With so many different models on the market, finding your ideal washing machine can be a challenge. Technology has significantly improved the overall performance and efficiency in the last few years. So while most washing machines will get your clothes clean, there are still several decisions to make before choosing the one that’s right for you. You’ll have to decide on factors like capacity, special features, and a range of washing cycles, not to mention the choice between a top-loading machine... or a front-loading machine. And if your laundry room or utility closet is near your bedrooms or main living areas, you’ll want to consider how much noise and vibrations the appliance emits before you make your purchase.
Once you’ve decided which features are on your must-have list and which of the bells and whistles you can live without, expect to pay anywhere from $400 for a basic washer to up to $2,000 for a top-of-the-line, energy-efficient model. From a simple and straightforward top-loading agitator to an all-in-one front-loading space-saver, these six washers can handle all your dirty laundry.
01 of 07
This high-efficiency (HE) machine isn’t your mother's top-loader, but its 5.1 cubic feet capacity is perfectly suited to the needs of an active family. It cleans at high speeds by lifting and tumbling large loads (including towels and bulky bedding), which extracts more water, cuts down on drying time, and generally means less time doing laundry overall. Shave additional minutes off your routine with a special time-saver option that reduces most of the machine’s 13 cycles (including... permanent press, casuals, and cottons) by 20 percent. There’s also a bulk dispenser that can hold up to two months’ worth of detergent and fabric softener, so you can fill it and forget it.
Tech-savvy homeowners will appreciate the built-in wifi, which allows users to remotely check washer progress and receive alerts from a downloadable smartphone app. A special sanitizing setting uses an oxygen-based additive to kill bacteria on garments, which is ideal for smelly workout cloths. The stainless-steel tub won't rust, even if you run the machine’s extra rinse cycle repeatedly, which can be helpful if you or someone in your home has sensitivity to detergent residue. Just be sure to use HE-specific formulas otherwise your clothes could come out dingy and dull.
02 of 07
Front loading washers earn high marks for their water-extracting, high spin speeds, and space-saving ability to be stacked with a dryer. But there have traditionally been some drawbacks for consumers—most notably, the inability to toss in additional garments after the wash cycle has started. But all that's changed with Samsung’s AddWash feature. This large 4 ½ cubic foot model is equipped with an access window on the upper part of the washer door, letting you throw in anything up to the size... of a large towel after the cycle has begun, without needing to drain the tub and start the wash all over again.
Good looks and innovative features aside, this unit’s no slouch when it comes to performance either. Fourteen cycles will get your whites bright, treat your delicate garments gently, and make sure that anything in your home that’s machine washable gets clean. There’s even a super speed cycle that cleans a full load in just 36 minutes.
Finally, convenience is king with this smart-device enabled machine. A steam wash setting releases steam from the bottom of the tub to attack stains, eliminating the need for pre-treating, while special self-cleaning technology keeps the drum fresh without harsh chemicals.
03 of 07
If you don’t need a lot of frills or special spin cycles on your washing machine, this is the one for you. It will get your clothing clean, but doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that other machines pile on. Simple and straightforward to operate, this old school, agitator-style machine offers eight cycles, three temperature settings, and three water levels based on load size.
Delicate clothing owners beware: There isn't a gentle cycle, so best not to put anything embellished or fragile... into this machine. Overall, consider this model a great first washer or a budget basic that's well-suited for small spaces since it measures just 27 inches wide and 25 1/2 inches deep.
04 of 07
When all you need is a workhorse washing machine without a lot of special features, there’s no need to overpay. The Maytag MVWC416FW is a top loader that gets the job done at a great price, reviewers say. It has a 3.6 cubic foot tub that can handle bigger loads including bulky bedding and towels, and there are 10 wash cycles including hand wash, wrinkle control and power wash for stubborn stains.
You won’t get a fancy LED screen or push-button controls on this Maytag, but the rear-panel dials... are easy to use. There is an auto-sensing option that keeps water at the right level for each load type. Experts give it great marks for washing performance, water efficiency and vibration, but they warn that this isn’t one of the quietest machines you can buy. The traditional agitator means it also isn’t the most gentle or efficient model. Despite that, most owners say it’s a great basic washer. It’s also backed by a limited 10-year warranty.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07
Germans are known for their precision in many things including appliances, and this super-efficient, whisper quiet, front-loading Miele washer doesn't disappoint. Design buffs will geek out over the patented hexagonal sculpted surface of the drum, which allows garments to gently glide on the thinnest film of water. In fact, the unit uses very little water in the wash cycle, making it kind to the environment but still tough on stains. You won't see any residues on your garments either, as... the detergent drawer gets blasted clean by powerful jets with every load.
If you like nice things—and keeping them in pristine condition—this Miele is like having a dry cleaner on call in the comfort of your own home. Specialty settings include options for silks, denim, dress shirts, outerwear, and even a hand wash cycle for woolens and cashmere.
The only drawback for some may be the unit’s size. A big family with piles and piles of laundry may find the two cubic foot capacity limiting. On the flip side, it's great for a city-dwelling couple in need of a top performer that's ultra-compact.
06 of 07
If you don’t have oodles of space for a washer and dryer, you may not be relegated to the laundromat just yet. An all-in-one washer and dryer combo like the LG WM3488HW can get both jobs done in half the space – in this case, it’s just 24 inches wide. This unit has nine wash cycles including delicate and permanent press, and seven drying cycles. It has a 2.3 cubic foot stainless-steel tub and is Energy Star-rated.
The LG WM3488HW has front-panel controls and an LED display, and it automatically... senses how much water is needed for each load. The dryer does not need external venting, which is extremely convenient for renters or anyone who doesn’t already have a dryer vent in place. Reviewers say it’s a very efficient machine, especially for anyone who lives alone or doesn’t have to do much laundry, but some warn that cycles do take a lot longer compared to a traditional washer and dryer.
07 of 07
Apartment dwellers who don't have the benefit of having laundry in their apartment or building might consider using a portable washing machine. These units normally have a smaller capacity, and can be attached to your kitchen or bathroom sink instead of the main water line.
This Haier model, has a one cubic foot capacity and is on casters to make it easy to move around your apartment or home. With three wash cycles and water levels, you can adjust it to the right settings for your clothes.... While it can't handle delicates or bulky items like the other appliances on this list, if it saves a few trips to the laundromat, it's worth the investment.