Looking for a new set, all the stores were really pushing the front load washer/dryer sets (which of course, are almost all over $2000 for the set!!). After reading many reviews on Amazon, we subscribed to Consumer Reports online (only $30 a year for access to all their reviews) thinking that finally we'd have some objective marks.
It seems that the constant issue with the front-loaders is that the drum bearings break down. And not soon after buying, but just over a year with normal use....right after the warranty expires. I couldn't count the number of reviewers who found this out the hard way, and when they had a repairman come out to service the washer, found out that replacing these bearings cost nearly as much as a new washer!!
So top loaders it was! The sets that we had our eyes on were some of the top-rated washers on Consumer Reports list, but surprisingly not the most expensive by any means. We were looking at the Samsung WA5451ANW and DV5451AGW, and the LG WT4801CW and DLG4802W. One would think they could come up with some better model names for these...like the Clean-enator or Tsunami or (for fans of the Transformers) the De-Septic-Con!
We started tracking prices using our favorite price watching site, Camelcamelcamel.com, well actually her sister site CamelBuy.com. If you've never used these sites, they are FANTASTIC! You can load your Amazon wish list or just search for products and then track them. You set your goal price and wait. When Amazon has one of their random price changes to your goal price, you get an email! CamelBuy is the same, but for BestBuy products.
And thank goodness we did track prices, because appliance pricing is completely arbitrary. If you look back at six months of pricing for most appliances, there will be several hundred dollars worth of variation. For the LG washer we got, prices ranged from $599 (which we got!) up to $749, and the LG dryer from $569 to $849! No rhyme or reason at all. But we got them for nearly the lowest prices and with free delivery and installation from Best Buy! Not too shabby.