The LG WM3488HW costs $1,440 is at once a ventless electric dryer and a front-loading washer. At 24-inches wide inches wide, the LG Electronics WM3488HW Washer/Dryer Combination will fit into tight spaces other washers and dryers won’t, and is one of the few full-size condenser dryer combos sold in the US.
Perfect for condos or apartments, its small form factor means it can be installed in bathrooms or kitchens, and you don’t need to get a special hook-up as it runs on a standard 120v wall outlet. By pressing just a few buttons, you can start in washing mode and go straight to drying mode automatically.
Also, the all-in-one laundry solution creates the opportunity for countertop space, allowing freshly laundered clothes to be moved from the LG Electronics WM3488HW Washer/Dryer Combination to the shelf in one motion.
Plus, the ventless dryer requires very little space around it as there is no vent, and it can even be installed in closets or other small areas. However, as with any washer/ventless dryer combo, take note that the washer will need to be drained and the dryer's condensation flow collects in a hose that will also need to be deposited somewhere.
LG Electronics Washer/Dryer Combo Performance
According to Comsumer Reports, the washer part of the combo scored well overall and cleans clothes very well. It was also reported to be gentle on fabrics, as well as efficient when it comes to both water and energy use. Reportedly, during testing, CR found that the unit used around 10 gallons of water to wash an 8-pound load, and it did its job quietly and without vibration.
CR reported that its 8-pound load took only 100 minutes on a heavy soil setting, and that there are a mind-bending 14 wash cycles including steam and sanitize options, which is not something you would expect to find in a combo.
LG claims 2.3 cubic feet of space inside the 24-inch unit, and that is plenty for an 8-pound load. But, where the washer excels, the dryer does not. It took the team around three hours to dry the same 8-pound load, although they did notice the absence of a drying sensor which detects moisture levels and turns off the dryer when it thinks a load is down, thereby saving time and energy. It is an odd oversight in an Energy Star-rated machine.
The WM3488HW is very quiet in drying mode. It just can’t handle a full load very well, and LG apparently knew this as they included the recommendation to “cut a full wash load in half for ‘effective drying.’” In other words, the dryer has half the capacity of the washer, and, instead of trying to innovate, LG basically said, “yeah, we know; we are good.”
A Bit on Washer/Dryer Combo Dynamics
Washer/dryer combos usually combine a front-loading washer and a condenser for drying clothes into one appliance. They promise to do almost everything stand-alone washers and dryers do, and take up about half the space.
Many combos also offer the convenience of washing and drying without any human intervention, and many high-end models keep the clothes tumbling until you are ready to take them out in order to prevent wrinkling.
Of course, you can run washing & drying cycles separately as well, so that you can line-dry your clothes if you so choose. Speaking of washing, the technology that goes into a combo on the washer end is pretty much the same technology that goes into the front-loader washer stand-alone units.
It is the condenser dryer that is a lot different. Instead of turning your combo dryer into a sauna, as with a stand-alone, a condenser dryer pulls warm, arid air through the wet clothes, getting the water inside of them to condense. It then channels that condensation out of the dryer and repeats the process until your clothes are dry.
As you might imagine, the process takes a bit longer than the conventional sauna method found in stand-alone dryers, but most manufacturers of condenser dryers will recommend cutting your loads in half to compensate, or doing your laundry at night or while you are at work.
Nevertheless, if you need your clothes in a hurry, you might have more luck with a hairdryer. Also, the technology in combo washer/dryers is more complicated than in traditional stand-alone machines.
That could mean a bigger repair bill or a scarcity of qualified repairmen.
A Closer Look at the LG Electronics WM3488HW Washer/Dryer Combination
Still, the LG Electronics WM3488HW washer/dryer combo offers a powerful 1400 RPM to go along with its 2.3 cubic feet of space, 14 wash cycles, the TrueBalance anti-vibration system, and the four drying levels that all work pretty much as advertised.
And the LoDecibel technology means you probably won’t even hear it when it is running. Plus, you’ll get full-washer features like sanitary and steam cycles that heat water up to 158 degrees for the ultimate sanitizing and stain removal. And, while waiting three hours for clothes to dry can be a drag, it still beats the laundromat.
Sure, it would have been nice if LG had dropped the price to, say, $999 to compensate for the poor drying time, but their motor is backed with a best-in-business 10-year limited warranty. Moreover, technologies like SenseClean will automatically set the wash time and water level beforehand based upon the weight of your load, making the washer as energy-efficient as they come.
So, to recap, for around $1440, you’ll get a slim form design and many features you would find in a full-sized washer and dryer, all in a machine with the following specs:
- 2.3 cu.ft. of space
- All-In-one washer and dryer combo
- 14 wash options
- A powerful 1,400 RPM
- Ventless condensing drying with an internal heater
- NFC Tag On
- Options of white or silver colors
- And the hose is included
The LG WM3488HW is Small and Powerful
One of the most important benefits of all-in-one washer/dryers is the small amount of space they take up in your kitchen or bathroom. The WM line tends to be a bit taller than other combo washer/dryers at 33.5 inches, so consider the added height when placing in rooms with built-in cabinets.
The LG comes with 14 different washer settings, and, according to one review, it has the highest selection of soil levels, so you can be picky as you want about the water and energy that goes into your cycle. With the number of washing and drying cycles offered, the LG is the most complete combo to come along in a while.
There is also a cycle for self-cleaning, and you can preprogram your preferred cycle with soil levels and temperatures. Again sanitize and clean cycles deserve honorable mention here. We’ve also mentioned that the drying time tends to the on the long side, thought we did not talk about drying options.
Timed drying is available, but, more than that, you can also control the dryness level and the temperature settings so the dryer can handle a broad range of material, like wool sweaters, cotton, and even linen. Further, the digital display on this LG Electronic WM3488HW Washer/Dryer Combination is easy to read, and the machine uses buttons, a control knob, and a bright, LED screen for settings and cycles.
In addition to the controls, the machine automatically regulates noise through a feature called vibration reduction. Essentially, when the load becomes uneven, the machine senses it, relaxing the drum activity so that the load evens out again. The upshot is a wash that is quiet and quick.
Moreover, the warranty is one of the best in the business. The motor gets a 10-year warranty, while the drum is covered for life. Parts and labor, though, come with the industry-standard one-year coverage.
A Word of Caution About All-in-One Washer/Dryer Combos
However, not everyone is sold on the LG Electronics WM3488HW washer/dryer combination, or washer/dryer combos in general. Wirecutter even goes on to say that you should only buy combos if you have no other choice, claiming that it “is almost never the best way to do your laundry.”
They spent some time diving into the issue and found that of the 13 combo models that they test, none could come anywhere near the efficiency and speed of a separate dryer and washer. However, they did have some kind words for the LG Electronics WM3488HW washer/dryer combinations, saying that if a combo is truly the only option because of space, the LG WM3488HW “is your safest bet.”
Of course, in the following paragraph, they claim their only reason for the pick was based on the warranty and the least likeliness of repairability, not on performance. But, hey, it’s something, right?
They also begrudgingly admitted that it had better dryer and washer features than any other combo, as well as a solid reputation for keeping replacement parts around over time.
The Anatomy of Washer/Dryer Combos
Most washer dryer combos use condenser dryers, and these types of dryers are seen as the real downfall of modern combos. With lackluster performance and long drying times, they can make running your loads a frustrating and time-consuming task.
That is because unlike simple vented dryers, which turn the drum into a sauna-like space, condenser dryers capture moisture by pushing dry, warm air through your wet clothes with fans. Once the air becomes humid, it is collected by a heat exchanger which condenses it back to moisture that is pumped through a hose and into a drain.
Ironically, more water may be used in the drying cycle of a combo than in the washing cycle. That’s because the heat exchanger in a combo washer/dryer, like the LG Electronics WM3488HW Washer/Dryer Combination, uses water to condense the moist air into liquid on its way out of the machine.
In theory, since water carries heat more efficiently, it makes more sense to use water to cool the fins of a heat exchange than to use air like tradition dryers do. The means that condenser dryers may be a more elegant solution than traditional separate washers and dryer units, as all the plumbing is already there because of the washer. This makes sense because the washer is already built-in and, as we all remember from 8th Grade Science class, water conducts heat more efficiently.
LG Washer/Dryer Combo Wrap-Up
Yet another oddity of combos is that your washing capacity differs from your drying capacity because condenser dryers remove moist from clothes with fans, and there needs to be room for the air to circulate. That result in needing to cut your wash load in half to efficiently dry it.
However, the technology has come a long way, and you will get as much control over water temperature, cycles, soil levels and dryer settings as you would in a traditional washer and dryer set. You’ll also find a great warranty, the reliability of the LG name, and a ton of space you didn’t know you had.