LG and Samsung are fierce competitors in the laundry appliance arena. Both manufacturers have introduced innovative features in recent years, along with bigger and bigger capacities. And as CES, the annual consumer electronics show, gears up in Las Vegas, expect Samsung’s new FlexWash 2-in-1 washing machine (shown above left) to grab attention, with the inevitable comparison to LG’s SideKick.

LG’s SideKick debuted at CES in 2015. This mini top-loading washer is in a drawer in a pedestal that can be installed below any LG front-loader made since 2009. You can run the large and small washers at the same time using different settings.

Samsung has taken a different approach to multitasking washing. The FlexWash front-loader is two washers in one. On the bottom is a large capacity front-loader. But open the see-though lid on top and there’s a small top-loading washer. “The design is innovative and integrated—eliminating the pullout drawer design that LG uses. And Samsung has added a dual dryer, too,” says Emilio Gonzalez, the engineer who oversees Consumer Reports' tests of laundry appliances.

In addition to the FlexWash front-loader, Samsung is introducing a matching electric dryer called FlexDry (above right). The large-capacity dryer handles the big loads, and above, there’s a small compartment for drying a few delicate items. There’s no tumbling, just lay the clothes flat to dry. Samsung says this special zone automatically adjusts the heat between room temperature and 95° F, depending on the setting selected. 

LG Won't Be Outdone
LG will showcase the SideKick mini-washer again at CES. This time LG is pairing it with LG dryers. Why? Let’s say you want an LG high-efficiency top-loader instead of a front-loader, but you also want the SideKick. Sadly you can’t have both. Installing the mini-washer under the top-loader would raise it too high, making loading and unloading difficult, and maybe impossible. So LG says the SideKick mini-washer can now be installed under any 2017 LG front-control dryer. The dryer’s height, however, will increase by 14 inches or so, towering over the top-loading washer next to it. So much for a matching set. 

We tested LG's SideKick when it first came out, and we’ll test Samsung’s FlexWash and FlexDry as soon as we can buy them online or in stores, and then post our test results. Until then, here’s a look at both:

Shopping for a washing machine? 
Our buying guide is a good place to start. Then check our washing machine ratings to compare front-loaders, top-loaders, and even compact models.

Samsung FlexWash

Claimed capacity: 1 cubic foot. The front-loader below is 5 cubic feet.
Pros: Convenience, flexibility, and speed. Use the two washers at once, or the smaller one for quickly washing a few items. Both use just one water line for hot and one water line for cold. Because the smaller washer and dryer are on top of the bigger machines, they’re easy to load and unload. And you can start, stop, and monitor cycles using the Samsung Smart Home app and your smartphone.
The machines can’t be stacked.
Cost: Not yet available.
Performance: We're looking forward to testing this new design when it becomes available and letting you know what we find.

LG SideKick

LG SideKick is one of the new small washers.

Claimed capacity: 1 cubic foot
Pros: Convenience, flexibility, and speed. It has six cycles and can be paired with any LG front-loader made from 2009 on. Together they're known as TwinWash, and both washers rely on the same water supply. SideKick can now also be paired with 2017 LG front-control dryers. 
Pricey, and requires some bending when unloading. This little top-loading washer, without an agitator, used about 12 gallons of water to wash our 2-pound load. By comparison, the most efficient washing machines in our latest tests used less than 10 gallons to wash an 8-pound load. And you can't stack an LG dryer atop an LG front-loader if the Sidekick pedestal washer is below. 
Cost: $500 to $700.
Performance: It doesn’t deliver the cleaning power of a front-loader, based on our tests of 2- and 4-pound loads, but took only 40 minutes using the normal cycle. It’s meant for lightly soiled items.