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Updated January 2023
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom line
Pros
Cons
Best of the Best
Samsung 5.0 cu. ft. Top Load Washer with Active WaterJet in White
Samsung
5.0 cu. ft. Top Load Washer with Active WaterJet in White
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Best for Large Households
Bottom Line

This high-capacity, multifunctional washer is designed with features that help it adapt to what best fits your needs.

Pros

Designed with 12 wash cycles to customize cleaning, including Express Wash for quick loads and Bulky Bedding for your bed linens and sheets. Features agitator with Direct Drive Motor that keeps clothes moving during the wash cycle for thorough cleaning. Built-in faucet for pretreating and hand washing.

Cons

Some customers noted insufficient water filling.

Best Bang for the Buck
Samsung 4.0 cu. ft. Top Load Washer with ActiveWave Agitator
Samsung
4.0 cu. ft. Top Load Washer with ActiveWave Agitator
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Excellent Value
Bottom Line

This effective machine cleans large loads of laundry without producing excessive noise or rattling, earning it our cleaning expert's praise.

Pros

Unique design suppresses volume and vibration while the machine runs. Roomy capacity can take multiple loads at once, reducing the time and effort on the cleaner's part. Lid gently closes shut to prevent damage. Diamond patterned interior ensures that fabrics won't snag and tear.

Cons

The "smart" features of the machine can cause more hassle than convenience.

Maytag 4.8 Cu. Ft. Top Load Washer with Deep Fill
Maytag
4.8 Cu. Ft. Top Load Washer with Deep Fill
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Deep Rinsing
Bottom Line

A sleek and attractive impeller-based washing machine with customizable water depth and rinse.

Pros

Impeller design rubs clothes against each other without needing an agitator. Offers user-customizable water levels. Drawer dispenser premixes detergent with water for more thorough clean. Glass lid closes slowly and provides view while operating. Extra rinse options and powerful spin extraction.

Cons

Lacks audible feedback that the load is done.

GE 4.5 Cu. Ft. Top Load Washer with Precise Fill
GE
4.5 Cu. Ft. Top Load Washer with Precise Fill
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Versatile Options
Bottom Line

A tough top-load washing machine with a powerful agitator and a plethora of cycles and settings.

Pros

Offers 14 wash cycles, 6 wash settings and 6 wash temperatures. Uses powerful dual-action agitator. Sports auto-soak, deep rinse, second rinse, and speed wash options. Special deep clean cycle provides a more thorough wash than a normal cycle. One-button water fill customization.

Cons

Buyers note it is a little noisier than they expected.

Maytag 5.3 Cu. Ft. High Efficiency Smart Top Load Washer with Extra Power Button
Maytag
5.3 Cu. Ft. High Efficiency Smart Top Load Washer with Extra Power Button
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Boosted Wash
Bottom Line

Our cleaning expert likes this white, high-efficiency washer that also has a deep fill and soak function.

Pros

Direct-drive impeller works clothes thoroughly. Built-in faucet function to pretreat clothes or fill the drum for up to 3 hours of soaking. Extra power button adds hot water for extra cleaning even in cold cycles. Deep fill capable. Slow-close see-thru lid.

Cons

May not fit under some cabinets with the door open. Some reports of door breaking.

Buying guide for Best top-load washers

An efficient washing machine reduces much of the tedium inherent in doing the laundry. A unit that works reliably, cleans clothes well, and offers various options for different types of clothing can make the process run a lot smoother. While laundry may not be the most thrilling part of your weekly routine, a good washing machine helps to not make laundry a dreaded chore.

The BestReviews team has gone deep to research the various top-load washer options available. We’ve selected our top five favorites — visible at the top of this page — and outlined their features and drawbacks. That’s not all, though; below, you’ll find a host of tips to help as you select a brand new washing machine for your laundry room or space. Our buying guide provides you with shopping and usage tips to make your laundry experience a little brighter. We also have a frequently asked questions section to try and answer any lingering questions you might have about washing machines. Read on, and let us help you find a machine that’ll make your laundry even easier.

Person loading top load washer with clothes
Read your appliance’s manual. You’ll be more likely to use every feature, and get your money’s worth, if you’re familiar with how they work.

Advantages and disadvantages of a top-load washer

While front-load washers are a popular option because of their sleek design, and the fact that they free up space for storage, top-loading washers are a solid choice and have a few advantages compared to their front-loading counterparts.

  • Lower price point

  • Easy to load; just flip open the top and insert laundry; no need to bend down

  • Quicker cycles

  • Larger capacity than some front-load washers

  • Not prone to leaking

  • No mold issues like some front-load washers have

Top-load units also have their share of drawbacks, however.

  • Can't be stacked

  • Not as energy-efficient or eco-friendly

  • Often noisier than front-load machines

Laundry detergent on shelf above washer
Expert tip
If you choose a High Efficiency (HE) washing machine, always use HE washing detergent. This keeps your washer running smoothly.
BestReviews Cleaning Expert

Considerations for top-load washers

When deciding on the best top-load washing machine for your home, consider the following.

Washer size

Of course, capacity is important. What you need depends not only on the size of your household but also on the amount of laundry you produce. Some people find themselves with more dirty laundry. It’s possible for a couple to end up creating more laundry than a family of four.

The size required may also depend on the type of laundry you’ll be doing. Are you often washing sets of sheets or comforters? A large drum is necessary to clean these items properly. The interior size for some top-load washers may be larger than usual if they lack the typical center post seen in most units. This means that the tub can fit more clothing. If you want a bit of extra space, but don’t have room for a physically larger appliance, opt for a high-efficiency washer, since these often lack a center post.

Cycle options

The chance that you’ll require a wide variety of settings for doing laundry is slim. The basics should suffice, but some users may appreciate having a bit of flexibility. Most units allow you to choose the water temperature and have some kind of choice for load size. Many top-load washers also feature options for delicates or bulky items. Often, an extra rinse cycle function will also be included. This cycle helps to wash off any potential residue from detergents. Higher-end models feature fancy, automatic sensors that can adjust each setting depending on the amount of dirt detected and the size of the load. It’s a convenient extra, and handy if you have trouble deciding between cycles and settings, but it’s far from a necessity.

Top load washer with open lid
Expert Tip
Don't forget to clean the inside of your washer. You can find a variety of washing machine cleaning products, but my favorite is made by Affresh
BestReviews Cleaning Expert

High efficiency

If you're concerned about conserving energy and water, go with a high-efficiency model. These types of washers use less water for each cycle than front-load options. If you choose an HE washing machine, remember to use specially labeled detergent to clean your clothes properly, and avoid damaging your device. As previously mentioned, these washers often have a bigger interior capacity.

Extra features

If you're interested in appliances with extra bells and whistles, you’ll be disappointed when it comes to washing machines. Most units have roughly the same functions and features. Some units do have a built-in bleach and detergent dispenser to slowly release the cleaning product as clothing goes through the wash cycle. Higher-end models may also feature smartphone connectivity and app control. Smart features are really only useful if you’re home to respond to them. Intelligent washers can alert you when a load is done and allow you to monitor a cycle’s progress, but they can’t physically transfer clothing from washer to dryer, sadly!

Top-load washer prices

Top-load washers are usually cheaper than front-load options. The cost ranges from $400 to $1,000. Typically, the pricier the model, the more feature-packed it will be. High-efficiency washers are more expensive, as are models with a larger capacity.

Person pouring laundry detergent into top load washer
Expert Tip
Keep the outside of your washing machine looking sparkling clean by wiping it down with a dry or damp microfiber cloth.  
BestReviews Cleaning Expert

Usage tips

We’ve compiled a few tips to help you with using and maintaining your new top-load washer.

  • Don't put too much in the washer at once. If you have a lot of clothes to wash, do two loads, instead of one large one. Overloading your machine may cause your clothes to come out less than clean.

  • Be careful when adding bleach to a dispenser (if your washer has one). It's easy to overfill or spill the liquid. If you're throwing in a load and using bleach, wait until your last load, so you don't accidentally bleach your darker clothing.

  • Even your washer needs to be cleaned once in a while. You can use hot water and bleach, but there are special cleaning tablets available for cleaning your washer, too.

  • Don't leave wet clothes inside your washer for long periods of time. They might begin to smell of mildew.

  • Your washer can’t do all the work when it comes to nasty stains. Don’t wait to tackle blood spots or wine splotches. Use stain-removing sprays immediately to ensure you don’t permanently ruin your clothes.

  • Clueless about what your clothing tags are trying to tell you? Print out a symbol guide, stick it somewhere visible next to your washer, and become a laundry pro.

  • Detergent first, then toss in your clothes.

  • Cold water isn’t just more energy efficient. It won’t cause your colors to bleed and stain each other as warmer water would.

  • Installation is easy if there’s already a designated spot for a washer in your laundry area, otherwise, call a plumber to help you install your new appliance correctly.

Top load washer with closed lid
Make sure you’re comfortable with the controls of your selected washer. Read the owner’s manual thoroughly, and know how to shut off the water supply in an emergency.

FAQ

Q. I'm concerned about noise, which type of top-load machine is quietest?

A. Because they lack a central post, high-efficiency washers tend to vibrate less than their non-HE counterparts, but most filled washers will produce some noise. Consider installing your washer in the basement to minimize the amount of noise you actually hear.

Q. My washer isn't fully draining, what's going on?

A. It may be a clog in the plumbing, but before you panic, make sure you're not stuffing your washer full to the brim. This can cause your machine to drain slowly, and it will take your clothes longer to dry since they'll likely be very wet when taken out of the washer.

Q. I often need to wash large blankets and comforters; what should I look for in a top-load washer?

A. Opt for a model with an extra rinse cycle to make sure your laundry doesn't end up with a lot of residue. A heavy or extra spin cycle will also help to ensure your bulky items don't come out sopping wet.

Q. Are there any safety features to consider when choosing a washer?

A. If you have children or pets, go with a washer with a locking mechanism. All washers will cease spinning if the lid is lifted during a wash cycle, but some can also lock. To unlock the lid, users usually need to cancel the wash cycle, and the water inside will drain before the lid can be opened.

Our Top Picks