Three best washers

Peter McPherson

If you choose to stack your washer and dryer, the dryer should go on top because it’ s almost always lighter.

A washer is a machine that you can expect to use for years, and even budget models are a significant investment, so it's important to consider all factors when making this big purchase.

A good washer should clean fabrics well without damaging them, which can be a tricky balance. A quiet machine that doesn't vibrate much is also desirable, especially if your washer is centrally located. Do you prefer a top load or a front load design? How many people live in your house, and how often do you do laundry? Do you care about water and energy efficiency? These are all questions to ask in your hunt to find the best washer for you. This shopping guide provides some tips and recommendations to help you in your search.

Considerations when choosing washers

Capacity: One of the biggest factors in choosing a washer is load capacity. The larger the capacity, the fewer loads you have to do. If you have a small household, a smaller (and generally less expensive) washer may be best for your needs. Most washers range from 1.5 to 6.0 cubic feet, and more space usually means a higher price.

Top or front load: You should also consider whether you prefer a front load or top load model. Front load washers are generally more efficient machines. They excel at stain removal, and they remove more water during the spin cycles. However, top load machines are more popular and may be easier to use for anyone with back problems. In addition, they often require less maintenance over the long term.

Efficiency: Energy efficiency and number of gallons of water used per load are other considerations, especially if you're concerned about the environmental impact of your washer. Look for a washer that uses less than 17 gallons per load, which may have a "high efficiency" label. These often use less energy as well.

Size: Consider the overall dimensions of the washer and your available space. If space is a concern, you might want to look for a stackable washer/dryer combo. Not all washers or dryers are compatible with stacking kits, so it's important to double-check before you buy. If you want to give your front load washer an extra boost, consider investing in a washer pedestal, which can double as storage or even serve as an extra compact washer.

Washer features

Cycles and modes: Washers vary in their functionality and ease of use. Multiple cycles and modes are always something to look for and can help you handle a variety of jobs. Some washers are equipped with an auto-dispensing capability, which releases detergent, fabric softener, or bleach at the right time in the cycle. In addition, some machines can store a reservoir of detergent that will last for dozens of loads, simplifying the process.

Wireless control: Another modern innovation is an app that works in tandem with your washer, letting you control the machine and check on the status of a load remotely.

Washer prices: You can find simple top load washers for between $200 and $300. Decent front load washers cost between $500 and $800. Feature-packed washers with larger capacity can cost as much as $1,700.


Q. How long do washers last?

A. Most washers will last between 10 and 15 years, depending on usage and care.

Q. Can I add clothes or detergent to a washer in the middle of a cycle?

A. This varies from one model to the next and depends on the detergent-dispensing system. Most front load washers will not allow you to add clothes mid-cycle.

Washers we recommend

Best of the best: Kenmore Top Load Washer

Our take: This extra-spacious (4.8 cubic feet) washer performs well and can handle any load.

What we like: Intuitive controls and several modes for specific jobs. A solid washer that will reduce your overall number of loads.

What we dislike: A few reports of defective models.

Best bang for your buck: Magic Chef Top Load Portable Washer

Our take: Though this is a smaller washer (2.0 cubic feet), it has excellent capacity for its size.

What we like: If space is a concern, this is a good option. Runs quietly and can easily be moved.

What we dislike: Instructions are not very clear.

Choice 3: Hotpoint Top Load Washing Machine

Our take: Affordable, standard-size (3.7 cubic feet) washer that will meet most people's needs.

What we like: Washer may not have many features, but it works well and is easy to use.

What we dislike: A few customer reports of issues that required repairs.

Peter McPherson is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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