Washing machines have gotten very fancy (and very pricey) in the last few years, and shopping for your perfect match can be overwhelming. Enter the Good Housekeeping Institute Home Appliances and Cleaning Products Lab experts, who have decades of testing under their belts and know the best models to consider in 2019.
Overall, the best washing machines to buy right now are:
Top Lab Pick: Samsung Flex Wash Washing Machine
Best Value: 4.2 cu. ft. High-Efficiency White Top Load Washing Machine with Stainless Steel Tub
Best Top Load: Maytag Washing Machine with Deep Fill Option and PowerWash
Best Compact: Miele TwinDos Washing Machine
Best for PODS Users: Electrolux Front Load Perfect Steam Washing Machine
Best for Allergy Sufferers: LG TWINWash Washing Machine System with LG Sidekick
Coolest Features: Samsung AddWash Washing Machine
Sleekest Design: LG Ultra Large Capacity Washing Machine
The first decision you’ll have to make is whether you want a front- or top-loading machine. In Good Housekeeping Institute tests, both types clean so well you’ll likely not notice a difference, though with the instruments we use to evaluate stains and fraying or gentleness we have found front loaders to have a slight edge. Which you choose is really a matter of personal preference.
A front-loading washing machine is the most energy efficient way to go because it uses the least amount of water in each load. Clothes get cleaned when they tumble in a small pool of water that’s added by the machine once it senses the weight and type of load. Front loaders can easily handle big, bulky items, like comforters and sleeping bags, but do require bending to load and unload the tub. Most manufacturers sell pedestal drawers to raise the appliances up off the floor and save some strain on your back. If space is tight, a front load washer can be stacked with its matching dryer and placed in a closet, bathroom or any narrow area where water, electrical connections and venting are available. Keep in mind that water often puddles in the door gasket, dispensers and even the drum itself at the end of the cycle and can lead to mold growth and odors. If you choose a front loader, you’ll need to be diligent about cleaning the gasket and dispenser and leaving the door ajar so the drum dries out and odors don’t develop.
A top-loading washing machine is a good choice if you like a more traditional configuration. Newer high-efficiency models provide excellent cleaning, have huge tubs for extra-large loads, and are still very energy efficient even though they use a bit more water than front loaders. They can come with or without center agitators and get clothes cleaned by bouncing and moving them through a shower or small pool of water. Because the water in top-loaders drains down and out, they are less likely to develop mold and odors than front-loaders are and that's the reason many consumers prefer them. However, like with all machines, it’s a good idea to clean the tub and dispensers about once per month. The most basic top-loaders fill with water, like a bath. Because they use the most water of any machine design, they are the least energy efficient. The agitator draws clothing through the water to clean it, which can make them a little less gentle on fabrics. These are usually the least expensive machines with the smallest tub capacities.
Like we said, new washers can be expensive. So here are some tips to save money when buying a new machine:
Consider buying white. Platinum, graphite, and other designer colors are beautiful, but can add $100 or more to the cost of the machine.
Shop holiday sales. Washing machines and other appliances usually go on sale around holidays and always on Black Friday.
Stick to basics. Cycles and features, like Wi-Fi connectivity and steam, are nice to have but aren’t necessary if you are on a budget. Mid-range models often clean as well as as top-of-the line ones, but without all the frills.
How we test washing machines:
The Home Appliances and Cleaning Products Lab evaluates washing machines for how well they clean and remove stains, how much energy and water they consume, and how gentle they are on fabric. We also note specialty cycles like bulky bedding and quick wash, whether there's a sanitizing cleaning cycle, and we confirm whether or not it is NSF certified. We also test for ease-of-use. This includes evaluating the model’s control panel for intuitiveness, how responsive it is, how easy it is to open and close the door and how easy it is to load your laundry into the machine.
Read on for more details about our best washing machines for 2019, and complete your set by shopping our best dryers for 2019:
This double-duty machine offers flexibility thanks to two separately controlled washers in the same unit. The bottom is built for extra-large loads and has super-cleaning cycle options, which include sanitizing and steam settings. You even have the ability to add up to five rinses onto a cycle to remove every bit of detergent from larger items like a bulky down comforter or jacket. The smaller upper washer is made for delicates, items prone to bleeding, or single items like that dirty blouse you want to wear tonight. Cashmere sweaters we washed to help our Textiles Lab came out clean and without damage. In our past testing, we found that Samsung washers exhibit excellent cleaning and fabric care performance.
This classic top-loader with an agitator is super-straightforward to use. We’re impressed that at this price it offers options like an up to two-hour automatic presoak, deep fill and rinse for more customized water levels, has very good capacity and is Energy Star Qualified. In our tests, GE's washing skills rival more expensive machines.
This washer has a traditional center agitator, but is still so huge inside you’ll never notice any compromise in capacity. It’s a cinch to use because the control panel is clear, easy to decipher and super responsive to the touch. The PowerWash cycle boosts cleaning for extra dirty loads and RapidWash trims wash time to under 30 minutes for items you need in a hurry. A down-filled coat that we washed on the bedding cycle came out thoroughly clean, rinsed, and free of suds. While it’s energy-saving and efficient, you can add more water if you’d like to with the Deep Fill option.
This mighty mini is a Good Housekeeping Seal holder for good reason. Its deceptively large interior and space-saving exterior make it the perfect choice to install in small homes, apartments, or as second-floor laundry in a closet or bathroom. Most unique is its TwinDos system that automatically dispenses the correct amount of detergent and enhancer for top cleaning of both whites and colors. There are tons of special cycles to choose from, including QuickIntenseWash which in our tests whitened cotton test swatches and impressively removed tough stains in under one hour.
This washer works by pre-mixing the detergent with water before dispensing it into the machine. This way it’s already dissolved by the time it reaches your clothes so it cleans fast and thoroughly. Smart! And in the “why didn’t someone think of this sooner” category, it features a dispenser drawer that accommodates single-dose detergent packs. So instead of tossing it in the drum only to find that it didn’t dissolve (or worse, stained your fabrics) at the end of the cycle, the water dissolves the pack before it goes into the tub. We found it left little water in the load so it spends less time in the dryer and gave us good cleaning results even on the quickest cycle.
With its mega-capacity washer sitting atop a 1.0 cu. ft. pedestal washer, there’s no load this giant combo team can’t handle and it’s super easy to load. Use the top washer for your everyday and oversized loads and the mini one below for just a few items that need special care or that you need in a hurry. It features steam, works with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa or an app on your phone and is certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America to sanitize and remove sniffle-causing allergens from fabrics. While the pedestal washer is perfect for delicates, we found the top machine gentle on fabrics, too.
The most innovative feature of the Samsung AddWash is the mini door on top that lets you add a stray sock or t-shirt after the machine starts. The feature also gets rid of the problem of messy water drips that happen when you open the main door mid-cycle.
Buttons usually get banished to the back panel on top loaders, but they're front and center on this model. This is a smart design for the shorter folks among us thanks to a smaller, folding lid that doesn't require you to stretch to close it. It aced our cleaning tests on the normal cycle and its normal and quick cycles were the speediest of the ones we evaluated.