Clothing in a dryer.

Consumer Reports' tests continue to reveal that some laundry detergents clean only slightly better than water; some washers use lots of water yet leave clothes dirty and dingy; and some dryers have a tough time doing their job, too, taking longer than usual to completely dry a load.

Such unimpressive performance results in you throwing money down the drain.

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And a washer or dryer that doesn't stand the test of time will cost you, too. We now incorporate lab test results, predicted reliability, and owner satisfaction into one cohesive Overall Score for each washer and dryer we test to make it easier for you to make a well-informed buying decision. For a complete look at each model, see our washing machine ratings and dryer ratings.

Washing Machines

Some of the prices here are appealing, but you'll find far better choices in our washing machine ratings.

Front-Loading Washers
The Electrolux EFLW417SlW, $700, scores an Excellent in our washing performance test but is tough on fabrics and doesn't extract as much water as the other front-loaders we tested. That means the dryer runs longers, and it costs more to dry a load. The Electrolux EFL317TlW, $660, is also rough on fabrics. Among compact washers we tested, the Whirlpool WFW5090GW, $900, is the worst at cleaning, scoring only Fair. 

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High-Efficiency Top-Loading Washers 
The Samsung WA40J3000AW, $400, uses the most water of the dozens of HE top-loaders we tested, yet it still leaves stains on fabrics, scoring Fair in washing performance, as you'll see in our HE top-loader ratings.

Agitator Top-Loading Washers 
Most agitator top-loaders we test score a Good in our washing performance test, meaning they do a decent job cleaning, though they may have trouble with heavily stained items (pretreating will help).

The GE GTW330ASKWW, $450, and Fisher & Paykel WA3927G1, $800, however, score just Fair in washing performance. They left many of the stains on our test fabrics. So did the Roper RTW4516FW and the Amana NTW4516FW, despite using more water than a number of the other agitator machines. Both are $400, along with the Kenmore 20232. It scores a Good in washing, but uses more water than most and extracts less of it, so your dryer runs longer.  

It's not every day that a washer gets a Poor score in our washing performance test, but that's what happened with the Speed Queen TR7000WN, $1,000. Check out our Speed Queen TR7 review for more details, and see our agitator washer ratings for a look at all the models that have come through our lab.

Clothes Dryers

Any dryer will get the job done eventually. But a money-wasting dryer might take longer, use higher heat, or overdry laundry when you want clothes a bit damp.

All of this is harder on fabrics and uses more energy. The LG WM3997HWA, $1,600, and the Kenmore Elite 41002, $1,330, score a Poor in drying. Both are all-in-one washer/dryer machines. For more details, see An All-in-One Washer/Dryer Can Do it All, If You Give it Time and see our dryer ratings.

Laundry Detergents

With laundry detergents, you can waste money a couple of ways. Detergents that don't clean well might require you to redo a load. And if you don't measure the detergent, you might end up using more than you need.

These detergents were no match for common stains such as body oil, dirt, and grass. You'll find much better detergents in our laundry detergent ratings.

Among liquid detergents, Xtra ScentSations and Trader Joe’s Liquid Laundry HE detergent clean only slightly better than plain water. You can also skip Xtra Plus OxiClean and Sun Triple Clean