The best washing machines can do so much more than shift stains. A good washing machine will effectively rinse out the detergent, without damaging delicates, and will use as little water and electricity as possible. They should do all of this without noise disturbance as well.
On top of this, washing machines should help keep germs and bacteria at bay, including diseases like COVID-19. The CDC still recommends washing clothes at the hottest temperature possible according to the care label to kill any remaining germs. Some washing machines also come with innovative features, such as being Wi-Fi controlled, so it's important that you decide what you're looking for and how much you want to spend before you choose one. We've done our research and here are the best washing machines to suit every budget.
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What are the best washing machines?
After conducting extensive research, we've found the best washing machine to be the Electrolux EFLS627UTT. As a front-loading washer, this model is power-efficient, features a sizeable capacity and comes with nine useful wash cycles which are customizable, including a 15- minute "fast wash". A 10-year motor warranty and lifetime warranty on the tub itself are also included. It's available in two colours; white and titanium, so you can choose what best suits your laundry room.
If you'd prefer a top-loading washer, then we would recommend the GE GTW685BSLWS. As well as offering an exceptional cleaning performance, this model can be connected to your smartphone, so you can monitor and control it remotely.
Front-loading washers tend to be better performers than top-loaders, however many consumers are hesitant to swap to them. This is because front-loaders can easily build up mold and residue in the gasket, resulting in a smelly machine. If that's the case, then GE's new UltraFresh Front Load washer is worth looking into. It features a wider gasket with an antimicrobial coating as well as a venting system in the door.
The best washing machines you can buy today
The best washing machine overall, the Electrolux EFLS627UTT is all about the wash. Priced at just under $1,000, this front-load washer aced the tests of multiple reviewers, earning top cleaning points at from several publications. It has a 4.4-cubic-foot drum that can hold a large wash, and it features nine wash cycles, including a 15-minute fast wash. That's fewer than some washers, but each cycle can be tweaked for temperature and soil level, so you can easily customize the wash.
The EFL627UTT also has a dedicated pod detergent dispenser. Some washers struggle with prepacked pod detergents as they can sometimes clog or not release the detergent properly, but the Adaptive Dispenser of this washer pre-mixes the detergent with water in the dispenser, then releases it to make sure it is dispensed properly.
One thing it doesn't have is an app. While many washing machines are embracing the smart home by adding apps for remote monitoring and control, the EFSL627UTT has no accompanying app. That doesn't make it a dumb appliance, though: this Electrolux has sophisticated, easy-to-use controls that can be easily customized.
Front-loading washing machines are generally the most efficient, but some people prefer the old-school top-loader type. They are easier to load and can be more reliable, so if you prefer this type, the GE GTW685BSLWS is the best washing machine for you.
It can hold a huge number of clothes in its 4.5-cubic-foot drum, and the central agitator ensures that all of the clothes in large loads get moved around. It's also somewhat noisy, which may not be an issue if it is located in a basement or laundry room, but could be a problem in smaller homes.
The GTW685BLSWS also uses a fair amount of electricity: nearly 50 per cent more than our front-loader top picks. Although it is cheaper, this could make it more expensive over time. It also lacks a water heater, meaning that the sanitize cycle will be only as hot as the hot water supply of your house. If your hot- water heater isn't that good, that cycle may not be effective.
The GTW685BSLWS doesn't come with smart-home features, but these can be added for just $49 with the GE ConnectPlus WiFi Module, which fits inside the machine. This adds Alexa, Google Assistant and IFTTT support, so you can find out how long the cycle has to run with Amazon or Google voice commands.
If you take the LG WM3770HWA and strip out some of the fancy features, you get the LG WM3500CW. And you save yourself about $200, which makes it our best washing machine front-loader pick for budget buyers. You get the same top-of-the-line reliability, fast wash cycle and overall excellent performance as the more expensive model.
What you won’t get, though, is the hot water heater. So if your hot water isn't very hot (or isn't reliable) and you want to sterilize clothes, go for the more expensive model. You also lose a few of the fancy cycles, such as the delayed start and a cycle that removes allergens. You do still get the Wi-Fi smart- home features, though, so you can monitor this washer from your couch and comfortably enjoy the feeling of saving money.
Some users have complained that some wash cycles take more than an hour to complete, and that the control panel is hard to read.
Got a big family to wash uniforms for? Need to regularly wash bedding? The LG WM9000HVA has you covered. This front-loader has a huge 5.2-cubic-foot drum that can hold a comforter or a big load of laundry, and cycles for everything from a quick wash to a deep allergen-removing wash.
A water heater makes sure that the sterilize wash cycle reaches the high temperature it needs, while the TurboWash feature sprays water into the wash for even detergent dispersal.
If you need even more space, or want to wash delicates separately, the WM9000HVA is also compatible with the $570 LG WD100CV Sidekick, a small separate washer that fits below the main unit. This can run independently of the main washer, so you can wash a delicate load at the same time you are washing a comforter.
The LG Turbowash WM3900HWA is one of the best washing machines because this thing has it all, starting with a 4.5-cubic-foot large-capacity front-loader drum that can hold a lot of clothes. It has an outstanding selection of wash programs, ranging from a quick Turbowash for lightly soiled items to the high-temperature Allergiene cycle. This cycle is approved by the Asthma and Allergy foundation, and LG claims it removes more than 95 percent of allergens. There is also a steam cycle that sprays the clothes with steam for more efficient washing.
The LG WM3900HWA is the successor to the WM3770HWA, which reviewers praised, especially the large drum and the clear, easy-to-use control layout. They also found that the washing performance was excellent, with top performance on a range of stains without damaging clothes.
Large families may be better off looking at the more expensive LG WM9000HVA, which has an even bigger drum, but If you have a lot of items that need a separate gentle wash, the optional LG WD100CW Sidekick pedestal ($570) could work for you. This adds a second washing drum that can be used independently of the main one. Although at just 1 cu.ft. it’s not very large, it is big enough to do a small hand- wash load, and at it's cheaper and much tidier than buying a second washing machine.
The Kenmore 41262 is a basic, but well-performing, front-load washer. That means that it does an excellent job of washing your clothes, but without fancy features. And, its efficiency for both water and electricity is excellent.
What you don't get with the 41262 are the high-end features that make other washers easier to use and more flexible. You don't get any remote monitoring or smart-home features, so you can't monitor the progress of the wash from your cellphone or through Alexa. Nor do you get some of the less commonly used wash cycles such as Sterilize, as there is no built-in water heater.
You do get a Stay-Fresh feature, though, which will tumble and ventilate your wash for up to 19 hours after washing is finished — that’s very useful if you often forget to move the clothes to the dryer when they are done. Speaking of funky smells: the Kenmore 41262 also has a magnetic stopper that holds the door very slightly ajar when the washer is not in use, which helps to dry out the drum to keep it from getting musty and smelly.
The Samsung WF45R6300AW is an anything but basic front-load washer that’s well priced. In addition to doing an excellent job of washing your clothes, it offers quite a few fancy features. And its EnergyStar rated which means it won’t be tough on your electric bill.
Using steam wash, it does a great job of removing stains and reviewers have found that it’s easy on your clothes so they’ll last longer before becoming threadbare. It has a sanitize cycle which can kill almost all germs to give you peace of mind in a difficult time. The Samsung can be connected to your smartphone so when a load is ready to be moved to the dryer you can get a beep while you’re in the yard gardening. If you have a small laundry room, you can stack a dryer on top of this washer.
Although it’s not fancy, the brand new Maytag MVW6200KW has lots of features to help you get great cleaning results and comes at an affordable price. It has a capacity that Maytag claims is large enough to wash 19 towels at one time. You have the option of varying the amount of water in the tub so you can get extra water with a lot of agitation when you have a ton of messy clothes with items like soccer uniforms and gardening pants in the load.
Water is mixed with the detergent in the dispenser drawer to make sure whether you’re using a liquid or a powder it gets well dispersed for effective cleaning. When you need your favorite blouse washed for a night out, you can run a quick 30 minute cycle. What you don’t get at this price is the ability to check on and control your wash from your phone.
How to choose the best washing machine for you
Before you decide which washing machine is right for you, you need to consider the following. Do you want a front-load design, or a top-load? Will your existing power and water connections be compatible? And lastly, will in fit?
Top- or front-loader?
Top-loader: Simply put, clothes are loaded through a door in the the top of these machines. Some use agitators; a pillar in the center which rotates, while others feature a rotating plate on the base. The latter is a better design as it's less likely to damage the clothes.
Front-loader: On these machines, clothes are loaded via a door in the front; they wash by rotating the drum to agitate the clothes. Typically, this design uses less water and electricity than top-loaders as the drum requires less water. The door will lock during the wash cycle though, so you can't add a rogue sock once you start.
Combination: If you struggle for space, then a combination washer/dryer might be best. These machines function as both washers and dryers, meaning you can wash and dry clothes in the same drum. While the design makes sense, we've found that these hybrid machines generally struggle in performance; they take much longer than a standalone dryer.
Power and water connections
All washing machines will require three things: power, water and a drain. For power, you will need a 110V socket on its own circuit. For water, all will require a cold-water connection, and most will also need a hot-water connection. There are some exceptions, such as those which feature a built-in water heater, but these will still need hot water. Finally, you need a drain for excess water. Don't be tempted to put the drain line into a sink, it will likely leak into the room.
Will it fit?
Make sure you measure out your space before investing in a new washing machine. Most front-loaders are designed to fit under a worktop, but you should never assume. Before you stack any appliances, also check that they're designed to do that in the manual.
When to replace a washing machine
Most brands offer a one-year warranty on washers, but according to the National Association of Home Builders, a washing machine has a lifespan of about 10 years. We recommend skipping an extended warranty as on average, repairs within the lifetime of the appliance won’t be greater than the cost of the warranty itself.
When the cost of a repair is fifty percent or more than the price of a new washer, it’s time to consider replacing rather than repairing. If your machine needs a new part like a belt, pulley, or seal, it can be replaced fairly inexpensively. However, breakdowns that could indicate a washing machine isn’t worth fixing include failure to spin, leaks, grinding or squealing noises, and a cracked tub.
There are definite advantages to investing in one of the newest models. Any machine that is Energy Star certified uses 25% less energy and 33% less water than ones that aren’t. In addition to being less expensive to operate, your new washer will be better for the environment.
New washing machines also have plenty of useful new features. On the latest models, there are more cycles tailored to specific fabrics. You’ll find settings that can get out tough stains like grass and grease, sanitize towels and bedding after someone’s been sick, and be gentle on delicates, eliminating the need to hand wash items like lingerie, silk blouses, and cashmere sweaters. Machines are available with larger capacities and some are equipped with dispensers that automatically release liquid or pod detergents into the wash.
More and more washers are equipped with WiFi, allowing you to see the progress of your wash on your mobile device and control the cycle from your phone or Alexa or Google Assistant. Increasingly, connected appliances can diagnose problems and in some cases, even alert the manufacturer's service center.
Washing machine safety tips
If you have a front-loading washing machine or dryer, Consumer Reports has a list of safety tips for families with young children and pets.
- Lock the door to your laundry room
- Keep the washing machine's door shut
- Engage the washing machine's child-lock feature
- Turn off water to the washing machine when not in use
Following these simple tips can go a long way toward maintaining your peace of mind.
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