First look at location...where are you going to put the new machine? Will it replace an old machine already right where you want it? Does it need to squeeze into a large closet? Take some measurements as well, to ensure you are not buying a washer that will not fit in its assigned area. A full size washing machine is about 27 inches wide while a compact machine measures 24 inches. If your available space is limited, you might want to look at the stackable washer dryer combinations.
Will your washer be up against the wall next to the den? Or bedroom? If your washer is located near a much-used room you will want to know its noise level. If a machine is touted as 70 decibels on the spin cycle, the manufacturer wants you to know it is a quiet washer.
How much laundry will you actually do? Will your washing machine be running a couple of loads every day, or is it strictly a once-a-week chore? Washing machine capacity is measured in pounds. To determine your needs, next wash day, weigh the clothing you wash before placing in the machine.
The more options, the higher the price. Keep in mind that pre-soaking a stain is something you will have to do, not the washing machine. Unless you have extreme needs such as auto mechanic overalls or highly fragile delicates, most low and medium priced washing machines will offer a sufficient array of options to meet your needs. You may like the streamlined look of a touchpad, but keep in mind that it's ka-ching ka-ching with this design over a simple dial.