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Review: Best Washing Machines

A washing machine is not something that is frequently purchased by customers, but it's an essential household appliance nonetheless. Whether you're in the market because your old washing machine broke down or you've simply decided that it's time for an upgrade, you'll definitely want to select the best one to suit your needs, budget, and available space. There are excellent choices in both the front-loading and top-loading categories, and we've identified the best washing machine in 2021 each respective category with respect to performance, features, pricing, and availability. If you'd like to research your purchase further, we've included a washing machine buyer's guide below our recommendations.

Best Washing Machine

best front load washing machine

Electrolux Front Load Washing Machine

Electrolux has quietly made a name for themselves by offering reliable, high efficiency washing machines that focus on one thing in particular: top-of-the-line clothing care. The EFLS627UTT is the company's home laundry flagship, combining its renowned washing capabilities with all of the features you'd expect from today's best washing machines.

In terms of basic specifications, the EFLS627UTT is a front-loading washing machine with a 4.4 cubic foot capacity. Unlike other manufacturers pushing design boundaries with multiple washers and a literal built-in sink, Electrolux has opted to refine its design and focus on functionality. The control panel carries the trademark circular display that has graced the company's consumer washers for years. Each of the 9 wash cycles can be accessed by pressing the dedicated buttons on the panel, and the display shows the estimated time left to complete the washing cycle.

In addition to its performance when it comes to washing dirty clothes, the EFLS627UTT also includes a long list of convenience-enhancing features. The loading compartment for the detergent has been redesigned to accept detergent pods; when paired with the SmartBoost detergent pre-mixing feature, it ensures that there is a consistent ratio of detergent to water before it ever reaches the washing drum. Several other features allow the EFLS627UTT to stand out from the crowd, including a pre-soak feature designed to lift stubborn stains from dirty clothes. As with other machines in this category, steam clean functionality can help remove stains in a more gentle manner than tumbling the clothes in the drum. If you're in a rush, there's also a 15-minute fast wash feature that will deliver passably clean clothing.

As with all other front-loading washers, the EFLS627UTT is Energy Star certified and uses less water to complete cycles than top-loading designs. The SmartBoost mixing and soaking features tend to use more water than other front-loaders, but the trade-off is unmatched washing performance, especially when considering stain removal. It's not the most feature-packed washing machine we've come across, but the ones that Electrolux included are real-world useful and contribute to overall performance. With all things considered, the Electrolux EFLS627UTT is our top recommendation for the best washing machine overall.

The matching dryer for the Elecrolux EFLS627UTT is the EFME627UTT (electric) or the EFMG627UTT (gas).

best top load washing machine

Whirlpool Top Load Washing Machine

As one of the biggest names in home appliances (if not the biggest), it should come as no surprise to find that Whirlpool offers one of the best all-around top-loading washing machines on the market today. The WTW8000DW sits squarely in the middle of Whirlpool's lineup, and it's the one we'd recommend as the best top loading washing machine if that's specifically what you're in the market for.

The external appearance is a modernized take on Whirlpool's tried and true cabinet design, with pushbuttons and a circular LCD screen taking the place of the dials found on older generation models. The tinted glass lid adds a modern touch to the overall design, and has a practical benefit in that it allows users to observe into the machine during the wash cycle. The lid is also equipped with a soft close mechanism, avoiding the irritating metallic slam that owners of older top-load units are all too familiar with.

Between the cavernous stainless steel drum and impeller design, the WTW8000DW offers 5.3 cubic feet of capacity - enough to handle a weeks' worth of dirty clothes from the entire family. There are over two dozen wash cycles offered, and Whirlpool goes one step further by separating out "What To Wash" and "How To Wash" controls that make it nearly impossible to select the wrong cycle. While the WTW8000DW isn't equipped with the latest features like Wi-Fi connectivity or Smart Home compatibility, the control panel and wash cycles are carefully thought out for real-world convenience and everyday usability.

Although top load units washing machines tend to cost less than their front-loading counterparts, the WTW8000DW carries a comparable price tag in exchange for its superior washing performance. At $900, it's not what we'd refer to as affordable, but it's certainly reasonably priced. Whirlpool appliances are widely available, so you should have no trouble locating this machine either online or in a brick-and-mortar store. Paired with Whirlpool's excellent reputation for reliability and durability, the WTW8000DW a great choice for anyone shopping for a top-loading washer.

The matching dryer for the Whirlpool WTW8000DW is the WED8000DW (electric) or the WGD8000DW (gas).

best top load washing machine

Whirlpool Top Load Washing Machine

If your old washing machine unexpectedly gave out and you're in the market for an affordable replacement, we would recommend prioritizing performance over features. Whirlpool's WTW5000DW is one of the best examples of a budget-friendly top load washing machine without resorting to an agitator-equipped model. Outwardly, the WTW5000DW looks plain and unassuming; the unadorned cabinet is topped by a row of more traditional-looking dials on the control panel. There are 12 different wash modes available, including a quick wash cycle that takes less than half an hour to wash a moderate load. The impeller mechanism frees up space in the wash basket, and the 4.3 cubic foot capacity provides enough room for bulky items like blankets and comforters. There are a few sacrifices in exchange for the lower price, none of which impact washing performance. The most obvious one is the lack of Energy Star certification, which is somewhat surprising for a high efficiency machine. Additionally, the feature list on the WTW5000DW is rather short, limited to the aforementioned quick wash cycle as well as a pre-soak option for heavily soiled clothing. The old-school looks and strict emphasis on washing performance allow for an impressively affordable price tag; this machine can be found on sale regularly and can be brought home for well under its $749 MSRP.

The matching dryer for the Whirlpool WTW5000DW is the WED5000DW (electric) or the WGD5000DW (gas).

Samsung WV60M9900AV FlexWash Front Load Washing Machine

Samsung WV60M9900AV FlexWash Front Load Washing Machine

The first thing that stands out about the Samsung WV60M9900AV is not its control panel or cabinet color; rather, it's the height of the thing even without adding its matching pedestal. Upon closer inspection, you'll see that the reason for the extra height is that Samsung has somehow included a second washing compartment in the same cabinet - a truly unique feature amongst its main rivals.

The front-load compartment shares many of its specs with other higher-end Samsung washing machines, including its 5.0 cubic foot capacity. The extra-large drum size means it's particuarly well-suited to handle bulky items such as comforters or a whole family's worth of winter jackets, and the Direct Drive Motor is strong enough to spin the drum easily and without making a racket. Samsung's Steam Wash feature releases hot steam into the drum to lift stains and sanitize hard-to-wash items, and it can also be integrated into different wash cycles to treat especially stubborn stains. The steam function is also found in the matching dryer (see below), though that function is designed to prevent and remove wrinkles instead.

For smaller loads, the top-mounted 1.0 cubic foot washer is more than up to the task. This washer compartment is completely separate from the front-load section - it's even equipped with its own soap dispenser and water line (don't worry, the entire washer only requires a standard hookup, so you won't need to schedule an appointment with a plumber). This is done to ensure that the two compartments never mix, meaning it's possible to wash otherwise incompatible loads at the same time.

As Samsung's flagship washing machine, the WV60M9900AV comes with just about every single feature found on the company's lesser models. Between the dozen wash cycles, there's also a PowerFoam feature that can create suds and lather out of even the most notoriously stingy HE detergent. The Super Speed mode can shorten a full wash cycle to just over half an hour, similar to how long an older agitator-equipped machine takes - all without beating up your clothes. Samsung's VRT Plus technology balances the tub and utilizes weight sensors to eliminate vibrations, making the WV60M990AV particularly well-suited for second floor installations. There are smart features as well; one optional part of initial setup is adding the WM60M9900AV to your Wi-Fi network, which allows access to the built-in Smart Home features. The free app can be used to monitor washing cycles and troubleshoot any errors, and there's also an option to send an alert to your phone once the cycle is complete.

The Samsung WV60M9900AV is a superb performer and is packed with thoughtful features and modern touches, making it easy to recommend. That said, we see two drawbacks that can restrict its appeal. First, the washer itself is noticeably larger than most other units, so you'll want to make sure there's room in your laundry room or cabinet to house this machine. The second comes down to price - at a hair under $1,500 at the time of writing, this washing machine alone costs more than some washer/dryer matched pairs. That said, you'd be hard-pressed to find another washing machine that offers this level of flexibility and performance in a single unit.

The matching dryer for the Samsung WV60M9900AV is the DVE60M9900V (electric) or the DVG60M9900V (gas).

Buyer's Guide

Modern washing machines are stylish machines that barely resemble traditional models from decades past. That said, the market is saturated with many brands, models, and styles. If you know your budget and needs before beginning a search, you’ll be less likely to overspend or end up with a washer incompatible with your household.

When buying a washing machine, you should first consider how heavy your usage is both in terms of frequency and load size/type. If you have a large family, you might want to invest in a larger capacity washer with more features and settings. You should also determine which settings and features will be most beneficial to avoid spending money on unnecessary options.

After determining your basic needs, review various brands and models to narrow down your list of available options. If possible, look at washers in person get a feel for the machine; ensure the controls and display are user-friendly, and see if the door is easy to open and close. If you aren’t in a rush, sit tight and keep an eye out for any sales on the model you want.

Washer Types

Top-Loading

Top-loading washing machines are available in either traditional or high-efficiency configurations. Many top loading washers are now available with high-end features and styling, often for less money than a comparable front-loading washer. However, these models tend to be less efficient overall, and models with agitators are harder on garments.

Front-Loading

Front-loaders are typically more expensive than most top-loading washing machines, but they tend to perform at high efficiency. These front loading washing machines are popular for their larger capacities which accommodate larger, bulkier loads. Front-loaders also tend to have modern designs and the latest technological features, and many are also stackable with compatible dryer units.

Portable/Compact

Typical top and front loaders in this category are about 27 inches wide and anywhere from 25-27 inches deep. Most won’t look fancy or have lots of features, but they’ll get the job done. These units are perfect for individuals with limited space or renters without the proper hookups for a washing machine. Options range from portable washers requiring no electricity to units which plug into a standard household electrical outlet, faucet, and sink.

Stackable and All-In-One Combos

Stackable washers and dryers are often front-loading units which can be stacked securely with the purchase of a separate attachment. All-in-one units combine a washer and dryer into a single machine with just one tub. While they seem great on paper, we noticed that these units tend not to perform as well with either washing or drying as a dedicated washer/dryer pair.

High-Efficiency (HE)

A high efficiency (HE) washer uses less water, detergent, and energy than a traditional machine, resulting in considerable energy savings over time. All front-loading washing machines are HE models, but an increasing number of top-loading models are certified as such.

Features

Capacity

Front-loaders can typically handle the largest and heaviest loads, although many top loaders now have the same load capabilities. Most standard washers can easily handle the needs of a single adult or couple, but a larger family will want a unit geared for larger loads. Overloading a washing machine will considerably shorten its lifespan, so choosing a model with sufficient capacity is essential.

Noise Management

If noise levels are a major concern for you, look to higher-end washers emphasizing quiet operation. Many modern washers have noise-dampening features so they can be installed almost anywhere without disturbing members of your household.

Settings

While most people are familiar with basic settings such as a normal cycle, delicate cycle, heavy duty, and permanent press, modern washers have more wash options. Some split these typical cycles apart to create more specific options such as prewash, bulky cycle, steam, and more.

Adjustable Water Levels

Some washers have a dedicated presoak option or allow custom water level adjustment. Others are equipped with wash sensors which automatically detect the load size and adjust the water level accordingly.

Controls

Most modern washers currently use a large screen to display wash cycle information. Some budget models still rely on the tried-and-true selector knobs, though this is becoming increasingly rare.

Steam

Certain washers are equipped with a steam function to cleanse and sanitize delicate clothing items and fabrics.

Water Temperature

Some washers offer the ability to change to water temperature for different portions of the cycle, as opposed to locking users in to a single setting for the entire cycle.

Style

Modern washers often come in a wide range of visually appealing colors which will often raise the price more than you’d expect. Be sure to compare the price difference between your available options to see if a special color is absolutely necessary.

Additional Features

Many washers include added features such as delayed start, a speed cycle, and a dedicated sanitize cycle to accommodate a variety of laundry situations.

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