It is possible to find a good front-loading washing machine for $800 or less, reviewers say, but machines in this price range often have fewer features than higher-priced washers. For example, washers in this category may not have as many wash cycles or temperature settings, and they lack trendy features like steam or sanitizing settings. If a basic model is sufficient for your needs, you may be able to get the benefits of a front loader at a price comparable to a top-loading machine.
LG and Samsung, widely known for their higher-end appliances, also offer some washers at the lower end of the price range. The Samsung WF210ANW/XAA (*Est. $800) is a fairly basic model, available only in white. It is Energy Star-compliant and has a capacity of 3.5 cubic feet. This basic washer offers six wash cycles, four temperature options, three soil levels and three spin speeds. The warranty covers parts and labor for the first year, the control board for two years and the stainless-steel tub for three years. The washer can be stacked with the matching DV210AEW/XAA electric dryer (*Est. $850) or the DV210AGW/XAA gas dryer (*Est. $950).
The Samsung WF210ANW/XAA is not an exceptionally good performer in professional tests. Although its water and energy efficiency are excellent and it is very gentle on clothes, its washing performance is average, and it vibrates more than most machines. However, the 450-plus user reviews we found at BestBuy.com, Lowes.com and Sears.com are generally positive, with ratings averaging around 4.3 stars out of 5. Users generally say this washing machine is quiet, cleans well and is a great water and energy saver. However, we found several complaints that the washer doesn't really clean clothes effectively. Several users also find the cycle time excessively long -- although some say this is balanced out by reduced dryer time, since the machine spins clothes nearly dry.
LG's budget-priced washer is the WM2250CW (*Est. $800). This 3.6-cubic-foot model offers seven wash cycles, including a high-powered cold-water cycle. This LG washer meets Energy Star criteria and earns the much stricter Tier III certification from the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE). Available only in white, this washer can be stacked with the DLE2250W electric dryer (*Est. $800) or the DLG2251W gas dryer (*Est. $900). LG's warranty covers parts and labor for one year, the motor for 10 years and the stainless-steel drum for life.
The LG WM2250CW fares well in one professional test, earning excellent scores for cleaning performance, gentleness and efficiency. Its vibration level is also very good, though its noise level is only average. We could not find many reviews from users to back up this professional recommendation, but the 20 or so that we did uncover were mostly positive. Owners generally say the washer is easy to use, cleans well and, with its maximum spin speed of 1,200 rpm, leaves clothes nearly dry. The only detractor we found was a user at HomeDepot.com who complains that the machine uses too little water to get clothes clean. However, this person's experience appears to be the exception rather than the rule.
A less expensive option is the GE GFWN1100LWW (*Est. $700). This 3.5-cubic-foot washer has 10 wash cycles and a maximum spin speed of 1,000 rpm, and it is Energy Star certified. Available only in white, this washer can be stacked with the GE GFDN110ELWW electric dryer (*Est. $780) or the GFDN110GLWW gas dryer (*Est. $890). The entire machine is covered by a limited one-year warranty. At HomeDepot.com, the GE GFWN1100LWW earns an overall rating of 4.3 stars from more than 150 users. Owners say this washer cleans well, spins clothes dry and runs quietly. However, many of them say that this machine vibrates excessively. This is consistent with professional test results, which give this washer a failing score for vibration. It also gets only middling scores for cleaning performance and noise level, although testers do give it high marks for gentleness and efficiency.