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When our technicians test washing machines and dryers, they focus on cleaning and drying performance, energy efficiency (for washers), noise, vibration, cycle time, and more. But they also look at features that distinguish some models, factors that might make certain appliances a more attractive choice for you.
During our current testing of laundry appliances for the July 2009 issue of Consumer Reports (online and on newsstands in early June), project leader Joe Pacella told me about the metal lip/overhang he has started seeing at the top rear of some laundry appliances, including the Electrolux Wave-Touch front-loading washing machine and matching stackable 8-cubic-foot electric dryer; the Frigidaire Affinity 3.5-cubic-foot front-loading washer; and the 7-cubic-foot LG DLE2516 electric dryer.
The 1.5-inch-deep lip/overhang is an integral part of the top of these appliances and extends beyond the drain hose and water lines (on a washer) and the vent hookup (dryer), allowing the you the option to keep the appliance(s) flush against the wall if the water and electrical connections are below the top of the unit(s). For installations where the water valves and/or electrical outlets are above the machines, horizontal channels at the back of the units allow you to route the lines out and up either side.
This positioning eliminates the gap that's common for most washers and dryers, a space that's like a Bermuda Triangle for items like socks and caps from detergent bottles. Take a look behind your washer or dryer. Bet you find some long-lost items as well as a few dust bunnies.
The lip is also intended to protect the connections on the back of the machines during shipping and installation, according to an Electrolux product designer.
We're not specifically testing this feature, but it looks like it could be a plus. At the very least you'll keep unmatched socks from getting lonely inside your dresser drawers.