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: November 01, 2016 12:30 PM

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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.

High-efficiency top-loaders

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 60 to 80 minutes. Save time by using the normal wash on normal-soil setting. It’s also known as the medium-soil or mid-soil setting.

Consider:  LG WT1701CV, $700, LG WT7600HWA, $800, Kenmore 28132, $750, Kenmore 26132, $750, Kenmore 27132, $700, Kenmore 29132, $800, Maytag Bravos MVWB835DW, $680, Whirlpool Cabrio WTW8000DW, $700, and the LG WT5270CW, $580. They have large capacities, were impressive at cleaning, and most are relatively quiet as you’ll see in our washing machine ratings. But like most top-loaders they 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. Shake them out before you put in the dryer, and if you're not sure an HE top-loader is for you, see this story

Front-loaders

The best we tested typically clean better than the best HE top-loaders and use less water. Most are gentle on fabrics. Wash times range from 70 to 110 minutes using heavy-soil setting, so use the normal-soil setting to save time. Front-loaders spin even faster than HE top-loaders, usually extracting more water and reducing dryer time. Some of these models are relatively quiet. 

Consider: Maytag Maxima MHW5500FW, $750, LG WM3170CW, $720, Maytag MHW3505FW, $600, Whirlpool Duet WFW87HEDW, $650, Whirlpool WFW75HEFW, $600, and the Samsung WF42H5600AW, $720. You'll see other washers for $800 or less in our ratings

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

If what you really want is an agitator top-loader, the Maytag MVWC416FW scored high enough, for its washer type, to make our recommended list and it's around $400. Our washing machine ratings give you all the details. We rate wash performance, energy- and water efficiency, 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 learn about features.

Kimberly Janeway 

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