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What's behind our washing machine Ratings?

Experts at our National Testing and Research Center tested 145 models in washing machines to see which ones perform best.
We look for:
  • Overall score
    This score is based primarily on washing ability, efficiency, 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 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 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. 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.
  • 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.
  • Claimed capacity
    Capacity as claimed by the manufacturer.
  • 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.)
  • Height
    The exterior height of the washer, rounded up to the nearest inch. If the washer has a lid, the measurement is performed with the lid closed.
  • Width
    The exterior width of the washer, rounded up to the nearest inch.
  • Depth
    The exterior depth of the washer, rounded up to the nearest inch. If the washer has a door in the front, the measurement is performed with the door closed. Be sure to allow a few extra inches of clearance in the rear for hoses and connections.


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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
  • Price & Shop
Our tests of high-efficiency top-loaders, agitator top-loaders, and front-loaders have found big performance differences. Some were mediocre or worse at washing, tough on fabrics, or noisy. We also test cycle time, water and energy efficiency, vibration, and capacity. Capacities of front-loaders and high-efficiency top-loaders keep increasing, with some washers handling up to 28 pounds of laundry, allowing you to do more laundry at one time. Recommended washers are the top scoring in their category and do not have brand reliability issues based on our survey of thousands of readers. Consumer Reports gives you honest buying advice you can trust and provides unbiased ratings and reviews to help you choose the best washing machine for your needs and budget.

Recently reviewed washing machines

This is an LG combination washer/dryer.  As a washer it offers:
• Auto temp. control
• Auto detergent dispenser
• Auto fabric softener dispenser
• End of cycle signal
• Rotary dial
• Push button
• Stainless-steel tub
• Stackable
• Manufacturer recommends low-sudsing detergent.
• Comes with a 1 year warranty.

Washing machine buying guide

Tougher federal standards kicked in, requiring all washers made after March 6, 2015 to use even less water and energy. That means the newest Energy Star-qualified washing machines will use 25 percent less energy and 40 percent less water than washers not carrying the Energy Star, according to Energy Star. Our Ratings reveal big differences in water and energy efficiency and performance. Some washers were mediocre or worse at washing, tough on fabrics, or noisy. Here's how to find the right washing machine for you.

Top or front-loader? Top-loaders with center-post agitators typically cost less and wash the fastest, but performance is often unimpressive. High-efficiency top-loaders hold more laundry, use less water, 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.

Size things up. Capacities of front-loaders and high-efficiency (HE) top-loaders keep increasing, with some washers handling up to 28 pounds of laundry. While most washers are 27 inches wide, some with large or jumbo capacities add an extra two or three inches. Pair a wider washer with its matching dryer and you'll need six more inches to fit the pair. So check the space you have to work with and the width of the doors to your home and laundry room. You'll see each machine's dimensions on the Ratings model page and in the Features & Specs tab in the ratings. Note that a washer needs to hold about 25 pounds of laundry or more to earn an excellent capacity score in our Ratings. Most families can get by with a machine that's rated very good or even good in capacity. Very good indicates that the washer fit about 20 to 24 pounds of our laundry. A good score means the washer held about 15 to 19 pounds.

Consider noise. 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 washers that let you silence end-of-cycle signals. We note the features of each washer.

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