Washing machines

What's behind our washing machine Ratings?

Experts at our National Testing and Research Center tested 162 models in washing machines to see which ones perform best.
We look for:
  • Overall score
    This score is based primarily on washing ability, efficiency, capacity, and noise. The displayed score is out of a total of 100 points.
  • Washing performance
    This reflects the degree of color change to swatches of fabric that were included in an 8-pound and maximum capacity test load of mixed cotton items using the machines' most aggressive normal cycle. (We do not use special cycle or option buttons.)
  • Energy efficiency
    This score is based on the energy needed to heat the water for 8-pound and maximum loads using a warm wash and cold rinse. We consider both gas and electric water heaters, and include electricity needed to run the washer and energy needed for drying. Washers that extract more water are scored higher.
  • Water efficiency
    This score denotes how much water it took to wash our 8-pound load and each machine's maximum load. On models that didn't set the fill level automatically, we used the lowest fill setting that sufficed for the 8-pound load. We then calculated water used per pound of clothing.
  • Capacity
    For top-loaders, Capacity is based on how well the washer agitates increasingly large loads. For front-loaders, the score is based on our judgment of the maximum sized load that the washer holds.
  • Gentleness
    Models that earned lower scores for gentleness are more likely to treat your clothes roughly, causing wear and tear.
  • Noise
    This reflects judgments by panelists during the fill, agitate, and spin cycles.
  • Vibration
    Reflects usage on a suspended wooden floor.
  • Cycle time
    Our measurements of the time, rounded to the nearest five minutes, to complete the most aggressive normal cycle with our 8 lb. load. (We do not use special cycle or option buttons.)



Discuss products and safety with subscribers and fans.

Washing machine user reviews

Share your reviews and provide valuable feedback to other members and our testers.

Follow Consumer Reports

Recommended washing machines

Recommended washing machines are standout choices with high scores. They include CR Best Buys, which offer exceptional value. When narrowing your choices, weigh features, price, and attributes that matter to you.
  • Buying Guide
  • Ratings
Washing machines have become more efficient in the last 10 years. But some new washing machines are having a tough time meeting updated federal energy rules without sacrificing cleaning. If you're looking for information about washing machines, Consumer Reports is your best resource. Consumer Reports’ washing machine reviews will give you honest buying advice that you can trust. Use our washing machine buying guide to discover which features are most important to consider. We also provide unbiased Ratings and washing machine reviews to help you choose the best washing machine for your needs.

Recently reviewed washing machines

This GE Front-loader washing machine has
• Auto temp. control
• Auto detergent dispenser
• Auto fabric softener dispenser
• End of cycle signal
• Rotary dial
• Stainless-steel tub
• Stackable
• Manufacturer recommends low-sudsing detergent.
• Comes with a 1 year warranty.

Washing machine buying guide

Consumer Reports continues to find huge differences in performance among the washing machines we test. Some models were mediocre or worse at washing, some were capable and efficient. Capacities of front-loaders and high-efficiency (HE) top-loaders continue to increase, with some models handling up to 28 pounds of laundry.

Improvements include mid-wash soaking and more aggressive agitation. You'll also find more programmable wash menus and even built-in USB ports that allow for future software upgrades. Here's how to choose the right washing machine for you.

Consider location. Look at washers that score very good or better in our Ratings for noise and vibration if your laundry room is near bedrooms or the family room. Also pick models that let you silence end-of-cycle signals.

Consider size. While most washers are 27 inches wide, some add an extra two or three inches. Pair a wider washer with its matching dryer and you'll need up to six more inches in width to fit the pair.

Top- or front-loader? Top-loaders with center-post agitators typically cost less and wash the fastest, but performance is unimpressive. High-efficiency top-loaders hold more laundry, use less water to wash, and extract more of it. That cuts drying time, saving energy and money. Front-loaders generally use the least water and spin the fastest, resulting in the most savings. But with front-loaders and HE top-loaders you may have to make a few changes in the way you do laundry.

Know which features add convenience. Electronic controls let you quickly choose cycles and keep an eye on the remaining cycle time and status. Automatic detergent, bleach, and softener dispensers release the powder or liquid at the right time in the cycle. A stainless-steel or plastic tub won't rust if chipped, unlike a porcelain one. Steam settings on washers only slightly improve stain cleaning, however.

Getting started   |   Types   |   Features   |   Brands

Appliances News

left arrow right arrow
See also:
269 rated down arrow
See buying guide down arrow