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Where there's a front load washer, there's an efficient laundry routine. This type of appliance isn't in the business of aggressive agitation, heavy lifting, or excessive water usage. Setting one up in your home will allow you to unload and load your clothes with total ease, and take advantage of a space-saving, stackable design. Plus, front-loading models have a reputation for very gently cleaning your items in their average-sized drums. Since clothes are tumbled in the tub, you can rest assured that delicates, tees, and blankets will all be treated with the finest care.
In the process, the machine will thoughtfully conserve water, making front-loaders much cheaper to operate in the long run. You will need to do hands-on maintenance whether you install a compact or high-capacity model in your house, and get into a regular cleaning routine. Front-loaders can collect mildew and not-so-pleasant smells that can stick to your clothes. Many washers on the market come with a self-cleaning cycle to help with this though, and you can crack the swinging or reversible door to air the gaskets and seals out.
Long story short? With the right features, front load washers can be an accessible, efficient, and easy appliance to own. See the best front load washers below.
Best Overall: GE 5.0 cu. ft. Capacity Smart Front Load Steam Washer
Automatic detergent dispenser
Vent system eliminates odors
One-step wash and dry for small loads
No way to empty detergent from dispenser
What do buyers say? 4,200+ Home Depot reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.
This front-loading washer from GE stands out for the crowd for a few reasons. Not only is it extremely sleek with a spacious drum that can handle your bulkiest loads, but it also has carefully designed features that help solve common problems that people experience with front-load washers. For instance, mold and mildew growth is common in this style of washing machine, as moisture doesn’t drain as well, but the GE washer has a unique ventilation system that activates after the cycle, pulling out any leftover moisture to keep your washer fresh. Additionally, its seals are made from an antimicrobial material that prevents odor-causing bacteria.
Besides these unique features, the GE Front-Load Steam Washer is a powerhouse when it comes to cleaning your laundry. It has a 5-cubic-foot stainless steel drum and 12 wash cycles, including options for sanitizing, steaming, and more. Dynamic Balancing Technology helps to rebalance uneven loads to keep its operation as quiet as possible, and the machine even has a one-step wash and dry option that you can use on small loads.
That’s not all, either. The washer has an automatic detergent dispenser, meaning you simply empty a bottle into it and it will automatically release the perfect amount for each load. It holds up to 32 loads worth of detergent, but keep in mind that there’s no way to empty the dispenser once you fill it up—not ideal if you’re trying out a new formula and decide you don’t like it. The GE washing machine also has built-in Wi-Fi that allows you to start, stop, and monitor a cycle from your phone, and it has a reversible door so you can tailor it to your space.
Best Budget: Samsung WF45T6000AW 4.5 cu. ft. Front Load Washer with Vibration Reduction Technology+
Vibration reduction for quieter operation
Self-cleaning cycle kills bacteria
Limited smart functionality
Loud during spin cycle
Front-loading washing machines are more expensive than top-loading washers, but one of your most affordable options is this model from Samsung. Despite being budget-friendly, it’s still packed with a variety of useful features, including vibration reduction technology and a self-clean cycle that eliminates 99% of bacteria in the drum, helping to control odors. Plus, its closet-depth design allows you to tuck it into shallower spaces—you can even stack it with a compatible dryer to save space, if you want.
This front-load washer offers 10 different cleaning cycles, and the unique pattern on its stainless steel drum helps to extract more water during the spin cycle. While it does technically have Wi-Fi connectivity, the Samsung app is fairly limited in its abilities. You’re only able to troubleshoot problems from your smartphone, not control the appliance’s operation. So if you’re looking for a truly smart washing machine, this isn’t the best option. However, it’s a solid no-frills model for those who want to save some money.
Best Splurge: Whirlpool WFW9620HC 5.0 cu. ft. High Efficiency Smart Stackable Front Load Washing Machine
Automatic detergent dispenser
Smart functionality with digital assistant compatibility
Wash and dry option for small loads
Steam clean setting
Able to set custom cycles
Not Energy Star certified
If you’re looking for an appliance that’s just as aesthetically pleasing as it is functional, you can’t go wrong with this sleek high-efficiency model from Whirlpool. It has a modern design that comes in three finishes, and it also boasts a large 5-cubic-foot drum with a variety of high-end features. The washer’s automatic detergent dispenser can hold enough soap for up to 40 loads, and it also has a compartment for fabric softener. Not to mention the machine is Wi-Fi enabled, allowing you to set, start, and stop the appliance right from your phone or via a digital assistant like Amazon Alexa.
This high-end washing machine has a touchscreen that learns your habits and suggests custom cycles based on your past selections, and you can create and save up to 30 of your own custom cycles. The washer also offers a 15-minute quick wash cycle and a wash and dry option for small loads—ideal for those times you just need to refresh one outfit. Other notable features include a sanitize cycle that uses hot water to eliminate bacteria and a steam option to help lift out tough stains.
Best High-Capacity: LG 5.2 cu. ft. HE Mega Capacity Front Load Washing Machine with Steam and TurboWash
TurboWash shortens cycle time
Allergiene cycle removes allergens from fabric
Steam clean technology
Limited smart functionality
Display can be hard to read in certain light
King-size comforter? A week’s worth of clothes? No problem! This extra-large washing machine from LG can accommodate your family’s largest loads of laundry in its 5.2-cubic-foot stainless steel drum. Plus, the brand’s TurboWash technology features powerful jets that help to shave time off the cleaning cycle, allowing the machine to wash large loads faster without compromising on performance.
This LG washer has 14 wash cycles, including a special “Allergiene” setting that removes 95% of common household allergens, including dust mites and pet dander, from the fabric. The machine has sensors that detect the weight of each load and adjust the water level and wash time accordingly, and it has six different washing motions for more cleaning power. An anti-vibration system helps to reduce washer noise, and steam technology helps to remove wrinkles, odors, and stains.
While this appliance can be synced to your phone, its smart functionality is limited to troubleshooting problems—there’s no option to remotely control your machine.
Best Stackable: Maytag 4.5 cu. ft. Stackable Front Load Washing Machine with 12-Hour Fresh Spin
Internal water heater
Extra Power button helps remove stains
Steam clean option
Fresh Hold keeps laundry fresh for up to 12 hours
Long wash cycles
You can save space in your home by stacking the Maytag Front-Load Washing Machine and a compatible dryer. (A stacking kit is required, naturally!) This model is mid-sized with a 4.5-cubic-foot interior, and it offers 10 wash cycles and a variety of advanced operation features. You’ll be able to get your clothes sparkling clean with the help of the machine’s Extra Power button, which helps remove stains with a dual-temperature wash, and the machine even has a built-in water heater for loads that require increased temperatures.
If you tend to put in a load of laundry before leaving for work, this machine has a “Fresh Hold” feature that provides intermittent tumbling for up to 12 hours, ensuring your clean clothes stay fresh until you transfer them to the dryer. Other noteworthy features include a 15-minute quick-wash cycle, steam option to help remove stains, and add-a-garment feature for those times you spot a forgotten sock. The washer has a 10-year warranty on both its motor and wash basket, and it’s very reasonably priced for its size and features.
Best High-Efficiency : Electrolux 4.5 cu. ft. High-Efficiency Stackable Front Load Washer with SmartBoost
Option to select soil level
Detergent pods can be placed in dispenser
StainSoak option automatically pretreats laundry
Pure Rinse option doesn’t use extra water
Long wash times
High-efficiency washing machines use less water, detergent, and energy to clean your laundry, and this front-loading model from Electrolux is a top choice if you’re trying to be more eco-conscious. The unit has a 4.5-cubic-foot capacity, and it’s also Energy Star-certified, so it won’t drive up your energy bill as much as traditional units. Plus, it features the brand’s unique adaptive dispenser, which allows you to use any style of detergent, including pods!
The best part of this high-efficiency washing machine has to be its numerous settings, all of which will help get your clothes cleaner. For instance, it has A SmartBoost option that mixes water and detergent before the cycle for more efficient stain removal, and the Optic Whites cycle is designed to keep white clothing looking fresh without any bleach. The washer also features a Pure Rinse that removes more detergent and residue without using extra water, and there are also functions like a hand wash cycle, StainSoak option, and steam technology.
Best Compact: Electrolux IQ Touch 24 in. 2.4 cu. ft. High Efficiency Front Load Washing Machine
Less than 24 inches wide
Sanitize cycle kills bacteria
Quiet during operation
Door isn’t reversible
If you’re looking for a compact washing machine that delivers all the same benefits as a full-size model, this option from Electrolux is the way to go. The washer is just 24 inches wide with a 2.4 cubic foot capacity, making it ideal for smaller homes, apartments, or households with just one or two people, and it can be stacked with a matching dryer, if desired. It doesn’t skimp on features, either—it has a steam cycle, sanitizing cycle, delay start, and more.
This compact washing machine has 14 wash cycles, including a fast wash, eco-friendly cycle, and delicates. There’s even an option that will save your favorite settings. The appliance comes with the brand’s “second floor guarantee,” which promises smooth, quiet operation that won’t interrupt your daily routine, even if it’s near your bedroom. The only downside we could find is that the washer door can’t be reversed, which could pose a problem if you’re installing it in a tight space.
Best Basic: Amana 4.3-cu ft High Efficiency Stackable Front-Load Washer
Simple, user-friendly design
Presoak option for stains
Control panel is sensitive
If you don’t like or don’t need all the bells and whistles of today’s high-end washing machines, you’ll like this high-efficiency unit from Amana, which sticks to the basics. The unit forgoes any smart functionality—instead, it just has a simple control panel where you can select the cycle you want, the water temperature, and soil level. From there, you just hit start, and it will get to work!
This mid-size washer has a 4.3-cubic-foot stainless steel drum, and its closet-depth design is ideal for installation in smaller spaces. In addition to its regular wash settings, there’s also a quick wash cycle for small loads, a cold wash cycle that saves energy, and a presoak option for treating stains. The appliance is designed to release fabric softener at the perfect time for optimal results, and overall, this model is a great value for anyone who just wants a basic machine.
Best All-in-One: LG Electronics WM3998HBA Ultra Large Capacity Electric All-in-One Washer Dryer Combo
No need to transfer clothes to dryer
Certified to reduce allergens in fabrics
Steam cleaning technology
Ventless drying takes significantly longer
Not Energy Star certified
Whether you don’t have space for both a washer and dryer or just want a machine that does it all, the LG All-In-One Washer Dryer Combo will be a welcome addition to your home. While it’s not cheap, this appliance does the job of both a washing machine and dryer, cleaning and drying your clothes in one extra-long cycle. It has a large 4.5-cubic-foot capacity, and its TurboWash technology uses high-pressure nozzles to cut wash time off the cycles.
This all-in-one appliance is Wi-Fi enabled, and you can control it from your smartphone or via a digital assistant like Amazon Alexa. The machine is certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) to remove allergens from clothes, and it features steam cleaning, an energy-saving cold water cycle, and even a self-cleaning cycle for easy maintenance. The dryer is ventless, meaning it doesn’t need to be hooked up to external venting, but keep in mind this style of dryer takes quite a bit longer to dry clothing.
Best for Energy Savings: LG Ultra Large Capacity Front Load Washer
Good for small spaces but can handle large loads
15-minute speed wash option
App isn’t truly remote
No light in the drum
Hard to operate displays in the dark
You can minimize your energy bills with an appliance like this LG washer, which is both high-efficiency and Energy Star certified. The unit has a 4.5-cubic-foot interior and a wide range of wash settings, including a 15-minute speed wash option and a cold wash setting that saves energy without compromising cleanliness. Plus, the machine’s “Allergiene” cycle is certified by the AAFA to remove over 95% of pet dander and dust from fabric—ideal for anyone who has bad allergies.
This front-load washer has five jets that spray clothing from all angles, and our tester found that it did a great job removing stains from clothing with its steam clean option. The machine is able to select the best wash motion and setting based on the load, and it can even automatically select a compatible drying cycle if you have the matching dryer. We thought the washer had a sleek appearance, but we didn’t like that there’s no light in the drum and that the display isn’t backlit.
If you want a front-loading washing machine that doesn’t have the traditional issues associated with this washer style, you’ve got to go with the GE 5.0 cu. ft. Capacity Smart Front Load Steam Washer (view at Home Depot). This high-end model has a spacious capacity, and its antimicrobial interior and unique venting system help to prevent odors, mildew, and mold inside the drum. Or, for something more affordable, consider the Samsung 4.5 cu. ft. Front Load Washer (view at Lowe’s). It’s one of the most budget-friendly front-load washers you’ll find today, and it has useful features like vibration reduction technology and a self-clean cycle.
What to Look for in a Front Load Washer
The average drum size for a front load washer is 4.5 cubic feet, which is typically enough space for a week's worth of laundry for one or two people. Although this average is less than that of a top-loading model, it's plenty of room to wash a king-sized comforter, as well as a few pillowcases. Some portable, front-loading washers only have around 2.2 cubic feet of space, which is ideal if you're living in a small apartment or RV. There are also high-capacity models that stretch to nearly 6.0 cubic feet. That size is most suitable for large households who are constantly doing laundry, and would like to maximize each cycle.
A steam function helps tackle stains, grime, and wrinkles in your clothes. In some models, it's automatically selected with your cycle, say, if you choose an activewear or allergen cycle that's more gentle. The function works by adding steam into the drum of your washer throughout the cycle, that then seeps into the fabric of your clothes. The steam carries your detergent further into the fabrics, and delicately loosens grime. Now, a steam function is very popular in washers, but it's not a guarantee, which is why it's important to think about when buying.
Front load washers can have a right-swinging, left-swinging, reversible, or dual-opening door. The best design for you entirely depends on your lifestyle and the layout of your home. If you're installing a front-loading washer in a closet or tight mudroom, you may need the door to swing in a particular direction so that it doesn't collide with a door or cabinet. A reversible door gives you the flexibility to open the door in either direction, which is convenient if you have an unusual laundry layout or plan on re-decorating your space. A dual-opening door swings and opens hamper-style. This design keeps your clean clothes from falling on the floor, but is a rare find.
It’s common for front-loading washers to have mildew and mold buildup in their drum, since their design is less suitable for draining. This can cause your clean clothes to have an odor, or lingering allergens after a cycle. A self-clean setting in front-load washers can be run every so often to keep bacteria from collecting, and is especially effective when paired with a stainless steel drum.
A laundry pedestal, which can be installed under a compatible front-loading washer and/or dryer, is a great solution for households that have limited storage space. This piece is usually sold separately, and acts like a pull-out drawer once installed. Use it to store containers of fabric softener, detergent, or dryer sheets, in homes without little kids who can easily access it.
Are front load washers better than top load?
Front load washers are better than top load washers when it comes to resources, accessibility, and providing a thorough, gentle clean. They often use less water and energy—making them cheaper to operate—and can be stacked with a dryer for a streamlined and compact laundry routine. Since the washer relies on drum motions to tumble your clothes, a front load washer can also be more gentle, and create less wear and tear. On the downside, they are more expensive upfront, and aren't always easy to repair and maintain.
The verdict: one type is not undeniably better than the other, and the best type for you comes down to personal preference and your budget. To make a decision, check out our full top load versus front load washer comparison guide.
How long do front load washers last?
A front load washer will typically last around 10 years. You can increase your appliance's lifespan by maintaining it properly and quickly addressing any repairs that may need to be done. To maintain it, make sure your washer is balanced before starting a load. Run a self-clean cycle or clean the drum yourself once a month, or whenever you start to smell odors or mildew. Lastly, be sure to only use a compatible detergent, especially if your front-loader is a high-efficiency model.
Do front load washers leak?
Both front load and top load washers can potentially leak due to wear and tear. In front load washers, leaks are commonly caused by soil and soap interrupting the door seal, or the door not closing all the way. If your machine has a reversible door, in particular, you'll want to make sure the door is lining up properly and the hinges are tight enough. For more on how to diagnose washing machine leaks, go to our full guide.
Do front load washers clean well?
Since front load washers are more prone to the build-up of mildew and odors, they have to be cleaned more often. However, they clean well, as long as you remember to do a little hands-on maintenance or run a self-clean cycle. For hands-on maintenance, you'll want to pour 1/2 cup of liquid chlorine bleach into the detergent compartment, and then run a cycle. You'll also want to wipe down the door. Now, if you want to get ahead on your cleaning, make sure you're always using the right amount of detergent and not leaving damp clothes in the drum for too long, too. Everything you need to know is detailed in our guide on how to clean a front load washer.
Do front load washers use less water?
Front load washers use significantly less water than their top load counterparts. The best front load washers that are ENERGY STAR certified use 50% less water than top load agitator washers and 25% less water than top load impeller washers.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Having tested and researched dozens of laundry machines, we looked at functionality, efficiency, and overall value when recommending the best front load washers. We considered capacity, cycle options, and door design, in addition to each unit's maintenance level, vent system, and helpful smart features. For insight, we spoke with: Brittney Castro, certified financial planner for Mint; Marilee Nelson, certified building biologist and environmental consultant, and co-founder of Branch Basics; and Tiffany Aliche, The Budgetnista and author of Get Good with Money.
Marisa Casciano is the large appliance expert for The Spruce, and has researched the ins and outs of air purifiers, dishwashers, and more in the home space. While she loves her top-loading washer, she's very open to the perks of a front load washer and sees the value in owning this type of appliance. For this piece, she read through dozens of user manuals, product listings, and cleaning guides. Plus, she scoured verified customer reviews on multiple major retailers' websites, and checked out the models in-person to get a feel for their size, finish, and practicality.
This article was updated by Camryn Rabideau, a freelance writer and product tester for The Spruce. She spent several hours researching the most popular and top-rated front-load washing machines available today, and she's personally used the GE 5.0 cu. ft. Capacity Smart Front Load Steam Washer (buy at Home Depot), which is our Best Overall pick.