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A great washer doesn't need to clean out your budget

Not everyone wants to shell out $1,000 or more for a washing machine, no matter what kind of fabulous features it may boast. The good news is that if price is as much of a concern as performance, our research revealed several washing machines that deliver good performance at a great price.

Best washing machine

LG WM8000HVA
LG WM8000HVA

If your heart was set on a front-load washer, but sunk when you saw their typical price tags, be sure to check out the LG WM3050CW. It gets feedback that is as good as or better than some pricier front-load machines, and that feedback is overwhelmingly positive from experts and owners alike. At Reviewed.com the WM3050CW is an Editors' Choice "If you're looking for a front loader that cuts the fat, and has a good price-to-performance ratio, the LG WM3050CW is definitely worth checking out," says Jonathan Chan.

You give away some bells and whistles compared to higher end front-load machines, such our Best Reviewed front loader, the LG WM8000HVA (Est. $1,200). For example, headline features of the WM8000HVA such as SmartDiagnosis, TurboWash and steam technology are nowhere to be found on the WM3050CW. You also lose some of the flexibility -- seven washing programs compared to 14 on the WM8000HVA. The capacity is also lower -- 4 cubic feet versus 5.2. Still, owners give the WM3050CW very high ratings precisely because of that minimalist vibe, with many saying they don't want washing clothes to be rocket science, they want to toss in a load, walk away, and end up with clean clothes, and, with the WM3050CW, that's exactly what they get.

Expert testing reinforces the good core performance of the LG WM3050CW, with Reviewed.com finding cleaning prowess as above average. It's also very efficient, with Chan estimating yearly operating costs at a miserly $38. The washer is covered by a one-year warranty, plus 10 years on the motor The LG WM3050CW is available in white only.

On the other side of the coin, if you're in the market for a top-loading washer, yet still want to come in under budget, take a look at the very well-regarded GE GTW680BSJWS (Est. $540). For a cheap washer, this model is absolutely decked out, including a warm rinse option that earns raves from Chan, as well as 14 preset laundry cycles, deep fill and extra rinse options, an auto soak setting, and five soil and stain settings. It's fast, too, the fastest gun in the West, according to both experts and owners, with the quickest option giving you a clean crop of clothes in about 15 minutes.

Reviews from experts are mixed when it comes to cleaning performance with the GE GTW680BSJWS. One independent product review organization gives it a rating of just Good, whereas Chan is more complimentary, saying the GE performs above average even on the normal settings. Owners are firmly in Chan's camp, saying the GE does a great job cleaning their clothes, and the 4.6 cubic feet capacity is plenty, they say, for all but the largest families. We saw dozens of comments that this GE is, "the best washer I've ever owned."

While no top loading washer will ever reach the efficiency levels of a front loader, the GE GTW680BSJWS isn't exactly an energy hog. Chan estimates annual usage rates to be about $42, pretty low for a top-loader. It's Energy Star Certified, as well. The only real complaint we saw about this GE washer is that some feel it's quite loud, although, as we find with any and all products that produce any sound at all, noise is always in the ear of the beholder; plenty of owners say they don't even notice that it's running. The GE GTW680BSJWS only comes in white.

Elsewhere in this report:

Best Washing Machines | Best Top Load Washers | Best Front Load Washers | Buying Guide | Our Sources

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