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A washing machine is a major investment in your home and lifestyle. It can have a big impact on your laundry routine, and make this chore simpler and faster. But knowing which machine is right for you can be tricky. To start, you have to decide on what features are most important to you, and would pack the biggest punch in your household.
Some of the best washing machines combine innovative design with a variety of efficient cycles to clean your dirty clothes, conserve energy, and minimize water waste. Others may take a bit longer to complete your laundry, but can fit in a tiny space so your chores aren't taking over your home.
Here, the best washing machines on the market for you to consider.
Best Overall, Front Loading: Samsung WF45T6000AW 4.5 cu. ft. Front Load Washer with Vibration Reduction Technology+
Hard to understand at first
No reversible door
The Samsung WF45T6000AW is the best option for a front loading washer. It's quiet, powerful, and tech savvy, and can be tailored to any lifestyle thanks to 10 preset washing cycles. If you often deal with stains from grass, wine, splattering olive oil, or paint, six additional washing options and five temperature levels will have your back. They'll ensure your clothes feel clean and smell great, while the vibration reduction technology keeps your machine from wiggling around while it completes a spin cycle.
In addition, this specific model is Energy Star-certified and self-cleaning. In front-loading washers, mildew and bacteria can typically build up. Ultimately this self-cleaning feature will keep your drum—and clothes—fresh. You can set this piece up on its own, or stack it with the matching dryer unit to save some space in your home.
Now, since this appliance comes with so many flexible and useful settings, there is a learning curve. You'll want to thoroughly read your manual in order to run the necessary calibration cycle after installing it, and to understand the swirling drum. If you don't mind sitting down with your manual for the first cycles, you'll certainly enjoy what this appliance has to offer, including quiet, peaceful operation.
Best Overall, Top Loading: Whirlpool WTW7120HW 5.3 cu. ft. Smart White Top Load Washing Machine
36 wash cycles
Gentle impeller plate
Can be hard to reach clothes
Can be noisy
The Whirlpool WTW7120HW is a superstar top loading washer. This machine is easy to use and includes desirable features like 36 different wash cycles, as well as a 5.3-cubic-foot drum that can hold a king-sized comforter with total ease. It's lacking in a stackable design and steam function, but more than makes up for it with the brand's Load and Go dispenser. This dispenser can hold 20 loads worth of detergent, saving you time and energy on refilling it before selecting a cycle.
In addition, this Whirlpool model uses an impeller plate to help shift your clothes gently. An automatic pre-soak cycle lets you treat stains for up to 120 minutes—without taking up precious sink space. For dirty clothes that may need more than a soak, there's an included pre-treat brush and dual temperature faucet built into the appliance. Ready to start a cycle? Head to the sleek back panel that's home to digital controls, and select your settings with the washer's guidance or on your own.
Now, it's important to note that this appliance can be controlled remotely using an app on your phone. However, this app isn't as functional as others on the market, and requires a subscription. Instead, check in on your clothes by looking through the see-through, extra-large viewing window on the lid. A signal will also alert you when the cycle is done.
Best Budget: Amana NTW4516FW 3.5 cu. ft. White Top Load Washing Machine
Five water temperatures
Deep fill option
Porcelain enamel tub
Weak spin cycle
The Amana NTW4516FW is the best budget washing machine on the market, as this hardworking machine has basic features, but impressive performance. Inside this top-loading unit, you’ll find a porcelain enamel tub which can be considered a compromise since porcelain has the risk of chipping. However, the model can still offer years of smooth operation and worry-free washing, as well as 3.5 cubic feet of space. The control knobs let you easily choose from eight wash cycles, as well as further adjust the cycle with five different water temperatures.
If you frequently wash fluffy blankets or heavy towels, you’ll appreciate the deep fill option to override the automatic load sensing technology, and make sure your items are thoroughly saturated. Just know that this washer does have a top spin speed of 700 RPM, which can leave thick, heavy items still dripping wet. When running this type of load, you may need to wring out bulky loads out yourself.
Best High-End: GE GFW850SPNDG 5.0 cu. ft. Capacity Smart Front Load Steam Washer
Smart home compatible
Can sync with dryer
Can be loud
This high-end washing machine from GE is a new, fresh option. The front loader includes the brand's newest innovation for washers, the UltraFresh Vent System with OdorBlock. This helps to address one of the most common issues with front load washers: the fact that you have to leave the door wide open after every load to avoid dealing with mold and odors. The design of this washer includes both an in-door vent system to dry out the appliance in between cycles and parts that are made with different materials. Typically the gasket, drain, and pump are prone to harboring bacteria and mildew, but these materials prevent the problem before it starts.
It’s not just how this washer is made that makes it splurge-worthy, it’s also about what it can do. In addition to being equipped with WiFi and compatible with smart home systems, this model syncs with its matching dryer to transmit settings. The wash load finishes, and the dryer is ready to go with the best options possible for what you placed inside. What if you frequently wash small loads? Skip the dryer altogether, as this machine can dry up to two pounds of laundry using an internal fan.
Best High Capacity: LG SIGNATURE WM9500HKA 5.8 cu. ft. HE Mega Capacity Smart Front Load Washer
Any household with supersized laundry needs will love the oversized capacity of the LG SIGNATURE WM9500HKA. As one of the largest capacity models on the market, it has a drum with 5.8 cubic feet of space. But, at the same time, it's also a high-efficiency washer that minimizes water waste, and uses steam technology to tackle stains in your clothes in a gentle fashion. Notably, you can make use of LG's TwinWash system, too, by purchasing a separate LG SideKick model that's able to sync with the washer and complete a smaller load at the same time as a larger load.
Whether you have items that need special care, or family members who want to do their laundry separately, this is useful amenity worth the extra pennies. Make use of it, as well as an allergen cycle, versatile dispenser, and large window for checking in on your load. The brand's laundry app also keeps you updated on a cycle remotely, and serves as a hub on laundry day. Just be aware: Since this is a high-capacity model, it does measure at nearly 30 inches wide. You may have a bit of trouble trying to slide it through your door frame, post-delivery.
Best Stackable: LG Electronics WM3600HWA 27 in. 4.5 cu. ft. Ultra Large Capacity White Front Load Washer
Cold wash setting
No interior light
No reversible door
A stackable washing machine saves space when paired with a compatible dryer. But, the convenience of a stackable model isn’t only in its space-saving abilities. The LG WM3600HWA can handle loads of up to 20 pounds, so you can finish a larger amount of laundry at one time, and can automatically detect both the size and fabrics of your load. This ensures that every cycle is tailored, and every load comes out sparkly clean.
Now, with a 4.5-cubic-foot drum, this washer is pretty standard in size, but has a total of 10 wash cycles that you can make use of. It's a high-efficiency model that is careful with how much water and energy it uses and has a cold wash setting—which is both helpful for color loads, and for minimizing your bills. You can install the washer and its matching dryer side-by-side in a closet, since they're the right depth to do so, or stack the dryer on top of the washer with the help of a stacking kit. LG’s LoDecibel technology helps eliminate unnecessary noise so no room in your home will be disturbed.
Best Portable: GE GNW128PSMWW 2.8 cu. ft. 8-Cycle Top-Loading Portable Washer
Stainless steel basket
Doesn't fill all the way
A portable washer like the GE GNW128PSMWW works well for small spaces, or as an alternative to the laundromat. With four caster wheels, you can wheel this model up to a bathroom or kitchen sink, and connect it to your water supply. The machine does the rest, after being properly installed.
Now, you can’t expect a portable washing machine to do the work of a full-sized machine. However, you’ll likely be impressed with what this washer is able to do with 2.8 cubic feet of capacity. It can wash blankets, sheets, towels, and more—just maybe not all at once. In addition, there are some great included features on this washer, like a stainless steel wash basket that'll prevent rust from collecting, and an automatic dispenser for detergent, fabric softener, and bleach.
This portable washer costs as much as many traditional washing machines, but it’s worth the investment if you need a more flexible, compact option to get your laundry done.
Best All-in-One: LG Electronics WM3488HW 2.3 cu. ft. Compact All-in-One Washer and Dryer Combo
Variety of settings
Can be loud
The LG WM3488HW is an all-in-one washing machine and dryer that'll take your laundry from dirty to clean—and then to dry. It offers 2.3 cubic feet of space, lots of cycle options, and reliable performance making it a great pick for any space or household. No external vent is required for the dryer function, so you can install this model anywhere a conventional washing machine would go.
You will need to plan on extended cycle times, since it can take anywhere from 2 to 6 hours (depending on options selected) to wash and thoroughly dry each load of laundry. However, you won’t need to worry about retrieving wet clothes from a washing machine and transferring them to the dryer, so the extra time is worth it and understandable.
Best for Saving Time: Whirlpool WFW9620HC 5.0 cu. ft. High Efficiency Smart Stackable Front Load Washing Machine
Stores custom cycles
Tumbles wet clothes
Hard to customize dispenser
Unreliable smartphone app
Balancing your daily chores with your lifestyle can be difficult, but this washing machine that's jam-packed with smart features makes things simple. It can be controlled remotely from the Whirlpool app so you can start, stop, and check in on cycles from wherever you are. The digital interface can also hold up to 35 of your own custom-made cycles, so you don't have to re-select your settings for specialty loads like activewear, baby wear, or other delicates.
In addition to these high-functioning features, this appliance also has the brand's Load and Go dispenser, which allows you to put detergent in the machine for up to 40 loads. (If you do two or three loads of laundry per week, one fill will last you for a whopping 13 weeks.) Once again, this saves you time prepping your load—as a quick wash cycle that can wash a small load of dirty clothes in as little as 15 minutes. Whether you want to wash a shirt before work, or tackle your to-do list in a timely manner, this cycle will be your speedy sidekick.
Now, let's say you forgot about your wet clothes, since you were making dinner or taking calls. This washer will keep things fresh until you're ready, for up to 12 hours after a wash. It will even begin drying items for you, by tumbling the clean clothes in hot air. Just be aware that all of these features may take some time to learn, especially the dispenser, if you want to use different detergents for colors and whites.
For a quiet, powerful, and front-loading washing machine that will suit most people’s needs, the Samsung WF45T6000AW (view at Lowe's) is our top pick. It aims to treat your clothing items with precise care, and has vibration reduction technology so that laundry day doesn't overwhelm your space. Looking for a top-loading model? You should shop for the Whirlpool WTW7120HW (view at Home Depot). It has a deep drum for tending to bulky loads, as well as a detergent dispenser that doesn't need to be refilled with every cycle.
What to Look for in a Washing Machine
The best type of washing machine for your household is determined by the layout of your living space, your lifestyle, and your preferences. If your home doesn't have a dedicated laundry room, you should consider a stackable, all-in-one, or portable model that will save space, and can potentially fit in a closet. If you have a large family, or are frequently washing bulky items like a comforter, then a high-capacity washer is the best option for you. From there, you'll want to pick between a front-loading or top-loading design. A front-loading washer can require more maintenance to avoid mold and mildew, but a top-loading model doesn't typically have a stackable design.
The size of your washer's drum—or interior—is measured in cubic feet, and can range from as little as 2.5 cubic feet to nearly 6.0 cubic feet. The more space you have, the more laundry you can tackle at once, and the more flexibility you have to wash items like towels, comforters, or backpacks. Those who live in a small space, or only have to do laundry once a week, can likely consider a model with between 2.5 and 4.5 cubic feet of space. Larger households should opt for a high-capacity washer with between 5.0 and 6.0 cubic feet of space. Keep in mind: a top-loading washer is typically more spacious than a front-loading one, too.
Although most washers will have basic cycles like whites, delicates, and permanent press, it's important to consider what other settings your household could benefit from. Other cycle options on the market include towels and sheets, heavy duty, speed wash, activewear, allergen, and sanitize. Front-loading washers can also have a self-clean option, which makes maintaining the freshness of the drum much easier. How much you want to spend on a new washer will determine how many cycle options you have. High-end machines typically have more settings, and allow you to customize your own.
A bulk dispenser is most commonly found in high-capacity washers, and allows you to fill a dispenser once with detergent and/or fabric softener, and not have to fill it again for 20 to 40 loads. This feature is most helpful for households who run at least four or five loads per week, due to children or athletes. When a cycle begins, the washer will use load-sensing technology to read your load, and then tap into the bulk dispenser and dispense the correct amount based on your load's size.
Advanced wrinkle care
Wrinkle care technology tumbles clothes in a washer periodically after a cycle is complete. It uses a bit of steam and the tumbling motion to prevent wrinkles from developing, while you’re at work, handling other chores, or waiting for a load in the dryer to finish. This feature is typically seen in smart or high-end washers, and is made for a multitasking household or someone who is comfortable with their appliances running while they’re away. It essentially gives your washer the capabilities of a dryer.
There’s technology in washers that reduces the amount of vibration they produce during a spin cycle—when the drum is typically moving very fast to extract water from clothes. This is known as vibration reduction technology, and keeps a washer from shaking, shimmying, and creating a ton of noise. If your laundry machines are set up near a bedroom, this is a particularly suitable feature for you.
Dust, pollen, and dander can easily latch onto clothes, no matter what fabric type they may be. Although water inactivates pollen, an allergen cycle is made to specifically target these triggers and gently release them from every fabric type using steam. This new setting is typically found in higher-end models, and is ideal if you live in an area with a high pollen count, or have someone in your household who suffers from asthma.
How do I clean a washing machine?
To keep your washing machine fresh and mildew-free, you'll want to add two cups of vinegar or lemon juice to the tub, and run the hottest and longest cycle your machine has. Some machines have a self-clean cycle, which will cleanse the tub for you. No matter which way you choose to clean you washer, you should plan to do so twice a year, or more often if your model is a high-efficiency or front-loading model. For more cleaning information, check out our guide on how to clean a clothes washer.
How do I wash shoes in a washing machine?
Shoes can easily collect stains from grass and dirt. You'll only want to put athletic shoes in a washer, as they're usually made out of durable fabrics that won't get damaged in the machine. To start, use a vacuum and attachment to remove any loose debris. Then, remove the laces and put them in a mesh laundry bag, and remove the insoles and wipe them down. Place your shoes in a mesh laundry bag as well, and then into the washer with a load of similar-colored towels. Select a lower spin speed for your desired setting. For the step-by-step process, check out our guide on how to wash tennis and athletic shoes.
How long do washing machines last?
If you care for your washing machine properly, it should last for at least 10 years. You can maintain it by using the right detergent, since some washers aren't compatible with detergent pods or require a high-efficiency detergent, and cleaning the drum periodically. In addition, don't overload your washer with clothes and towels, and make sure your machine is balanced at all times.
Can you wash pillows in a washing machine?
Not all pillows can be washed in a washing machine, so you'll want to check the laundry tag on yours before putting them into the drum. Typically, you can wash a polyester-filled, down, and feather ones. You must wash two at a time to keep your machine balanced or add white towels, if you have a front-loading washer. Pillows should be washed with a couple teaspoons of detergent, and on a gentle cycle with cold water. For polyester-filled pillows, go to our washing guide here. For down or feather pillows, go to our washing guide here.
How do you balance a washing machine?
You'll know your washing machine is off-balance if it's excessively vibrating, making a lot of noise, and shifting around your laundry room. To bring it back to a balanced state, first check your load, and see if the items are evenly laid out. Bulky items should be on opposites sides of the tub. Next, make sure the legs of your washer are at the same height, and the floor below it is even and flat. If your machine is on a pedestal, apply the same steps to the pedestal.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written 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's both powerful and conserves water.