Take a look at some of the best new options in washers:

- Horizontal-axis clothes washers, or front-loaders, tumble instead of twist or rub clothes to clean them thoroughly but gently. They use less water, less energy, and less detergent than same-size top-loaders and can better handle bedcoverings without tangling or going out of balance.- Delayed start, common on dishwashers, lets you run the machine at a more convenient time or when utility rates are lower. Automatic-level control selects the right amount of water for each load to prevent overfilling.

- An internal water heater eliminates using water from your home's hot-water tank.

- Higher spin speeds (above about 700 revolutions per minute) mean clothes are almost dry when they leave the washer.

Here are some helpful features in today's dryers:

- Electronic moisture control senses moisture in the air as it leaves the dryer drum, which prevents overdrying.

- Dryness monitor lights indicate when the load is nearly dry, minimizing ironing.

- A damp-dry cycle shortens drying time so garments can be ironed while damp or so they can finish drying naturally (better for knits).

- Two-direction tumbling speeds drying and keeps clothes from clumping.