Washing Machine Reviews

Front-load or top-load washer? That's the first question you'll face when your existing washing machine conks out. Both types of washers have advantages as well as disadvantages. Our editors explain what you need to consider when buying a new machine, then round up top choices of all types based on expert reviews, owner feedback and their own insights.
 
Samsung WA52J8700AP
Best Reviewed
Best top-load washer
Samsung WA52J8700AP

If you're a person who likes all things high-tech, even in your laundry room, then the Samsung WA52J8700AP will give you a thrill every time you open the lid. Its unique feature is a built-in sink that gives you the flexibility to pretreat and wash clothes in one convenient stop, but it doesn't skimp on other features either, including 15 preset wash cycles. Owners also love its generous, 5.2 cubic foot capacity.
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GE GTW680BSJWS
Best Reviewed
Best cheap top-load washer
GE GTW680BSJWS

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.
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LG WM8000HVA
Best Reviewed
Best washing machine
LG WM8000HVA

No washing machine draws more praise than the graphite steel LG WM8000HVA or its white-finish identical twin, the LG WM8000HWA (Est. $1,150). It's packed with features to make cleaning clothes and maintaining the washer better and easier. Cleaning performance is excellent, experts and owners agree, with a 5.2 cubic foot capacity that's large enough for most families. The WM8000HVA is Energy Star Certified.
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Samsung WF56H9100AG
Best Reviewed
High capacity front load washer
Samsung WF56H9100AG

The Samsung WF56H9100AG is a great choice for big families because it holds a LOT of clothes -- its 5.6 cubic foot washing basket is the largest of any residential machine. The machine is fast, and cleaning performance is rated as very good. The Samsung WF56H9100AG is feature packed too, earning an Energy Star Most Efficient designation. The washer comes in black (onyx), or in white as the Samsung WF56H9100AW (Est. $1,200).
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LG WM3050CW
Runner Up
Cheap front load washer
LG WM3050CW

The LG WM3050CW lacks the high end features found in more upscale front-load washers, but it also lacks their high price. Owners rave about it, saying its cleaning performance is excellent -- a judgement that owners concur with. They also say it's very easy to use and we saw no complaints of it not fitting in standard laundry room setups. The WM3050CW is Energy Star Certified.

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

There are three basic types of washing machines

Top-load washers are the classic washer style, and are popular because they're 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 high-efficiency 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.

High-efficiency (HE) top load washers use less water and energy than conventional top loaders, but they get higher marks for washing performance in independent tests. Rather than the traditional agitator, most of these washers use an impeller -- a fan-shaped ridge at the bottom of the washer drum that spins to create turbulence and somersault laundry through the water. However, these mechanisms can also tangle clothes more easily than a traditional agitator. High-efficiency top loaders are also more expensive than conventional washers, with prices that rival those of the least expensive front loaders, though more and more budget HE top loaders are becoming available. HE top loading washers require the use of the same HE detergent as front loaders.

Front-load washers are the best washing machines in general, and they're the most 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. On average, front loaders tend to be gentler on clothes than top-load machines, as well as more efficient. Front-loading washers can be stacked with a matching dryer to save space, and their higher spin speeds wring out more water, so laundry requires less time in the dryer.

However, front loaders have their own set of drawbacks. They can trap water, dirt and detergent in the tub, creating an ideal environment for mold and odors. This problem can be avoided by wiping down the rubber seal after each wash and leaving the washer door open when not in use. Another common problem is lengthy wash times -- anywhere from 50 to 100 minutes for a standard wash cycle, compared to 35 to 60 minutes in a top loader. The high spin speeds of front-load machines may also cause excessive vibration, especially on wooden floors. Once again, use of an HE laundry detergent is a must. In addition, if you have a washer, you’ll probably need a dryer. In our separate report on clothes dryers, we recommend the top electric and gas dryers for any laundry room space or budget.

Finding the best reviewed washers

We found current and credible professional reviews for all types of washers at Reviewed.com, ConsumerReports.org and Good Housekeeping, as well as a smattering of other sites for a few individual machines. All of these sources do thorough, well-explained testing. Having three credible sites, often with reviews of the same make and model washing machines, also made it easy to come to a consensus on our top picks.

Owner-written reviews are just as useful for finding the best washers, 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.