryers can be less expensive to operate, as natural gas is generally cheaper than electricity in many places. However, installing a gas dryer requires proper vents and access to a gas line, which may not be feasible in all rental properties. When considering compact versus full-size washers and dryers, landlords must evaluate the needs of their target tenants and the space available in the property. Compact washers and dryers are typically more energy-efficient than their full-sized counterparts, using less water and energy per cycle. This makes them a good choice for smaller rental units where space is limited, and where utility savings can be particularly alluring to budget-conscious renters. On the other hand, full-size washers and dryers offer greater capacity, which can be a boon for families or tenants who generate more laundry. However, they tend to consume more electricity and water, which can increase utility costs. The physical space required for full-size models may also be a constraint in smaller rental properties. In conclusion, landlords should carefully consider energy efficiency and utility costs in choosing washer and dryers for their rental properties. Compact models offer space-saving benefits and better energy efficiency, while full-size models provide more capacity to tenants who may need it. Landlords must find a balance between providing tenant amenities and keeping operating costs reasonable to maintain profitability and tenant satisfaction.


Installation Requirements and Ventilation

Installation requirements and ventilation are critical factors when choosing between compact and full-size washers and dryers for your rental property. Compact washers and dryers often come in stackable models or as a combination in one unit, allowing for significant space-saving—a major consideration for small apartments or properties where square footage is at a premium. This makes them especially appealing for rental units in urban environments or for property owners wanting to add laundry facilities to multiple small units within a building. When considering installation, it’s important to recognize that full-size washers and dryers typically require more robust infrastructure. This includes larger space for placement, proper electrical outlets (240V for many dryers), and secure water connections. If the existing setup in your rental property cannot accommodate these needs without substantial investment in retrofitting, compact models may be more convenient and cost-effective. Ventilation is another crucial aspect of installation. Traditional full-size dryers usually need an external vent to expel hot air and moisture. Failing to properly vent a dryer can lead to moisture accumulation, mold growth, and potential fire hazards—hence why strict building codes are in place around dryer venting. Compact dryers, on the other hand, offer ventless options, such as condenser or heat pump models, which can be great for locations where running a vent to the outside is impractical or impossible. These ventless dryers are often more energy-efficient, but they may have longer drying times compared to vented models. Furthermore, when it comes to the installation of compact units, another advantage is their portability and the ease with which they can be removed or relocated if necessary, offering flexibility for property managers who may want to reconfigure spaces or offer in-unit laundry amenities as an upgrade or additional feature. In summary, the decision for a rental property owner between compact and full-size washers and dryers heavily depends on the property’s existing infrastructure, space available, and location-specific requirements such as building codes and tenant demand. It’s important to evaluate these aspects carefully as they can have ongoing implications for maintenance, energy consumption, and ultimately, your return on investment in the rental property’s laundry facilities.



Cost and Return on Investment

When considering the addition of washer and dryers to your rental property, the upfront cost and subsequent return on investment (ROI) are critical factors that will influence your decision. The initial price of compact and full-size units can vary significantly, with full-size appliances typically being more expensive due to their greater capacity and additional features. However, the bigger size also means they can handle larger loads, which could be a selling point for prospective tenants who might have a family or need to do more laundry at once. Compact washer and dryers are often less pricey, making them an attractive option for landlords looking to keep initial costs down. These smaller units are also ideal for properties with limited space, such as small apartments or condos. However, the reduced capacity means tenants will need to do laundry more frequently, which could be a deterrent for some individuals. In terms of ROI, landlords must evaluate the potential rent increase or value-add that offering in-unit laundry can bring. Having a washer and dryer on-site is a significant convenience that tenants are often willing to pay for, which means you may be able to command higher rent prices by including them. With full-size units, the ROI might be higher since you could promote the convenience of fewer laundry loads needed due to the larger capacity. On the other hand, the lower entry cost of compact units could mean a quicker return on investment since less capital is tied up initially. An analysis of utility costs should not be overlooked as part of the ROI calculation. Full-size washers and dryers usually consume more electricity and water than their compact counterparts, potentially leading to higher utility bills that may be passed on to the tenant or included in the rent. This factor has to be balanced with the preferences and expectations of the target tenants, as some demographics may prefer the efficiency and environmental benefits of compact models. Regardless of the washer and dryer size, providing these appliances in a rental property should ideally increase its attractiveness, reduce vacancy time, and enhance the overall rental value. Ultimately, the choice between compact and full-size units should align with the specific needs and constraints of the property, the desires of likely tenants, and the financial objectives of the landlord. Proper market research, evaluating the demographics of potential renters, and understanding their laundry habits can guide property owners to make the best investment choice.

About Precision Appliance Leasing

Precision Appliance Leasing is a washer/dryer leasing company servicing multi-family and residential communities in the greater DFW and Houston areas. Since 2015, Precision has offered its residential and corporate customers convenience, affordability, and free, five-star customer service when it comes to leasing appliances. Our reputation is built on a strong commitment to excellence, both in the products we offer and the exemplary support we deliver.