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If you're looking to buy a washing machine, you'll be met with tons of options. We tested and researched dozens of washing machines—from traditional to high-efficiency models—to help you make the right choice. We evaluated each one on efficiency, size, value, and range of features.
Both front-loading and top-loading washers are equally popular, so we selected a winner for each type. Our favorite front load washer is the LG WM4000HWA 4.5 cu. ft. Front Load Washer because our at-home tester fell in love with its special features. Our best overall top load washer is the Whirlpool WTW8127LW 5.3 cu. ft. High-efficiency Top Load Washer, which has an extra-large large drum and 36 programmable wash cycles.
Here are the best washing machines.
Best Overall, Front-Loading: LG WM4000HWA 4.5 cu. ft. White Ultra Large Capacity Front Load Washer with TurboWash 360 Steam
15-minute speed wash setting
Smart feature auto-selects dryer cycle based on washer settings
Stainless steel washer drum
May be noisy during high spin cycles
Digital controls are hard to read in low-light conditions
Front load washing machines are popular for their cleaning ability, generous capacity, and user-friendly design features. The LG WM4000HWA checks all these boxes and was declared “a total game-changer” by our in-home product reviewer, who was impressed with the cycle options and cleaning efficiency of this model. This front load washer can accommodate laundry loads up to 20 pounds (which is about a dozen large bath towels), thanks to the 4.5-cubic-foot stainless steel drum, but it maintains a trim profile that works well even in smaller laundry areas. This front load washer is also stackable when paired with its matching dryer, so you have the option to install this popular laundry duo in a vertical configuration.
During testing, the cycle options—including a 15-minute Speed Wash and Allergiene option—were standout features. The center dial makes it easy to select a pre-configured cycle, but a digital control panel gives you options to modify aspects of the wash process, including water temperature, spin speed, and more. Take note that the digital display buttons aren’t lit, which made it challenging for our product tester to use the buttons in low light conditions.
This is a smart front load washer, meaning you can pair it with the LG ThinQ app on your smartphone. It allows you to check in on cycle status, receive notifications, and even start the washer remotely. A big caveat to remotely starting a cycle is the fact that the washing machine must be turned on for this functionality. Still, it can be handy to monitor your machine using the app, especially if you have a laundry area in the basement or if you frequently forget to retrieve freshly-washed clothes from the washer.
Best Overall, Top-loading: Whirlpool WTW8127LW 5.2-5.3-cu ft Smart Top Load Washer with 2-in-1 Removable Agitator
Removable center agitator
Automatic detergent dispenser
Built-in faucet for pre-treating stains
Limited retailer availability
The Whirlpool 5.3-cubic foot top load washer is our top recommendation for a top-loading washer, thanks to its innovative agitator design. Typically, when purchasing this style of washing machine, you must decide between a center agitator or an impeller plate design. The agitator provides excellent cleaning ability but takes up space, while an impeller plate gives you more space in the wash basket for large or bulky loads. However, this Whirlpool washer gives you the best of both, with a 2-in-1 design that allows you to decide on a load-by-load basis which washing mechanism you prefer.
Aside from its unique washing mechanism, this Whirlpool top load washer is popular for its built-in faucet. This is helpful for pre-treating laundry stains, and you can also use the provided scrub brush to gently agitate any soiled spots. The options for treating your clothes aren't skimpy, either. This machine has 11 pre-set cycles, but with the options available, there are 36 unique combinations to clean everything from school uniforms to delicates. The wash basket is constructed of smooth, rust-proof stainless steel for years of worry-free use. This 2-in-1 top load washer is one-of-a-kind, so finding this appliance in stock may be the most difficult part of this purchase.
Best Budget: Amana NTW4516FW 3.5 cu. ft. White Top Load Washing Machine
Deep fill setting
Load sensing technology
No stainless steel tub
No fabric softener dispenser
The Amana NTW4516FW is a top-loading washing machine that favors simple controls and affordability over fancy features and technology. It’s a popular choice for a budget washer and doesn’t disappoint in terms of cleaning ability or easy operation. It offers eight wash cycles, along with an auto-sensing fill and deep water wash option. The controls are easy to operate using knobs along the back panel of the washer, eliminating frustrations over digital controls that are sometimes hard to use or read because of poor lighting or small print.
This top load washer has a capacity of 3.5 cubic feet, which is enough for average-sized loads of clothes, towels, and sheets. However, it’s best not to overload this washing machine since it has a maximum spin speed of only 680 RPM, so it may struggle when taking on large or bulky loads that have been saturated. Other factors to consider when deciding whether this is the right budget washer for you include the dual-action agitator and porcelain wash tub. Some more full-featured washing machines use an impeller plate and a stainless steel tub, which are designed to minimize wear and tear on clothing. However, properly loading the wash basket will help to ensure a long life of service from this affordable Amana model.
Best Splurge: GE GFW850SSNWW 5.0 cu. ft. Smart Front Load Steam Washer
Smart home compatible
Can sync with dryer
Can be noisy at times
Technology is complex at first
Loaded with features and outfitted with a cavernous 5.0-cubic-foot drum, this high-end washer from GE is a laundry day superstar. It’s equipped with 12 cycles, including a 20-minute quick wash as well as a sanitizing cycle that uses the power of steam to remove up to 99 percent of bacteria and allergens.
While cleaning capability and Wi-Fi features make this machine user-friendly, its biggest claim to fame is the innovative UltraFresh Vent System. GE tackled the common complaint of smelly front load washers and solved it with a unique vent that allows the washer to air out between soap sessions. The gasket, dispenser, and other moisture-prone parts are also treated with an antibacterial coating to minimize the chance of mold and odors developing.
Another unique feature of this specialized washing machine is its ability to dry small loads of laundry. If you’re washing a load that weighs 2 pounds or less (for example, a few t-shirts), you can opt to have the washer dry the load using a built-in fan. Also, when paired with the matching GE dryer, this high-tech washer will automatically transfer settings for each load to the dryer, saving you the hassle of manually selecting the appropriate cycle.
Best High-Capacity, Front Loading: LG SIGNATURE WM9500HKA 5.8 cu. ft. HE Mega Capacity Smart Front Load Washer
Compatible with a SideKick model
Has a very wide build
If your laundry day loads are supersized, choose a washing machine that is big enough for the job. Front load washers typically have larger drums than top load washers, and it’s easier to retrieve everything from the drum, rather than reaching down into the wash basket. The LG Signature WM95000HKA is the best choice for a high-capacity washer since it offers 5.8 cubic feet of drum space and a door that is 15 percent wider than a standard model. This means you have more room to load and unload large or bulky loads.
Large families or anyone with substantial laundry needs (including King-size sheets and bedding) will appreciate the increased capacity of this large washing machine. Plus, the washer is equipped to effectively clean by using LG’s 6Motion technology. This offers a variety of cleaning motions to ensure that stains and soil are eliminated from everything from activewear to delicates. To maximize efficiency, you can also take advantage of TurboWash technology, which uses high-pressure spray nozzles to reduce wash time by up to 30 minutes.
To have such a high-capacity washer, you’ll need the space to fit the machine—along with a dryer that has enough capacity to keep up. Space requirements—along with the fact that this washer isn’t stackable—are the biggest drawback of the LG WM95000HKA. It also has a steep price tag and is one of the most expensive washing machines on the market. But if you want a capable, supersized washing machine, this model is worth the investment.
Best High-Capacity, Top Loading: Samsung WA55A7300AE 5.5 cu. ft. Extra-Large Capacity Smart Top Load Washer with Super Speed Wash
Impeller plate for more space in the wash basket
28-minute speed wash setting
Deep fill option
No steam function
There’s plenty of room inside Samsung’s newest top load washing machine for extra large loads of laundry, blankets, towels, and more. The deep drum has 5.5 cubic feet of capacity, making it one of the largest top loaders on the market. The fact that the machine makes use of an impeller plate, rather than a conventional center agitator, provides more space for bulky items. The stainless steel wash basket is designed to be gentle on clothes, preventing snags with a durable, scratch-resistant finish.
Our in-home product tester put an earlier model of this Samsung washer through its paces and was very satisfied with the machine’s cleaning ability. It performed wonderfully when cleaning everything from a week’s worth of soiled baby clothes to dirty work uniforms. Features that our tester especially appreciated were the deep fill option for a heavy-duty cleaning session and the Active Water jet for hand washing delicate items or pre-treating stains. The new Samsung WA55A7300AE incorporates both of these user-friendly features, while also boosting capacity from 5.4 to 5.5 cubic feet.
One thing that is different about this top load washer is the fact that the top of the washer is slanted, rather than level. According to our product tester, it’s not well-suited for folding laundry or holding items like a bottle of laundry detergent or softener. It’s not a deal-breaker if you’re most interested in the high-capacity and excellent cleaning ability of this machine, but it’s something to be aware of—especially if your laundry zone is in a busy hub of your home.
Best High-Efficiency: LG Electronics WM4200HWA 27 in. 5.0 cu. ft. White Ultra Large Capacity Front Load Washing Machine
Cold wash setting
Need to be vigilant about cleaning
Can be noisy at times
A high-efficiency washer must meet strict requirements for energy and water usage. You can expect longer wash cycles, but the upside is that you’ll realize savings on your utilities. Frequently bearing an ‘HE’ badge, these washers can be top-loading or front-loading. The LG WM4200HWA is an excellent HE washer that has an impressive capacity and deep cleaning performance.
Open the door to this high-efficiency, front-loading washer, and you’ll see that the 5.0-cubic-foot drum is ready for the laundry needs of big families. You can clean more in a single load, thereby shortening your laundry day routine. At the same time, the beauty of this HE washer is the fact that it uses sensors to detect the size and fabric type of each load to adjust water levels—making it efficient for loads large or small. Despite taking a conservative approach to water usage, there is no shortage of cleaning power for the LG WM4200HWA, thanks to 6Motion wash technology and TurboWash 360—which utilizes 5 jets to fully saturate clothes with water and detergent. A cold water wash option also promises a thorough clean without the energy cost generated from heating water. Allergy sufferers or anyone looking for a sanitizing cycle will appreciate the fact that this washer is also equipped with a steam function. It has been certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) to remove common allergens from clothing.
This HE washer is stackable when paired with its matching dryer. If your laundry room requires side-by-side configuration, take note that the door direction is not reversible.
Best Stackable: Samsung WF45A6400AW 4.5 cu. ft. Large Capacity Smart Dial Front Load Washer with Super Speed Wash in White
Easily reach the washer and dryer controls
Large number of cycle options
Must buy additional accessories for stacking
A stackable washer allows you to go vertical with your laundry appliances, giving you more usable space for storage or organization. Not every front load washer is stackable, so you’ll need to look for this specific feature if saving floor space is important to you. We recommend the Samsung WF45A6400AW as the best stackable washer, since it offers a smart dial control that can operate the washer and dryer—saving you the extra reach that is sometimes required to reach the dryer controls once the two machines are stacked. A digital button allows you to toggle between cycle selections for the washer or dryer, but keep in mind that you’ll need to buy a MultiControl accessory and stacking kit to make the functionality work.
While a stackable washer saves space, this Samsung model still offers 4.5 cubic feet of drum capacity for large laundry loads. It also is equipped with one of Samsung’s newest washer innovations—the Super Speed Wash. Based on an 8-pound load, this front load washer can complete a quick wash in 28 minutes. Among the 24 wash cycles, you’ll find the steam setting helpful for loosening stubborn stains. A stainless steel wash drum and Samsung’s unique diamond drum pattern are designed to be gentle on clothes while providing efficient expulsion of water during the spin cycle.
Best Portable: Whirlpool WTW2000HW 1.6 cu. ft. White Compact Top Load Washer
Easy to move around
Only requires a 120V outlet
Stainless steel wash basket
Not Energy Star certified
No steam function
If you lack a dedicated laundry room or have a small space available for a washing machine, then a portable model offers a compact option for laundry care. The Whirlpool WTW2000HW top load washer utilizes a standard 120V outlet and includes a hose that connects to your kitchen or utility sink for filling and draining the wash tub.
The options for portable washing machines are limited, but this model has consistently been a top recommendation amongst retailers. It includes clothes care features like a stainless steel wash basket that resists rust and won’t snag your garments. Dispensers for bleach, detergent, and fabric softener streamline the cycle, while the glass lid gives you a quick view into the washer at any time. You can choose from 6 cycles and 5 water temperature options, ranging from tap cold to hot.
The Whirlpool WTW2000HW portable washing machine has a capacity of 1.6 cubic feet, which is smaller than standard washing machines but offers enough space for small-to-average size loads. It’s a great option for a single person or small families, especially in an apartment or home without a laundry room.
Best Basic: GE GTW465ASNWW 4.5 cu. ft. High-Efficiency White Top Load Washer with Agitator
Stainless steel drum
Auto-load sensing technology
Options for deep fill and soak
May be noisy
No smart features
The GE GTW465ASNWW is an affordable, easy-to-use washing machine. This high-efficiency top load washer has a dual-action center agitator, which is a welcome sight for appliance shoppers who are fans of this tried-and-true method of removing dirt and grime from clothes. Choosing from the 14 wash cycles—along with rinse and water temperature options—couldn’t be more straightforward, either. The machine makes use of electromechanical knobs for cycle selections rather than opting for a digital display.
Despite being a basic washing machine (at an affordable price), this GE washer isn’t a total step back in time. It offers straightforward operation while also providing convenient features, like a status indicator bar or auto-sensing load technology to optimize water fill levels. For heavily soiled loads, you can opt for a deep fill or auto-soak. First-time users of a high-efficiency washer are sometimes surprised by the loud sounds associated with the auto-sensing technology, but it’s a minor adjustment for most people.
Best for Apartments: LG WSEX200HNA Studio WashTower
Brushed stainless steel finish
Transfers compatible settings to dryer
Must use app to select more specialty cycles
Laundry centers used to be the bulky, economical solution for tight spaces like condos or apartments. But with the introduction of the sleek WashTower, LG has made the laundry center a must-have item. The new LG Studio WashTower further elevates the appeal of this single laundry unit by outfitting it with a stainless steel front and tempered glass doors. With a standard width of 27 inches and a depth of 30 inches, this all-in-one unit fits in a closet—but it just might be too beautiful to hide. It seamlessly blends in with other stainless steel appliances, making it an ideal option if your laundry connections are in the kitchen or other high-traffic areas of your home.
The shiny, sleek exterior of the Studio WashTower conceals an impressively large 5.0-cubic-foot drum for the washer, which is 0.5 cubic feet larger than the base WashTower offered by LG. With the extra room, the Studio edition easily keeps up with high-capacity washers on the market. It also has the features you’d expect from a high-end washer, including Wi-Fi capabilities, steam cleaning, and technology to automatically detect fabric texture and load size. The integrated dryer has 7.4 cubic feet of drying room, while saving on floor space. One of the most significant features is the central control panel, which puts cycle selections for both the washer and dryer within easy reach. However, you might not need to adjust them as often as you think, since the WashTower can remember your go-to washer cycle selections, while also transmitting recommended settings to the dryer when the load is complete.
Keep in mind that this smart washer offers a relatively small number of pre-set cycles at the control pad, but more specialty cycles can be accessed using the app. Many people prefer controlling their appliances with a smartphone, but if you’re looking to make every cycle selection from the machine itself, it’s something to be aware of before splurging on this laundry center.
If you're looking for a front loader that is easy on clothes but tough on dirt and stains, we recommend the LG WM4000HWA 4.5 cu. ft. High-efficiency Front Load Washer. It has a track record for reliable performance, plus plenty of capacity with a 4.5 cubic foot drum. Looking for a top-loading model? Check out the Whirlpool WTW8127HW 5.3 cu. ft. High-efficiency Top Load Washer. A first for washing machines, this model gives you the option of using a conventional agitator or an impeller plate, with up to 5.3 cubic feet of room inside the deep wash basket.
What to Look for in a Washing Machine
The best type of washing machine for your household is determined by the layout of your laundry room or 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 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 interior size of your washer's drum 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.
Although most washers will have primary cycles like whites, delicates, and permanent press, it's essential 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.
"Newer models may have many cycles to choose from, but understanding the purpose and content of each washing load will help drive your decisions and help you avoid cycles that are not necessary or will shorten the life of your clothes," says Marilee Nelson, certified building biologist, environmental consultant, and co-founder of Branch Basics. So before you opt for the machine with the most cycles, consider which ones you'll use on a regular basis, such as activewear or bedding wash cycles.
A bulk dispenser is commonly found in high-capacity washers and allows you to fill a dispenser once with detergent and fabric softener, and it will automatically dispense it 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 of detergent 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 multi-tasking household or someone 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. Vibration reduction technology keeps a washer from shaking, shimmying, and creating a lot of noise. If your laundry machines are near a bedroom, this is a particularly convenient 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 has 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 your washer, you should plan to do so twice a year (or more 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; they're usually made 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; 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 polyester-filled, down, and feather pillows. You must wash two at a time to keep your machine balanced, or add white towels if you have a front-loading washer. You should wash pillows with a couple of teaspoons of detergent and on a gentle cycle with cold water. Follow our washing guides to learn how to clean polyester-filled pillows and down or feather pillows.
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?
Having tested and researched dozens of laundry machines, we looked at reliability, functionality, and value when recommending the best washing machines on the market. We considered each washer's capacity, cycle options, and type of agitator, in addition to dispensers, drum material, efficiency, and advanced technology. For insight, we spoke with: Brittney Castro, a certified financial planner for Mint; Marilee Nelson, a certified building biologist and environmental consultant and co-founder of Branch Basics; and Dayna Isom Johnson, Etsy trend expert.
Erica Puisis is a product researcher and writer with years of experience testing and writing about small and large appliances. She has hands-on experience with top-loading and front-loading washers. She prefers using her LG front load washer for its gentle but effective agitation. For this article, she researched the latest models available and compared the most important attributes, like capacity, washing mechanism, cycle options, and smart features. She also took into account verified customer reviews and at-home product testing insights.