Washing Machine Rating Sources
ConsumerReports.org lists nearly 125 front-loading and top-loading washers; however, many of the top picks are part of the recent Samsung recall or have been very recently discontinued. Still, most washers are still available and all have been either tested by the editors, or it is enough like a tested model that it should perform similarly. Ratings are given for washing performance, energy efficiency, water efficiency, capacity, gentleness, noise and vibration. Brand reliability is also assessed.
Reviewed.com conducts thorough reviews of top-loading, front-loading and compact washers, as well as dryers. The reviews are hands on and the washers are ranked on a scale to 10; some also earn Editors' Choice or Best of Year honors as well. Testing is exceptionally well documented. The site looks to factors such as design, usability, performance, and features to name top choices. Value, though not apparently spelled out, also looks to be a factor. This site is continually updated, although older reviews are not removed. While some of those washers are discontinued, access to those older reviews are also valuable resources for those looking for a washer that may be relegated to sale in an outlet store.
Testers at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute evaluate dozens of washing machines -- including front loaders, top loaders and high-efficiency top loaders -- for cleaning power, ease of use and gentleness to clothes. Machines are also rated on their operating costs (water and energy use) and on how much water they extract from clothing to cut drying time. Each washer receives an up-to-5-star rating. Some washing machines are recently tested, while other reviews are older.
The number of washing machines reviewed at CNET isn't extensive, but the full reviews here are very thorough and extremely well-documented, often including video reviews. Washers are given an editor's rating of up to 5 stars. Washing machines are also ranked and compared against other washers the editors have tested. Some brief "Editors' Take" reviews are also included, but those are not testing based.
HomeDepot.com sells hundreds of top-load and front-load washing machines, and many of them receive a significant number of reviews from users -- more than 1,000 in some cases. The washing machine home page enables you to sort by top load, front load, those with matching dryers and price. In addition to its own reviews, HomeDepot.com sometimes includes reviews posted at manufacturer sites.
BestBuy.com also sells a large number of front- and top-loading washing machines, and some washers attract a large number of user reviews. The site's star-based rating system makes it easy to see at a glance which washing machines stand out and which models fail to measure up. Several models from LG and Samsung -- including top loaders as well as front loaders -- earn high marks from a significant number of users. Unlike most sites, BestBuy.com reviews are exclusively from BestBuy.com customers; links to reviews left at manufacturer sites are also provided, but are tallied separately.
Like HomeDepot.com and BestBuy.com, Lowes.com is a popular destination for laundry appliances, and washer are no exception. Some of the top-rated models here earn thousands of reviews, others receive hundreds. One thing that makes searching reviews on this site a little tricky is that otherwise identical models of different colors are shown on different pages, so you must make sure to check all versions of a given washer to make sure you've seen all the reviews. Some reviews are drawn from other sites, including manufacturers' sites.
AJMadison.com is another online appliance retailer that allows customers to post reviews of washing machines. Finding the best-rated products is easy, as the site allows you to sort by both average star rating and total number of reviews, as well as other criteria. There are hundreds of washers available here, and many receive considerable feedback, but some of the reviews originate on other sites such as those of manufacturers.
Sears.com carries a wide variety of washing machines from a wide variety of manufacturers. While plenty of washers get hundreds or thousands of reviews, the best use of this site is as a source of owner reviews for the Kenmore brand of washers, which is exclusive to Sears.