Although laundry day is nobody’s favorite day of the week, dirty clothes won’t wait. Luckily, technology has improved the process to get clothes cleaner with less effort.
Front-loading washers, which many Americans have adopted in recent years, are gentler than their top-loading counterparts, not to mention they’re better at stain removal and more efficient with water and energy. They also spin out water more effectively to reduce the time clothes spend in the dryer. If you’re open to bending to load and unload the laundry, a front-load washer could work well for you and your family. Credit: Getty Images / Yana Tikhonova You have to bend to load the laundry into a front-loading washer.Whether you’re looking to buy your first washer or to upgrade to a newer model, you need to make some decisions before you start shopping. Begin by figuring out your budget, your desired style, space constraints, capacity, and must-have features.
What do I need to know before I purchase a front-load washer?
Most front-load washers work by spinning laundry to the top of the tub and taking advantage of gravity to make it fall to the bottom. Stains are removed when laundry items go through this motion over and over.
Front-loaders can be arranged side-by-side with a dryer like top-load washers, but most front-loaders are also stackable, so they can fit into smaller spaces like closets and bathrooms. This can be a tremendous help to people who live in apartments and condos.
If there’s a downside to front-loaders, it’s that their rubber gaskets can get moldy, resulting in a stink that can transfer to the laundry. To reduce the chances of this occurring, it’s important to wipe out the gasket after every wash cycle and to leave the door ajar between loads to allow it to dry out.
Most people buy washers with their matching dryers. We get it—you want them to look good together in the laundry room. But a decision on which washer to get should always come first. That’s where you’ll see the biggest difference in the cleanliness of your clothes. Once you’re ready to buy a new washer, we’re ready to help you with ideas to get you started and a list of our favorite washing machines. Credit: Reviewed We use these stain strips to determine how much of each stain each washer can remove.
How Reviewed tests washers
Every washing machine that comes into Reviewed’s labs is put through the same testing process, where we evaluate its performance and ease-of-use. Performance tests include:
Stain removal: Using a strip of AHAM-approved stains, including cocoa, sweat, blood, red wine, and oil, we use a special scanner called a spectrophotometer to determine how much of each stain the washer removes.
Wear and tear: During a given cycle, we evaluate how hard the mechanical action of the washing machine wears on our test laundry.
Water retention: At the end of the cycle, we determine how much water is left in the clothes.
Cycle time: The amount of time it takes to complete a wash cycle varies between cycles and between washers.
The washers that rise to the top in our tests have strong stain removal abilities, are gentle on clothes and linens, remove lots of water, and complete their cycles quickly.
Beyond testing for performance, we also test the usability of each washing machine, based on our experience, during testing and during more casual use. (One perk of working at Reviewed is that we can use the washers and dryers in our labs to do our own laundry.)
Front-loading washers are better at stain removal and more efficient with water and energy than top-load washers.
In testing, our main goal is to answer one question: How easy is it to use this washing machine? This involves assessing the control panel, the door, the detergent dispenser, and smart features that more washers are including.
By combining the performance data with our own (more subjective) observations, we can make solid recommendations for any type of washing machine at any price point.
Which washer should I buy?
When you’ve done your homework and you’re ready to make a purchase, put these front-load models at the top of your list. They’re the washers that aced our tests.
Credit: Electrolux The Electrolux EFLS627UTT is the best front-loader we’ve tested. It has lots of cleaning options and a special spot for detergent pods.Our tests show that Electrolux EFL627UTT, the brand’s top-of-the-line washer, is the best front-loader out there. It’s attractive, easy to operate, and offers plenty of cycles and options. Its stain removal is powerful and its cycles are short. We got our test laundry done in 46 minutes on Normal and in just 15 minutes on the Quick cycle.
One real convenience this washer provides is a dedicated slot for detergent pods in the dispenser. This means its owners can ensure that these handy little pods will actually dissolve and disperse evenly throughout the wash. We also recommend the StainSoak feature, which recirculates detergent to zap stubborn stains.
Get the Electrolux EFLS627UTT for $993 at Appliances Connection
Credit: Electrolux The Electrolux EFLS527UTT is another great Electrolux model that can accommodate your laundry preferences.Similar to its newer, more expensive sibling, the EFLS627UTT, this model is also a stain-removal champ. Its one-hour Heavy cycle is one of the most effective stain killers we’ve ever tested. We also love the StainTreat II feature, which has special wash features to remove really tough stains like chocolate and blood.
The pod dispenser is also in the 527, so you can take advantage of the convenience of not having to measure liquid or powder, though you can use them if you want to. If you buy the EFLS527, you’ll appreciate the Extended Refresh feature, which keeps the wash fresh by letting the tub tumble, giving you extra time before you need to unload.
Get the Electrolux EFLS527UTT for $943.00 at Appliances Connection
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar The LG WM3700HWA is a powerful front-loader that is easy to use, has a roomy tub, and provides numerous cycles.LG makes excellent front-loaders and this model is a stellar example. It has a spacious tub and allows you to customize each load by adjusting the temperature, spin speed, and dirt level. And you don’t have to be a laundry expert to use this machine—its rotary dial makes it easy to choose a cycle.
This washer also features a few features that most front-loaders don’t: its Add Garments button, which lets you toss in an item during the cycle, and its door stopper, which leaves the door ajar to let the gasket dry between cycles to minimize the chance of developing mold.
The WM3700HWA has great stain-removal power and cycles galore, including an Allergiene cycle that removes pet dander. Our only issue with this model is that the control panel can be hard to read in a dark laundry room.Get the LG WM3700HWA for $744.80 at Appliances Connection
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar This washing machine has a huge tub, allowing you to do all your laundry in fewer loads. The cycles are speedy and stain removal is stellar.With a generous tub that has room to wash more laundry in every load, the WM900HVA could shorten the time spent in the laundry room. The cycles are speedy, too: In our labs, an eight-pound load was through in 34 minutes using the Normal cycle. If you spring for LG’s TwinWash system, you can do two loads at once.
The WM9000HVA has some great attributes. Stain removal is boosted with LG’s TurboWash, which mixes up the spray pattern. The big tub is angled slightly to reduce the need to bend when unloading. This washer can sanitize clothes with Sanitary Wash, which could be a big advantage for families with babies or jobs that make clothes extra dirty. And this washer is impressively quiet. All we heard when we ran it in our labs was the water in the pipes.
Get the LG WM9000HVA for $1,615.10 at Appliances Connection
Credit: LG This moderately-priced LG washer is loaded with features and excels at stain removal. The ColdWash feature saves energy.This model packs great stain removal and multiple features into a machine that is more affordable than most top-performers. Like our other favorite LG washers, it provides plenty of features. One example: ColdWash, which saves energy and keeps colors from fading. This machine’s cycles run somewhat slower than those on some front loaders, but it’s very effective at cleaning, so we think it’s worth the wait.
Get the LG WM3500CW for $644.90 at Appliances Connection
Credit: Samsung Electronics The WF45R6300AV has good stain-removal capabilities, fast cycles, and a sanitize cycle, along with useful smart features.A hard-working front-loader, this model offers speedy cycles, powerful stain removal, and knows how to treat delicates gently. The Heavy and Normal cycles are among the best cleaning we’ve ever seen in our tests, and Quick Wash is effective and completes in under 30 minutes. Options like Sanitize, which gets hot enough to kill germs, might be especially handy for families who use cloth diapers. No Spin is a feature that helps preserve more delicate items like lingerie and workout clothes.
If you’re a techie, you’ll probably enjoy the alerts you can get on your phone when this washer comes to the end of a cycle, as well as the ability to download custom cycles that might suit your laundry needs better than the standard options.
Get the Samsung WF45R6300AV for $749.30 at Appliances Connection
Credit: Samsung The Samsung WF42H5000AW has powerful stain removal and is very gentle, helping to preserve delicate items.An affordable machine, the WF42H5000AW is light on features but runs efficiently, and its Heavy cycle blasts stains. If you’re not looking for a washer that steams, sanitizes or does other high-end washer tricks, we think this front-loader could work well for you. It’s easy to use, with a rotary cycle selector and an easy-to-read control panel.
Get the Samsung WF42H5000AW for $599 at Appliances Connection
Credit: GE Appliances With a water heater, a Time Saver setting, and Tumble Care, the GE GFW450SPMDG is a solid choice that allows customization.Loaded with features, this solid GE front-loader allows every load to be personalized for the owner’s laundry needs. With adjustments for soil level, water temperature, and spin, laundry experts can choose the options according to each load. The control panel provides a stain-removal guide to target some of the most challenging stains: grass, wine, blood, tomato, and dirt.
An internal water heater allows this machine to steam and sanitize. There’s a Time Saver option that shortens wash cycles by increasing hot water, tumbling, and spin speed. And if you’re not able to get to the laundry room when the cycle ends, the Tumble Care feature will keep the tub tumbling for up to eight hours to prevent the laundry from bunching up and getting smelly.Get the GE GFW450SPMDG for $742 at Appliances Connection
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.