Experts at our National Testing and Research Center tested 146 models in washing machines to see which ones perform best.
We look for:
This score is based primarily on washing ability, efficiency, capacity, and noise. The displayed score is out of a total of 100 points.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
Models that earned lower scores for gentleness are more likely to treat your clothes roughly, causing wear and tear.
This reflects judgments by panelists during the fill, agitate, and spin cycles.
Reflects usage on a suspended wooden floor.
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.)
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.
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.
Ratings & recommended washing machines
Front-loading washing machines (75)
Great washing isn't a given, so check our washing-performance scores. More-efficient washers also extract more water from each load, shortening drying time. That saves energy and money. The higher the capacity, the fewer loads you'll need to do. And the shorter the cycle time, the greater chance you can finish multiple loads in a day. If your laundry is on a floor above main living space, say the second floor in a two-story home, or near the main living areas, pay particular attention to our vibration scores.
Some users of front-loading washers have experienced mold or mildew problems from water remaining in the door seal. Check the owner's manual for guidance and if kids aren't running about, leave the washer door open after each load, allowing air to circulate, and wipe dry the door gasket and glass. Some manufacturers suggest regularly running an empty load with bleach added. If you do, run another load after that to rinse out any residual bleach. Our Ratings rank washers, within types, by overall score. Our Ratings rank washers, within types, by overall score. Recommended front-loading washing machines Front-loading washing machine Ratings
Top-loading washing machines (71)
Great washing isn't a given, so check our washing-performance scores. More-efficient washers also extract more water from each load, shortening drying time. That saves energy and money. The higher the capacity, the fewer loads you'll need to do. And the shorter the cycle time, the greater chance you can finish multiple loads in a day. If your laundry is on a floor above main living space, say the second floor in a two-story home, or near the main living areas, pay particular attention to the vibration scores.
This Kenmore Front-loader washing machine has
• Auto temp. control
• Auto detergent dispenser
• Auto fabric softener dispenser
• End of cycle signal
• Rotary dial
• Push button
• Stainless-steel tub
• Manufacturer recommends low-sudsing detergent.
• Comes with a 1 year warranty.
Consumer Reports continues to find huge differences in performance among the washing machines we test. Some of the models we've reviewed earned mediocre scores or worse for washing. Fortunately, our tests also revealed washers that are both capable and efficient.
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 for machines 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.
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 water. That cuts drying time, saving energy and money. Front-loaders generally use the least water and spin the fastest, resulting in the most savings.
Know which features add convenience. Touchpad 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.