Best Eco-Friendly Washing Machines From Consumer Reports' Tests

Our Green Choice designation will help you find a washer that's easier on the environment

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A person adding a load of laundry to a front-loading washing machine Photo: Getty Images

When shopping for a new washing machine, of course, you want a washer that gets your clothes clean. But what if you could invest in a washing machine that helps keep the environment clean, too? Consumer Reports’ Green Choice designation reveals the most eco-friendly washers from our tests. They’re marked by a green leaf icon in our washing machine ratings.

Washing machines continue to evolve—they’re gentler on clothes and more efficient than ever, and they use 70 percent less energy than they did in 1990, according to the Department of Energy.

Still, some are greener than others.

More on Washing Machines

“Green Choice quickly identifies models that use less water and energy, and that possibly require fewer repair parts, and are gentle on the washed fabrics,” says Jim Nanni, CR associate director and appliance testing team leader.

It’s a snapshot of an appliance’s environmental impact during its useful life, so to speak.

And it’s a part of a bigger picture: “Sustainability is about minimizing the impact on the environment for any product from cradle to grave—all that is required to make it, use it, and dispose of it,” Nanni says.

What Makes a Washing Machine a Green Choice?

CR’s Green Choice icon distinguishes eco-friendly washers from the rest in CR’s ratings—based on water and energy use, reliability, and gentleness on fabrics.

Models must earn top scores in four key environmental assessments. 

  • Water efficiency: We gauge a washer’s total water consumption (hot and cold), per pound of laundry. The most water-efficient models in our ratings use an average of 10 gallons of water, 75 percent less than older models.
  • Energy efficiency: We calculate how much electricity is needed to run a washer, heat the water it uses, and dry clothes post-wash. Washers that extract more water while spinning the clothes require less energy during a tumble dry cycle, earning a higher score. 
  • Brand reliability: Based on information from surveys of CR members who purchased a new machine over the past 10 years, this rating estimates the likelihood that a particular brand and type of washer will break or experience problems within the first five years of ownership. Washing machines that are less likely to break will likely need fewer repairs and may stay in use longer. This is better for the environment because it reduces waste and the environmental impacts of manufacturing replacements; they make for better investments, too.
  • Gentleness: We measure how rough a machine is on washed fabrics. After all, the longer your clothes last, the less likely you are to have to replace them. Global clothing consumption has doubled over the past 15 years, with the proportion of hard-to-recycle synthetic polyester in clothing doubling since 2000. That has triggered microplastic pollution and waste that can harm marine microsystems and expose humans to fish and shellfish that have been contaminated by ingesting these potential toxins. And that’s not counting materials and carbon emissions used to make and replace clothes.

Only washers that score within the top tier for the above criteria earn our Green Choice designation. Of the 120 washing machines currently in our ratings, 28 earn Green Choice status.

Nearly all washers earmarked for Green Choice are front-loaders—17 full-sized and nine compact models. Two are HE top-load models.

CR members can read on for ratings and reviews of some of the most eco-friendly washers from our tests. For more information on washers, see our washer buying guide. And for a look at all the washers we test, see our washing machine ratings.

Best Eco-Friendly Front-Loaders

Of the 17 front-loading washers that earn the Green Choice designation, here are six stellar options from Electrolux, Kenmore, LG, and Samsung.

Best Eco-Friendly Compact Front-Loaders

Nine compact front-loaders carry a Green Choice designation. Here are two top contenders from Miele and Samsung.

Best Eco-Friendly HE Top-Load Washers

Only two washing machines in CR’s ratings earn the Green Choice designation. Both are made by LG.

BW Headshot of Consumer Reports author Keith Flamer

Keith Flamer

As a kid in Delaware, I lived a few blocks from Bob Marley, who once said, "It is better to live on the house top than to live in a house full of confusion." At CR, I'm psyched to help readers navigate this cluttered, hyper-commercialized world we live in. I've covered luxury real estate, interior design, and culture—reporting on everything from smart home technology to racial hypocrisy at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello estate. Since the pandemic started, I cherish simplicity, covering accessible topics like decorating, cooking, and cleaning. Give me a smoothie blender over a mansion any day. Blenders are slightly easier to clean.