There are a surprising number of important choices to make when purchasing a new washing machine: Do you want steam features? Should it be top or front loading? What size is right for your family? We’ve taken a look at the latest laundry tech and narrowed down your choices to the best options currently on the market. Take a look!
Note: It’s often stated that front loaders are better at cleaning and use less water than top loaders, though newer high-efficiency top-load models do away with the agitator for more capacity and a better clean. This means the prices on some top-load machines rival front loaders. Still, when we compiled the list of the best washing machines on the market, it turned out to be top-heavy on front-load machines.
Electrolux EFLS527UIW Front-Load Washer with LuxCare Wash System
Why you should buy this: This machine simply gets clothes cleaner than any other we’ve seen.
Who it’s for: Anyone who’s looked at their fresh-out-of-the-washer clothes wondered if they’re actually clean.
Why we picked the Electrolux EFLS527UIW Front Load Washer with LuxCare Wash System
The Electrolux Perfect Steam front-load washer might look slightly different with its large dial and adaptive detergent dispenser, but it’s what’s inside the machine that really makes it special. It’s specifically designed to accept detergent pods, along with other types of detergents.
With only nine cycles, the 4.3-cubic-foot washer might seem a little light on the options, but you still get steam clean and sanitize settings, along with a StainSoak feature for tough stains. StainSoak premixes water, detergent, and stain remover before the cycle begins to create a cleaning solution, and then it creates the ideal washing environment based on the specific stain you select.
The LuxCare Wash System makes it so the machine has smart load sensing, automatic water level adjustment, and temperature control; and, the fast wash setting takes only 18 minutes. Like other Electrolux machines, it has a reversible washer door, and it’s quiet enough to live on your second floor.
Pair it with: Electrolux EFME527UIW
The best large-capacity
Why we picked the Kenmore Elite 41072 Front-Load Washer
Why you should buy this: Large capacity, an effective quick wash, and steam options will help you get laundry done faster.
Who it’s for: Families who are constantly doing laundry or people who prefer to wash their clothes in bulk.
Why we picked the Kenmore Elite 41072 Front-Load Washer
With the Kenmore Elite 41072, you can expect to get a lot of laundry done and get it done fast. Its oversized 5.2-cubic-foot capacity is capable of churning 16 pounds of laundry, though if you only toss in half that, you can expect to get a good clean in 15 minutes with the Express Wash. It should also be able to wash your comforters, saving you a trip to the laundromat. For serious stains and soils, there’s a SteamTreat option and a Sanitize setting, which meets NSF standards and kills 99.9 percent of bacteria.
The dial with all the cycles looks sleek, and the 14 options themselves are straightforward: You know what you’re getting with names like rugged, workout wear, and whitest whites. And while that many cycles may seem like overkill, they’re all supposed to save you time. The kids wear setting, for example, is meant for set-in stains but also runs through an extra rinse to keep detergent off sensitive skin.
It’s not the biggest washer we’ve seen. Newish mega-capacity washers can offer as much as 5.7 cubic feet of space and wash over 20 pounds of clothes at a time. When it comes to features, size, and performance, this Kenmore is still cavernous and has the cleaning quality to match.
Pair it with: Maytag MEDB855DW
The best overall versatility
Why you should buy this: This is one of the best front-load washers we tested and the secondary small top washer adds a welcome splash of efficient functionality.
Who it’s for: With the ability to wash two separate loads at once, this model is definitely for larger households with mixed laundry needs.
Why we picked the Samsung FlexWash
We had the opportunity to test the Samsung FlexWash in-house for several weeks this summer and — truth be told — this model gave our overall pick a run for its money. In total, the FlexWash has six cubic feet of washer space (the front-load compartment has five cubic feet and the smaller top compartment includes one cubic foot inside). This dual component setup allows you to wash two separate loads at the same time.
This means long gone — at least in theory — are the days of lazily stuffing your colors, whites, and darks into a single cold wash to save time. Similarly, the small albeit more than adequate top washer allows you to clean small daily loads and minimize the daunting weekly laundry day chore. You can also connect with your washer via the paired Samsung app to monitor cycles, remaining time, and other data, meaning you never have to prematurely leave your La-Z-Boy in the name of laundry ever again.
Steam presets to remove stains without pretreating, a Full Touch Display, a clean ‘Ice Blue’ LED readout, and lights inside the washer itself are noteworthy and thoughtful design touches. Nonetheless, the FlexWash isn’t without its flaws — our only real gripe about the FlexWash is the overall bulk of the unit. With a base height of 47 inches, this washer is nearly tall enough to ride a host of roller coasters without an adult chaperone. That said, those with an already cramped laundry room should steer clear of this brute, however, those looking for a Swiss Army knife of a washer will be more than pleased with this beastly beaut.
Pair it with: Samsung FlexDry
The best smart washer
LG WM9000HVA High-Efficiency Smart Front Load Washer with TurboWash
Why you should buy this: Not just smart — this washer can get clothes exceptionally clean.
Who it’s for: Anyone looking for very large capacity and a variety of cool features and cleaning cycles.
Why we picked the LG WM9000HVA High-Efficiency Smart Front Load Washer with TurboWash
This LG washer has a 5.2-cubic-foot capacity, so you don’t have to worry too much about overloading it with clothes or blankets. It has 14 different programs, including a speed wash, sanitize, and tub clean program. TurboWash is effective at stain-fighting, and there are sanitize and allergen cycles for killing unseen ickies.
This washer isn’t just smart for the sake of being smart either. The washer’s LG SmartThinQ app can help you diagnose and fix problems with the washer before a repair person shows up at your home. You can also select a cycle, start or stop your washer, and get notifications about when your laundry will be done. It’s compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant too.
It’s also compatible with the LG SideKick Pedestal Washer, so you can do two loads at once if you opt for that add-on. No more having to wait to wash your kid’s dirty soccer uniform or a small load of dark clothing.
Pair it with: LG DLEX9000V
The best bargain
Kenmore 25132 Top-Load Washer
Why you should buy this: It may be frill-free, but this spacious washer cleans better than some of its high-priced competition.
Who it’s for: Bargain shoppers looking for a solid washer.
Why we picked the Kenmore 25132 Top-Load Washer
If there’s one thing that makes many top loaders attractive, it’s their price, and the Kenmore 25132 is no exception. While you won’t find a lot of the added features included with front-load machines, this appliance still has a wide variety of cycles and temperatures to choose from and a spacious 4.3 cubic feet of capacity — enough to was 19 towels at once, according to Kenmore. There’s even a bulky/bedding cycle to go with that space.
It lacks the deep-clean steam option found on pricier washers, but the stain boost helps clean up messes by letting clothes soak a while longer. Having that built-in means you won’t have to pretreat as many stains. For smaller loads you need clean ASAP, there’s an express cycle that will take around 45 minutes.
The control panel favors knobs over buttons, and there are quite a few: One to turn the stain boost on or off, one to include fabric softener or not, one to set temperatures, one to add an extra rinse, and the main one for the cycles. All of that makes navigating the options fairly intuitive and less likely you’ll forget to push a button amid a cluttered interface.
This Kenmore model uses more water than its front-loader counterparts, but it does offer a lot of features for its price.
Pair it with: Maytag MEDC215EW
Should you buy now or wait?
Many people discover the best time to buy a washer is when theirs dies mid-cycle. But if you have some advanced warning, it can be beneficial to wait. Many manufacturers start rolling out new products in September or October, meaning retailers want to make room for the new inventory.
However, that’s not a hard-and-fast rule, and stores often have frequent deals coinciding with holidays. It’s not just Black Friday: Memorial Day, Labor Day, President’s Day… You can often find bargains during long weekends.
It might behoove you to find out if your local appliance dealer has an annual blowout sale. One located in Seattle, for example, has a yearly sale in early November that draws crowds looking for lower prices.
How we test
Washers are a big purchase for anyone, and doing research before purchasing a new appliance is key. If you’ve read our reviews, you may wonder how we reach our conclusions. We like to take into account both benchmarks and less objective metrics like design. Because our washers are open for the whole Digital Trends office to use, we solicit a lot of feedback from our staffers when considering things like ease of use. This means that we take into account more than just one or two people’s opinions, and it also means the washers go through a fair amount of cycles by the time we’re done with them. Here we explain our testing procedures a bit more in-depth.