Top-load washers don't get as much love from expert reviewers as front-load machines, but plenty of consumers still prefer them to front loaders for various reasons. Manufacturers are acknowledging that love by improving their top-loading products to the point that we're beginning to see their expert ratings creep up.
Among top-loading machines, the LG WT1701CV ($1,000), gets raves for its unique design that puts the control panel on the front of the machine instead of along the back. The result is a modern, futuristic look that many reviewers say is wasted hidden away in the laundry room. However, it's also reported as very easy and intuitive to use, and many note that it's the first washer they've ever had that they can see in a dim room.
The LG WT1701CV doesn't fail when it comes to performance, either. At ConsumerReports.org it earns above average ratings in every category, except gentleness. Reviewing this washer for DigitalTrends.com, Ian Tucker also disses the gentle cycle, saying, "The delicate cycle doesn't quite scrub your unmentionables to their best and brightest." He suggests using the normal cycle for heavier soiling, though, noting that the extra wear and tear shouldn't be too damaging. At Reviwed.com, however, Christopher Snow is unimpressed with the LG WT1701CV, saying it doesn't do well at stain removal at all. Still, he gives it a score of 7, higher than many other washers that earn Editor's Choice awards in the site's roundup. What both Tucker and Snow do agree on is that this is one terrific-looking washing machine.
Owners tend to side with ConsumerReports.org's and DigitalTrends.com's findings. In the hundreds of reviews we evaluated, we saw a lot of love and very few complaints of incomplete cleaning. Most say the LG WT1701CV is a top performer and some even say they actually enjoy doing their wash for the first time. While we saw a few complaints that this washer overbalances too easily (an extremely common issue with HE washers that use impeller instead of agitator technology), most say that the self-balancing load feature works extremely well and that this washer overbalances less often than other machines they have owned.
The LG WT1701CV has plenty of features for all but the most OCD laundry doer, with 12 preset cycles, five wash temperatures, three spin speeds, a TurboWash to speed things up, and a custom cycle you can set to your wash preference. The only thing it's missing is a hand wash cycle.
If you need something even bigger than the LG, and with an additional color choice, you might want to consider the Whirlpool Cabrio WTW8500DC (Est. $1,00), which, in addition to chrome shadow, also comes in white as the Whirlpool Cabrio WTW8500DW (Est. $1,100), and cranberry red as the Whirlpool Cabrio WTW8500DR (Est. $1,200).
The Whirlpool Cabrio 8000 series is a well-reviewed line of washers that has been around for years, in fact, the now-discontinued Whirlpool Platinum Cabrio WTW8000BW was a runner up in our last report. The difference between the two is that the WTW8500DW ups the capacity of the 8000 from 4.8 cubic feet to 5.3 cubic feet, plenty large, owners say, to cut down on your time in the laundry room. It boasts an impressive 26 wash cycles, with four soil level adjustments. Owners say it does a great job washing, too, and one independent consumer testing service bestows it with a Very Good rating in that regard.
Of course, not everyone needs the capacity to wash large items or multiple loads at a time, if that's where you're at, the 4.5 cubic foot LG WT1501CW (Est. $750) looks to be a solid choice. ConsumerReports.org gives it Very Good ratings for washing performance, energy efficiency, water efficiency and noise, although it earns below average ratings for gentleness.
Still, owners love the LG WT1501CW, and it gets very high ratings across a number of retail sites, with owners saying it's a top performer in washing, and feature rich enough that there are plenty of options for most people, including soak, extra rinse, delay wash and a popular custom program option. The WT1501CW also features the front control panel that is so many owners love for its cool, modern look, and it is Energy Star Certified.