Quick and convenient access to laundry facilities is one of the most sought-after amenities in apartments. And while having an in-unit washer and dryer might seem like the ultimate in convenience for apartment renters, communal or on-site laundry facilities come with plenty of perks, too. 

What is the difference between in-unit and on-site laundry facilities? What are the types of on-site laundry setups? And how much does on-site laundry cost? 

What is On-Site Laundry?

On-site laundry refers to laundry facilities outside of your apartment, but on the property and designated for use by community residents, only.

On-site laundry is definitely a step up from an off-site, public laundromat in terms of time, transportation and privacy. After all, you are sharing the facilities with your neighbors and fellow renters, not strangers. In fact, using on-site laundry facilities can be a great way to make friends with your neighbors. Having on-site laundry also means you won’t have to purchase your own washer and dryer or pay for the extra utilities used by these machines.

Types of On-Site Laundry

On-site laundry facilities vary by community. Washers and dryers could be located in-building or in designated areas within each building. On-site laundry could also mean a communal laundry area in a common area. Both in-building and communal laundry facilities usually mean you don’t have to worry about dragging your laundry outside in bad weather.

No matter which type of on-site laundry your community has, it’s important to be a good neighbor and adhere to some common laundry room etiquette.

On-Site vs. In-Unit Laundry

Unlike on-site laundry, in-unit laundry means you have a washer and dryer in your apartment, so you don’t have to share the machines with anyone else, and you can do laundry whenever you like. However, you’ll likely pay extra for the privilege, both in terms of additional monthly rent and larger utility bills.

Conversely, with on-site laundry, you are sharing the washers and dryers with other residents, so you’ll need to be mindful of moving and removing your laundry promptly. There also might be specific hours the laundry facilities are open and there could be other rules of use as well.

Do apartment laundry facilities cost money?

While cheaper than in-unit laundry, on-site laundry facilities do have some costs associated with them. You won’t pay more in rent or utilities, but you will pay to use the machines each visit.

Prices at an on-site facility vary, but it’s usually less expensive than a public laundromat, where a load of laundry cost up to $5. Washing machine loads in on-site facilities typically range from $1.50 to $2 per load, while dryers may be a little cheaper at $1 to $1.50. 

Why do apartments charge for laundry? Running the washers and dryers costs money, and the resident charge covers some of these costs. Not only do the machines require extra water and electricity, but they also require regular maintenance in order to run properly. 

It used to be that residents had to pay for each load with quarters. But as with everything, technology has changed the laundry game, and most modern communities have laundry cards that can be refilled either at add-value machines on-site or through a smartphone app.

These apps then allow you to start your laundry via the app or by scanning a QR code without having to insert any cards or quarters. Some laundry room apps even tell you when machines are available and let you see where you are at in the cycle, allowing you to keep tabs on your laundry from your apartment.

Pros and Cons of On-Site Laundry

Wondering if on-site laundry is the right fit for you? Here are some pros and cons to consider when apartment hunting.

The Pros of On-Site Laundry

  • Convenient – Located near where you live so you don’t have to go far.   
  • Privacy – You won’t have to take your dirty clothes out into the greater world.
  • Cost – Usually cheaper than in-unit laundry and public laundromats.
  • Exclusive – Facilities are shared only amongst fellow residents.

The Cons of On-Site Laundry

  • Schedule – You’ll have to schedule your laundry around open times as well as busy periods when other residents are using the machines.
  • Shared – Laundry machines are shared amongst residents, rather than all to yourself.
  • Transporting – Depending on the type of facilities, you’ll have to drag your laundry outside in bad weather.

Pros of On-Site Laundry vs. In-Unit

  • Saves space – In-unit washer and dryers take up valuable space.
  • Maintenance – The apartment management is responsible for keeping on-site laundry machines in clean and working order.
  • Cheaper – In-unit laundry tends to mean higher monthly rent and utilities. Plus, you won’t have to buy a washer and dryer if your apartment has laundry hookups. 

Take Southern Management’s Laundry Facilities for a Spin

No washer or dryer? No problem! Most apartment residents don’t have their own washer and dryer, and in-unit laundry facilities aren’t very common. Apartment residents rely on the convenience of in-building or on-site laundry facilities to take care of their laundry needs.

Whether you prefer doing your laundry in your apartment or in a shared, on-site laundry room, Southern Management has a wide variety of laundry accommodations available. Browse our more than 75 communities throughout Maryland and Northern Virginia, many of which have in-building, on-site, or in-unit laundry facilities. Contact our team to learn more today!