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Best Top Load Washer

By: Kelly Burgess on January 25, 2018

Top loading washers are popular, and keep improving

Top-load washers don't get as much respect from expert reviewers as front-load machines, but plenty of consumers still prefer them to front loaders for various reasons. Manufacturers are acknowledging that reality by improving their top-loading products to the point that we're beginning to see their expert ratings creep up as well. And, in addition to the washers we recommend here, be sure to head over to our page on cheap washing machines to find some recommendations for terrific bargains in both top-loading and front-loading machines.

Among top-loading machines, the LG WT7500CW (Est. $1,000), gets good reviews from experts and owners for terrific cleaning performance. At Consumer Reports, it earns above average ratings in every category, except gentleness. Jonathan Chan at Reviewed concurs, saying it, "doesn't skimp on water or speed, but still gets clothes clean." In testing there, it does a great job of removing the most difficult household stains like red wine and chocolate, only lagging in performance on really tough, greasy stains.

But the LG WT7500CW won't just make short work of stains, it'll shorten your laundry day as well. At 5.2 cubic feet it can easily hold two loads of clothes, as well as accommodating even large, bulky items like king-sized comforters or a full bed's worth of bedding.

Owners agree with the experts' appraisal of the LG WT7500CW, with most saying it's the best washing machine they've ever owned. In the hundreds of reviews we evaluated, we saw a lot of love and very few complaints of incomplete cleaning. Although the sheer number of presets can be a bit confusing, experts and owners say taking a peek at the owner's manual will help a lot. Or, just push a button and ignore all the "extras."

The LG WT7500CW has plenty of features for even the most OCD laundry doer, with 14 preset cycles, five wash temperatures, four spin speeds, a TurboWash to speed things up a lot (it takes only 30 minutes) and a custom cycle you can set to your wash preference. The only thing it's missing is a hand wash cycle, but the delicate cycle should be fine for that. What most really love, though, is the steam cycle that comes in handy for refreshing pillows and stuffed animals.

This LG washer only comes in white. It pairs with a well-reviewed electric dryer, the LG DLEX7600WE (Est. $1,050) and the gas version of that dryer is the LG DLGX7601WE (Est. $1,150). We review the DLEX7600WE in our clothes dryers report.

If you don't need quite as much capacity, and would like to spend a few dollars less, the 4.5 cubic foot LG WT1501CW (Est. $750) looks to be a solid choice. Consumer Reports 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 is 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 so many owners love for its cool, modern look, and it is Energy Star Certified. It pairs with a very-well-regarded dryer, the LG DLE1501W (Est. $750) that we evaluate in our separate report on clothes dryers.

If you need something bigger than the LG, and with an additional color choice, you might want to consider the Whirlpool Cabrio WTW8500DC (Est. $1,200), which, in addition to chrome shadow, also comes in white as the Whirlpool Cabrio WTW8500DW (Est. $1,100).

The Whirlpool Cabrio 8000 series is a well-reviewed line of washers that has been around for years. Owners say the 5.3 cubic foot 8500 is plenty large enough 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 Consumer Reports bestows it with a Very Good rating in that category.

An ultra-high capacity washing machine will shorten laundry day

If your laundry needs run toward "I'm washing for a baseball team," then the 6.2 cubic foot Kenmore Elite 31633 (Est. $1,530) is going to make your day -- your laundry day much shorter, that is. This giant machine is not just big, it's a big performer earning raves from tough tester Megan Wollerton at CNET. She gives it the highest stain removal rating of any of the other top-loaders she tested. She ultimately concludes, "It's the top-load washer I would pick if I had a laundry room large enough to accommodate it."

Wollerton does note that it's not super-saturated with features, but there certainly is enough there for all but the most tweak-obsessed. That includes a well-regarded steam function that's really useful not only for touch ups, but for deep cleaning as well. Even more popular is Kenmore's Accela Wash technology. Jonathan Chan at Reviewed notes that it keeps all cycles under an hour; super speedy when you consider the default cycle on most modern machines runs for an hour or more -- some for two hours.

Consumer Reports is less-impressed, giving it just Good ratings in all wash categories. But most owners are happy with it and say it does a great job. We did see complaints that it's not very gentle on clothes, and Consumer Reports gives it only a Good rating there as well.

But, of course, the most important feature for most people is the fact that the Kenmore Elite 31633 can hold a lot of clothes -- the equivalent of 32 towels. Or, as Wollerton points out, "8 T-shirts, 3 pairs of jeans, 8 pairs of socks, 2 towels, 2 sweatshirts and 1 sweater." The fact that it can often be found on sale for around $950 makes it a terrific value too. The 31633 washer is metallic, it also comes in white as the Kenmore Elite 31632 (Est. $1,100), which is the model Consumer Reports tested. It pairs with an electric dryer that can also handle plenty of laundry, the Kenmore Elite 61633 (Est. $1,530), which is our Best Reviewed high capacity clothes dryer.

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