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Published Sep 19, 2023 7:55 PM
We love our washing machines. We love the pretty little sounds they make when our clothes are washed and ready for the dryer. We love versatile washing machines that handle whatever amount of textile we shove in there. Most of all, we really appreciate the level of technological advancement applied to washing machines. This selection of washing machines is but a small sample of what’s available on the market today. All major manufacturers have at least one reliable washing machine at the top of their game. Choosing just a few out of so many highly rated and oft-purchased machines may seem daunting, but it’s like grabbing the best candy from a bowl of the best candy. No matter what you get, you are going to get something good. Whatever your needs, we’ll help you find one of the best washing machines.
How we chose the best washing machines
While we’d love to say we simply surveyed all the mothers-in-law nationwide, our methodology is a bit less personal. Rather, we compile the best washing machines or any other appliance by scouring reviews, hunting down best sellers, and sourcing well-reviewed washers. The more information available, the easier it is to recommend any particular washing machine. The more gold stars commensurate with the volume of customer reviews, the better.
The best washing machines: Reviews & Recommendations
It’s tough recommending a washing machine. Many people have personal attachments to their washing machines or at least some variable level of brand loyalty. From machine-learning algorithms that adjust wash cycles based on sensors to WiFi capability that sends notifications and controls to our phones, the new breed of washing machines is nothing short of amazing. With that in mind, the following list of washing machines are at the top or near the top of their individual categories, chosen to fit as many needs as possible. Want space-saving options? Check out the best stackable washer-dryers. Want the best of the dedicated devices? Keep reading.
Best overall: LG TurboWash 360 WM4000HBA
Why it made the cut: With built-in AI sensors, a sleek look, and WiFi capability, this washer is easily the top of the pack.
- Capacity: 4.5 cu. ft.
- Control Type: Digital knob
- WiFi-Capable: Yes
- Preset Wash Cycles: 12
- AI sensors
- Automatic pairing with compatible dryer
- WiFi connectivity
- Quiet wash cycles
- Door gasket deteriorates over time
- Requires careful balancing
The LG WM4000HBA is one of several comparable LG washing machines with small variances in form and function. This specific model comes highly reviewed at numerous retail outlets, which lands it solidly at the top of this list. If you are looking for a washing machine packed with technology that requires a strong warranty, this is it. From AI technology using built-in sensors to detect the texture of your textiles and load size to automatically set the wash cycle or WiFi connectivity through the ThinQ app, this washer is ready to deliver high-performing cleanliness.
One of the best things about LG washing machines is the 10-year limited warranty. Sure, the tempered glass door and rose gold accents are a nice touch, but knowing that when something deep within the bowels of the computer brain breaks you’re covered is a much better selling point. Additionally, there are powerful jets, ColdWash technology to save money and drive out stains, and steam-powered cycles to remove pet dander and dust. You can also control your laundry cycles with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant through the ThinQ app. Packed with features and built to handle any laundry issue you throw at it, the LG WM4000HBA is one of the best washing machines on the market today.
Best budget: GE High-Efficiency Agitator Top-Load Washer GTW465ASNWW
Why it made the cut: This top-load washing machine is the one we’re all familiar with and continues to deliver solid performance at a reasonable price.
- Capacity: 4.5 cu. ft.
- Control Type: Knobs
- WiFi-capable: No
- Preset Wash Cycles: 14
- Water level selection
- Old-school physical knobs
- No WiFi
- No internal sensors
- Can be noisy
The GE GTW465ASNWW is something we are all familiar with. While it has changed over the years, the top-loading, white, GE washing machine with a row of physical knobs and a lack of computer brain is a staple in the annals of washing machine history. Until recently, it’s what we’ve always thought of when we think of washing machines. And thankfully, in some form, it’s still out there and generally under $600. It does what it’s supposed to do, with a deep clean cycle, deep water levels, and speed washing, just to put a cherry on top.
While many might point out that familiarity breeds contempt, you won’t be contemptuous here if you just need a washing machine and don’t need all the fancy connectivity included in many other washers. You’ll be quite satisfied with the 700 RPM spin speed, dual agitators, 14 wash cycles, and adjustable water level. This thing is built in America for one single purpose: to wash your stuff. It doesn’t ask questions; it doesn’t care if you stuff it full of shoes, quilts, or moldy shower curtains. It cleans things. That’s why the GE GTW465ASNWW will always show up on these lists, because it’s built for purpose, and we know what to expect when we buy it.
Best top-load: Maytag Smart Top-Load Washer MVW7230HC
Why it made the cut: Top-load washers are becoming scarce, but this one stands out for its high-efficiency wash and large capacity.
- Capacity: 5.2 cu. ft.
- Control Type: Digital knob
- WiFi-Capable: Yes
- Preset Wash Cycles: 13
- Extra power button
- Smart appliance
- Can be unstable with heavy loads
- Struggles with large textiles
When looking at the Maytag MVW7230HC, you’ll notice that something is a bit different when compared to most modern washing machines. With so many units being sold as stackable pairs, it’s kind of rare to find a top-loading washer packed with all the high-technology features you’d expect in a front-loading washing machines. The highlight on this machine isn’t the top-loading or the WiFi capability with Amazon Alexa; no, it’s the extra power button. A single press of this button will boost stain-fighting performance on any wash cycle.
While reviews did note that this washer struggles with bulky items, it does have advanced vibration control that at least keeps it steady while dealing with heavier loads. However, it seems it operates at its peak with regular textiles, or at least human-balanced loads. But that’s a common complaint with all top-load washers, as there’s usually a static agitator and gravity to deal with. No matter how much water you allow into a washer, it still has to deal with the pull of the Earth’s core. Regardless, for a top-load washer regularly priced under $1,000, the Maytag MVW7230HC delivers the features and extra power you’re looking for in a modern washer.
Best for pets: Maytag Pet Pro Top-Load Washer MVW6500MW
Why it made the cut: There are very few washers specifically designed to help us clean up after our wonderful, but often shedding, pets.
- Capacity: 4.7 cu. ft.
- Control Type: Digital knob
- WiFi-Capable: No
- Preset Wash Cycles: 10
- Pet Pro filter
- Deep fill option
- Advanced vibration control
- Doesn’t remove all pet hair
- Low water option isn’t enough
With all the front-load washers out there, when you read reviews for a top load washer like the Maytag MVW6500MW, one of the chief complaints is about water levels. This washing machine has variable water levels, but since we are dealing with gravity here, it’s best to use more than less. However, since front-load machines have become the norm, we’ve forgotten about gravity and the fallibility of top-load washers. No matter how good the agitator is, water and clothes sink to the bottom. This takes some getting used to, adjusting your laundry loads and water intake to find the perfect wash.
But along the way, this washing machine will do its darndest to remove all the pet hair from your shirts, couch covers, and duvets. It has a Pet Pro filter paired with a Pet Pro option that adds more water to lift and remove as much pet hair as possible. It’s not perfect, nothing is, but it’s better than washers with smaller filters. The bottom line is that while it might not be the best top-loading washer on the market, if you have pets, the Maytag MVW6500MW is the best choice to pick that extra pet hair out of your laundry. And one of the best vacuums for pet hair can hopefully help too much additional buildup.
Best compact: Miele Front-Load Washer WXR860WCS
Why it made the cut: There are few compact washers out there with the feature set to compete with full-size washers, but this is one of the best.
- Capacity: 2.26 cu. ft.
- Control Type: Touch
- WiFi-Capable: No
- Preset Wash Cycles: 25
- Each unit strenuously tested
- 2x as many wash cycles as traditional washers
- LED multilingual display
- No WiFi connectivity
- Not good for heavy textiles
The Miele WXR860WCS is tested for over 10,000 hours before it’s sent to retailers for sale. Each unit goes through this process because not only does Miele stand behind its machines, but they sell for nearly $3,000. You’d think the smaller the washing machine, the cheaper it would be, but that’s not the case. Instead, consider how much technology and functionality has to be shrunk to fit within a smaller package while maintaining its effectiveness. And with 25 wash cycles, nearly double that of larger machines, this compact little washer is very effective.
It also communicates in several languages through the LED display and touch controls. That’s handy, but what’s really impressive about the design of this unit is the honeycomb drum. What this does is create a film of water between the drum and your clothes, protecting their fibers from friction damage. Miele also built these units with a double waterproof protection system, using sensors to ensure everything is working correctly inside the machine. While it doesn’t have any wireless connectivity and is a bit expensive, the Miele WXR860WCS is perfect for RV living or a tiny (but also expensive) city condo.
Best high-capacity: Samsung Smart Front-Load Washer WV60A9900AV/A5
Why it made the cut: It’s tough to find a washing machine with over five cubic feet of capacity. This one has a whopping six cubic feet.
- Capacity: 6.0 cu. ft.
- Control Type: Digital knob
- WiFi-Capable: Yes
- Preset Wash Cycles: 24
- Extra large capacity
- Both top and front load
- Smart dial
- Top loader susceptible to rust
- Cannot be stacked
The Samsung WV60A9900AV/A5 manages its massive capacity by taking advantage of the space above the front-loading washing drum, with a 1.0 cubic foot top-loading washer. That’s right, it’s two washing machines in one. While this means you can literally wash two loads at the same time (perhaps blankets in the main wash drum, and something more fragile in the top loader), it also means an increased possibility of equipment failure. The top loader is hard to keep clean and dry, which can lead to rusting. The computer brain of this washer, with smart dial features, means a higher chance of error codes and technical issues. But that’s an issue with any smart device, especially washers and dryers.
As with most Samsung appliances, you can connect wirelessly with the SmartThings App, so you can remote start/stop and receive notifications. And unlike many washers that only work with one service, this one works with Amazon, Android, Apple, Sonos, iOS, and Google Assistant. So, no matter what smart-home device you’re shouting at, your washer will hear it. There’s also vibration-reducing technology, so even if you’re running two loads in the same washer at the same time, it’s still generally quiet. The Samsung WV60A9900AV/A5 is by no means a perfect washing machine, but it has one of the largest capacities of all washers on the market, which saves you time in the laundry room.
Things to consider before buying the best washing machines
Washing machines come with a ton of variable features. Reversible doors, high-efficiency water usage, number of cycles, self-cleaning modes, and steam options. And, while the price is always a consideration, if you are simply looking for a washer to meet your laundry needs without worrying about the impact on your wallet, there are at least four items you’ll want to look for.
Front-load vs. top-load
More washing machines than ever before are offered as front-loading machines. Top-loaders are still out there and popular, but consumers are getting tired of leaning over and digging in the washer for that one wet sock at the bottom. The differences between the two are very present. Top-load washing machines are less energy efficient than front-loaders and deliver more wear and tear on textiles because of gravity and agitation. Front-load machines have a longer cycle time and require a higher level of maintenance. However, they are kinder to your clothes and more eco-friendly.
By default, top-load washers aren’t stackable. How would you open the lid? However, many front-load washers are stackable when paired with applicable dryers. This is a great way to save space in your laundry area. Plus, washer and dryer sets are connected in more ways than one. Some have central control panels, and some have connectivity between washer and dryer. Between saving space and your washer automatically telling your dryer the details of the incoming load, a stackable washer is a viable option.
If it’s not stainless steel, then you should probably keep looking unless your budget demands a cheaper material prone to rust. Stainless steel drums last longer, are easier to maintain and clean, and are sturdy and reliable.
Modern washing machines are full of neat technology, from WiFi connectivity and commands through your smart-home speakers to specific apps that send notifications to your phone and AI-enabled sensors that detect what type of laundry you are washing. Do you need a notification on your phone telling you your laundry is done? Probably not. But it’s available, and people love their smart home appliances. It does tend to jack up the price, especially the AI sensors, but the connectivity is sometimes worth it.
Q: How do I keep my washing machine clean?
Check your owner’s manual for information on high-temperature cleaning cycles and how often to run them. Generally, you should run the cleaning cycle at least once a month. In between, you can prevent mold growth by leaving the door open after running to allow moisture to dry. You can also clean the gasket around the door with a towel when you are done with laundry for the day.
Q: What size washing machine should I buy?
Most washing machines come in around the four cubic foot range, and that suffices for many families and washing needs. However, it’s all dependent on your personal needs. Some washers are compact and only hold a few cubic feet, while high-capacity washers can hold up to five cubic feet of laundry.
Q: What’s the most reliable washing machine brand?
All the brands on this list (and many of the brands not on this list) have been constructing reliable washing machines for many decades. All customers have their own brand preference, but no matter what brand you choose, choose one that offers a solid warranty because the more technology in a washer, the higher chance something will go wrong.
Final thoughts on the best washing machines
Shopping for appliances, especially washers and dryers, is easy. There are so many available that it really comes down to what features you want inside your washer or dryer. Washers, specifically, still offer a bigger physical decision regarding top-load or front-load. However, with stackable pairs saving customers money, the purchasing decision has a bit more strain. The washers on this list offer something for everyone, and each has their own individual features that help them stand out from the pack. No matter which washer you choose, you’ll be assured that your textiles will end up fresh and clean.
Why trust us
Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.
Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.