Best Washing Machines of 2021

Top-performing top-loaders, front-loaders, and compact washers

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Parent with child in laundry basket in laundry room. Photo: Getty Images

For most of us, doing laundry is a chore. But for Consumer Reports’ test engineers, it’s a mission.

Cycle after cycle, they work to determine the best washing machines for every budget and look for innovative features that make doing laundry easier. And faster.

“Research shows that consumers say doing laundry takes too much time,” says Mark Allwood, Consumer Reports’ senior market analyst for laundry products. “Manufacturers have been trying to address this problem with machines that have bigger capacities, speed cycles, or built-in pretreat features.”

In addition to cataloging all of that—and much more—CR’s test engineers launder swatches of fabric stained with red wine and cocoa, among other stains, to see how well each machine cleans.

And no matter its cleaning capability, a washer that doesn’t stand the test of time is no winner. So we incorporate survey data for predicted reliability and owner satisfaction into our washer ratings (dryers, too).

MORE ON LAUNDRY APPLIANCES

We test full-sized agitator top-loaders, HE top-loaders (the type without an agitator), and front-loaders, including compact front-loaders. They’re from familiar brands such as Amana, Frigidaire, GE, Hotpoint, LG, Maytag, and Whirlpool, and lesser-known ones like Fisher & Paykel and Miele.

CR's Green Choice program helps you identify the most eco-friendly washers in our ratings. Signified by a green leaf icon, the initial 25 Green Choice washers (all front-loaders or compacts) earn superior marks for water efficiency, energy efficiency, brand reliability, and gentleness on washed fabrics.

For more on our Green Choice initiative for the washers we test, read "How to Make a Greener Choice for Your Laundry Room." And for further details on washers that earn the Green Choice designation, check out the best eco-friendly washing machines from Consumer Reports' tests.

CR members can read on for ratings and reviews of the best washers for each type from Electrolux, GE, Kenmore, LG, Maytag, Miele, Samsung, and Speed Queen. See our washer buying guide for a broader look at each type and our washing machine ratings for even more options, including Earth-friendly Green Choice models.

Best Agitator Top-Load Washers

Best High-Efficiency (HE) Top-Load Washers

Best Front-Load Washers

Best Compact Front-Load Washers


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.