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For most of us, doing laundry is a chore. But for Consumer Reports’ test engineers, it’s a mission.
Cycle after cycle, they work to determine the best washing machines for every budget and look for innovative features that make doing laundry easier. And faster.
“Research shows that consumers say doing laundry takes too much time,” says Mark Allwood, Consumer Reports’ senior market analyst for laundry products. “Manufacturers have been trying to address this problem with machines that have bigger capacities, speed cycles, or built-in pretreat features.”
In addition to cataloging all of that—and much more—CR’s test engineers launder swatches of fabric stained with red wine and cocoa, among other things, to see how well each machine cleans.
And no matter its cleaning capability, a washer that doesn’t stand the test of time is no winner. So we incorporate survey data for predicted reliability and owner satisfaction in our washer ratings (dryers, too).
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We test full-sized agitator top-loaders, HE top-loaders (the type without an agitator), and front-loaders, including compact front-loaders. They’re from familiar brands such as Amana, Frigidaire, GE, Hotpoint, LG, Maytag, and Whirlpool, and lesser-known ones like Fisher & Paykel and Miele.
Our Green Choice designation helps you identify the most eco-friendly washers in our ratings. Signified by a green leaf icon, the Green Choice washers earn superior marks for water efficiency, energy efficiency, brand reliability, and gentleness on washed fabric.
CR members can read on for ratings and reviews of some of the best washers for each type from LG, Miele, Samsung, and Speed Queen. See our washer buying guide for a broader look at each type and our washing machine ratings for even more options.
Best Agitator Top-Load Washers
CR’s take: One of the most affordable top-load agitators in our tests, the LG WT7005CW delivers across the board. The energy-efficient washer isn’t the most gentle on clothes, but it’s easier on your laundry space. It’s among the quietest models in our tests, and it rates Excellent in vibration, meaning it won’t disturb you or rumble your floor. Cycle time is 70 minutes using the normal wash, heavy-soil setting. Shorten it by using the normal-soil setting when you can. (Only the LG WT7405CW rates higher in our tests, and it retails for a few hundred dollars more.)
CR’s take: LG’s first agitator top-loader, the LG WT7305CW, is a winner in so many ways. Washing and water efficiency are top-notch. It’s also highly energy-efficient; though its wash time is relatively long (70 minutes), it extracts more water, which makes for shorter dry times. With a fairly roomy claimed capacity of 4.8 cubic feet, it can handle relatively large loads, including a king-sized comforter. It’s not the quietest machine, though, and gentleness is only fair. Because this is LG’s first entrant into the top-load agitator category, we don’t have the data yet to calculate ratings for predicted reliability and owner satisfaction.
CR’s take: Clocking in at 90 minutes, the 5.1-cubic-foot-capacity Samsung WA51A5505AW takes a while to wash your clothes but gets the job done. Though cycles are long and it’s not gentle on clothes, this washer performed exceptionally well in our tests, earning Excellent ratings for washing performance, water efficiency, energy efficiency, and vibration. That means it saves money on your energy bill, won’t disturb you, and gets your clothes spick-and-span—eventually. It comes with a 1-year warranty and a WiFi connection, so you can control it with your smartphone.
CR’s take: A CR Best Buy, the Samsung WA44A3205AW rates Very Good for water and energy efficiency. This is a very quiet washer that rates Excellent in our test for vibration, so it won’t rattle your laundry space (especially beneficial if it’s near a living area). This machine is just average at cleaning clothes, and it’s hardly gentle on fabric. But it’s also the lowest-priced option on this list. Cycle time is about 70 minutes.
Best High-Efficiency (HE) Top-Load Washers
CR’s take: LG’s HE washing machines earn top marks for predicted reliability, so they’re less likely to develop problems or break within the first five years. The LG WT7150CW ranks among the top HE washing machines, primarily for its Excellent cleaning performance, water efficiency, and vibration. It also earns a Very Good rating for energy efficiency, but only Good for gentleness on clothes. It can still handle big loads within its slighter interior and exterior frame—5 cubic feet, 44.5 inches high, 29.1 inches deep, and the standard 27 inches wide.
CR’s take: The CR Green Choice LG WT7800CW packs a punch, earning Excellent ratings for washing performance, water efficiency, vibration, and reliability, as well as Very Good ratings for energy efficiency. But it receives a so-so score for noise, and it’s not as gentle on clothes as some other washers are. It’s still CR-recommended and features a steel tub, remote WiFi access, and a steam option.
CR’s take: The LG WT7900HBA model ranks Excellent in reliability, performance, water efficiency, and vibration. It will also save you money on your energy bill. It’s an excellent clean machine, with a 5.5-cubic-foot steel drum and a 70-minute cycle time. But like most HE washers, it’s somewhat noisy and rough on clothes.
Best Front-Load Washers
CR’s take: This front-loading washer cleans like a champ, winning the trifecta of Excellent ratings for washing performance, energy efficiency, and water efficiency. The LG WM4000HWA also takes it easy on your energy bill and the environment; it earns a Green Choice designation. Wash time is 85 minutes, relatively speedy for a front-loader. Its claimed capacity is 4.5 cubic feet, enough for a king-sized comforter. The WiFi-enabled washer produces little noise, so you can feel confident about placing it near a living area. It’s stackable with its companion dryer, the DLEX4000W. This model performs similarly to the LG WM3900HWA washing machine but costs less.
CR’s take: LG washers have an Excellent predicted reliability score and CR members are very pleased with them. The highly rated LG WM3600HWA is efficient and loaded with technology. A CR Best Buy and Green Choice model, this smart WiFi-enabled washer offers a large 4.5-cubic foot capacity, steam option, built-in fabric-sensing intelligence, and washer-dryer pairing (meaning the dryer detects what’s necessary based on the washer functions). Featuring auto dispensers and a 105-minute cycle time, it scores Excellent in our washing performance, water efficiency, and energy efficiency tests (it’s Energy Star rated). It’s stackable and available in a white finish.
CR’s take: Front-loaders are typically more expensive. That’s not the case with this washer, which can be found for under $700. The LG WM3400CW earns Green Choice status for being especially water- and energy-efficient, and for rating high for reliability. One caveat is that it’s not as gentle on fabric as some other front-loaders in our tests. Claimed capacity is 4.5 cubic feet, just big enough for a king-sized comforter. Wash time is a pokey 105 minutes using the normal wash/heavy-soil setting. We recommend using the normal-soil setting, which is sufficient for most loads and takes less time.
CR’s take: The Green Choice Speed Queen FF7005WN delivers top-notch cleaning in 75 minutes. It’s also very gentle on fabric. But it’s noisy and pricey, and its claimed capacity is just 3.5 cubic feet, the smallest among front-loaders. It’s available in white and stainless steel. Speed Queen front-loaders rate Very Good for predicted reliability and Excellent for owner satisfaction, according to our survey. The Speed Queen FF7005SN, a similar model, receives the same scores. The manufacturer offers a 5-year warranty.
LG WM8100HWA (out of stock)
CR’s take: The LG WM8100HVA’s claimed capacity is 5.2 cubic feet, among the largest of front-loaders. That means you’ll be able to wash a king-sized comforter. (According to our tests, the minimum capacity for this task is 4.5 cubic feet.) It delivers top-notch cleaning and is water- and energy-efficient. (It extracts a lot of water, so drying time is shorter.) It earns an eco-friendly CR Green Choice designation, and it’s fairly quiet and gentle on fabrics. Cycle time is a relatively long 95 minutes, but the TurboWash option trims time. This stackable washer is available in graphite steel.
Best Compact Front-Load Washers
CR’s take: The Miele WWH660WCS earns an Excellent rating in CR’s tests for washing, and its water and energy efficiency help it earn our Green Choice designation. It’s also very reliable and earns high marks for owner satisfaction. It’s pretty quiet and gentle on clothes. At 2.3 cubic feet, it’s designed for smaller loads, like most compacts. But bring a book: Cycle time for this model is a plodding 105 minutes.
CR’s take: Samsung compact washers earn an Excellent rating in predicted reliability, making it one of the most reliable brands in our member survey. The Samsung WW22N6850QX, an eco-friendly Green Choice washer, offers solid washing performance and exceptional water and energy efficiency. It operates quietly and is gentle on fabric. It vibrates, as compact washers we’ve tested do, earning a below-average Fair rating. Wash time is 60 minutes using the heavy-duty setting, among the quickest compact washer cycles we’ve tested. It can be stacked with its matching vented dryer, the Samsung DVE22N6850X.
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