- Best Washing Machine Overall
- Best Steam Washing Machine
- Best Front Loading Washing Machine
- Best Budget Front Loading Washing Machine
- Best Top Loading Washing Machine
- Best Budget Top Loading Washing Machine
Best Washing Machine
A washing machine is not something that is frequently purchased by customers, but it's an essential household appliance nonetheless. Whether you're in the market because your old washing machine broke down or you've simply decided that it's time for an upgrade, you'll definitely want to select the best one to suit your needs, budget, and available space. There are excellent choices in both the front-loading and top-loading categories, and we've identified the best washing machine in each respective category with respect to performance, features, pricing, and availability. If you'd like to research your purchase further, we've included a washing machine buyer's guide below our recommendations.
Best Washing Machine Overall:
When choosing the best washing machine, it's not always about being the most expensive or having the largest list of features. We recommend durable and reliable washing machines that are protected by solid, lengthy warranties should anything go wrong. Our recommendation for Best Washing Machine Overall represents the perfect balance of washing performance, real-world useful features, reliability, build quality, and value for money.
The Electrolux EFLS627UTT offers class-leading washing performance and a refined design, paired with useful features such as detergent pre-mixing and a separate detergent pod dispenser that takes the guesswork out of setting up a load. For the money, it's easily the best washing machine overall. Read Full Review
Best Steam Washing Machine:
One of the most practical innovations to grace washing machines within the past decade is the development of steam wash technology. Rather than utilizing a full wash cycle to remove stains and odors from delicate materials, a steam-equipped washing machine injects a stream of hot steam into the wash drum. This has the effect of gently lifting stains and neutralizing odors, and can be used to clean garments or stuffed animals that would otherwise not survive a normal wash cycle.
With two separate wash compartments built into a single cabinet, the Samsung WV60M9900AV stands out from a field crowded with competitors. The front compartment also offers various steam functions, including cycles that incorporate steam during the wash. It's expensive, but we recommend the WM60M9900AV based on its performance and unbeatable flexibility. Read Full Review
Best Front Loading Washing Machine:
Front-loading washing machines offer superior washing performance and more efficient operation compared to their top-loading counterparts. A front-loading washing machine uses less water and detergent per wash cycle by design, as they require a smaller pool of water to tumble and wash clothes compared to a top-loading washing machine. On the other hand, front-loading washers tend to be more expensive, though the added cost is balanced out by their lesser impact to utility bills. We’ve selected the best front load washing machine based on washing performance, load capacity, numerous features to help get the job done.
With its distinctive squared-off loading door and myriad of wash options, the LG WM8100HVA is an outstanding front-loading washing machine. This front-loader is extremely easy to use thanks to its sensor-based automatic wash cycles, and the massive 5.2 cubic foot drum is up to the task of handling even the largest loads of laundry. Read Full Review
Best Budget Front Loading Washing Machine:
Although front-loading washing machines tend to cost more than a traditional top-loading machine, it's still possible to find a budget-friendly option. We recommend choosing one that offers top-notch cleaning performance, but you'll forgo some features in exchange for a lower price tag.
Best Top Loading Washing Machine:
Top-loading washing machines are sometimes seen as being more of a "classic" design, and may be preferable to a front-loader because they are easier to load and unload. Despite their lingering reputation for being old-fashioned, today's top loaders have incorporated the latest in washing technology and are much more energy-efficient than their predecessors. We selected our best top-loading washing machine based on washing performance and energy efficiency.
Today's top-loading washing machines are split into two designs: impeller and agitator. The former utilizes a low-profile impeller at the base of the wash basket, and spins back and forth to create its washing action against the inside of the wash basket. The latter is a continuation of the decades-old design, relying on a large agitator that rotates in the middle of the wash basket to pull clothes through to the bottom. We recommend an impeller-equipped top loader when possible, as an agitator-equipped model eats into load capacity and can be much rougher on clothes.
Whirlpool's WTW8000DW is about as good as modern top-loading washing machines get without going overboard in terms of features. This 5.3 cubic foot top-loader is equipped with an impeller as opposed to an agitator, and offers an extremely user-friendly control panel and thoughtful features such as a soft-close lid. It's pricey for a top-loader, but we feel that its simplicity and washing performance justify the expense. Read Full Review
Best Budget Top Loading Washing Machine:
Most budget-friendly top-loading washing machines are agitator-equipped models, which we'd recommend staying away from. While impeller-equipped machines tend to cost more, the benefits that come from gentler wash cycles and increased load capacity outweigh the lower cost of entry that agitator-equipped units offer. Our recommendation is based on its ability to effectively and reliably clean soiled garments over all else.
Whirlpool's WTW5000DW is a great example of the best budget-friendly top-loading washing machine. The plain design and traditional controls present in an entirely familiar manner, and the impeller-equipped wash tub is a rarity in this price range. We selected the WTW5000DW based on its washing performance and reliability, which stands heads and shoulders above any other top-loading washing machine priced similarly. Read Full Review
Modern washing machines are stylish machines that barely resemble traditional models from decades past. That said, the market is saturated with many brands, models, and styles. If you know your budget and needs before beginning a search, you’ll be less likely to overspend or end up with a washer incompatible with your household.
When buying a washing machine, you should first consider how heavy your usage is both in terms of frequency and load size/type. If you have a large family, you might want to invest in a larger capacity washer with more features and settings. You should also determine which settings and features will be most beneficial to avoid spending money on unnecessary options.
After determining your basic needs, review various brands and models to narrow down your list of available options. If possible, look at washers in person get a feel for the machine; ensure the controls and display are user-friendly, and see if the door is easy to open and close. If you aren’t in a rush, sit tight and keep an eye out for any sales on the model you want.
Top-loading washing machines are available in either traditional or high-efficiency configurations. Many top loading washers are now available with high-end features and styling, often for less money than a comparable front-loading model. However, these models tend to be less efficient overall, and models with agitators are harder on garments.
Front-loaders are typically more expensive than most top-loading washers, but they tend to perform better while being more efficient. These machines are popular for their larger capacities which accommodate larger, bulkier loads. Front-loaders also tend to have modern designs and the latest technological features, and many are also stackable with compatible dryer units.
Typical top and front loaders in this category are about 27 inches wide and anywhere from 25-27 inches deep. Most won’t look fancy or have lots of features, but they’ll get the job done. These units are perfect for individuals with limited space or renters without the proper hookups for a washing machine. Options range from portable washers requiring no electricity to units which plug into a standard household electrical outlet, faucet, and sink.
Stackable and All-In-One Combos
Stackable washers and dryers are often front-loading units which can be stacked securely with the purchase of a separate attachment. All-in-one units combine a washer and dryer into a single machine with just one tub. While they seem great on paper, we noticed that these units tend not to perform as well with either washing or drying as a dedicated washer/dryer pair.
A high efficiency (HE) washer uses less water, detergent, and energy than a traditional machine, resulting in considerable energy savings over time. All front-loading washing machines are HE models, but an increasing number of top-loading models are certified as such.
Front-loaders can typically handle the largest and heaviest loads, although many top loaders now have the same load capabilities. Most standard washers can easily handle the needs of a single adult or couple, but a larger family will want a unit geared for larger loads. Overloading a washing machine will considerably shorten its lifespan, so choosing a model with sufficient capacity is essential.
If noise levels are a major concern for you, look to higher-end washers emphasizing quiet operation. Many modern washers have noise-dampening features so they can be installed almost anywhere without disturbing members of your household.
While most people are familiar with basic settings such as a normal cycle, delicate cycle, heavy duty, and permanent press, modern washers have more wash options. Some split these typical cycles apart to create more specific options such as prewash, bulky cycle, steam, and more.
Adjustable Water Levels
Some washers have a dedicated presoak option or allow custom water level adjustment. Others are equipped with wash sensors which automatically detect the load size and adjust the water level accordingly.
Most modern washers currently use a large screen to display wash cycle information. Some budget models still rely on the tried-and-true selector knobs, though this is becoming increasingly rare.
Certain washers are equipped with a steam function to cleanse and sanitize delicate clothing items and fabrics.
Some washers offer the ability to change to water temperature for different portions of the cycle, as opposed to locking users in to a single setting for the entire cycle.
Modern washers often come in a wide range of visually appealing colors which will often raise the price more than you’d expect. Be sure to compare the price difference between your available options to see if a special color is absolutely necessary.
Many washers include added features such as delayed start, a speed cycle, and a dedicated sanitize cycle to accommodate a variety of laundry situations.