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Best Washers

Updated April 2018
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. Read more
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 91 Models Considered
  • 33 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 191 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best washers

    Last Updated April 2018

    No one likes to do it, but everyone has to: the laundry! Whether you’re just trying to clean your own clothes or you have a large family to look after, the only thing that can make this tiresome chore slightly better is a reliable washer. A good washing machine will make your whites white and your colors stain-free and fresh, every time.

    Washer options are incredibly varied today. Most are high-tech appliances that offer the perfect temperature based on the fabric you’re cleaning. Some offer extremely high heat cycles for sanitization. Some promise to be gentle enough to “hand-wash” your delicate clothes.

    This shopping guide was designed to help you cycle through your options. At BestReviews, we search for the best products under the sun, and we don’t stop until we find them. If you’re shopping for a new washer, please see our recommendations in the chart above. If you want to learn more about the world of washing machines, read on.

    Top loaders have been a popular option for years, but recent concerns about energy efficiency have brought front-load washers into the spotlight. Some top-load washers actually allow you to control the water level. This might be a good option if you’re trying to conserve water.

    Front-load vs. top-load washers

    There are two main categories of washers: front-load washers and top-load washers. The names literally refers to where you load your clothes, but load style is more than just a design difference. It affects how your clothes are cleaned, too.

    Front-load washers

    • Can wash big items

    • Use an agitator to clean clothes

    • Require more water and detergent to get clothes clean

    Efficient and Kid-Friendly

    The GE Front-Load Washing Machine is an energy-efficient washer with nine cycles and a good capacity. The pre-wash setting is convenient, and the fast spin-dry cycle helps shorten drying time. This machine is great for households with kids because it has a lock function to prevent inadvertent changes from children who like to push buttons.

    Top-load washers

    • Use less water

    • Do not have an agitator, which is easier on clothes

    • May be too small to hold some blankets and comforters

    • Have a spin cycle that dries clothing, reducing the need for dryer energy

    DID YOU KNOW?

    For an average household, a washer with a capacity of three to four cubic feet will usually suffice.

    Choosing your machine size

    How big of a washer should you get? Consider exterior dimensions and load size before making a purchase.

    Load size

    How much clothing can you wash at one time? This is an important consideration indeed. Smaller washers have somewhere between two and three cubic feet of space. Medium and large washers run closer to 3.5 or 4.5 cubic feet of space. If you need lots of room, you can find some high-end washers with over 6.2 cubic feet of load space.

    If you don’t want to have to take your blankets and comforters to the laundry mat, be sure to choose a washer that is big enough to accommodate them.

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    Exterior dimensions

    Some washers are quite large. A height of 42 inches is standard, but some high-end models with two washing spaces may stand 47 inches tall.

    Some washers are smaller, including portable models. You can find smaller washers that stand between 33 and 37 inches tall. Width and depth vary only slightly; even on the smaller models, you need slightly over two square feet in order to house your washer.

    EXPERT TIP

    Interested in saving space? Consider a stackable washer and dryer. Even some of the larger models available today are stackable.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Specialty cycles

    Some washers come with a number of speciality cycles, including the following.

    Heavy-duty cycle

    Intended for really dirty clothing, the heavy-duty cycle has a longer wash period and a higher tumbling speed in order to remove more dirt.

    Hand wash cycle

    This delicate cycle is intended for intimate clothing and items with embroidery or that call for hand washing for some other reason. It tumbles clothing gently and uses lots of cold water.

    High-efficiency (HE) washers use less water and have fast spin cycles that leave clothes drier right out of the washer. This saves energy by lessening the needed drying time.

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    Pre-wash cycle

    This cycle is generally seen on top-loaders. It allows clothing to soak for a period of time in order to help release stains. Some front-load washers have a steam cycle that serves the same function. Because a front loader does not have a basin in which water sits, the clothes are steamed to release stains instead.

    Sanitize cycle

    The sanitize cycle is an absolute must for people who use cloth diapers. Washers with this specialty cycle have an internal heater that heats water to a higher temperature than your household hot water heater in order to kill germs and bacteria. This cycle is also a great choice for bedding and undergarments.  Look for a machine that promises to get out 99.9% of germs on this cycle.

    A Great Washer at a Good Price

    The Hotpoint top-load washer offers good capacity and runs quietly when properly balanced. It does not have many of the special features of high-end models, but it is a great deal for a reasonable price. This washer has a fast spin speed and allows you to select water levels based on the size of your load.

    Washer prices

    Inexpensive

    For $200 to $500, you can get a decent top-load washer. You are likely to have fewer cycle options at this price, and most washers in this range are not front loaders. However, some top loaders are still sold as high-efficiency models.

    Front-load washers spin sideways, which can cause them to shake. If you are putting one in a second-floor laundry, choose a model with extra support in the suspension system. Some washers come with shock absorbers to cut excessive vibration.

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    Mid-range

    For $500 to $800, you can get a good front-load washer. It will have a lot of cycles, and you will likely get a couple of specialty features as well, such as a sanitizing cycle or a steam cycle for combatting with stains.

    Expensive

    For $800 to $1,700, you can get a larger washer with all the bells and whistles. Washers of this caliber are often made of stainless steel with a capacity of over six cubic feet. Some are able to handle more than one load at a time; others have a pre-wash top compartment.

    HE (high-efficiency) washers are not exclusively front-load machines. Some top-load models are HE, too.

    FAQ

    Q. How do I know how many cubic feet I need?

    A. Keep three things in mind when choosing a washer size:

    • The number of people in your household

    • How often you plan to wash clothing

    • How many clothes you typically need to wash
       

    To further explore this question, ask yourself the following: Do you or your children change clothes more than once a day? Do your kids wear school uniforms and change out of them right after school? Do you like to get out of your work clothes in the evening? How many times do you go to the gym or have sports activities every week? Do you have young children who might soil their bed linens? All of these things will increase your laundry load.

    Q. Do I need special detergent for a high-efficiency washer?

    A. Yes. If you own a high-efficiency washer, you should use “HE” detergent. The reason: HE detergents are made to be “low sud.” Excess suds can cause problems in your HE washer because they counteract the washer’s cleaning function, preventing tumbling. They also help hold soils in suspension in low water, so they don’t re-soil your clothes as they go through the cleaning process. That means if you continue to use your “regular” detergent with you HE washer, your clothes are not going to get as clean.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Melissa
      Melissa
      Senior Editor

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