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Best Front Load Washer

By: Kelly Burgess on January 25, 2018

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Best value front load washer

Maytag MHW3505FW

Front load washing machines are energy efficient and feature packed

Front load washers get higher ratings from experts than top loaders because they are able to clean clothes just as effectively as a front loader while using less water in the process. Front loaders tend to be more expensive up front, but the cost of ownership over time will be lower. They're also gentler on clothes, so you may want to take that into account as well.

The highest-rated front loader we spotted for this update is a fairly new entry in the washing machine market, the Electrolux EFLS617SIW (Est. $1,000). Released in 2016, it's earning acclaim after testing by some experts we really respect -- Jonathan Chan at Reviewed, Megan Wollerton at CNET and the testers at the Good Housekeeping Institute.

At Reviewed the Electrolux EFLS617SIW is the top-rated washer, with a perfect 10 score and both Editors' Choice and Best of Year awards. Wollerton gives it 4 stars out of 5, which is as high a rating as she gives any washer. In their brief review, Good Housekeeping's editors note no "cons" only "pros" for the EFLS617SIW. What puts it on top for all of these experts is its superior performance in the one area where a washer needs to excel: thoroughly cleaning clothes. This is thanks to its innovative SmartBoost feature that mixes water and detergent as it's added to the load, which results in clothes that are measurably cleaner.

The only expert roundup that doesn't put the Electrolux EFLS617SIW on top is at Consumer Reports, where it earns average ratings overall. Although, even there it gets an Excellent for cleaning performance. What really brings it down is its rating of only Fair for gentleness, and Wollerton also finds it to be tougher on clothes than some other washers she tested.

Owners, however, love the Electrolux EFLS617SIW and make it one of the highest-rated washing machines we evaluated. They praise its attractive, modern looks, effective washing performance and features that allow you to wash a load of clothes in as little as 15 minutes. Other features include nine total presets, a sanitize cycle and the option to add steam to increase cleaning power.

The Electrolux EFLS617SIW is white, it comes in titanium as the Electrolux EFLS617STT (Est. $1,100) and pairs with a well-reviewed dryer, the Electrolux EFME617SIW ($1,000). Owners say it feels more durable and sturdier than other washers they have owned. The washer is covered for one year against manufacturer defects; with a 10 year motor and lifetime tub warranty. It's also Energy Star Certified.

Another great choice in this category is the 4.5 cubic foot Maytag Maxima MHW5500FW (Est. $1,000). It's one of the top picks at Consumer Reports, earning a Recommended nod and a rating of Excellent for washing performance and both water and energy efficiency. Jonathan Chan at Reviewed calls it "a powerful machine that doesn't deal in fustiness." What he means by that is that the Maytag MHW5500FW isn't the fanciest-looking machine around, but more than makes up for its Spartan appearance with great washing performance.

Chan in particular praises the Maytag Maxima MHW5500FW's PowerWash cycle, which, though very slow at two-and-a-half-hours, offers extremely effective cleaning for your dirtiest duds. Users agree that this Maytag's cycles are slow, but they don't care -- giving it top scores across the board for its ease of use and great cleaning power. It features 11 wash cycles, not as many as some other washers in this size class, but sufficient, owners agree for pretty much anything you want to clean. One popular option is the My Cycle, which enables you to set a preferred combination and access it at the touch of a button. This washer is white, but it also comes in metallic slate as the Maytag Maxima MHW5500FC (Est. $1,100). Both washers are Energy Star Certified. The dryer it pairs with is the Maytag MED5500FW (Est. $1,000).

If none of these washers are available where you live, the Samsung WF45K6500AW (Est. $1,000) is another very well-rated front loading washer. This 4.5 cubic foot washer earns a Recommended nod at Consumer Reports, with Excellent ratings for washing performance, energy and water efficiency, and gentleness; Very Good ratings for noise and vibration. Owners agree, giving it great reviews for its superior stain removal capabilities.

The Samsung WF45K6500AW is fully-featured for such an affordable machine, and, as we see with all modern washing machines, its "Steam Wash" technology is one of its most popular features. Not only does it allow you to quickly freshen items, but it cleans more deeply, virtually eliminating the hassle of prewashing. The WF45K6500AW also has 14 preset wash cycles, 12 additional wash options, an internal water heater to up its stain-fighting game, and noise reduction technology. There's also Wi-Fi connectivity to remotely control and monitor cycles, but that feature requires an optional Smart Home adaptor. Best of all, the WF45K6500AW is fast, with a cycle that allows you to wash a full load in 36 minutes. The one feature that's kind of "gimmicky" is the AddWash Door, which is a door in the door that, supposedly, makes it easier to add a forgotten item. However, you still have to pause the washer, which makes it no easier to do than with any other washing machine.

The WF45K6500AW is white, but it also comes in black stainless as the Samsung WF45K6500AV (Est. $1,100). It pairs with the Samsung DV45K6500EW (Est. $1,000) electric dryer.

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