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Best Washers for $800 or Less

These workhorses of the laundry room handle loads for less

How much should you spend on a washer? You don’t have to pay $1,000 or more to get a washer that cleans well. Consumer Reports' tests found impressive washers that get the job done and cost $800 or less.

"These washers not only clean well, they're also water and energy efficient, even the agitator top-loaders," says Richard Handel, the test engineer who oversees CR's tests of laundry appliances.

So what's the catch? Most aren't gentle on fabrics and some are quite noisy.

How We Test Washers

Every day is wash day in our laundry appliance lab. There are more than 120 full-sized washers and over a dozen compact washers in our washing machine ratings

To find out how well each washer cleans, CR test engineers launder swatches of fabric stained with red wine, cocoa, and carbon, which is similar to soot, among other stains. They're meant to challenge the washer, so we can see real differences between machines.

A Load of Brands

There are more than 120 full-size washers in our washing machine ratings from over a dozen brands. We buy and test washers from such long-familiar brands as Amana, Electrolux, Frigidaire, GE, Hotpoint, Kenmore, Maytag, and Whirlpool, and lesser known ones, such as Fisher & Paykel.

More on Washers

LG and Samsung often lead the pack with innovative features, so our engineers examine these new additions to see if they solve a true laundry woe. Speed Queen, which is big in the commercial laundry appliance market, takes a different approach and promises longevity.

All washer types have their advantages and drawbacks, so read our washer buying guide to help you choose. And to make it easier for you to make a well-informed buying decision, we now incorporate lab test results, predicted reliability, and owner satisfaction into one Overall Score as you'll see in our washing machine ratings (dryers, too).

Read on for ratings and reviews of the best agitator, HE top loader, and front-loader washing machines you can buy for $800 or less that performed well in Consumer Reports' tests.

Best HE Top-Loaders for $800 or Less

LG pulled ahead as the most reliable brand among HE top-loaders (the type without an agitator). It's the only brand to get an Excellent for predicted reliability, and the only one of the seven brands analyzed in our survey to merit a Very Good for owner satisfaction. Both of the HE top-loaders highlighted here made our recommended list. 

Overall Score: 76 out of 100
CR's take: Claimed capacity is 5 cubic feet, which is large enough to fit a king-size comforter (our tests found that any washer with a capacity over 4.5 cubic feet can fit one). The LG garners a Very Good rating in our washing performance tests, meaning it removes many of the tough stains from our fabric swatches.

It also rates a Very Good in our noise tests, so while you'll know that it's working, it shouldn't disturb you. Our tests found vibration isn't a problem, and when it comes to efficiency, the LG earns an Excellent rating in water efficiency and a Very Good rating in energy efficiency. This tells you that this washer extracts a lot of water, so dryer time is shorter.

Many HE top-loaders aren't so gentle on fabrics, including this LG, which only earns a Fair rating in our gentleness tests. Cycle time is 80 minutes using the normal wash, heavy-soil setting. Use the normal-soil setting when you can and your wash will be done a bit sooner.

Kenmore Elite 31552
Overall Score: 75
CR's take: With a claimed capacity of 5.2 cubic feet, you'll be able to do large loads of laundry, a timesaver given that the wash time is 75 minutes using the normal wash, heavy-soil setting. This washer earns a Very Good rating in our washing performance tests, an Excellent in water efficiency, and a Very Good in energy efficiency (when less water is used and more of it is extracted, dryer time is shorter).

This HE top-loader rates Excellent in our vibration tests, so vibration isn't an issue, and it runs fairly quietly. 

Like many HE top-loaders, the Kenmore only earns a Good rating in our gentleness tests, so don't expect it to be gentle on your fabrics. 

Some other high-scoring models for $800 or less: LG WT1901CK, $800; LG WT1150CW, $630; LG WT1501CW, $600; Kenmore Elite 31433, $800; Maytag MVWB835DW, $740. Some make our recommended list, so see our washer ratings for more details and other options in this price range. 

Washing machines in Our Ratings.
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Recently Tested Washing machines

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