How much should you spend on a washer? You don't have to pay $1,500 to get a washer that cleans well. Expensive washers offer a jumbo capacity and extra features, but if you don't need to wash 26 pounds of laundry in one load and using your smartphone to check your laundry's progress from Starbucks isn't a priority, then take a look at these washers from Consumer Reports' tests. They get the job done and cost $800 or less.
Compared to agitator washers, HE top-loaders typically clean better, use less water, and spin at higher speeds so more water is extracted and dryer time is shortened. But the high-speed spin can tangle and wrinkle clothing and normal wash time using the heavy-soil setting is usually 60 to 80 minutes. Save time by using the normal wash on normal-soil setting. It's also known as the medium-soil or mid-soil setting.
The washers highlighted here have large capacities, are impressive at cleaning, and most are relatively quiet as you'll see in our washing machine ratings. But like most top-loaders they aren't so gentle on fabrics. Check our washing machine ratings for other models under $800 to consider. The washers appear in alphabetical order.
• Kenmore 26132, $550
• Kenmore 27132, $600
• Kenmore 28132, $700
• Kenmore 29132, $800
• LG WT1150CW, $630
• LG WT5270CW, $720
• LG WT7500CW, $800
• Maytag Bravos MVWB835DW, $800
• Whirlpool WTW8000DW, $800
Tip: Your laundry will tangle less if you wash similar items together rather than dump everything into the machine at once. Add a few items at a time and unbunch sleeves, pant legs, and socks. Shake them out before you put them in the dryer, and if you're not sure an HE top-loader is for you, read "5 Reasons to Buy an HE Top-Loader."
The best front-loaders we tested clean better than most of the top-scoring HE top-loaders and use less water. Most front-loaders are gentle on fabrics, and relatively quiet. The washing machine ratings offer the details. Wash times range from 70 to 110 minutes using the heavy-soil setting, so use the normal-soil setting to save time. Front-loaders spin even faster than HE top-loaders, usually extracting more water and reducing dryer time. For all their advantages, front-loaders have their drawbacks, like every washer type. Some of our readers say that mold buildup continues to be a problem in front-loaders.
These washers, appearing in alphabetical order, have large capacities, are impressive or excellent at cleaning and gentle on fabrics. Most are relatively quiet. The ratings give you the full picture.
• Kenmore 41262, $600
• Kenmore 41392, $775
• LG WM3670HWA, $700
• LG WM4270HWA, $700
• Maytag MHW3505FW, $650
• Maytag Maxima MHW5500FW, $800
• Samsung WF42H5400AW, $650
• Samsung WF45K6500AW, $750
• Samsung WF50K7500AW, $800
• Whirlpool WFW75HEFW, $720
• Whirlpool WFW7590FW, $735
Tip: A front-loader's high spin speeds might vibrate too much for the machine to be placed near a bedroom or family room, but keep in mind that concrete floors can absorb vibrations well, unlike wood-framed floors. You'll find vibration scores in our ratings.
If what you really want is an agitator top-loader, you'll find over two dozen in our washing machine ratings. Consider the Kenmore 22242, $480, Maytag MVWB765FW, $800, Maytag MVWC416FW, $400, and several others. Love Speed Queen? You'll see Speed Queen in our ratings of agitator top-loaders and front-loaders, but they cost well over $800.
Our washing machine ratings tell the whole story. We rate cleaning performance, energy- and water efficiency, gentleness on fabrics, noise, and vibration. We note cycle time (normal wash on heavy-soil setting), and state claimed capacity in cubic feet. The best matching washers and dryers helps you zero in on sets, and our washer buying guide is a good way to compare washer types and learn about the features.
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