Commercial washers are separated into two categories: soft-mount and hard-mount. The terms soft-mount and hard-mount refer to the way a commercial washer is installed and how it deals with vibrations during operation. Here's a breakdown of the key differences: 

Hard-Mount Washer

  • Installation: Requires a solid foundation—typically a concrete floor slab or a specially installed steel pad. This is becuase the washer doesn't have its own built-in shock absorption system.
  • Vibration: Hard-mount washers generate significant vibrations during spin cycles due to the lack of shock absorbers. This can be disruptive and even damage floors if not properly installed on a strong foundation. For this reason, they are typically restricted to ground floor or basement installation.
  • Benefits: Hard-mounts have lower upfront cost compared to soft-mount washers and their slower spin cycles can be gentler on delicate laundry items.
  • Drawbacks: These washers require a complex and potentially expensive installation process requiring a strong foundation and their vibrations can be problematic and make them unsuitable for upper floors.

Soft-Mount Washer

  • Installation: Soft-mount washers are easier to install as they don't require a special foundation. They are typically secured to the floor with leveling feet and may have additional bolting for stability.
  • Vibration: Soft-mounts have built-in shock absorbers or springs within their base frame. This significantly reduces vibrations during operation, making them suitable for upper floors or buildings with less robust structures.
  • Benefits: 1) Easier and less expensive installation process; 2) Reduced vibrations are less disruptive, cause less wear on floors and allow them to be installed on upper floors; 3) Higher spin speeds can extract more moisture from laundry, potentially reducing drying times and related utility costs.
  • Drawbacks: These machines are typically more expensive than hard-mount washers due to the additional shock absorption components.

Similarities Between the Two Types of Machines

Both washer-extractor styles feature the advanced operations you’d expect from modern commercial laundry equipment, with LED screens, programmable cycles, and automated chemical processes. Each offers features to save water and energy as well. It's their different extraction characteristics as noted above that set them apart.

Durability & Reliability

All commercial washer-extractors are made with heavy-duty steel parts, welded construction, and thoughtfully designed roller bearings to operate at a near-constant rate. The lifespan of most commercial washer-extractors is 10 years or more. Variances in the design and machine components result in different levels of durability:
Hard-mount washers are built with fewer parts, which means there is less potential of component failure. A quality brand, with proper care and maintenance, often exceeds the 10-year baseline.
Soft-mount washers feature a  suspension system and cradle, so they have more parts and components than their rigid-mount counterparts. While they are designed with high-quality materials and thoroughly tested for durability, the increased number of parts naturally increases the potential for mechanical issues. Even so, well-maintained soft-mount machines often provide many years of reliable operation.

Western State Design offers commercial washer-extractors in a range of capacities and with hard- and soft-mount installations to serve your commercial laundry operations. We will happily assist you with planning, selecting, and installing your new equipment to make your project a success. Request a quote or consultation today to get started.