We've Tested Hundreds of Washing Machines. Here are the Best You Can Buy Right Now. - Consumer Reports (2024)

Washing clothes has been a grind since the days of manual scrub boards, alleviated somewhat with the introduction of “Thor,” the first electric washing machine, over a century ago. Today, modern-day marvels like auto detergent dispensers, remote WiFi controls, and even machines that tackle both washing and drying can lighten the load—though not to the point where you can put your feet up on laundry day.

In this article

  • Best Washing Machines: Best Agitator Top-Loaders Best Front-Loaders Best HE Top-Loaders Best Compact Front-Loaders Best All-In-One Washer/Dryers
  • What Is the Most Reliable Washing Machine Brand?
  • How CR Tests Washing Machines


5 Things to Know About Front-Load Washers

For CR’s engineers, doing laundry is a mission. Cycle after cycle, they work to determine the best washing machines for every budget and look for innovative features that make doing laundry faster and easier.

“Research shows that consumers say doing laundry takes too much time,” says Allie Chilicki, Consumer Reports’ market analyst for washers and dryers. “Manufacturers have been trying to address this problem with machines that have bigger capacities, speed cycles, built-in pretreat features, or smart technology.”

Best Agitator Top-Load Washers

Agitator top-loaders clean clothes through friction in a twisting motion and generally don’t perform as well as other types. But they remain popular, in part because they cost less than other types of washing machines.

Best High-Efficiency (HE) Top-Load Washers

High-efficiency top-loaders generally perform well in our tests. Like front-loaders, the absence of a center agitator allows clothes to move more freely about the drum. But top-load HEs tend to tangle clothes more, which can lead to excess residue or some clothes not getting clean.

Best Front-Load Washers

Full-sized and compact front-loaders perform best in our comprehensive tests. They tangle clothes less than top-loaders and generally have higher performance scores. However, these washers are more prone to mold and mildew if not cleaned routinely.

Best Compact Front-Load Washers

A compact washerpaired with a compact dryermay be your only choice if your laundry area can’t accommodate full-sized machines. These space-saving machines represent a tiny market share, but they’re gaining in popularity among downsizing retirees as well as younger urban/suburban dwellers organizing their townhouses and condos.

Best All-in-One Washer-Dryer Combos

Anall-in-one washer-dryer combois a single front-load machine that washes and dries clothes in the same sealed drum, with programmed controls that perform both functions in tandem or individually. These dual-function machines take a load off laundry day by eliminating a major hassle—transferring wet, heavy clothes from washer to dryer. But our tests reveal that these machines tend to wash better than they dry, and take much more time to dry clothes than a stand-alone dryer.

What Is the Most Reliable Washing Machine Brand?

Washing machines typically last a decade or more. No matter its cleaning capability, a washer that doesn’t stand the test of time is no winner. So we also incorporate survey data for predicted reliability and owner satisfaction into our washer ratings (as well as our dryer ratings). Our surveys indicate that LG is the most reliable brand that makes front-load and top-load HE washers, while Speed Queen is most reliable brand for top-load agitators. Electrolux, LG, and Miele shine among compact front-load washers.

If you’re wondering whether you should repair or replace your current washer, we’ve got you covered there, too, with our interactive repair or replace calculator. It takes the guesswork out of that decision based on how much you paid for your washer, how old it is, and how expensive it’s going to be to fix.

How CR Tests Washing Machines

In addition to cataloging all of that—and much more—CR’s test engineers launder swatches of fabric stained with red wine and cocoa, among other things, to see how well each machine cleans.

We test top-loaders with agitators, high-efficiency (HE) top-loaders (the type without a vertical spindle), and front-loaders, including compact front-loaders. We also test all-in-one washer-dryers, a relatively new option in the market. The machines are from familiar brands such as Amana, Electrolux, Frigidaire, GE, LG, Maytag, Samsung, and Whirlpool, as well as lesser-known brands like Fisher & Paykel and Miele.

Our Green Choice designation helps you identify the most eco-friendly washers in our ratings. Identified by a green leaf icon, Green Choice washers earn superior marks for water efficiency, energy efficiency, brand reliability, and gentleness on fabric. Our designation considers a washer’s overall environmental impact, including its weight, volume, and entire life cycle.

For a broad look at the washing machine marketplace and to learn about types of washers, features, and brands, check out our washing machine buying guide. If you’re a CR member, you can read on for ratings and reviews of some of the best washers for each type, and view our complete washing machine ratings for even more options. You’ll find our ratings for all-in-one washer-dryer combos under Related Products.


For optimal laundry success, follow these tips from our resident laundry expert, Rich Handel ☺️. Learn more through the link in our bio. #laundrytok #laundry #cleaningtok #laundrytiktok

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We've Tested Hundreds of Washing Machines. Here are the Best You Can Buy Right Now. - Consumer Reports (1)

Keith Flamer

Keith Flamer has been a multimedia content creator at Consumer Reports since 2021, covering laundry, cleaning, small appliances, and home trends. Fascinated by interior design, architecture, technology, and all things mechanical, he translates CR’s testing engineers’ work into content that helps readers live better, smarter lives. Prior to CR, Keith covered luxury accessories and real estate, most recently at Forbes, with a focus on residential homes, interior design, home security, and pop culture trends.

We've Tested Hundreds of Washing Machines. Here are the Best You Can Buy Right Now. - Consumer Reports (2024)


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