Before buying a new washer, make sure you know where it's going and how much space you have for it. Take precise measurements of height, width and depth as well as the clearance from doors and walls; you want to be sure that a front-loading washer door or a top-loading washer lid can open fully, and that nearby doors can close properly. Don't forget: you will also need room for either a laundry tub or a standpipe drain system. (And a dryer, too, of course.)
A typical full-size washer is usually about 27 inches wide. Height can range anywhere from 34 to 42 inches. If you purchase optional pedestals that make front-loading washer and dryer pairs easier to load, they will add another 12 inches or so of height. However, the pedestals also serve as drawers, saving other storage space.
In a condominium, town home or other small residence where those sizes or set ups take up too much room, you have several alternative options:
If you're interested in a front-loading model, you have the option of stacking the matching dryer on top of it.
A compact washer, which is 21 to 24 inches wide. Some can be stacked with a matching compact dryer, and some are portable. The tub capacity is smaller than that of a full-size washer, however.
You can also buy one of two types of washer-dryer combos.
The more common kind is called a laundry center or stacked washer-dryer unit. Rather than consisting of two separate components, it is just one appliance, with a top-loading washer on the bottom and a gas or electric dryer on top. It's the same width as a full-size washer.
The other type is an all-in-one washer-dryer, in which clothes are washed and then dried in the same tub.