When purchasing or replacing existing laundry equipment, the amount of different brands, options, and build can get overwhelming, especially if you are new to the industry. In this blog series, we will cut through some of the noise and focus on one aspect at a time in hopes that this makes the information more digestible and more easily retained by those new to laundry.
The first topic of discussion is the similarities and differences, and pros and cons of hard mount and soft mount washers.
Hard Mount Washers
The hard mount washer is generally viewed as the "standard" in North America in regards to laundromats and OPL facilities. Hard mounts got their name due to the fact that they must be anchored to a concrete floor to keep the machine from moving around during a spin. When installing a hard mount machine, it is very important to know exactly how thick your concrete is. If a machine is put on a slab where the concrete is too thin, the machine can break loose and cause damage and even injuries.
The construction of hard mount washers is similar across most brands. With the basket directly attached to the heavy frame, and usually a "cabinet" of panels around to protect the inside. Of the two types of washers, hard mounts generally have a smaller foot print than soft mounts, as well as cost 10-20% less. This is important to consider for laundromat owners, because smaller machine foot prints allow you to put more machines in the same amount of space.
Like all things, there are some areas where hard mount machines fall short of their soft mounted counterparts, most notably, the extract speed. Hard mount machines are generally limited to either 100 or 200 G's of extract force. While this extracts more water than a top load washer would, there is still room for improvement.
Additionally, with hard mount machines, they are mounted to the floor, so they must be installed far enough away from a rear wall to provide access for employees and service personnel to perform maintenance on the machine. If a machine is installed too close to a wall and maintenance needs to be done on the rear of the machine, the entire machine has to be uninstalled, and moved forward, and then re installed.
Soft Mount Washers
Right out of the gate, the biggest difference between the two types of washers, is that soft mounts do not need to be anchored into concrete. The base requirements for placement of a soft mount are that the floor is level, and in reasonably good condition, and can support the weight. This lead to soft mount machines becoming more popular in Europe, due to their old buildings that simply cannot support a hard mount. The soft mount washer can be installed on 2nd floors, or even over a basement.
The greatest advantage soft mount machines have over hard mount machines is the ability to run at higher extract speeds. Soft mount washers can extract water from linens at forces in excess of 400 G's. This removes significantly more water from the linens, allowing them to dry quicker. This increases your throughput, as well as helps to keep your linens in top shape by not being overdried.
Soft mounts can be installed as close to the wall as you can get it, and it can be lifted and pulled away from the wall for any maintenance that would need to be done.
The down side of soft mounts are their size, and their price. Instead of spreading out the excess rotational force generated in a spin cycle through a concrete pad (like a hard mount),
a soft mount machine has a sophisticated array of shocks and springs designed to absorb that force without any need to be anchored.
Because of the shocks and springs inside the machine, the dimensions are larger than their hard mount counterparts. This allows for less machines to fit in the same amount of space. As mentioned previously, soft mounts are also 10-20% more expensive than a comparable hard mount which is another limiting factor that needs to be taken into account during the decision making process.
So Which One is Better?
Both hard and soft mount machines have their niche in the laundry world, its up to you to decide which is right for your application. If you were washing items that are not to be extracted in excess of 100 G's, spending more money on a soft mount machine with a higher extract that you can't use may not be the best choice. Similarly, if you are concerned about having to move the machine in the future, or need to have a higher extract, a soft mount would be the appropriate choice.
An incredibly helpful tool when making these decisions can be your distributor. At CLS&S, we pride ourselves in acting in the best interest of the customer, even if it means talking you out of buying a machine. We work diligently with our customers to determine which machine will be the best fit for your application, and make sure you are fully trained on the ins and outs of your machine after install.
To learn more about the different types of washers, or if you have any other laundry related questions, please give us a call and let us help!
Commercial Laundry Sales & Service
1228 S Santa Fe
Wichita, KS 67211