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Front load washers are a go-to option for any home because of their efficiency and flexibility. They have a good reputation for water conservation and gently cleaning your garments in their roomy drums. They also typically come with an added feature. For example, some washers are compact and take up minimal space, while others are equipped with extra-large drums for doing mountains of laundry quickly. You can find smart washers, energy-efficient models, and even stackable units that pair well with a matching dryer.
See the best front load washing machines on the market below. Each will make your routine easier and provide you with fresh clothes.
Best Overall: Samsung WF45T6000AW 4.5 cu. ft. Front Load Washer with Vibration Reduction Technology+
Saves energy and water
No steam function
No reversible door
The Samsung WF45T6000AW marries the latest technological advancements with reliable features, making it our best pick for a front-loading washer. Like a number of other models on the market, it has a large selection of wash settings, including five different temperature levels that'll rid your clothes of stains. What sets it apart from others, though, is how this appliance saves energy and water, while also providing a thorough clean.
Its functionality starts with the drum, which uses an improved swirling pattern to pull water from your clothes in an efficient fashion. This ensures that no grime is left behind during the rinse cycle, and that your clothes aren't left with snags and pills. After 40 wash cycles, you'll be encouraged by the appliance to run the self-cleaning cycle that rids the model of any bacteria and mildew that's likely built up over time. This mode not only will increase the lifespan of your machine, but also leave your laundry feeling fresher than ever.
Aside from an impressive clean, this appliance also works to provide less noise, thanks to Samsung's vibration reduction technology. You can install the model in a closet near your bedroom, and not have to worry about being disturbed during the spin cycle. Together, these elements of design make this washer a great pick for any household who wants their appliance to have the basics and then some.
Best Budget: Samsung WF45R6100AC 4.5 cu. ft. High-Efficiency Front Load Washing Machine
No reversible door
Can be leaky
A front load washer doesn’t need to be a budget buster, and an affordable and efficient model like the Samsung WF45R6100AC proves it. This high-efficiency washer offers the convenience of front-loading design and has 4.5 cubic feet of space inside. It’s also stackable, which gives you more options when arranging your laundry room.
At a low price, this model doesn't skimp out on variety. There are 10 wash cycles to choose from, and seven additional options for treating certain fabrics or colors the exact right way. In addition, this budget-friendly front load washer is sure not to omit popular, common features like a steam cycle, self-cleaning cycle, and an app that allows you to troubleshoot from your smartphone. It's not outfitted with a reversible door, but does have vibration reduction technology and dispensers for detergent and fabric softener to upgrade your experience.
Best Splurge: GE GFW850SPNDG 5.0 cu. ft. Capacity Smart Front Load Steam Washer
Can sync with matching dryer
Quality venting system
Tumbles wet clothes
Vibrates a lot
For the ultimate front load washer on the market now, it’s hard to beat this well-equipped and innovative model from GE. The GE GFW850SPNDG features a unique UltraFresh Vent System that's designed to greatly reduce the chances of mold and unpleasant odors. If you didn't already know, many front load washing machines require you to thoroughly dry the door gasket and leave the door to the drum open. This minor annoyance can turn into a major gripe over time.
However, this model from GE includes an in-door vent system that helps to dry the machine in between washes. Key parts that retain moisture and are subject to mold—like the gasket, detergent dispenser, and drain—have also been made with antimicrobial materials. On top of beating bad odors, this washer also does an impressive job cleaning your clothes, and includes user-friendly features that make laundry more intuitive and convenient. For example, its WiFi-enabled and can easily sync with its matching dryer to automatically transfer cycle settings.
For small loads of 2 pounds or less, you have the speedy option to leave the load in the washer and use an internal fan to tumble the clothes dry, too. All in all, the range of amenities of the GE GFW850SPNDG make it an expensive option, but a big upgrade for your laundry room.
Best Stackable: Maytag MHW6630HW 4.8 cu. ft. Stackable White Front Load Washing Machine with Steam
Extra power function
Keep clothes fresh for 16 hours
Can be loud
No reversible door
All stackable washers and dryers are front loaders, but not all front loaders are stackable. So, if you’re looking to save space in your laundry area, pick a piece like the Maytag MHW6630HW. It not only can be paired with a matching dryer, but also has a combination of features and cycles that meet the mark.
Functionality is at the forefront of its design that includes a roomy 4.8-cubic-foot drum, 11 wash cycles, and a self-cleaning option to do away with any odors. An "Extra Power" button increases the power applied to any load, and a control pad gives you additional options for the spin speed, temperature selections, and soil level. You can also enable the Fresh Hold mode, which keeps fresh clothes from becoming musty for up to 16 hours after the wash cycle has completed.
Best High Capacity: LG SIGNATURE WM9500HKA 5.8 cu. ft. HE Mega Capacity Smart Front Load Washer
Short cycle setting
Can be controlled remotely
Supersize your laundry routine with the LG SIGNATURE WM9500HKA. This high-capacity front load washer offers nearly 6.0 cubic feet of drum space and boasts the ability to wash a king-size comforter and sheets in one single load. Smart design features—like a door that is 15 percent larger than competitors' and an angled drum—make it easier to load and unload the model. To say the least, this washer is a go-to option for anyone that wants the convenience of a front load washer, but the ability to do regular, extra-large loads.
The LG WM9500HKA is a great option for families and includes features that streamline the never-ending laundry routine. The machine has a TurboWash setting that shortens cycles up to 30 minutes without sacrificing the quality of clean. Use the compatible LG app to keep tabs on the progress of a cycle, as well as start or stop any cycle remotely.
Best Compact: Bosch WAT28400UC 300 Series Compact Washer
Range of wash cycles
Requires European outlet
The Bosch WAT28400UC manages to pack a ton of cleaning power into a small, front-loading washer. Measuring 23.5 inches wide, it can slip into the smallest of laundry rooms or designated cleaning closets with ease, and still provide a long list of amenities. Despite its petite proportions, this washer has a 2.2-cubic-foot drum and 15 different wash cycles, including ones for allergens, delicates, and items that should be hand-washed.
In addition, this model comes with dispensers for fabric softener, liquid detergent, and pre-wash detergent, so you can start a cycle and not come back until it's all done. Now, it's important to note, this appliance will take longer to complete a full cycle. Although that's standard for compact and portable machines, it may be an inconvenience for anyone looking to get a laundry job done quickly. Make use of the Speed Wash setting if you find yourself in this predicament. Also, for a quick and easy experience, be sure to read over the washer installation requirements before installing this piece. It requires a European outlet, with 240V capabilities. According to the installation instructions, a NEMA 6-15 or 6-20 will do.
Best for Settings: GE GFW650SPNSN 4.8 cu. ft. Satin Nickel Front Load Washing Machine
Smart dispensers can be unreliable
Vibrates a lot
When it comes to a front-loading washer with a variety of settings, you can't go wrong with this model. It boasts a 4.8-cubic-foot drum, which is a bit larger than average, and can fit in a range of laundry rooms thanks to a reversible door and stackable design. Most notably, though, the GE GFW650SPNSN has 12 unique wash cycles, designed to treat your dirty items precisely.
There are specialty settings for activewear, removing allergens, and bulky items, in addition to whites—which can take on a gray or yellow hue without the proper care. A household that typically deals with stains can make use of the pre-wash cycle and sanitize function that eliminates bacteria using an internal water heater. Do you typically need an item cleaned fast? A speed wash setting washes lightly soiled clothes in a total of 20 minutes, while a time saving one does so in just 37 minutes.
Aside from this large selection of useful settings, this appliance is equipped with smart dispensers, built-in WiFi that lets you get real-time updates to your phone, and balancing technology that can even out loads to ensure a thorough clean.
Best for Energy Savings: Electrolux EFLS627UTT 4.4 cu. ft. Front Load Washer with SmartBoost Technology
Consumes less energy
Quick wash setting
Can be loud
Needs to be aired out
The Electrolux EFLS627UTT is an energy-efficient, front-loading washer that still incorporates all the bells and whistles of a modern machine. With an Energy Star CEE Tier III rating for its energy consumption, it's estimated to use only 85 kWh per year, which will ultimately help bring down your utility bills.
In addition, this model is outfitted with a 4.4-cubic-foot drum, which is plenty big enough for the average family. Nine unique wash cycles meet the needs of just about any laundry scenario, and you’ll appreciate the 15-minute quick wash for items you need in a hurry. Other amenities of this appliance include a dispenser for single-dose laundry packs, and stain-fighting technology that premixes water and detergent for increased cleaning power.
When it comes to a front-loading washer, the Samsung WF45T6000AW (view at Lowe's) is a quality pick. It's a high-efficiency model with a gentle drum and self-cleaning cycle. Plus, it's very quiet when operating, thanks to the brand's vibration reduction technology. If you want to spend a bit less, the Samsung WF45R6100AC (view at Home Depot) is the front-loading pick for you. It doesn't have a reversible door, but is stackable and includes dispensers.
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 build up 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.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was edited and updated by Marisa Casciano, who is the large appliance expert for The Spruce. Throughout her career, she's researched the ins and outs of air purifiers, dishwashers, cooktops, and more in the home and lifestyle space. She stays up-to-date on the latest features in front load washers, to ensure she recommends products that are reliable, efficient, and actually meeting the mark.