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Putting a high-efficiency washer in your home has its perks—both financially and environmentally. This type of appliance uses load-sensing technology to add the exact amount of water your laundry needs. By doing so, it doesn't create waste, or needlessly rack up your water bill. Although some machines may take a little longer to clean your dirty clothes on a normal cycle, they typically make up for it with speed cycle selections, built-in faucets, and "deep fill" settings that raise the water line within the drum for heftier loads.
Here, the best high-efficiency washers for your home:
Best Overall, Top Loading: Samsung WA54R7600AW 5.4 cu. ft. High-Efficiency White Top Load Washing Machine
Capacity: 5.4 cubic feet | Washing Mechanism: Impeller | Cycles: 12 | Drum Material: Stainless steel | Smart Capabilities: Yes | Energy Star Certified: Yes
Built-in faucet for treating stains
Can handle bulky items
Longer wash cycles
Can't be controlled remotely
The Samsung WA54R7600AW is a great pick for a high-efficiency top-loading washer. It includes time-saving features, that also reduce energy consumption and finish your laundry faster. It has a 5.0-cubic-foot drum, so there’s plenty of room for even oversized loads or bulky blankets.
Like most high-efficiency washers, the machine utilizes load-sensing technology to determine how much water is required for the wash cycle. If you usually need to pre-treat stains, then your household will likely appreciate the efficiency of the Samsung Active WaterJet—a built-in faucet that gives you an easy, mess-free way to scrub shirts, pants, and anything with stains.
Now, be prepared: the cycles may take longer than a conventional washer with an agitator. This HE washer is doing more with less, though—which sometimes mean longer wash cycles. If you're in a hurry, simply select this washer's speed cycle that cuts cycle times to a respectable 36 minutes.
Best Overall, Front Loading: LG Electronics WM4200HWA 27 in. 5.0 cu. ft. White Ultra Large Capacity Front Load Washing Machine
Capacity: 5.0 cubic feet | Washing Mechanism: Not applicable | Cycles: 14 | Drum Material: Stainless steel | Smart Capabilities: Yes | Energy Star Certified: Yes
Cold wash setting
Can have an odor
Noisy at times
There are plenty of high-efficiency front load washers on the market, but the LG WM4200HWA is your best bet. This washer includes convenient features that will make your laundry routine easier and your clothes cleaner. Most significantly, this HE front load washer uses less energy and water than other models, but without sacrificing a thorough wash that eliminates harmful allergens. The unit has been certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), and uses the steam function to rid your dirty laundry of triggers like dust.
To further boost the energy efficiency of this appliance, a ColdWash setting gives you the option to conserve resources, by combining six unique wash motions. In addition, LG's TurboWash 360 uses five water jets to rinse, wash, and spin large loads in only 30 minutes. Between this element of design and the 5.0-cubic-foot drum, you likely won't need to run this appliance as often, which will save money and time on your end. Simply put, the model is durable—and stackable—and has all the bells and whistles of a typical HE washer and then some.
Best Budget: Whirlpool WTW5000DW 4.3 cu. ft. High-Efficiency White Top Load Washing Machine
Capacity: 4.3 cubic feet | Washing Mechanism: Impeller | Cycles: 12 | Drum Material: Stainless steel | Smart Capabilities: No | Energy Star Certified: No
Deep fill setting
No automatic dispenser
Many high-efficiency washers have an impeller plate for gentle yet effective wash action. The Whirlpool WTW5000DW combines this well-loved design with simple, easy-to-use controls and a sizable 4.3-cubic-foot wash basket. Notably, it offers a range of amenities but won't give you sticker shock.
Some of these amenities include an automatic load size sensor—which fills the washer with just the right amount of water—and a 660 RPM spin speed to wring out your freshly-washed clothes. When it's spinning, you'll notice that it doesn't shimmy and shake across your laundry room, which adds to the quiet operation of this machine. Like some other HE washers, there's also a Deep Water Wash setting, which adds extra water to the wash basket for especially bulky loads.
There’s no automatic fabric softener or bleach dispenser on this model, but you'll easily be able to pause the cycle at the right time for these wash additives. All in all, this Whirlpool HE washer lets you spend less, but also enjoy newer features and a modern design.
Best Budget, Runner-Up: Amana NTW4516FW 3.5 cu. ft. White Top Load Washing Machine
Capacity: 3.5 cubic feet | Washing Mechanism: Agitator | Cycles: 8 | Drum Material: Porcelain | Smart Capabilities: No | Energy Star Certified: No
Deep fill setting
Easy to load
Lid is slow to unlock
No fabric softener dispenser
The Amana NTW4516FW is an affordable, yet efficient, washer that'll tackle your dirty laundry in a fuss-free way. As a HE washer, it uses load-sensing technology to conserve water and also requires just a teaspoon or so of HE detergent to do its job well.
Inside this budget, high-efficiency washing machine, you’ll notice a conventional agitator that seems to do an excellent job creating water movement and ensuring clothes get thoroughly cleaned. In addition, although the load-sensing technology fills the tub with just enough water to get the job done, this washing machine also includes a Deep Fill setting that is useful for washing fluffy or bulky items such as throw blankets.
You'll have little to complain about with this washing machine—other than the lid that can be slow to unlock after the cycle is over. However, the extra few minutes is a minor inconvenience when compared to the cost and energy efficiency of the Amana NTW4516FW.
Best High Capacity: Maytag MVW7230HC 5.2 cu. ft. Smart Capable Metallic Slate Top Load Washing Machine
Capacity: 5.2 cubic feet | Washing Mechanism: Agitator | Cycles: 13 | Drum Material: Stainless steel | Smart Capabilities: Yes | Energy Star Certified: Yes
Extra power button
Smart home compatible
May need repairs over time
No steam function
There are very few washers on the market that can challenge the capacity of the Maytag MVW7230HC. With a 5.2-cubic-foot drum and an extra power button, this washer is designed to save water and energy, handle large loads of laundry, and take care of tough grime and stains. Just prep your clothes beforehand using the built-in water faucet. Then, select one of 13 precise wash settings and five rinse temperatures. After starting your cycle, take care of your clothes from anywhere using the Maytag app on your phone.
Being compatible with smart homes is just the beginning of this appliance's high-end design. Additionally, it comes with dispensers for fabric softener, detergent, and bleach, and a Deep Fill setting that raises the water line. Whether you have a large family, are constantly outdoors and getting dirty, or live with roommates, it'll ensure your clothes come out fresh and clean. However, opt into the service or 10-year warranty plan upon purchasing this washer, as it may need a couple repairs after years of use.
Best for Environment: Electrolux EFLS627UTT 4.4 cu. ft. Front Load Washer with SmartBoost Technology
Capacity: 4.4 cubic feet | Washing Mechanism: Not applicable | Cycles: 9 | Drum Material: Stainless steel | Smart Capabilities: No | Energy Star Certified: Yes
Has a CEE rating
Can use detergent packs
Can be leaky
If you’re looking for a high-efficiency washing machine that's also great for the environment, then check out the Electrolux EFLS627UTT. This model carries a CEE Tier III rating from Energy Star for its energy efficiency and thoughtful 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. In comparison, many models are estimated to use 100 or more kWh per year.
While this high-efficiency washer is known for being energy-efficient, it’s not short on handy options. It includes a dispenser for single-dose laundry packs—a brand new feature that's popping up on washers. It also includes a shortened cycle for when you need clean clothes in a hurry, and a steam option to banish odors and allergens.
Best for Features: GE GFW850SPNDG 5.0 cu. ft. Capacity Smart Front Load Steam Washer
Capacity: 5.0 cubic feet | Washing Mechanism: Not applicable | Cycles: 12 | Drum Material: Stainless steel | Smart Capabilities: Yes | Energy Star Certified: Yes
Can sync with matching dryer
Quality venting system
Can be loud
If you want the most innovative and smart high-efficiency washer, head straight for the GE GFW850SPNDG. As you’d expect for a smart washer, this model is equipped with built-in WiFi—but wait, there’s more. Not only does it provide you status updates to your smartphone, but it also syncs with compatible GE dryers, by transmitting cycle settings from one machine to the other. To experience this, just unload your washed clothes into the dryer unit. You’re ready to go, without needing to repeat cycle settings or add options.
The really smart thing about this washer, though, is the fact that it features GE’s UltraFresh Vent System with OdorBlock. Forget about stinky front-loader issues with this appliance that includes an in-door vent to keep mold and mildew away. In addition, the gasket, drain, and pump utilize Microban technology to prevent the growth of bacteria that turns into odors.
And while this machine isn’t smart enough to do your laundry for you, it’s smart enough to wash and dry a load of 2 pounds or less, by using an internal fan for circulation.
Best for Short Cycles: LG Electronics WT7300CW 5.0 cu. ft. High Efficiency Mega Capacity Smart Top Load Washer
Capacity: 5.0 cubic feet | Washing Mechanism: Impeller | Cycles: 8 | Drum Material: Stainless steel | Smart Capabilities: Yes | Energy Star Certified: Yes
Quick to complete cycles
Sleek, glass lid
No steam function
High-efficiency washers get a bad rap for being slow, but the LG WT7300CW aims to solve this problem with a cycle selection that can wash a load in under 30 minutes. This high-efficiency top load washer offers up to 5.0 cubic feet of space for large loads, but also caters to your need for speed with an express cycle that'll have your favorite shirt or pants drying in no time.
To be honest, this top load washer does just about everything fast—short cycle times, fast spin speeds, and efficient draining are a part of its design. Are you in the market for a stylish unit? The glass lid gives this traditional top-loader a more modern feel, and also lets you take a peek at your laundry that's in progress.
For a high-efficiency washer that's top-loading and conscious with the resources it uses, the Samsung WA54R7600AW (view at Home Depot) is our top pick. It has a steam function, load-sensing technology, and a built-in faucet which makes pre-treating clothes a breeze. If you're in the market for a front-loading model, the LG WM4200HWA (view at Home Depot) is a good pick. This appliance is durable, powerful, and stackable, and can complete a successful cycle in just 30 minutes.
What to Look for in a High-efficiency Washer
The two types of high-efficiency washers you can buy are front-loading and top-loading. These terms refer to the door on the machine, and how you access your clothes. A front-loading model typically has a round, swinging door on the front of the machine, and can be stacked with a matching dryer. A top-loading model has a door, as its name does suggest, on the top of the machine, and is usually more spacious. It's also a convenient choice for households who deal with stains, as it's easy to pre-treat clothes right over the drum.
Deep fill setting
High-efficiency washers not only use less energy during each cycle, but also less water. Most models have automatic load-sensing technology, which recognizes the amount of clothes in a single load, and then adds just enough water to soak them. A deep fill setting gives you the option to bypass this technology, and soak your clothes more thoroughly. It's an effective option if you frequently wash comforters or other bulky items, or deal with stains, but isn't a guaranteed feature.
The spin speed of a washer is measured in revolutions per minute, or RPM. The higher the RPM, the more likely your clothes will come out of the washer feeling wrung out and relatively dry. The types of fabrics you wash and selections you make can alter what speed your washer spins at, so it's essential to consider the maximum spin speed of the machine when buying. Many high-efficiency washers cap at a lower RPM than standard models. For comparison, an average high-efficiency unit spins at about 750 RPM, while standard models spin at about 1,200 RPM. If you plan on washing a variety of fabrics and bulky items, you'll want to find a high-efficiency washer with a spin speed that's closer to 1,000 RPM, opposed to 600 RPM.
An impeller plate is a new substitute for a central agitator column in top-loading washers. It’s built into the bottom of the drum, and works to spin, soak, and mix soap into your clothes in a gentle manner. It doesn’t include attached fans, so it’s a great feature for households that are running delicate cycles often, or want to avoid adding wear and tear to their clothes over time.
A built-in faucet can be found in the drum of top-loading models. It eliminates the process of pretreating stains in a bathroom or dedicated laundry sink, and then carrying wet items to your washer. It's useful for small households, where a washer may be installed in a closet or tiny mudroom, as well as larger ones who may deal with food, grass, and dirt stains, due to children and athletes.
How do high-efficiency washers work?
Unlike a traditional washing machine, a high-efficiency washer uses less water, detergent, and energy to clean your clothes. It also doesn't have a central agitator, and uses a series of tub motions to move, soak, and spin laundry. After selecting a cycle, adding your detergent and fabric softener, and starting your machine, the washer will activate sensors that "read" the size and fabrics of your load. It'll pour in water according to that reading, and whether or not you selected "deep fill." For more on how this type of washer works, check out our high-efficiency vs. traditional washing machine comparison guide.
Do high-efficiency washers really clean clothes?
Despite using less resources, a high-efficiency washer is still effective at cleaning clothes. Sensors in the washer make sure your clothes are soaked in an appropriate amount of water. They ensure a very thorough wash, but also little waste. Now, a high-efficiency washer can have longer cycle times, since clothes have to be agitated a bit more. However, this type of machine will spin your clothes really well, leave them almost dry, and easily handle large loads.
Can you use a powder laundry detergent in high-efficiency washers?
You can use powder laundry detergent in a high-efficiency washer if it's high-efficiency detergent. If it is, there will be a high-efficiency symbol on the detergent's packaging, signaling that it's safe to use in a washer that uses less water and energy. Most units are compatible with detergent packs or liquid, as well, as long as they're also made for high-efficiency machines. Compared to standard detergent, your high-efficiency detergent—no matter what form it comes in—will create less suds in the tub, making it easier to rinse your clothes with less water. For more details, check out our complete guide on adding detergent to a high-efficiency 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. As a sustainability advocate, she adores her high-efficiency washer that is both powerful and conserves water.