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When we were in the market for a washer, we went with a European-type horizontal model (the make escapes me at the moment). The hard facts: It uses less than 20% of the energy of a comparable top-loading US-style washer. That's $7-10 per month on my utility bill. It saves 50% on water, compared to a top-loader of the same capacity. Nice feature here in Southern California and will surely have a better appeal over the years... Capacity is the same as any regular top-loader. As Phil points out, it is much gentler on the clothes. So much so that my T-shirts actually retain their shape. Never thought that possible! Clothes come out far cleaner than what any of the Kenmores and Maytags we've used were able to yield. Admittedly, we spent $700 rather than $400. Not considering the water savings and less wear on clothes, we'll break even in under 4 years. Add to this the feel-good factor of saving precious resources and you have a real winner.