Commercial Laundry Equipment: A Comprehensive Overview for Operators

Starting a laundromat takes careful planning, with a major focus on choosing the right commercial laundry equipment. Sure, high quality equipment plays a significant role in customer satisfaction, but its true importance goes even deeper than that. The decisions you make regarding equipment will affect the efficiency of your laundry business, the quality of service you provide, and your long-term operational costs and profitability

When choosing your washers and dryers, there are several important factors to consider, like type of equipment, size, features, energy efficiency, and cost. This guide will help you understand your purchasing options, including comprehensive insights on how to navigate the complexities of buying commercial laundry equipment, in turn setting a solid foundation for your laundromat business.

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Discover the evolving laundry industry and the power of machines in customer loyalty and operational efficiency. Learn about Cents Connect, our suite of payment systems that integrates data from machines, offering convenience and data-driven decision-making for both customers and laundromat owners.


Commercial washing machines: an in-depth look

Your first step in choosing commercial laundry equipment is understanding the nuances of top-load and front-load washers. Both types offer unique advantages and cater to different needs and preferences.

Top-load washers

Traditional top-load washers are outfitted with a vertical axis drum where clothes are loaded from the top. They typically have agitators or impellers to move clothes through the water.

  • Size range: They vary in size but are generally more compact, making them suitable for smaller laundromats.

  • Lifespan: On average, they last around 10-12 years.

  • Pros: They are usually less expensive, easier to load, and have shorter wash cycles. Their design allows more water to be spun out of the clothes, making drying faster.

  • Cons: They use more water, especially hot water, and can be rougher on clothes. They also have less capacity than front-loaders.

Front-load washers

Front-load washers operate with a horizontal axis drum that tumbles clothes through a smaller amount of water.

  • Size range: These washers often have a larger capacity than top-loaders and can handle bigger loads.

  • Lifespan: Front-load washers can last up to 13-15 years, slightly longer than top-loaders.

  • Pros: They’re more water and energy-efficient, providing better cleaning action and gentler on clothes. The spinning efficiency is generally higher, extracting more water and reducing drying time.

  • Cons: Front-loaders are more expensive and can be prone to mold and odor issues if not maintained properly. They require bending to load and unload, which might be inconvenient or difficult for customers with mobility limitations.20211008_Cents_ABatz-5242 (1)-3

Top-loaders vs. Front-loaders: a comparative analysis

It’s impossible to say which type of commercial washing machine is “best.” It’s much easier to take an audit of your laundromat, business goals, and customers, and make a decision from there. Here are some of the important differences between top-load and front-load washing machines:

  • Lifespan: Given the significant investment, the longevity of the washer is a big factor. The average lifespan of a commercial washing machine is about 10-15 years, depending on the type and usage. Front-load washers have a tendency to last a little longer than their top-load counterparts.

  • Size and capacity: The capacity ranges from smaller units suitable for limited space to larger models for heavy loads. The size of your laundromat should play a role in informing the type of equipment you choose. Top-load washers tend to be smaller than front-load washers, which makes them ideal for smaller spaces.

  • Cost: Weigh the initial investment against long-term savings, particularly with high-efficiency models. For example, front-load washers are usually a greater up-front investment, but since they’re more energy-efficient, you may find they end up being more affordable in the long run.

  • Water and energy consumption: There are a couple big reasons water usage and energy-efficiency should be considered while shopping. Not only do efficient machines help you save money on your monthly variable costs, but advertising energy-efficient machines can appeal to an energy-conscious target audience. Front-loaders are more efficient in water and energy usage compared to top-loaders.

  • Features: Options like multiple wash cycles, temperature settings, and advanced controls enhance functionality. Think about what features your local customers might value and try to integrate these preferences into your washing machine purchasing decision!

Maintenance tips

Regular maintenance is easy to overlook when everything is running swimmingly, but can have serious repercussions if not prioritized. Always make sure to keep up with machine maintenance with an experienced technician to avoid breakdowns which are costly and affect your ability to meet customer expectations. This will increase the lifespan of your equipment and reduce instances of downtime. For more detailed information on machine maintenance best practices, check out our Laundromat Equipment Maintenance guide.

Commercial dryers: an in-depth look

Choosing the right commercial dryers is as critical as your washing machines, as they impact both operational efficiency and customer satisfaction. Keep reading to learn about the different types of commercial dryers available, their key features, and important factors to consider when making your selection.

Stack dryers

  • How they work: Stack dryers, common in laundromats, consist of two dryers in one unit, with one dryer above the other. They are space-efficient and can handle two loads simultaneously.

  • Size range: Typically, stack dryers are similar in size to single load dryers but offer double the capacity due to their dual design.

  • Lifespan: The lifespan varies based on usage and maintenance, but on average, they can last around 10-15 years.

  • Pros and cons: Their space-saving design is a major advantage, especially in smaller laundromats. The trade off is they can be more expensive than single load dryers and may require more maintenance due to their complex design.

Single load dryers

  • How they work: Single load dryers are standard in laundromats, designed for a single laundry load.

  • Size range: Various sizes are available, but they typically accommodate standard laundry loads.

  • Lifespan: These dryers usually last 10-15 years with proper maintenance.

  • Pros and cons: They are generally less expensive and easier to maintain than stack dryers but occupy more floor space.

Factors to consider when choosing a commercial dryer

  • Lifespan: Commercial dryers are a significant investment so it’s important you opt for equipment with a proven track record of longevity. On average, they last around 10-15 years.

  • Size and capacity: Matching the capacity of your washers to your dryers is crucial for efficiency.

  • Cost: Initial investment, operational costs, and energy savings, especially between gas and electric models, are important factors to weigh.

  • Water and energy consumption: Gas dryers are more common and usually more energy-efficient. Electric models might be preferable in areas where gas is not available or more expensive.

  • Features: Look for features that align with your business needs like multiple drying cycles, temperature settings, and advanced controls.

Maintenance tips for commercial dryers

Like with your commercial washing machines, dryers need regular maintenance. Daily lint removal and scheduled maintenance appointments with qualified technicians are essential for your laundromat’s success. Ignoring a regular schedule can put your equipment or facility at risk and leave your customers feeling disappointed. 

Bonus considerations

Due to fuel costs, drying is generally less profitable in laundromats, usually making up about 30-40% of coin revenue. Gas dryers, particularly those with horizontal or axial airflow, are more energy-efficient and are often the preferred choice in the average laundromat. However, they might take longer to dry clothes compared to vertical airflow dryers. 

Pro tip: Avoid dryers that recirculate warm air, as they tend to dry slowly and may cause customers to look for a quicker option.

Commercial laundry equipment maintenance schedule

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Regular servicing of your washers and dryers is the only surefire way to support their longevity and performance. The frequency of maintenance can vary based on the type of equipment, its usage intensity, and the manufacturer's recommendations, but here are some general guidelines:

  • Daily and weekly checks: Simple tasks such as cleaning lint filters, inspecting seals and gaskets, and checking for any visible damage or leaks should be done daily or weekly. This helps in identifying and addressing small issues before they escalate.

  • Quarterly servicing: More in-depth servicing, such as checking and cleaning internal components like water inlet valves, drain systems, and belts, should be performed quarterly. This helps the equipment run efficiently and prevent unexpected breakdowns.

  • Annual professional maintenance: It's advisable to schedule a thorough, professional maintenance check at least once a year. This check can involve deep cleaning, lubrication of moving parts, checking and calibrating controls, and inspecting electrical connections.

  • Following manufacturer's guidelines: Always refer to the manufacturer's manual for specific maintenance recommendations. Different models and brands might have unique requirements or suggested service intervals.

Specialized laundromat equipment

The laundromat industry has evolved from its humble beginnings, incorporating specialized equipment and technology to enhance efficiency, customer satisfaction, and overall service quality. Depending on your business goals, you may want to consider some equipment options beyond the standard washers and dryers. Here's a look at some things you can bring in to upgrade your customer experience and prepare your laundromat operations for the future:

Folding machines

Folding machines are an innovative solution to reduce labor costs and improve the efficiency of laundry processing. They automatically fold clothes post-wash and dry cycle, which is especially beneficial for high-volume laundromats or those offering professional laundry services like wash-and-fold. Their precision and speed in folding garments make them a valuable asset and allow you to save on one of your biggest expenses: personnel.

Laundry card systems

Laundry card systems, like Cents Connect, revolutionize payment methods in laundromats. These systems replace traditional coin-operated machines, offering customers a convenient, cashless payment option. They also provide laundromat owners with better tracking and management of financial transactions.

Laundry dispensers

Laundry dispensers automate the dispensing of detergents, bleach, and fabric softeners. This creates an environment where the optimal amount of cleaning agents is used every single time, improving wash quality, reducing waste, and saving costs.

Ironing machines

Ironing machines offer a quick and efficient way to remove wrinkles from clothes. Ideal for laundromats that provide full-service laundry and luxuries like pickup and delivery, these machines can handle a variety of fabrics, saving time and delivering a professional finish.

Ozone laundry systems

Ozone laundry systems are becoming increasingly popular for their eco-friendliness and efficiency. By infusing ozone into the washing process, they clean and disinfect at lower temperatures, saving energy and extending the life of fabrics. 

Laundry scales

Laundry scales are crucial for laundromats that charge by weight or offer commercial laundry services. They ensure accurate billing and assist in effective load management, creating transparency between you and your customers.

Stain removal stations

Stain removal stations are a key addition for laundromats focusing on quality service. These stations are equipped with specialized products and tools to treat various types of stains, leading to higher customer satisfaction by returning garments in the best possible condition. Expert stain removal also allows you to cater to a new customer segment that may have their own in-home laundry, but need extra care for stained garments.

Why invest in quality commercial washers and dryers

Starting a laundromat can be a pretty sizable investment and it may be tempting to cut corners in certain areas, but your equipment is not the place to do it. Investing in quality commercial laundry equipment is a wise business decision that you’ll thank yourself for down the road. Here are some benefits you get from investing in high-quality laundry equipment:

Longevity and durability

High-quality commercial laundry machines are designed to withstand the rigors of constant use. Their robust construction and superior components contribute to a longer lifespan, reducing the frequency of replacements and repairs. This longevity translates into cost savings and uninterrupted service for your business.

Energy and water savings

Top-tier laundry equipment is often engineered with energy efficiency in mind. These machines use less water and electricity, which not only lowers utility bills but also aligns your business with environmentally sustainable practices. Over time, the savings on operational costs become substantial.

Improved customer experience

Quality equipment consistently delivers excellent cleaning results, faster processing times, and user-friendly interfaces. This enhances the overall customer experience, making your laundromat a preferred choice for users seeking efficiency and reliability.

Enhanced business reputation

Using premium laundry equipment reflects on your business’s reputation. It demonstrates a commitment to providing top-notch services and creates a positive impression, attracting more customers and potentially commanding higher service prices.

The gold standard of laundry equipment providers

When shopping around for different types of commercial laundry equipment, you’ll want to go for reputable brands with a history of quality products. Core distributors in the market include:

  • Alliance: Known for its durable and efficient laundry equipment, Alliance also offers the popular SpeedQueen brand, renowned for its reliability and innovative features.

  • Dexter: Dexter is celebrated for its advanced, high-capacity machines that cater to heavy-duty laundry needs.

  • Electrolux: Offering a range of modern and energy-efficient laundry solutions, Electrolux is another top choice for laundromats prioritizing sustainability and technology.

Always consult your local laundromat machine distributor to help source, purchase, and install the correct equipment for your laundromat.

Choosing the right equipment for your laundromat

Now that you know what your options are, how do you go about making equipment purchasing decisions? Here are step-by-step instructions for a thoughtful analysis that will land you with an equipment investments that aligns with your business.

  1. Assess your business needs: Start by nailing down your specific business needs. Consider the size of your laundromat, the anticipated volume of laundry, and the preferences of your target market. This will guide you in choosing machines with the right capacity and features.

  2. Define your budget: Your budget plays a significant role in the equipment selection process. It's important to balance cost with quality. Investing in more expensive, high-quality machines can lead to long-term savings in maintenance and energy costs.

  3. Consider brand reputation and reviews: Research and consider the reputation of different brands. Look for customer reviews and industry feedback to gauge the reliability, efficiency, and performance of various equipment. 

  4. Look for warranties and after-sales service: Check the warranty offered by the manufacturers you’re considering and understand what it covers. Good after-sales service provides you safety against the financial burden of issues that may arise post-purchase. Always choose brands that offer comprehensive support and maintenance services.

Key considerations when shopping for used commercial laundry equipment


Maybe you take a look at your budget and find it makes more sense to buy used laundromat equipment, which is an economical choice for many! As long as you’re still opting for high-quality machines, this is a great route. If you’re considering used washers and dryers, make sure to do your due diligence. Here are the top things to consider:

  • Machine age: Keep in mind the average lifespan for most machines falls in the 10 - 15 year range. While older machines might be cheaper, they may also be closer to the end of their operational life and lack modern features.

  • Operational history: Ask about the machine's usage history. A machine used heavily in a busy laundromat might have more wear and tear for its age than one from a smaller operation.

  • Maintenance records: A well-maintained machine can have a longer lifespan. As if you’re buying a used car, check if regular servicing was done and if any major repairs or replacements were carried out.

  • Physical inspection: Examine the machine for visible signs of wear, rust, or damage. For washers, inspect seals and gaskets, and for dryers, check the lint compartment and drum.

  • Operational test: Run the machine through a cycle to confirm it operates smoothly. Listen for any unusual noises and check for consistent performance.

  • Brand reputation: Some brands are known for durability and longevity. Research the brand's reputation and read customer reviews.

  • Availability of replacement parts: Make sure that parts for the machine model are still available in the market. You don’t want to be stuck at a loss for OEM parts when faced with future repairs.

  • Warranty transfer: Check if any existing warranty is transferable to the new owner. Even a short-term warranty can provide peace of mind.

  • Reason for sale: Understand why the seller is parting with the machine. It can give insights into any potential issues or the machine's performance.

  • Price comparison: Compare the price of the used machine with new models. The cost savings should justify the potential risks of buying used equipment.


Your commercial laundry equipment are the heartbeat of your entire operation, so making informed decisions in your selections is essential to the success of your business. Each choice, from washers and dryers to specialized equipment, should check three main boxes: 

  1. Align with your business goals

  2. Enhance overall efficiency 

  3. Create customer satisfaction 

Also, embracing modern payment processing systems, such as Cents Connect, can significantly streamline operations, modernize payment options, and give you access to granular data about your machines and customer behavior. Transitioning from coin to card systems not only modernizes your laundromat but also enhances the customer experience.

The laundry industry is continuously evolving with technological advancements. Staying updated and willing to adapt to new technologies and equipment advancements is your ticket for maintaining a competitive edge. Continuous learning and embracing innovation will improve your business operations and position your laundromat as a leader in the market.

Remember, the journey in the laundry business is a marathon, not a sprint. Patience, research, and adaptation are key to thriving in this dynamic industry.

In-line Blog CTA - control your machines

Discover the evolving laundry industry and the power of machines in customer loyalty and operational efficiency. Learn about Cents Connect, our suite of payment systems that integrates data from machines, offering convenience and data-driven decision-making for both customers and laundromat owners.