The best washers for $800 or less

The best washers for $800 or less

These workhorses of the laundry room handle loads for less

Last updated: March 07, 2016 08:00 AM

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How much should you spend on a washer? You don’t have to pay $1,500 to get a washer that cleans well. Expensive washers offer a jumbo capacity and extra features, but if you don’t need to wash 26 pounds of laundry in one load and using your phone to check your laundry’s progress from Starbucks isn’t a priority, then take a look at these washers from Consumer Reports’ tests. They get the job done and cost $800 or less.

Kenmore 28132

High-efficiency top-loaders

The HE top-loaders scoring very good in capacity can hold about 20 to 24 pounds of laundry; those scoring excellent hold around 25 pounds or more. Compared to agitator washers HE top-loaders typically clean better, use less water, and spin at higher speeds so more water is extracted and dryer time is shortened. But the high-speed spin can tangle and wrinkle clothing and normal wash time using the heavy-soil setting is usually 65 to 80 minutes. Shave about 15 to 20 minutes off by using the normal wash on normal-soil setting. It’s also known as the medium-soil or mid-soil setting.

Consider: Kenmore 28132, $750, Kenmore 26132, $750, Kenmore 27132, $700, Kenmore 29132, $800, Maytag Bravos MVWB835DW, $680, and the Samsung WA48J7700AW, $650. They have large capacities—a few have jumbo—were impressive at cleaning, and are relatively quiet as you’ll see in our washing machine Ratings. But like most top-loaders most weren't so gentle on fabrics.

Tip: Your laundry will tangle less if you wash similar items together and rather than dump everything into the machine at once, add a few items at a time and unbunch sleeves, pant legs, and socks. Before you put them in the dryer shake them out.

LG WM3570HVA

Front-loaders

The best we tested typically clean better than the best HE top-loaders and use less water. The models called out below scored very good in capacity and can hold about 20 to 24 pounds of laundry. Wash times range from 65 to 100 minutes using heavy-soil setting, so use the normal-soil setting and save about 15 minutes. Front-loaders spin even faster than HE top-loaders, usually extracting more water and reducing dryer time. 

Consider: LG WM3170CW, $720, Maytag Maxima MHW5100DW, $750, Samsung WF45H6300AG, $800, LG WM3570HVA, $800, and Samsung WF42H5600AW, $720, and Samsung WF42H5000AW, $720. 

Tip: A front-loader's high spin speeds might vibrate too much for the machine to be placed near a bedroom or family room, but keep in mind that concrete floors can absorb vibrations well, unlike wood-framed floors. You'll see vibration scores in our Ratings. 

More choices

Our washing machine Ratings give you all the details. We rate wash performance, energy- and water efficiency, capacity, gentleness, noise, vibration, and cycle time (normal wash on heavy-soil setting) and let you know if there's a matching dryer. Use our buying guide to compare washer types and features and if you have questions, email me at kjaneway@consumer.org.

Kimberly Janeway 

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