When building a commercial laundry space, one thing you’ll need to consider is installing hard-mount vs. soft-mount washers. As the names imply, the distinction comes down to how the washers are mounted, and it can make a surprising difference in everything from your method of installation to energy efficiency.
Whether you’re prioritizing cost, ease of installation or something else, the way your washer is mounted will affect the equation. Let’s take a look at how hard-mount and soft-mount commercial washers compare.
Hard-mount washers are also called solid-mount or rigid-mount washers. They run at high speeds and with significant vibrational forces. Unfortunately, they lack shock absorbers to take the brunt of those vibrations.
This lack of shock absorption means a hard-mount washer must be mounted onto the right kind of surface that absorbs the energy instead. The washer needs to be tightly secured to either a thick concrete floor or a steel or concrete slab. If using a slab, you’ll still need to mount the slab to the floor of the building, too.
As you can imagine, these demands can make installation complex and more time-consuming. Hard-mount washers can also be a little more difficult to place. They must be placed on the first floor of a building to prevent significant damage to the floor or the machinery. The need for thick floors or slabs can also make it harder to find a space that will accommodate hard-mount washers. Still, if you have the right space for them, hard-mount washers can be a cost-effective choice.
Despite these limitations, hard-mount washers are popular in commercial applications. They’ve been around a bit longer and are considerably less expensive than their soft-mount counterparts.
Soft-mount washers offer a lot more flexibility. Instead of needing a hard mount underneath them, these washers include a metal cradle and shock absorbers. With this design, the washer drum stays separate from the frame, minimizing direct contact and vibration. Those vibrational forces stay contained and don’t reach the rest of the building.
Although they create less vibrational force, soft-mount washers typically provide higher G-forces when the laundry spins, which can help you boost energy efficiency. By squeezing out more of the moisture from laundry, soft-mount washers help ease the demands placed on the dryer. If the laundry isn’t as wet when it reaches the dryer, the machine can use less heat — and gas — to dry it.
Overall, this design gives you more flexibility. A soft-mount washer can be placed on any floor and doesn’t require a heavy slab. This means if your laundry machine is going anywhere besides the ground floor, you’ll need a soft-mount washer. Even for ground-floor installations, many prefer the soft-mount style because of its ease of installation.
Keep in mind that soft-mount washers usually cost more than hard-mount washers, but you’ll also want to factor the savings from installation and energy use into the total price.
The primary benefit of a hard-mount washer is cost. These machines have been around for longer than soft-mount washers and are widely available at economical price points. For many commercial laundromats, the low price point is a strong draw.
However, that low cost comes with a few cons:
If you have the right setup for a hard-mount washer and don’t mind a less-efficient cycle, a hard-mount washer can be a good way to save.
Soft-mount washers are a little newer, and their technology solves most of the problems of hard-mount washers — but that convenience comes at a price.
Some pros of a soft-mount washer include:
In contrast to a hard-mount washer, the biggest downside of a soft-mount washer is price. These washers are a little higher-tech, with sophisticated shock-absorbing designs. They may have a higher price point, but it’s important to consider everything else that goes into a washer’s price, including installation and energy use. For some buyers, the convenience is well worth the price.
Both hard-mount washers and soft-mount washers come in an array of styles and capabilities to boost your residents’ experiences. Whether you need just a few commercial washers or an entire laundromat’s worth, the experts at Caldwell & Gregory are here to help.
We’ll work with you every step of the way to determine the right type of washer for your needs and make it as easy as possible to get and maintain it. We offer leasing and sales and can set you up with the ideal technology for your residents, like apps and versatile payment methods.
From colleges and universities to multi-housing properties, we offer a hassle-free experience for implementing and managing laundry technology. Reach out to us today to chat and learn more about building a personalized laundry plan.