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Washing Machine Reviews

By: Kelly Burgess on March 10, 2017

Editor's Note:
The LG WT1701CV, Kenmore Elite 41072, or the high-capacity Kenmore Elite 31633 are the washers to buy if you want a fully-featured, top performing machine in your laundry room. We also recommend plenty of other great top-loading and front-loading washers, at a variety of price points, for an efficient, hassle free laundry experience.

LG WT1701CV Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Capacity - 4.9 cu. ft. Preset wash cycles - 12 Size (w,d,h) - 20.5" x 41.25" x 44"

Best top-load washer

The LG WT1701CV is one of the most attractive washers around, reviewers agree, thanks to a high-tech-looking front control panel that's also easy to use. But it doesn't get ugly when it comes to performance, earning raves for that from experts and owners alike. At 4.9 cubic feet, it's a great fit for all but the fluffiest king-sized comforters, and its self-balancing technology means you don't have to rebalance big loads as often. See our full review »

GE GTW680BSJWS Reviews
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Capacity - 4.6 cu. ft. Preset wash cycles - 14 Size (w,d,h) - 27" x 27" x 46"

Best cheap top-load washer

You'd think at this price the most the GE GTW680BSJWS can offer is a few basic features, but you'd be wrong. Loaded with enough cycle options to suit any laundry fanatic, it's also super simple to use, making it a great choice for the dump-in-and-wash crowd as well. The GTW680BSJWS gets good ratings for its cleaning performance and cleans clothes faster than practically any other top-loader on the market. See our full review »

Kenmore Elite 31633 Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Capacity - 6.2 cu. ft. Preset wash cycles - 10 Size (w,d,h) - 29.5" x 30" x 43.5"

High-capacity washing machine

The Kenmore Elite 31633 is a great choice for big families because it holds a LOT of clothes -- its 6.2 cubic foot washing basket is currently the largest of any residential machine. And, in spite of its massive capacity, Kenmore's Accela Wash technology means its cycles are pretty dang speedy. The Kenmore Elite 31633 is well-featured too, with plenty of cycle options and an internal water heater. The washer comes in metallic silver or in white as the Kenmore Elite 31632 (Est. $1,100). See our full review »

Kenmore Elite 41072 Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Capacity - 5.2 cu. ft. Preset wash cycles - 14 Size (w,d,h) - 29" x 34" x 40.8"

Best front-load washing machine

No washing machine draws more praise than the giant, 5.2 cubic foot Kenmore Elite 41072 (offered in white) or its metallic silver identical twin, the Kenmore Elite 41073 (Est. $1,100). It's packed with features to make cleaning clothes easier than ever, including a lightning-fast, 15-minute Express Wash (although the Normal cycle takes only 38 minutes). Cleaning performance is excellent on all cycles, and the washer earns a 2016 Energy Star Most Efficient designation. See our full review »

Maytag MHW3505FW Review
Runners Up
Specs that Matter Capacity - 4.3 cu. ft. Preset wash cycles - 9 Size (w,d,h) - 27" x 33" x 39.75"

Cheap front load washer

The Maytag MHW3505FW lacks some high end features found in more upscale front-load washers, but it also lacks their high price. Expert reviewers give it solid ratings across the board, and owners rave about it, saying its cleaning performance is excellent. They also say it's very easy to use and its 4.3 cubic foot capacity is a good choice for standard laundry room setups where a higher capacity washer may be a squeeze.

Your washing machine should fit your lifestyle and budget

It's probably safe to say that everyone needs a washing machine. From there, it becomes a question of preference and lifestyle: A big family? A dirty job? Messy kids? Just you and your dainties? All of these are important considerations, as are things like your available space and, of course, your budget

Types of Washing Machines

Top-Load Washers

This is the classic washer style, and it's popular because top-loading washing machines are easier to load and unload than front-loading machines (since you don't have to stoop over to open them). They also tend to cost less than front loaders. Traditional top-loaders, which use an internal agitator that spins on a vertical axis to churn the water and clean the laundry, are the least expensive type. However, they cost more to run because they use more water and electricity than the newer high-efficiency (HE) models. They also hold less laundry, make more noise and get lower scores (often sharply lower) in professional tests. We do not recommend any agitator-style top load washers in this report, because none get recommendations from the most trusted sources. All of the top-loading washers we do recommend are HE models, so they use less water; but you also must use HE detergent.

Front-Load Washers

Front-load washing machines are considered to be the best-performing washing machines available, and they're the most water- and energy-efficient, too. Their horizontal tubs tumble clothes into and out of the water, making it possible to wash a full load with relatively little water and their higher spin speeds wring out more water, so laundry requires less time in the dryer. On average, front loaders tend to be gentler on clothes than top-load machines. Front-loading washers can usually be stacked with a matching dryer to save floor space -- assuming you have the ceiling clearance. However, the most efficient cycle times tend to be lengthy, sometimes an hour or more. The good news is that, if you're in a hurry, virtually all feature a quick wash cycle that speeds things up. Once again, use of an HE laundry detergent is a must with front-loading washers.

Washer recalls were a big issue in 2016

In November of 2016, Samsung recalled 2.8 million top-loading washers due to reports of lids detaching and flying across the room. Nine injuries were reported. You can read a full list of the recalled washers here. If you already own one, you can request a remedy from Samsung. These washer are no longer for sale at retail, but if you decide to buy a used washer, be sure it's not on the recall list.

What else do you need for laundry day?

While this report covers full-sized washing machines meant to pair up with full-sized clothes dryers, which we cover in its own report, your laundry room may be too small for that combination -- especially if you live in an apartment or condo. If that’s your situation, we cover laundry centers -- models that combine a washer and dryer in one unit -- in our report on washer-dryer combos. Also, to press out the last of the wrinkles in your dress clothes, or to just put the finish on your look, check out our reports on steam irons and garment steamers.

Finding The Best Washing Machines
Our Sources
"Laundry Reviews"
"Washing machines"
"Washers"

The most credible sources for washing machine reviews, Reviewed.com, ConsumerReports.org and Good Housekeeping, are frequently updated and all three offer thorough, well-explained testing, making it easy to come to a consensus for our top picks. CNET and DigitalTrends.com also review washers, although not as many and they tend to focus on more high-tech options, but some of the washing machines they review are highly-rated elsewhere as well.

Owner-written reviews rounded out the picture, especially when it comes to gauging long-term durability as well as the manufacturer's response to complaints and warranty issues, considerations that aren't measured in professional tests. We found the best user reviews for washers at retailer sites such as HomeDepot.com, BestBuy.com, and Lowes.com. Occasionally, you see some reviews at these sites that originate elsewhere, notably the manufacturers' sites. However, we took the existence of these duplicated reviews into consideration to find those washing machines that truly score with owners.

Recently Updated
Washing Machines buying guide

What every best Washing Machines has:

  • The right combination of features.
  • Washing performance for your lifestyle.
  • Great energy efficiency.

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