We Did the Research So You Don’t Have To: The 10 Best Washing Machines for Any Household, Space and Budget

best Washing Machines of 2020
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There are certain high-ticket items that require a bit more research before committing. Whether it’s due to their higher price point, a long potential lifespan in your home or frequency in use, it’s important to take pause and consider all of your options. Usually, larger appliances in your home fall into this category — the ones that you use every day and can cause serious disruption if they break down. Washing machines are definitely one of these appliances, alongside fridges, dryers and freezers. Today, we’re here to help you find the best washing machines available on the market from brands like LG, GE and Kenmore.

There’s a lot to consider when researching washing machine reviews. The best washing machine for a 4-bedroom house in the suburbs is most definitely the wrong washing machine for a cramped New York City apartment. You need to carefully consider the capacity you need, the space you have available, washing speed, water and electricity usage and even the noise level of the machine itself. Like many other products, due to the variety of human needs when it comes to the ritual that is washing clothes, the washing machine market is crowded and confusing. However, the huge selection also provides an overall higher standard of product. We’re here to walk you through the process and lay out all of the relevant information you need to make the right decision. We’re also going to offer our own list of the best washers available based on set criteria.

When ranking the best washing machines, we took a few factors into account:

  • The overall quality of the machine
  • Efficiency of the design
  • The price
  • The “wow factor” when it comes to features

Come at this advice and information from your own perspective — considering what you need, what you want to prioritize with your purchase and who this machine is going to be serving. One top-rated machine might have features you have no interest in, and another’s capacity might be unnecessary for your two-person household. We’re hopeful and certain that by the end of this piece, no matter your washing needs, you’ll have a clearer idea of how to navigate the world of washing machines.

Ready? Let’s begin.

Below, you’ll find an FAQ designed to help you choose the best washer for your family and household. Keep scrolling to see our picks for the 10 best washing machines for sale in 2020.

  

FAQ: How To Choose the Right Washer For Your Home

A washing machine is a need in most households. However, there are so many available features that your actual needs can easily get muddled the deeper you get into the research. So stop, breathe, and ask yourself — what do you NEED from this washer? Do you need a large capacity? Are you a last-minute laundry person who needs a Speed Wash feature? Do you need your washer and dryer to stack on top of one another? How about a child and pet-safe door design? Killer stain removal? If you need it, chances are it’s available in one form or another out there in washer-land, so make a list of your washer non-negotiables and we’ll help you find a machine that checks all (or most) of your boxes.

Exactly How Much Space Do You Have Available?

Unless you’re planning an expensive home expansion, this is one set of criteria that won’t change. That means you shouldn’t even start looking at the best washers and dryers until you’ve broken out the measuring tape and written down your size requirements. Some of the bigger models have a capacity upwards of six cubic feet and can wash 17 towels at once. Sure, this space is great if you’ve got a small army of little ones running around, but if you’re a couple buying your first condo together? It might not be as necessary nor fit into your hallway laundry closet. Measure your space and twice and keep these dimensions in mind when assessing each model.

You’ll also want to consider the floor your machine is sitting on. Concrete floor is ideal for noisier washers or front-loaders that may vibrate with each cycle (more on that later), but wooden floors may cause more noise. Also, if a washer breaks down, leaks or your front-loader washer’s door malfunctions and water spills everywhere, a wooden floor may suffer more in the short term. Nothing to rule out certain options for, but something to consider when making your choice.

You’ll also need proper electric and water connections for your washer to function properly. This includes a 110V socket with its own circuit (for most machines), both a hot and cold water connection, and a drain for the washer to pump wastewater into. It’s also important to consider your hot water heater — if you’ve got a large hot water heater that’s reliable to begin with, then you don’t have as much to worry about. However, if your hot water heater has a smaller capacity or isn’t as reliable, looking for a machine with its own water heater built in is recommended both for the convenience and lower energy footprint when it comes to utilities.

How Much Do the Best Washing Machines Cost?

Washing machines range in price from $250 to $2,500, and that doesn’t include the dryer. Think about your budget and what you’re willing to spend upfront on your machine. In addition to this consideration, think about how much you hope to spend on utilities each month, because that will contribute to the overall cost of all of these machines, some more so than others. In fact, many of the budget-friendly machines also use a ton of water and electricity and can end up costing the user more in the long run in utilities, so that’s something important to keep in mind. Look for high-efficiency (HE) models or ENERGY STAR certified appliances if you want to minimize electricity and water usage.

In general, we recommend spending at least $1,000 to $1,200 on a new washing machine, although there are some cheaper budget models worth considering if necessary. Keep in mind that more expensive washers will last longer, which will ultimately save you money in the future. And while you can find budget washers starting at $250, these models generally are more trouble than they’re worth, no matter the short-term savings.

Finally, we recommend that SPY readers purchase appliances like these online or in-person from trusted retailers like Sears or Best Buy. The Home Depot is another great option, as they have the best delivery, installation and appliance removal services.

Top-Loader vs. Front-Loader

This is one of the hottest debates in the washing machine world, and nobody seems to have reached a consensus on it quite yet. Top-loader washers are more of a classic design and have been around longer, whereas front-loaders are a more recent addition to the scene. If you’re confused about the difference between the two in looks, features, longevity and beyond, we’ve got it.

Top-loaders look like this:

LG top-loading washing machine, best washers Courtesy of Best Buy

Their name comes from, you guessed it, the location where you load the clothes. They typically have a larger capacity than front-loaders on the whole, and cost less money. They can, however, use more water and be rougher on clothes. This is especially the case if they’ve got an agitator built-in, which is a pillar in the middle of the washing drum that clothes wrap around. The agitator can stretch clothes easily, tangle them together and cause rips in fabric over time.

Front-loaders look like this:

GE Sapphire Blue Front-Load washer, best washers Courtesy of The Home Depot

They have a door on the front of the machine where you load and unload the clothes. These machines tend to use less energy and water and can be stacked on top of or below dryers for a more compact design. The door on the front locks after the washing cycle has started, meaning you can’t add that last sock you just found to the load once it’s begun. Many users are also weary of front-loaders because water can gather at the base of the drum after the wash cycle, which can lead to mold growth and odor in cheaper models.

Both have their upsides and downsides, and both have high-efficiency (HE) models that have improved designs and tend to use fewer utilities than their non-efficient counterparts.

Can You Buy a Washing Machine Online?

I know, some of you may be thinking — “is it really a good idea to buy a washing machine online?” You can basically buy anything online these days, but for a purchase this big? People buy mattresses online these days, so we’re here for it. It’s certainly easier than going to a store at this exact moment, and with the plethora of reviews and investigative pieces (like this one) to scour through, you can get a lot of relevant information on your purchase before the technician is reaching for your water line hose.

How does it work exactly? You purchase the washing machine online via a website like Sears, Best Buy or The Home Depot and at check-out, you select delivery and add installation, which typically comes with your purchase. You then get your machine delivered and installed by the same people in one swoop. The Home Depot also offers an option to move an existing appliance to another room in your home or get rid of it for you for $25, a great deal in my opinion. All in all, the process is easy to do and is worthwhile for convenience’s sake, especially if you are avoiding large department stores due to fears of COVID-19.

What’s the Difference Between a HE (High Efficiency) Washer and a Regular Washer?

Good question. High-efficiency washers must meet certain criteria in order to gain this certification, including certain guidelines around water usage, electricity use and the amount of detergent they require (and thus pump into your local wastewater). HE washing machines use fewer resources, but they do require you to use certain HE-friendly detergents and tend to have longer washing cycles. They also can be a bit more expensive than your standard washer and require more cleaning cycles to stay in tip-top shape. As an alternative, you can look for ENERGY STAR certified appliances, which have been rated to be energy efficient.

We’ll be marking HE washers on this list with a * symbol so you know which ones to look out for.

  

The Best Washers for Every Family, Household and Budget

We’ve compiled a list of the best washers for every type of consumer, each one rated based on the criteria we mentioned above:

  • Quality of Machine
  • Efficiency of Design
  • Features’ “Wow” Factor
  • Price

The quality of the machine is a rating based on reviews, judging how long the machine will last, as well as the number of reviews that mentioned parts breaking down, warranties, etc. The efficiency of the design has to do with the demands on water and electricity, and how much of these resources the machine demands. Lastly, the features “wow” factor is all about the fancy settings, innovations and handy tools the machine possesses.

After extensive research and combing through model after model, these are the best washing machines we’ve found that are available for purchase online.

1. LG 5.2 Cu. Ft. 14-Cycle Front-Loading Smart Washer

BEST OVERALL

If you’re looking for a washer that pretty much checks every box, this one is up there. It’s got a large capacity that’s perfect for families or individuals who do a lot of laundry, and it syncs up with an app on your phone that you can use to start your cycle and monitor its progress. It has a steam feature that works to disperse the detergent evenly, and it has five different temperature settings so you can adjust to your heart’s desire. It has 14 different wash cycle options including permanent press, heavy-duty as well as a delicates setting for a variety of clothing types, and it’s a front-loader so there’s no need to worry about the potential damage of an agitator. It also has sound-reduction technology that reduces the potential for disruptive noise in your home, and it has its own water heater so it won’t suck the resources away from your current one.

  • Quality of Machine: 10/10 
  • Efficiency of Design: 8/10
  • Features “Wow” Factor: 9/10
LG Best overall washer, best washers Courtesy of Best Buy

  

2. Electrolux Front Load Washer With SmartBoost Technology

RUNNER UP

This front-load washer from Electrolux has been regaled from numerous publications for its stain-removing abilities with SmartBoost and nine different wash cycles. Despite its stellar performance and equal price to its LG counterpart, it falls slightly short in a few categories. It has a 4.4 cubic feet drum that can hold a decently large load. It has a 15-minute fast wash feature that’s perfect for those last-minute freshening emergencies when you absolutely need to wear your lucky t-shirt. It has fewer options than other models but you can adjust the temperature and soil level of each cycle giving you extra options. In addition to the convenient front-loading design, this machine has been given the spotlight on many lists for its dedicated pod detergent canister. Some washers don’t work well with pods — they either clog the system or get stuck in the cycle and don’t disperse properly. This machine has considered that, and dedicated a specific Adaptive Dispenser that mixes the detergent with water, allowing the pod to dissolve before releasing it into the cycle. It also doesn’t have an accompanying app like its LG competitor, but the easy-to-use settings and clear controls make it very manageable for the average consumer.

  • Quality of Machine: 9/10
  • Efficiency of Design: 10/10 
  • Features “Wow” Factor: 7/10 
best washer electrolux, best washers Courtesy of The Home Depot

  

3. LG 14-Cycle Front-Loading Washer With Steam*

BEST UNDER $1,000

If you’ve got allergies or asthma, this machine has built-in cleaning capabilities specifically designed for you and your needs. It has an Allergiene™ cycle that targets pet danger allergens on even the most delicate of fabrics, and this washing machine has been certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America for its design. It has a relatively large 4.5 cubit feet capacity and has 14 different wash cycles to choose between including a TubClean cycle designed to cleaning the tub itself. It has TurboWash 360 technology that washes larger loads in a smaller amount of time and the SmartThinQ technology enables you to control and monitor the progress of your loads remotely from an app on your smartphone. It also has 6Motion™ technology which adds dynamic washing movement to each load to clean clothes more effectively and efficiently. Lastly, the ColdWash™ technology uses cold water efficiently so you get warm water performance when it comes to strain removal and deep cleaning, without the hot water bills that can come from it. Finally, this high efficiency washer is also ENERGY STAR certified, which means it will save you money in the short and long-term.

  • Quality of Machine: 9/10
  • Efficiency of Design: 9/10 
  • Features’ “Wow” Factor: 8/10 
LG Front-Cycle Washer, best washers Courtesy of Best Buy

  

4. GE Sapphire Blue Front Load Washing Machine

BEST FOR FAMILIES

If you’ve got a small army of dirty-laundry-producers to take care of, this machine is a great option for families and those households that anticipate doing a lot of laundry each week. Not only does it have a large capacity that can easily accommodate bulky items, bedding and large loads but the revolutionary cycle kills 99% of common bacteria and viruses keeping you and your family safe. It also has SmartDispense technology that dispenses just the right amount of detergent for each load based on the machine’s assessment of the size and weight. It also has 1 Step Wash and Dry built in in case you need a small load to automatically get dried without needing to pause or return home during the day to transfer closes to the dryer. The UltraFresh Vent System with OdorBlock prevents build-up of mold and other allergens that can lead to odor, and it has its own internal water heater so it won’t put any more pressure on your home’s water heater. The TumbleCare setting is also great for busy parents who may forget about a load as it freshly tumbles your clothes periodically for up to eight hours so they stay fresh despite not being moved to the dryer right away.

  • Quality of Machine: 9/10
  • Efficiency of Design: 7/10 
  • Features’ “Wow” Factor: 9/10 
GE Sapphire Blue Front-Load washer, best washers Courtesy of The Home Depot

  

5. MIELE W1 Compact Washer

BEST COMPACT

If space is at a premium in your place, this washer has got your back. It’s got a capacity of 2.26 cubic feet and is WiFi-enabled for some smart tech mixed in there. It can only hold about half the amount of laundry as the previous two machines, but if you don’t have a ton of laundry to do it’s a very ideal pick. It’s biggest selling point? It’s built to LAST. Like, 20 years last. You’ll have this washer for years to come and that alone makes the investment more than worth it. It’s got an ENERGY STAR rating, is stackable and comes with all of the perks of a front-loader washing machine. It has the most wash cycles of any machine on this list with 18 different options and has a steam setting for stain removal and clothing care. The honeycomb drum also has a gentle design that allows garments to slide along a thin film of water rather than thrash around, and it’s got a ultra-efficient load detection design that assesses the size of your load and only uses the exact amount of water and energy required.

  • Quality of Machine: 10/10
  • Efficiency of Design: 8/10
  • Features “Wow” Factor: 8/10
Miele W1 Compact washer, best washers Courtesy of Appliances Connection

  

6. Maytag 12-Cycle Top-Loader Washer

BEST BUDGET

If you’re looking to save money up front with your washer purchase, this Maytag is a trusty steed that won’t break the bank more than it absolutely has to. The “normal” setting is gentle enough on clothes and efficient in cleaning, removing stains and leaving your clothes thoroughly cleansed. It’s a top-loader, and has an agitator which means it’s going to be rougher than your average front-loader option, but with 12 different cycles it’s got gentler settings as well. It has vibration reduction which minimizes noise and has a 3.8 cubic feet capacity that can wash bulky items like comforters and towels easily. It also has a safety lock lid for safety and automatic temperature control for seamless temperature adjustment. It’s a great budget option if other machines are out of your price range, but know that it does use more water and electricity than other models and you may end up spending more over time.

  • Quality of Machine: 8/10 
  • Efficiency of Design: 6/10 
  • Features’ “Wow” Factor: 6/10
best washing machines - maytag Courtesy of The Home Depot

  

7. Kenmore 41262 Front-Load Washer

MOST EFFICIENT

If you want a machine built to be efficient and use every bit of water, heat and power to the fullest extent then this compact front-load washer from Kenmore is a great option. It’s a strong washer that’ll get your clothes clean while using less electricity and water. It doesn’t have a lot of fancy features and it doesn’t need them to clean your clothes really well. It has a built-in magnetic stopper that holds the door slightly open after washes to prevent mold growth, and it has a similar Stay-Fresh feature to other washers on this list that’ll tumble your clothes post-wash for up to 19 hours to keep them fresh before you remember to put them in the dryer. It also has an Add Garment feature that lets you throw in that last sock, t-shirt or pair of shorts after the washing cycle has started, a very convenient add-on. It’s also ENERGY STAR qualified so you know you’re getting a good clean while using only the resources the machine has to use.

  • Quality of Machine: 8/10
  • Efficiency of Design: 10/10 
  • Features’ “Wow” Factor: 5/10 
Kenmore 41262 washer, best washers Courtesy of Sears

  

8. Samsung FlexWash Fingerprint Resistant Washer

BEST DESIGN / BEST WASHING MACHINE FOR DELICATES

Washing machines are a fairly standard household product that is probably not that exciting to that many people. You need one that can wash clothes, won’t drain your pocket through your water and electric bills and overall just gets the job done. Or do you? What if your washing machine could do more? The innovative design of this washer is something I got very excited about when I researched it and I think it’s a totally solid pick for the innovation and ingenuity Samsung has built into it. This FlexWash machine is two washers in one — it’s got a Super Speed lower washer that can wash a full load in as little as 30 minutes, and an upper compartment washer for smaller delicates or single items that is built to use less water, less power and take care of more sensitive fabrics. This machine uses the power of steam to remove stains without needing any pre-treatment, and the Swirl Drum design contains fewer holes in the walls of the drum to prevent clothes from getting stuck or damaged. It only requires one water line hookup and has an easy-to-use detergent dispenser drawer.

  • Quality of Machine: 10/10
  • Efficiency of Design: 7/10 
  • Features’ “Wow” Factor: 10/10 
best washers of 2020 - samsung flexwash Courtesy of The Home Depot

  

9. Samsung Addwash High-Efficiency Front-Loading Washer*

BEST FEATURES

If you’re the type of person who’s attracted to everything new, innovative and improved, if you always upgrade to the newest MacBook or can’t wait for each new chapter for the iPhone — this Samsung washer is a great pick. First and foremost, it’s got Addwash built in on the front, a tiny compartment where you can slip in a sock or t-shirt after the cycle has started that won’t spray water everywhere. It also has Super Speed, a wash cycle that can do a full load of clothes in 36 minutes flat. It has VRT plus technology, an innovation specific to Samsung that stands for Vibration Reduction Technology, that makes it 40% quieter than machines with standard VRT. It also has sensors built in for keeping the load balanced even at high speeds, and SelfClean+ technology that keeps the drum in tip top shape without the use of harsh chemicals. The Diamond Drum interior is specifically designed to reduce the wear and tear on fabrics and the Smart Care app allows you to control your washer from anywhere. It also has a child lock built in for keeping kids safe. If there’s a feature that another washing machine has, this one has implemented it and then some — take advantage of this modern age of smart appliances and technological progress and invest in a washer that is with the times.

  • Quality of Machine: 9/10 
  • Efficiency of Design: 9/10 
  • Features’ “Wow” Factor: 10/10 
Samsung Addwash washer, best washer Courtesy of Best Buy

  

10. LG 8-Cycle Top-Loading Washer with 6Motion Technology*

BEST TOP-LOADING MACHINE

If you’re committed to the top-loading lifestyle, we feel you. This top-loading washer from LG is a solid washer with some innovative features built into its standard design. It has TurboWash3D technology with powerful water flow that helps clothes clean each other rather than using excessive beating or unnecessary vibration. It comes with LG’s SmartThinQ technology so you can control your machine from afar via an app, and it has ColdWash technology for treating clothes deeply without the need for excessive heat and electric bills. Each cycle combines six different wash motions for an effective clean, and it has TrueBalance anti-vibration built in that reduces noise and disruption in your household. A clear lid that’s also slam proof will make closing the lid quieter and safer. This washer also has EasyDispense, a great feature for busy laundry doers that allows you to put in detergent, bleach and fabric softener at the same time and let the machine dispense them at just the right time during the cycle. Because it is a top-loading machine it is going to use more water and more power than other machines, but it doesn’t have an agitator so excessive wear and tear on clothes is not as much of a concern.

  • Quality of Machine: 9/10 
  • Efficiency of Design: 7/10 
  • Features’ “Wow” Factor: 8/10 
best washing machines of 2020