A Consumer Reports' tester takes a close look at one of the best washing machines of 2020 in CR's tests.
Rich Handel, who oversees CR’s laundry appliance tests, checks the cycles and settings of washers in CR’s lab before testing. The screen behind him will...

For most of us, doing laundry is a chore. But for Consumer Reports’ testers, it’s a mission. Our laundry lab hums year-round as the testers work to determine the best models 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.”

Other time-savers include two-in-one machines that allow you to wash two loads at once.

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

MORE ON LAUNDRY APPLIANCES

A washer that doesn’t stand the test of time is no winner—no matter its cleaning capabilities. So we incorporate survey data for predicted reliability and owner satisfaction into an Overall Score for each model in our washer ratings (dryers, too). 

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, Electrolux, Frigidaire, GE, Hotpoint, Kenmore, Maytag, LG, Samsung, and Whirlpool, and lesser known ones like Fisher & Paykel and Miele.

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 choices.

Best Agitator Top-Load Washers

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Washing performance
Gentleness
Water efficiency

2

Washing performance
Gentleness
Water efficiency
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Best High-Efficiency (HE) Top-Load Washers

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Washing performance
Gentleness
Water efficiency

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Washing performance
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Best Front-Load Washers

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Washing performance
Gentleness
Water efficiency

2

Washing performance
Gentleness
Water efficiency
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Best Compact Front-Load Washers

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Washing performance
Gentleness
Water efficiency

2

Washing performance
Gentleness
Water efficiency
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