The 7 Best High-Efficiency Washers to Buy in 2018

Reduce your footprint with these top-performing machines

Woman reaching for basket in laundry room
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High-efficiency washing machines are beginning to dominate the market, with many manufacturers producing both top-loading and front-loading models. These more efficient washers are designed to reduce the amount of water and electricity used in a single load of laundry.

If you are a fan of front-loading washing machines, there are an abundance of high-efficiency (HE) options, but even traditional top-loading machines are beginning to adapt to a high-efficiency design. In top-loading washers, you will most often find an impeller rather than an agitator — though this isn’t true in all cases. Front-loading high-efficiency washers typically come with many cycles and options, including steam and sanitizing modes.

Choosing a high-efficiency washing machine is a matter of finding the right washer that will suit your laundry needs while saving you money on electricity and water. These machines also use less detergent, and most require the use of HE-specific formulas. Learn more about the best high-efficiency washers to buy and find the perfect one for your laundry room.


  • 01 of 07

    Best Overall, Front Loading: Samsung WF42H5200AW

    Samsung 4.2 cu. ft. Front Load Washer with Steam in White, ENERGY STAR
    Courtesy of Home Depot

    If you’re looking for the best high-efficiency washer that has a front-loading design, look to the Samsung WF42H5200AW.

    Featuring 4.2 cubic feet of space, this machine is reasonably-sized, packs plenty of features, and is competitively priced for a front-load washer. The washer has 9 preset wash cycles and 10 additional options that can be selected to match the needs of each load. The machine also offers some features often found on higher-end models of HE washing machines, such as steam, allergy and sanitization modes. It’s a great choice for a front-loading machine that will give you the basic functions of a washer, with the additional cycles and features that make laundry day a little bit easier.

    Some first-time users of a front-loading washer were surprised at the length of time a cycle runs, but overall the machine cleans clothes extremely well. For the price and the features that Samsung offers in this model of a high-efficiency front-loading washer, this model is your best bet overall.

  • 02 of 07

    Best Overall, Top Loading: Maytag MVWB765FW

    Maytag 4.7 cu. ft. High-Efficiency Top Load Washer with PowerWash Cycle in White
    Courtesy of Home Depot

    If you’re looking for the best overall high-efficiency washing machine with a top-loading design, then look to this model from Maytag.

    With 4.7 cubic feet of space, this washer offers plenty of room with an easy-to-access top-loading lid. Unlike some larger wash drums that make it difficult to reach items in the bottom of the drum, the bottom of this top-loader is within reach for most people. The drum is also made of stainless steel, a high-quality material that won’t rust and snag clothes. Maytag included plenty of options on this mid-priced machine, including a sanitize cycle, an auto-fill option to conserve water, and a deep fill water option that many users find to be a big plus.

    This also happens to be one of the few high-efficiency washing machines that features a familiar center agitator instead of the increasingly common impeller. Many users state their preference for the cleaning ability of an agitator, especially with large loads and bulky items. Overall, the Maytag MVWB765FW is a much-loved and recommended HE washer that provides a high-capacity top-loading design.

  • 03 of 07

    Best Budget: Whirlpool WTW4915EW

    Whirlpool 3.7 cu. ft. High-Efficiency Top Load Washer in White
    Courtesy of Home Depot

    For a high-efficiency washer on a budget, the best value and lowest price is going to be found in a top-loading washing machine. And for good design and efficient cleaning, it’s hard to beat the value offered by this 3.7 cubic foot washer from Whirlpool.

    The Whirlpool WTW4915EW features a stainless-steel wash drum. Just about all other budget, HE top-loading washers have a porcelain drum. The stainless-steel drum offers the highest level of protection against chips, rust, and snags — making it a durable choice.

    As far as performance goes, this Whirlpool washer has eight pre-set wash cycles, plus spin and soak cycles. It also gives you flexibility in terms of water temperature, with five different settings to choose from. Users note that clothes come out clean, despite the fact that this HE-model of washer uses less water than traditional washing machines.

  • 04 of 07

    Best for Large Loads: Maytag MVWB955FW

    Maytag 6.2 cu. ft. Top Load Washer in White
    Courtesy of Home Depot

    You may have thought that a front-loading washer would have the largest capacity of any high-efficiency washing machine on the market, but the top-loading Maytag washer takes the title.

    With a tremendous capacity of 6.2 cubic foot, there is plenty of room in this washer for sheets, towels, bed spreads and more. Maytag included several features that equip this high-efficiency washing machine to handle heavy loads, including deep fill options, a PowerWash cycle, and an internal heater to boost water temperature and enhance detergent cleaning power.

    If you typically have extra large loads of laundry or frequently need to wash bedding and towels, this high-capacity washing machine is the high-efficiency model you need. And contrary to what you may expect, the Maytag MVWB955FW also carries a Tier-III rating from EnergyStar for its energy and water-efficiency. A super capacity washer with this many features will come at a premium price, but the cleaning power and energy savings of this machine make it a top choice on our list.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Best for Energy Savings: Electrolux EFLS617STT

    Electrolux 4.4 cu. ft. Front Load Washer with SmartBoost Technology Steam in Titanium, ENERGY STAR
    Courtesy of Home Depot

    If you’re looking for a high-efficiency washing machine that is also highly energy-efficient, then check out the Electrolux 4.4 cubic foot Front Load Washer.

    This front-load washing machine carries a Tier III rating from EnergyStar for its energy efficiency and water usage. There are a number of high-efficiency washers that share this distinction, but this model from Electrolux outperforms nearly all of them in terms of energy consumption. When used with an electric water heater, this front load washer is estimated to use only about 85 kWH per year. Many models are estimated to use 100 or more kWh per year.

    If you purchase the Electrolux for its cost-savings in terms of energy and water usage, you will pay more than you would for the most basic of washing machines. However, the Electrolux includes plenty of features that make the machine a worthwhile investment, such as 10 wash cycles, the ability to sanitize, and a SmartBoost feature that pre-mixes detergent and water for thorough, deep cleaning.

  • 06 of 07

    Best for Flexibility: Samsung FlexWash 6.0 cu. ft. Washer

    Samsung - FlexWash™ 6.0 Cu. Ft. Washer with Steam - Black Stainless Steel
    Courtesy of Best Buy

    Our top pick for a high-efficiency washer that delivers the most flexible laundry experience is the Samsung Flexwash. This versatile washing machine has a 5.0 cubic foot main wash drum, and a smaller 1.0 cubic foot washer on top of the unit. You can run two loads of laundry with different cycles and settings simultaneously.

    This is a great feature for busy households where laundry is another task on a long to-do list. Throw a small load of delicates in the top of the machine while a large load of towels gets washed in the main washer. The small washer on top is also great for sanitizing objects that may not stand up to the tumbling of the washer drum, such as beloved stuffed animals or baby blankets. The lower washer also has the ability to perform a super-fast cycle that can wash a load in as little as 30 minutes. If you’re familiar with cycle times for front load machines, this can be a serious time-saver.

    The overall consensus is that this washer is convenient, easy-to-use, and efficient in cleaning power. Though the price point is high for this deluxe high-efficiency washer, the flexibility and options of the Samsung Flexwash can’t be beat.

  • 07 of 07

    Best for Stain Removal: GE 4.6 cu. ft. Top Load Washer

    GE 4.6 cu. ft. Top Load Washer in White, ENERGY STAR
    Courtesy of Home Depot

    If you’re looking for a high-efficiency washer that is designed to be tough on stains, the GE GTW680BSJWS is a great choice.

    This 4.6 cubic foot top-loading washer features the familiar set of cycles, spin speeds, and wash temperatures found on other machines. But it also has a Stain Removal Guide that will modify your cycle to address five of the most common laundry stains, including tomato, blood, wine, grass and dirt. Simply select the type of stain and the machine will take care of the rest. Users report that the stain settings really do assist in keeping clothes spot-free and looking their best.

    Additionally, this mid-range priced machine has a full suite of 14 cycle options, including jeans, activewear and sanitize. A digital control pad lets you further modify these cycles according to temperature, soil level and spin speed. Users love that this machine cleans so well, and comment on the fact that the spin cycle removes water very efficiently. Stains happen — be prepared with the GE GTW680BSJWS top-loading washing machine.