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Best washing machines in 2021

Best washing machines

The best washing machines will remove everyday stains and clean your laundry effectively, without using too much water or electricity in the process. A good washing machine will rinse well and make minimal noise too. It should do all of this and deliver the laundry in a timely manner — not too much to ask!

A washing machine should also help with sanitizing your laundry, including killing viruses like COVID-19. The CDC still recommends washing clothes at the hottest temperature possible according to the care label to kill any remaining germs. It can be difficult to choose a washing machine with all of the above to consider as well as new features like Wi-Fi control. That’s why we’ve done the work for you. Here are the best washing machines you can buy.   

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

Best washing machines: Electrolux EFLS627UTT

(Image credit: Electrolux)

1. Electrolux EFLS627UTT

Best washing machine

Specifications
Type: Front Loader
Size: 27 x 38 x 31.5
Capacity: 4.4 cu. ft.
No. of Cycles: 9
Wash Features: Sanitize and Steam, Extended Refresh, StainSoak, 15-Minute Fast Wash
App Control: No
Energy Consumption: 85 kWh/year
Reasons to buy
+Excellent washing performance+Pod detergent support+Front-loading
Reasons to avoid
-No app for smartphone monitoring

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.

Best washing machines: GE GTW685BSLWS

(Image credit: GE)

2. GE GTW685BSLWS

Best top-loading washing machine

Specifications
Type: Top Loader
Size: 27 x 46 x 27
Capacity: 4.5 cu. ft.
No. of Cycles: 14
Wash Features: Sanitize, Deep Fill
App Control: Yes (optional, $49)
Energy Consumption: 150 kWh/year
Reasons to buy
+Excellent cleaning performance+Top-loading
Reasons to avoid
-Tough on clothes-Uses more electricity than front loaders

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.

Best washing machines: LG WM3500CW

(Image credit: LG)

3. LG WM3500CW

Best budget front-loading washing machine

Specifications
Type: Front Loader
Size: 38.7 x 27 x 31.5
Capacity: 4.5 cu ft.
No. of Cycles: 10
Wash Features: Speed Wash
App Control: Yes
Energy Consumption: 105 kWh/year
Reasons to buy
+Reliable+Low cost
Reasons to avoid
-Longer cycle times-Hard-to-read control panel

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.

Best washing machines: LG WM9000HVA

(Image credit: LG)

4. LG WM9000HVA

Best washing machine for large families

Specifications
Type: Top Loader
Size: 29 x 41.3 x 33.8
Capacity: 5.2 cu ft.
No. of Cycles: 14
Wash Features: Sanitize, Deep Fill
App Control: Yes
Energy Consumption: 120 kWh/year
Reasons to buy
+Can wash comforters and large loads+Fast washer
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Uses lots of water and electricity

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.

best washing machines: LG WM4200HWA

(Image credit: LG)

5. LG WM4200HWA

Best quiet washing machine

Specifications
Type: Front Loader
Size: 39 x 27 x 33.25 inches
Capacity: 5 cu ft.
No of Cycles: 14
Wash Features: Steam Function, Turbowash360
App Control: Yes
Energy Consumption: 105 kWh/year
Reasons to buy
+Quiet operator+Plays a delightful tune when washing is done
Reasons to avoid
-The laundry can end up bunched at the back of the drum 

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. 

best washing machines: Samsung WF45R6300AW

(Image credit: Samsung)

6. Samsung WF45R6300AW

A good washer that can save you money.

Specifications
Type: Front Loader
Size: 27 x 39 x 31
Capacity: 4.5 cu. ft.
No. of Cycles: 12
Wash Features: Steam Wash, Sanitize, Quick Wash
App Control: Yes
Energy Consumption: 95 kWh/year
Finish: Black stainless steel, Champagne, White
Reasons to buy
+Very good washing performance+Sanitize cycle+App control
Reasons to avoid
-Cluttered control panel

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. 

best washing machines: MAYTAG MVW6200KW washing machine

(Image credit: Maytag)

7. Maytag MVW6200KW

Best top-load budget washing machine

Specifications
Type: Top Loader
Size: 27.5 x 27.5 x 42
Capacity: 4.8 cu. ft.
No. of Cycles: 10
Wash Features: Deep Fill, Wrinkle Control, Quick Wash
App Control: No
Energy Consumption: 340 kWh/year
Finish: White
Reasons to buy
+Can vary water level in tub+Premixes detergent with water+Extra rinse option
Reasons to avoid
-No Wi-Fi or smart-home features-High energy consumption

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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