One of the best washing machines will leave your laundry clean, fresh and wrinkle-free. Washing machines differ more in performance than you’d expect. The best models will deliver spotless results, removing all stains in a single cycle. At the same time, any residual detergent will be washed away in the final rinse — this will benefit those who suffer from sensitive skin. The spin cycle will also be sufficient enough to squeeze out excess water, reducing the drying time required. It will do all this while using minimal energy and water as well, saving on your bills.
You should consider what the design has to offer on top of this. A good washing machine will be easy to program, with enough settings to accommodate whatever you need to wash. It will also feature a capacity sufficient for your needs. Considering this, while we all want the same fundamentals, the best washing machines will vary from person to person. You might prefer one which comes with smart connectivity, or one which is stackable to save on space. Whatever your needs, it can be tricky to find one that manages to tick every box. That’s where we can help, we’ve researched the marketplace to find the best washing machines for every circumstance. Whether you need a budget design or a quiet runner, we've got a recommendation.
The best washing machines you can buy today
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As our best washing machine overall, the Electrolux ELFW7537AT stands out for its versatility and functionality. When it comes to laundry day, this washer ticks all the boxes. Reviewers found it easy to use and praised its accommodating capacity — fitting duvets in with ease. Plus, the unique pod dispenser means you no longer have to worry about its distribution across the load. There are plenty of wash cycles to choose from as well, with options such as sanitize, eco temperature and steam.
This is a quiet operator, even on its final spin, which makes it a great purchase for those who need to run late night cycles. The reversible door is a handy feature worth flagging as well. Then there’s the performance to consider — this washer is ideal when it comes to removing stains, even stubborn ones, thanks to the Solid soil level option. Of course, this model is not without its drawbacks. It’s a pretty hefty price to pay, especially when you consider that there’s no smart connectivity. But, considering everything else you get, we think it’s worth the splurge.
If you want a reliable washing machine, but don’t want to spend the big bucks, look no further than the LG WM3400CW. While it comes with a small price tag, it offers a decent capacity of 4.5 cu. ft. as well as eight wash cycles to choose from. At 100 kWh/year, it’s one of the cheaper machines to run as well and it’s Energy Star Certified.
Useful features include the SpeedWash cycle, which takes just 15 minutes to run, and the TubClean cycle, which helps keep it clean and fresh. It also features LG’s 6Motion technology — this will vary the wash motions depending on the cycle you select, protecting your clothes from damage while giving them the most efficient wash.
The only programs you might miss are a steam cycle and smart connectivity. So, if you’re after a washing machine which can sanitize, this isn’t the one. But, if you’re not bothered about having all the bells and whistles, this washing machine would make a fine addition to your laundry room.
It seems there’s very little to complain about when it comes to the Samsung WA52A5500AC/US. This top load washer offers an abundance of features, including 12 wash cycles, five temperature options, five spin speeds and five rinse settings. If that’s not enough, you can even download additional cycles using the SmartThings app. Using the app, you can also monitor this washer remotely; so you can start and stop it from afar, receive end of cycle alerts and even schedule cycles — say, if you want the load to finish as you return from work.
This has a huge capacity of 5.2 cu. ft, so it would easily suit a large family, although bear in mind that you will need to reach well in to catch clothes at the bottom of the drum. We really like the Active WaterJet feature as well, which allows you to pretreat stained clothes before you wash them. On top of all this, it looks amazing too — available in white, black and champagne, it will improve the look of any laundry room.
If you’ve got a big family, then you need a washing machine with a larger capacity to accommodate. The LG WM8100HVA comes with a huge 5.2 cu. ft. capacity behind an attractive square-shaped door. It offers 14 washing cycles and an abundance of settings on top, including Steam, Prewash and Extra Rinse.
It’s a quiet operator, so you don’t need to worry about disturbing the neighbours at night, and it will look great in your laundry room too. True, it’s a steep price and doesn’t come with Wi-Fi connectivity, but it will get the job done, which is what most want above all. Some noticed that a lot of residual water can sit in the gasket after running though, so be prepared to leave the door open between uses to dry it out.
LG’s WM4200HWA is a great choice if you want a quiet washing machine. Even on its top spin speed, it’s much less noisy than you would expect. For this reason, it would be ideal if you need to run your laundry through the night or if you can’t be disturbed during the day. It features a decent capacity as well of 5 cu. ft. which means you can fit a family load into the drum. Most importantly, it’s a good performer too — users raved about how clean their laundry emerged.
Unlike some other LG models, there’s no internal light however. Some also found that, because the spin is so effective, laundry can end up balled at the back of the drum and you need to reach quite far in to remove it. Having said that, it’s a cheerful machine to have around, singing to you at the end of each cycle. It’s also app-controlled, so you can monitor it from your smartphone.
If you're struggling with a noisy washing machine, check out 9 ways to make your washing machine less noisy.
The Samsung WF45A6400A is as smart as washing machines come. The AI-powered smart dial can recommend wash cycles to you, or if you’re very particular, you can customize your own programs. With 24 cycles, there’s literally one for every situation including a steam sanitize wash, activewear and even a self-clean setting, which will notify you when it needs running every 40 washes. It comes with app connectivity too, so you can control and monitor it from your phone, plus this model is stackable.
The only downside to the Samsung WF45A6400A is the maximum spin speed of 1,200 RPM, which is lower than the average. This means your laundry might finish more wet than you would expect. Other than that, there’s little to dispute about the design. The control panel looks very uncluttered and it’s easy on the eye too.
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. If you're wondering which is better when it comes to powder vs liquid detergent, be sure to check out our guide. 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 we tested the best washing machines
We conducted extensive online research to find the best washing machines. Our top picks are based on those with the best and most consistent reviews, combined with the most impressive specifications. We considered everything from capacity, to program offerings to electricity consumption.
We also keep an eye out for special or innovative features, such as Wi-Fi connectivity or dedicated settings for specific stains. Useful functions, such as self-diagnosis for any faults, was also taken into consideration. In doing this, we’ve found the best washing machine to suit every need and budget, whether you want a front load or top load design. Pair one of these with the best clothes dryers and you've got the ultimate laundry room.
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.
For more see our guide: Front load vs top load washer: Which should you buy?
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.
If your washer could do with an upgrade, be sure to check out 11 things to look for when buying a washing machine.
Of course, you should always take the price into consideration as well. Washing machines can cost anywhere from $600 up to $1,800, depending on the brand and design that you opt for. For this reason, you should always consider if you actually need the special features you're paying extra for. As our research has found, you don't necessarily have to pay top dollar to get a good performer, so only pay for what you need and for what you're going to use.
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. Check out these tips on how to make your washing machine last longer to get the most from your new appliance.
If you're unsure whether your washing machine is on the way out, check out 7 signs that you need a new washing machine. Also, here are 7 ways you’re damaging your washing machine without knowing it.
Features to look out for
Modern washing machines come with settings to suit more specific loads, such as sportswear and bedding. Bespoke settings are also available to give you more control over the cycle, such as soil level and a wider selection of temperature settings. Delicate settings are also more widely available and prevent the need to hand wash items such as lingerie. Larger capacities are becoming more popular as well, with some machines offering over 5 cu. ft. Whichever capacity you choose, make sure you're fully utilizing it. Otherwise you will end up wasting water, which will lead to higher bills. Ever wondered why is this energy-saving setting missing from U.S. washing machines? We've found ways to replicate it.
Wi-Fi connectivity is lately a more common feature in washing machines. With this, you can connect your phone to the appliance to monitor and control it handsfree. In doing this, some brands give you the option of downloading additional cycles too, giving you an even greater range of wash cycles. Some smart washing machines can even self-diagnose faults and alert the manufacturer's service center.
Look out for smart detergent dispensers as well — these washing machines can automatically dose each wash with detergent, which saves you from constantly measuring it out. It's one of the compartments you will find in the washing machine drawer. If you're new to washing machines, here’s what those compartments actually do in your washing machine drawer.
Whatever features you opt for, washing machines are more versatile than you'd think, here are 10 things you never knew you could wash in a washing machine.
Plus, you should know that washing machines can worsen the effects of pilling. Here's how to remove pilling from clothes if they're already showing signs.
How often should you clean your washing machine?
We recommend deep cleaning your washing machine once a month to keep it pristine. However, if your washing machine comes with a self-clean cycle, you should run it as often as the manufacturer recommends. Over time, residual soap, limescale and mold can accumulate in your washing machine — left untreated, it will eventually deter the performance and can even lead to expensive repairs. That’s why cleaning your washing machine every so often is important.
A key indicator that your washing machine is due for a clean comes from the smell. If the interior of the drum smells musty, or indeed if your clothes emerge from a cycle smelling foul, it’s time to give the washing machine some TLC. Cleaning a washing machine isn’t as hard as it sounds — all it takes is some white distilled vinegar, baking soda and a microfiber cloth. See our guide on how to clean a washing machine for full details. Don’t forget to give the detergent drawer a once over as well.
How much should I spend on a washing machine?
You can spend as little as $400 on an entry-level washing machine, up to $1,800 for the most premium designs. So, there’s a substantial difference in price depending on the brand and features you opt for. Entry level models will tend to provide only basic settings to cover the fundamentals. Whereas more costly washing machines allow for advanced features, such as smart connectivity and auto-dosing. More expensive washing machines tend to offer larger capacities as well, so if you need a larger design, you need to be prepared to pay for it.
Having said that, spending more money doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting a better washing machine. At its core, you need a washing machine which washes well and provides the required functionality. That’s why we recommend you decide exactly what you need from your washing machine before you start shopping. Consider aspects you can shortlist beforehand, such as the capacity and settings. Then use this as a guideline to avoid paying for unnecessary features. It’s also a good idea to give yourself a budget beforehand too — this will keep you from overspending.
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.
Next: We have also drawn up a list of 15 things you should never put in a washing machine, to help you preserve your machine even longer. Plus, I test appliances for a living and here are my top washing machine tips.
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FYI: Here's how to use your washing machine to clean your shower curtain.