The 4 Best Washing Machine & Dryer Sets of 2023 | Reviews by Wirecutter

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Our budget-pick washing machine has been replaced with a similar model, the Maytag MVW4505MW. It is largely the same as the MVWC465HW, but it has a slightly larger capacity than its predecessor and two additional rinse cycles. Washing Machine Ke Stand

The 4 Best Washing Machine & Dryer Sets of 2023 | Reviews by Wirecutter

Our budget-pick dryer has also been replaced: The Maytag MED4500MW is the same size as its predecessor, but includes new features like a Wrinkle Prevent phase and a noise alert at the end of a cycle. We plan to test both soon.

After washing hundreds of dollars’ worth of fabric stained with pig blood and body oils of mysterious origin, visiting some washer brands’ quality-testing labs (and one factory), investigating the sorry state of appliance reliability, and trying to unravel some urban legends about laundry, we’ve found a handful of great washing machines to suit different budgets and ways of washing clothes (and the best dryers to match). At the top of our list: the LG WM4000H front-loader.

We used industry-standard stain strips to assess how well each washer removed stains in the Normal cycle.

We ran our test loads with industry-standard fabric swatches designed to show how gentle (or not) washers are on fabric.

We set up washers to drain into trash barrels so that we could compare water use and gauge water temperature on different cycles.

We connected Wi-Fi–enabled models to see how intuitive their apps were to use and how helpful the notifications and remote operation were.

This front-loader is quicker, gentler, and better at removing all types of stains than almost any other washer we’ve tested, and it has a solid reputation for reliability among multiple expert sources.

This is the matching electric dryer for the LG WM4000H washer, though most LG dryers (even older models) will stack on that washer. It’s also available in a black finish or with gas power.

The LG WM4000H is an excellent cleaner. It was one of the best washers we tested at removing all types of stains, yet it also handled fabrics more gently than most models we tried. The WM4000H can wash a load significantly faster than a typical high-efficiency washer, and it has one of the widest varieties of wash settings, including a stain-loosening prewash option, super-hot temps, and extra rinses. Like most front-load washers, the WM4000H has a huge capacity, runs quietly, and is notably efficient with water and energy. It even has a unique door-prop feature to help prevent the dreaded mildew smell. We found the Wi-Fi–connected features useful, including the end-of-cycle notifications, maintenance alerts, remote start, and additional downloadable wash programs; the LG ThinQ app was also more intuitive and full-featured than those of our other picks. Reliability is tough to predict, but in recent years LG front-loaders have had some of the lowest repair rates among mainstream washers, according to multiple sources. (They still won’t last as long as your parents’ old Maytag, though.) The matching LG DLEX4000 dryer dried loads faster than most of the other dryers we tested.

The big downsides to the LG washer and dryer are that the control panels are hard to use in dim lighting and LG’s customer service stinks, so in the unlikely event that you need a repair under warranty, it might be a hassle.

The WM4000H and its matching dryer (which is available in electric or gas) are stackable—in fact, you can stack any 27-inch LG dryer, new or old, on top of the WM4000H. LG makes a similar washer, the WM3600H, which omits some useful features but costs less.

GE’s GFW650 does a great job of cleaning clothing and is better at reducing mold issues than any washer we’ve tested. But compared with our LG pick, it’s slower to wash clothes and potentially less reliable.

The GE GFW650’s matching dryer worked perfectly well in our tests, although it dried clothes a tad slower than our pick from LG. It’s available in a white or nickel finish, and in a gas or electric version.

The GE GFW650 cleaned about as well as the LG WM4000H in our tests and was similarly gentle on fabrics. It also does more to reduce potential mildew and mold issues than any other washer we’ve tested: The gasket, detergent tray, and drain hose are made with antimicrobial Microban, and the washer has an option for venting that you can run after a cycle has finished to dry the drum with the door closed. The GFW650 is not our main pick because in our tests it took about 20 minutes longer, on average, to wash a load on Normal than the WM4000H; plus, we found that LG full-size washers rate more highly for reliability than GE’s. Like the WM4000H, the GFW650 has numerous wash programs, as well as options for presoaking and extra-hot water. If you choose to connect your washer and dryer to Wi-Fi—and succeed in doing so—GE’s SmartHQ app provides many of the same features as LG’s ThinQ, including cycle-end notifications, downloadable wash programs, and remote start, though LG’s app is better about providing performance reports and diagnostics. The GE GFW650 has an interior light, a reversible door, and an option for auto-dispensing detergent.

The GE GFD65 dryer performed about as well as the LG DLEX4000 but took about 10 more minutes to dry a load on Normal. It comes in gas and electric versions.

Although the Miele WXD160 holds only half as much laundry as most front-loaders do, you can expect it to last at least twice as long. It’s also great at removing stains.

The matching, stackable dryer for the Miele WXD160 washer is a ventless heat-pump model, so it takes twice as long to dry a load as a vented model. But it can plug into a standard 120-volt outlet and is much more efficient.

Only a few brands make durable washers anymore, and some of those heavy-duty machines are essentially laundromat washers—often loud, rough on fabric, inefficient, and not so great at cleaning. The Miele WXD160 is the opposite of all those things, and it’s still somehow built to last for 20 years. In our tests, it was just as effective at removing stains as the LG WM4000H—but it should last twice as long, and it costs only a few hundred dollars more. The catch is that it’s a compact washer: It has about half the capacity of a typical 27-inch model. Finding Miele models and technicians in some parts of the US can be hard, too. Another quirk is that its matching dryer, the Miele TXD160, is a ventless heat-pump model. As a result, the TXD160 takes about twice as long as a standard vented dryer to dry clothes but is much more energy efficient, and you can hook it—and the washer—up wherever you have a standard 120-volt outlet.

If you need to save money up front, this top-loader with an agitator is a decent cleaner that’s pretty efficient by default and includes several popular features. It might cost you more in the long run, though.

The matching electric dryer for the Maytag MVWC465HW washer has a moisture sensor, but otherwise it’s as bare-bones as a dryer can get. A gas-powered version is available, too.

The Maytag MVWC465HW washing machine has been replaced with a similar model, the Maytag MVW4505MW, and is no longer in production. The MVW4505MW is largely the same as the MVWC465HW, but it has a slightly larger capacity than its predecessor and two additional rinse cycles. The Maytag MEDC465HW dryer has also been replaced with a similar model, the Maytag MED4500MW, which is the same size as the MEDC465HW, but includes new features like a Wrinkle Prevent phase. We plan to test both soon.

If you can’t or won’t spend much on a washer, we recommend considering whichever top-loader with an agitator you can find on sale from Whirlpool or Maytag (they’re the same basic machines, with slightly different features) that’s somewhere in the range of $600. We tested the Maytag MVWC465HW and found that it was a decent cleaner. It’s pretty efficient and not too rough on its default Normal cycle. It also has some settings that make it act more like the traditional top-loaders some people are more comfortable with, including a Deep Water Wash option for additional water and a Powerwash setting for stronger agitation. The matching dryer, the Maytag MEDC465HW, took about 15 minutes longer than the LG DLEX4000 to dry our test load on Normal, and it has no speed-dry option. But it gets the job done, and some people may prefer its pared-down controls and its lack of bells and whistles.

We can’t predict whether the Maytag set will be especially reliable or long-lasting—this isn’t the Maytag of old, and Whirlpool’s reputation isn’t what it used to be. (We actually broke one part of the washer during testing, though we weren’t using it as it was intended to be used.) You might also end up spending more on utilities and new clothes than you would using a gentler, more efficient machine, such as a front-loader. But if your priority is to save cash on the purchase, we think something like this Maytag offering is your best bet.

This front-loader is quicker, gentler, and better at removing all types of stains than almost any other washer we’ve tested, and it has a solid reputation for reliability among multiple expert sources.

This is the matching electric dryer for the LG WM4000H washer, though most LG dryers (even older models) will stack on that washer. It’s also available in a black finish or with gas power.

GE’s GFW650 does a great job of cleaning clothing and is better at reducing mold issues than any washer we’ve tested. But compared with our LG pick, it’s slower to wash clothes and potentially less reliable.

The GE GFW650’s matching dryer worked perfectly well in our tests, although it dried clothes a tad slower than our pick from LG. It’s available in a white or nickel finish, and in a gas or electric version.

Although the Miele WXD160 holds only half as much laundry as most front-loaders do, you can expect it to last at least twice as long. It’s also great at removing stains.

The matching, stackable dryer for the Miele WXD160 washer is a ventless heat-pump model, so it takes twice as long to dry a load as a vented model. But it can plug into a standard 120-volt outlet and is much more efficient.

If you need to save money up front, this top-loader with an agitator is a decent cleaner that’s pretty efficient by default and includes several popular features. It might cost you more in the long run, though.

The matching electric dryer for the Maytag MVWC465HW washer has a moisture sensor, but otherwise it’s as bare-bones as a dryer can get. A gas-powered version is available, too.

Writer Liam McCabe has covered home appliances since 2011, including a stint at Reviewed, and worked on this Wirecutter guide from 2015 to 2021.

Writer Sarah Bogdan did most of the hands-on testing for this guide and tested 31 washers (including compact and combo models, as well as laundry centers) and 15 dryers at our office in Long Island City, New York. She previously spent three years testing appliances and home goods (including detergents) at the Good Housekeeping Institute.

Winnie Yang was the supervising editor of Wirecutter’s appliance coverage. She also wrote and edited Wirecutter guides to kitchen equipment and baby/parenting gear.

In addition to testing washers and dryers in our office, we did the following:

We focused on finding the washers with the best overall combination of the following:

Although we set out to find water- and energy-efficient machines, efficiency didn’t end up being a major factor in our recommendations. Most of our favorite washing machines turned out to be some of the most efficient models anyway. That said, there are still some thirsty washers, which cost you more to operate, though the amount varies greatly depending on your circumstances.

You’ll notice that our favorite washers are mostly front-loaders. That’s because in almost every test we’ve run, and tests we’ve seen from other publications, front-loaders remove more stains, cause less damage to fabrics, and still manage to use less water and, often, energy than almost any top-loader.

Lots of people still prefer top-loaders, however, whether it’s because they find such models more comfortable to use, they’re more familiar with how top-loaders work, they need to save money at the outset (top-loaders can cost hundreds less), or there’s just something they don’t like about front-loaders (though a lot of this skepticism is based on outdated info, misconceptions, or myths). So we’ve recommended a few top-loaders, too.

Most brands, particularly the ones whose appliances you’ll find for sale in big-box stores—such as GE, LG, Samsung, and Whirlpool/Maytag—sell a dozen or more different washer models. But it’s really more like three or four basic “platforms,” which they load up with different features and market as separate models. When you look at other washer reviews, you can see a pattern in which most of the models on a given platform perform pretty similarly. So we decided that it would be fair to test one model from each worthwhile platform.

We’ve tested 21 models that represent lots of points along the spectrum of washing machines. You can read more about how we tested them later in this guide.

Among the front loaders, we’ve tested the now-discontinued Electrolux EFLS627U, the GE GFW650, the LG WM3400, the LG WM4000H, the Maytag MHW5630H (essentially the same machine as the Whirlpool WFW5620H and Maytag MVW6230H), the Miele WXD160, the Samsung WF45R6300, and the Samsung WF45T6000.

Among top-loaders, we’ve tested the Amana NTW4516FW, the now-discontinued GE GTW720B and GTW465A, the LG WT7300C, WT7005C, and WT7305C, the Maytag MVWC465HW, the Maytag Commercial MVWP575GW, the Samsung WA50R5400, the Speed Queen Classic TC5, and the Whirlpool WTW5057LW.

Once we identified our washer picks, we tested the dryers that matched them to confirm that they operated as expected.

For almost every washer, manufacturers make a matching dryer. We tested dryers that matched a few of our picks, and in this guide we’ve noted the other models we tested, as well. Some people like to buy matched pairs for aesthetic reasons and the guarantee they’ll be able to stack the machines. But matched pairs don’t magically work any better together, so don’t feel pressured to buy the set. If your old dryer still works, feel free to keep it. If you’re buying a new pair, it’s reasonable to spend most of your budget on a washer and then get a cheaper dryer. Even if you need to stack your machines, you can often put a lower-end dryer on top of a nicer front-loading washer, as long as the dryer is from the same brand and of the same width and depth.

The dryers themselves barely influenced our washer picks, because dryers are usually very similar to one another. “It’s all about the washer,” said Steve Sheinkopf, CEO of Yale Appliance in Boston and one of the industry’s most prolific bloggers. “The dryer is almost like a toss-in.” Features such as steam-freshen cycles and energy-saver modes on vented dryers, judging from our experience, are not useful. One exception: If you need a ventless dryer, you could consider picking your dryer first—since you may want to choose between condenser and heat-pump models depending on your laundry space’s requirements—and then getting the matching washer.

This front-loader is quicker, gentler, and better at removing all types of stains than almost any other washer we’ve tested, and it has a solid reputation for reliability among multiple expert sources.

This is the matching electric dryer for the LG WM4000H washer, though most LG dryers (even older models) will stack on that washer. It’s also available in a black finish or with gas power.

The LG WM4000H is our favorite washing machine because it takes great care of clothes, works quickly, and has the right features to handle just about any load of laundry a household could throw at it. We can’t make any guarantees about its reliability or durability, but based on our research, LG seems to make the sturdiest front-loader for around $1,000. This model has a number of features that make maintenance a little easier than with most front-loaders, too. Of course, it has a few problems: The control panel is hard to use in the dark or if you have low vision, and LG’s customer service sucks a bit more than most companies’ often-sucky customer service. But for our money, the WM4000H is the most well-rounded and effective washer you can buy.

In our tests, the LG WM4000H was one of a handful of washers—including the GE GFW650, the Miele WXD160, and the (now discontinued) Electrolux EFLS627U—that consistently removed more of the stains from our stain strips than the other models we tested. Gentleness is trickier to measure, but in our fraying and abrasion test, the WM4000H performed a little better than most front-loaders and all but one top-loader, the LG WT7305C.

The TurboWash 360 feature on the WM4000H is the main reason we’re recommending this model instead of a cheaper LG washer. This water-recirculation feature keeps water moving around the drum with a pump and five spray jets (an improvement over the two jets in previous LG TurboWash models and the current Samsung Super Speed feature). Its most obvious upside is that it makes the cycle times much shorter than with a typical HE (high-efficiency) washer. In our tests, the WM4000H washed a big, 12-pound load in about 43 minutes on average on Normal, taking about 20 to 40 minutes less than almost all the other models we tested. Only the Samsung WF45T6000A had a comparably short cycle time, but it wasn’t as gentle on fabric. With smaller loads in the WM4000H, the wash times will be even quicker.

The spraying action from the TurboWash 360 feature seems to allow this model to remove stains faster and to rinse clothes faster and more thoroughly than front-loaders usually do. Plus, if you need to see a lot of water moving around the washer to feel like the machine is actually working, the spraying might give you that visual satisfaction that most front-loaders are missing.

The WM4000H works great if you just stuff your clothes in, select Normal, and hit the start button. It has an enormous capacity, as almost all front-loaders do—big enough to wash a king-size comforter—so you can wash something like a week’s worth of clothes for one or two people in a single cycle if you want. This model also has a wider range of settings to experiment with than most washers, which might help with some extremely dirty loads of laundry, whether they’re heavily stained or covered in hair or in need of sanitizing. One of the key features is that thanks to an internal heater it can hit temperatures that are much hotter than the water that comes out of your tap: It has a cycle that gets hot enough to sanitize fabric without using harsh chemicals like bleach, as well as another one that gets even hotter to annihilate dust mites. Some people find the steam option helpful for stubborn-stain removal, though we haven’t spent much time testing this feature. A handful of other front-loaders have similar high-temperature features. Like a lot of washers, the WM4000H has options for a prewash, multiple rinses, and a post-wash tumbling setting that may help prevent clothes from getting mildewy if you leave them in the washer for too long.

If you’re looking for faster wash options, the WM4000H has a Speed Wash setting that by default runs a 15-minute light-soil cycle; you can adjust it with soil-level and water-temperature selections. The manual recommends using these settings only when you’re washing “2-3 lightly soiled garments” and adding “very little detergent.” We tried the default and then the “normal soil” setting, which increased the length of the cycle to about 25 minutes, and we also tried these settings with our regular 12-pound load as well as with a 3-pound load. Unsurprisingly, we found that we got the best results with the longer Speed Wash setting and smaller load. We were pleasantly surprised, though, to find that for the soot and blood stains, the 25-minute cycle worked just as well on a 3-pound load as the Normal cycle did on the 12-pound load at twice the length of time.

As for the fraught topic of reliability and durability, our best guess is that LG is one of the safer bets among the mainstream brands. From December 2020 to October 2021, Yale Appliance sold more than 3,000 front-loaders, and Yale reports that, across the brands for which it sold at least 300 washers, it received the smallest percentage (3.3%) of service calls for LG models. Consumer Reports rates LG’s predicted reliability as Very Good for front-loaders and Excellent for dryers based on an extensive reader survey, one of the best scores of all the brands considered. Among the repair technicians we’ve talked to, LG front-loaders seem to have an okay reputation; some techs like them a lot, while others find them hard to work with. At best, we’re making an educated guess here, and we can’t promise that a machine will work flawlessly for everyone or prove over time to last longer than other new washers. But the available evidence paints a favorable short-term and longer-term picture for LG and its washers compared with that of other brands whose models you can buy at a big-box store.

The WM4000H also has a few maintenance features that might make it easier to live with than other washers. Its magnetic door prop is a clever way to help prevent the dreaded mildew stench from taking root without having to leave the door wide open. In addition, you can access the drain trap clean-out right from the front of the washer without having to disassemble any part of the cabinet, so if something is blocking the drain pump you can pull it out yourself without moving the washer.

LG makes a handful of other front-loaders of the same basic design as the WM4000H. If you want to save some money, consider the WM3600H, which doesn’t have the TurboWash 360 feature. The WM4200H is a larger (5.0-cubic-foot) version of our main pick that has all the same features plus a couple of extra wash programs (drain + spin, sportswear) and usually costs a few hundred dollars more than the WM4000H. The WM4500H, another 5.0-cubic-footer, has an auto-dispensing feature for detergent and fabric softener, as well as a drum light.

The matching LG DLEX4000 dryer got our mixed load sufficiently dry on the Normal cycle, leaving just one thick knit dress a little damp. On this cycle it took only 33 minutes, about 15 minutes less than the runner-up, the GE GFD65, and 70 minutes less than the upgrade pick, the Miele TXD160 (a ventless compact heat-pump dryer). This result is also better than what we got using the DLEX3900, the previous version of this dryer, which runs with Energy Saver mode on by default (we did not test the DLEX4000 with Energy Saver mode on). The temperature during the Normal cycle in the DLEX4000 rose to 132.8 °F according to our measurements—way under any temperature that would damage clothing. Sorting your laundry by similar types and weights should get the entire load sufficiently dry in the time specified on the control panel. Achieving the results you want may require some trial and error with different settings, but that seems to be true for most dryers.

The LG DLEX4000 dryer has a 10-minute Steam Fresh cycle that’s supposed to reduce wrinkles and odors in already-dry fabrics. We found that it worked better on a T-shirt than on a rayon blouse or a flannel button-up. Also note that the number displayed on the control panel when you select Steam Fresh indicates not the duration of the cycle but the number of garments (which you enter yourself). And you need to hook the dryer up to a cold-water tap in order to use the Steam Fresh cycle.

The DLEX4000 has a reversible door, an interior light, and an easy-to-clean lint tray. You can turn off the upbeat tune it plays to signal the end of the cycle.

We found it relatively painless to connect the WM4000H to the LG ThinQ app, both with an iPhone 13 Pro running iOS 15.3.1 and a Samsung Galaxy A03s running Android 12.0. As with all the other Wi-Fi–connected models we looked at, you don’t have to use the app to run the WM4000H or DLEX4000. But nearly 10% of the more than 1,100 Home Depot customer reviews we analyzed for this washer mention how much they like the Wi-Fi–connected capabilities, especially the end-of-cycle notifications or the ability to check the time remaining in the cycle on a phone. The latter is especially helpful if you tend to wash loads that are mixed by type (such as clothing and bedding) or weight (like underwear and jeans), as they’ll almost never be done in the time initially displayed on the control panel.

We didn’t have any trouble changing settings and operating the washer and dryer remotely. Note, however, that you have to turn on the Remote Start option in order to operate the machine from your phone, and once you’ve done that, you can power off the machine from your phone, but to turn it on, you have to press the physical button on the machine. Some reviewers say they also appreciate receiving alerts that they’ve used too much detergent or that they should run a Tub Clean cycle, as well as maintenance tips, diagnostics, and energy-usage info, all of which can come in emailed reports. “I bought this washer on June 2nd, connected it to my wifi, (glad I did!),” writes one Home Depot reviewer. “After using it twice, I received an alert that my water lines were connected backwards, I hooked them up exactly as they were on my previous washer, had no idea I was running cold into hot, and hot into cold, plus the fact that they were that way on my old washer for several years.”

Connecting an additional user to the washer and dryer via the app was easy once we set up the first user. We liked that the app sent a request to the initial user to accept or decline the second—this helps ensure that not just anyone can access your machines without your knowledge. It’s also possible to connect to machines in multiple homes, which might be helpful for a caretaker or an Airbnb host. We appreciated that the emails we received were almost exclusively notifications about usage and maintenance, and that they came at a reasonable cadence, about once a month or so, unlike the barrage of almost-daily marketing emails we received when we registered the GE GFW650 washer.

The WM4000H washer is available in two finishes, white (WM4000HWA) and black (WM4000HBA). The matching dryers come in the same finishes as the washer, in electric (DLEX4000W and DLEX4000B) and gas-powered (DLGX4001W and DLGX4001B) variants, but any LG front-control dryer can stack on top of the washer. If you want to stack the machines, you need LG’s KSTK1 stacking kit. The WM4000H works with the LG SideKick, a mini washer that doubles as a pedestal for the main machine (we have not tried one out yet). LG also sells a heat-pump dryer, the DLHC1455W, which does not require a vent.

Senior staff writer Jackie Reeve, who has written most of Wirecutter’s guides to home textiles, has had the LG WM4000H and DLEX4000 for almost two years and uses the set regularly to clean all the bedding she’s long-term testing, along with the rest of the household laundry. She says the most impressive thing about the washer is how quiet it is. In addition, she likes having a sanitary cycle since she has a kid in the house (and the usual colds and flus that come with a kid) and also because she can use it for the work gloves and clothes she wears for cleaning up after her chickens (“because those birds are salmonella factories,” she says). Jackie also appreciates how the phone app pings her when a load is done. One drawback she has noticed is that socks seem to get stuck on the rubber ring around the opening more than in any of the three other LG washers she has used. “I often find a stray sock in there, soaking wet after a cycle.”

Although Jackie is generally happy with the matching DLEX4000 dryer, she finds that the sensor-dry presets never work for her. (Based on our experience with all dryers, this seems typical of dryer sensor technology.) She uses the timed-dry settings instead, but the loads often take longer than the maximum 60 minutes that the machine allows for timed dry. With this dryer, she notes, unlike the other LG dryers she has used, you can’t just rerun the same program if the sensor has determined that the load is dry; the DLEX4000 “will shut off after a couple of minutes in a second run,” and it will run further only in timed-dry mode.

In our AI-assisted analysis of more than 1,100 Home Depot customer reviews for the LG WM4000H, one of the more common complaints (from a couple dozen people) concerns leaking caused by manufacturing defects in either the gasket or the drain pump (a few people also mention hose issues, but that may be due to installer error). Owners who report the leaking say that it happened immediately or soon after installation, and most say that they were able to get it repaired to their satisfaction (though often after four or more weeks of waiting for back-ordered parts to arrive). The incidence rate of this issue is small enough (2% of Home Depot’s customer reviews for this model as of March 2022) that we think you’re unlikely to be affected by it.

A handful of customer reviews mention that the WM4000H is louder than expected. In testing, we did not notice this model being louder than its competitors. If you encounter such noise and think it may be caused by shaking or banging pipes, you might need a water-hammer arrester (and though we’ve noticed in our research that this problem is more common among LG washers, it’s not exclusive to this model or brand). In addition, be sure to remove the shipping bolts, as not doing so can cause the machine to make an unholy racket when you run it, as well as cause irreparable damage to the drum and motor.

Another repeated complaint about the WM4000H and older versions of this washer is that the control panel is hard to use, especially in poor lighting. It doesn’t have any physical buttons, just a touch-sensitive surface. It looks slick, but touch-based controls are usually a functional downgrade on appliances because it’s easier to accidentally choose the wrong settings. And LG’s panel is especially frustrating: It has almost no backlighting, so it’s hard to see, and it offers no textures or other physical cues on any of the flat button surfaces, so it’s also hard to use by muscle memory. Lucy Greco, a blind accessibility expert at UC Berkeley, describes some of these shortcomings in the LG WM4500H, a similar, larger model, in two of her videos, as well as some workarounds that she and LG put in place to make the connected models more accessible. Some people may find it easier to use the LG ThinQ app on their smartphone to operate the washer and dryer. Many people will probably get used to the WM4000H’s control panel over time. You may not even use the panel often if you tend to just pick a default cycle (which you control with the center dial) and let it rip. But the touch surface is simply a dumb design (and unfortunately one that is becoming increasingly common in appliances). If this kind of featureless control panel is a dealbreaker for you, consider the Samsung WF45T6000AW, which, in addition being a good cleaner, has Braille labels on its display.

A couple dozen customer reviews (again, out of more than a thousand) report trouble with connecting the WM4000H to Wi-Fi. Some reviewers report eventually getting it to work after calling LG’s customer support. (Our editor of smart-home coverage had a little difficulty connecting his LG WM3600H initially but noted that it was because LG washers, like most smart-home devices, use the 2.4 GHz frequency, so he had to set up a separate 2.4 GHz network to get the ThinQ app working.)

We connected the WM4000H and DLEX4000 to Alexa. This arrangement should have allowed us to use voice commands to turn the machines on and off and to ask how much time remained in the cycle, but we were only able to get Alexa to start a drying cycle. Strangely, Alexa was unable to stop or pause the cycle. Our experience doesn’t seem that uncommon: Reviews of the Alexa ThinQ Skill are abysmal. There’s a lot of potential in this feature to make washing machines and dryers more accessible (to those who have low vision or limited mobility, for example), but for now it seems fairly limited.

LG customer service is relatively lousy. No mainstream appliance brand is especially good at customer service, but LG seems to inspire a special type of ire from customers who are unlucky enough to end up with a defective machine. Some LG owners say that phone reps are too quick to brush off problems as user error and suggest that owners watch an educational video as a solution to the problem. Another recurring complaint is that manufacturer-provided service can take a week or more to arrive and doesn’t always fix the problem on the first try. Tim Abbott, a repair tech from Washington, told us that LG once shipped him a replacement part in a bubble mailer instead of a box, which put the part at greater risk of damage.

You’re not guaranteed to have a bad time; we’ve heard plenty of stories about LG resolving issues quickly. Kevin Harner, a technician from Pennsylvania, even told us that he found LG to be the easiest washer brand to work with. It could be a regional issue, but we haven’t looked into this.

We asked LG for a comment about its service reputation, and a rep replied, “LG is proud to hold the number one spot in a customer satisfaction survey among home appliance brands, according to a report just released by the American Customer Satisfaction Index,” following that comment with the kind of “we take this seriously” speech you’d expect from corporate PR that doesn’t directly address the customer service issue.

If we had faith in any other mainstream brand to deliver a more reliable washer and better customer service, we’d recommend it, but for all the horror stories we’ve heard about LG, we’ve heard similar things about all the other big companies, too.

The other complaints we’ve heard about the LG WM4000H (and its similar variants) are the typical things we’ve heard about front-loaders from owners who have just switched from an agitator-style top-loader: They think it can’t work with such a small amount of water, and they don’t think it cleans well (usually because they’re using way too much detergent, as much as they had with their older agitator washers, and it tends not to rinse out completely).

GE’s GFW650 does a great job of cleaning clothing and is better at reducing mold issues than any washer we’ve tested. But compared with our LG pick, it’s slower to wash clothes and potentially less reliable.

The GE GFW650’s matching dryer worked perfectly well in our tests, although it dried clothes a tad slower than our pick from LG. It’s available in a white or nickel finish, and in a gas or electric version.

The GE GFW650 cleans clothes about as well as the LG WM4000H and is similarly gentle on fabrics. Notably, it does more than any washer we looked at to address concerns that some people may have about potential smells and mold growth: The GFW650 has parts made with the antimicrobial Microban, as well as an option to vent the machine to dry out the drum. The GFW650 also comes with several other features, usually found in higher-end machines, that make it a little more convenient to use, including an interior light and an option for auto-dispensing detergent. In addition, it has a More Water option that adds an extra 3 gallons to the drum. The GFW650 is not our main pick because the WM4000H cleans significantly faster on its Normal cycle, the optimal setting for most everyday loads, and because GE front-loaders don’t rate quite as high for reliability as LG’s.

In our tests, the GFW650 was as effective as the WM4000H at removing stains on the Normal setting. This GE machine took about 20 minutes longer, however, since it doesn’t have anything like the water-recirculation feature the LG washer has. The GFW650 was about as gentle on fabric as our main pick. It also cleaned comparably well on the Heavy Duty and Quick Wash settings. The Quick Wash default setting runs about 20 to 25 minutes (a little longer than the WM4000H’s fastest, 15-minute option); you can modify that by selecting Extra Rinse or More Water. As with the other washers we tried, we got the best results running Quick Wash with a “small load” (the manual doesn’t specify how much such a load should weigh or how many items it includes, but ours was 3 pounds of mixed items).

The GFW650 has a few features that differentiate it from our other picks and that some people may find appealing. If you’ve ever found a damp T-shirt or sock plastered to the drum of your washer the day after you dried the rest of the load, you’ll probably appreciate the interior light. This model is also one of a few washers with a reversible door, so you can set it up to open either to the left or to the right depending on your preference or your laundry room’s layout. (The Electrolux ELFW7637A is another model with a reversible door.)

The GFW650’s version of auto-dispensing, called SmartDispense, allows you to fill a reservoir with up to 50 ounces of detergent (high-efficiency only, of course), and when you run the Auto cycle, the machine senses the size of the load and adds the appropriate level of detergent (you can select More or Less to adjust the amount if your load is more or less soiled, respectively). According to the manual, the machine will dispense 1.5 ounces, or 3 tablespoons, of detergent for an 8-pound load and will automatically add more for larger loads. We asked GE why 1.5 ounces of detergent is the default amount for an 8-pound load, and Ken Rudolph, senior director of product management for clothes care, said via email, “That amount is based on detergent dosing recommendations that come directly from the major detergent manufacturers” like P&G, Henkel, and Church & Dwight. “We further confirmed these specific dosing levels in cooperation with P&G through extensive testing and our very collaborative working relationship. We cannot address why other washer and dryer manufacturers would suggest different dosing levels.” Just 1 tablespoon should be sufficient for an 8-pound load, so if your clothes seem to be coming out of the wash with some residue, you might opt to hit the Less button or switch to manual dispensing. We didn’t test the auto-dispensing option, but it’s one of the features most commonly mentioned in positive terms in Home Depot’s customer reviews for this model.

The GFW650 has two features intended to head off potential smells that can develop in a front-loader and that you can avoid with a minimal amount of maintenance. The gasket, detergent tray, and drain hose are made with the antibacterial Microban, which should hopefully ward off mold and mildew growth there. (Even so, the manual recommends wiping the gasket and cleaning the residue out of the dispenser tray regularly.) This washer also has something called the UltraFresh Vent System, which, if you can’t leave the washer door open after a cycle, allows you to run a program designed to dry the gasket and drum by circulating air and spinning the drum at low speeds. In the owner reviews we looked at, some people say they like it; others say they hate that it runs for up to eight hours. (You can always shut it off by hitting the power button, pressing the UltraFresh Vent button, or turning the knob.)

We successfully connected to the GE SmartHQ app with our iPhone 13 Pro during testing but could not connect with our Android phone, a Samsung Galaxy A03s. The app can give you notifications at the end of the cycle (as well as five, 10, or 15 minutes before it ends), plus service alerts and notifications for damp clothes that haven’t been removed or for a low or empty auto-dispenser. Unlike the LG WM4000H, the GE GFW650 does not notify you via app when it needs a self-clean, and nothing on the machine indicates that, either. But GE’s Rudolph told us via email in May 2022 that a software update for smart GE front-loaders will soon be available through the app to send a reminder every 40 cycles to run that cycle. “The user will also see a reminder on the washer control in the form of a pulsing Self Clean LED around the knob after the 40th cycle,” Rudolph said. We asked when the software update would be released, but the company did not specify a date. While LG’s ThinQ app also proactively sends diagnostic information and guidance to users, GE’s SmartHQ app does not. The company is “actively working to add an interactive Smart Diagnostics feature through SmartHQ (ready for early 2023).” Setting up the Wi-Fi connection requires registration, including your address, phone number, and email address—and annoyingly for us, this step resulted in a steady stream of near-daily emails asking us to rate our washer and dryer purchases and trying to sell us more GE products. Unlike with LG, we did not receive any helpful usage reports or tips following registration with GE. You can opt out of the emails (as we did).

The major drawback of the GFW650 is that people don’t seem to find GE front-loaders as reliable as LG’s, based on Yale Appliance’s service records and Consumer Reports’s reliability survey. Reliability comes up in owner reviews, as well: A couple dozen of the 3,200-plus Home Depot reviews we analyzed (as of March 2022) mention that their GFW650 stopped working after five or 10 loads, or within just a few months of installation. Several report that the problem was due to a motherboard failure. Like the LG WM4000H, the GE GFW650 has garnered some complaints about leaking, too. The percentage of reviews that mention the machine needing repairs is about the same for both the GFW650 and the WM4000H, adding up to less than 1% of reviews, so we still think this machine is worth considering, especially since it hasn’t had availability issues due to supply-chain disruptions through much of the pandemic. Yale Appliance also notes that “GE and Whirlpool have the best parts and repair services.”

The GE GFD65 dryer took 47 minutes to dry our mixed load, about 10 minutes longer than the LG DLEX4000 dryer that matches our main pick; it also left the thickest garment a little damp, just as the LG dryer did. The Speed Dry setting thoroughly dried the load but took 55 minutes (though the display said 34 minutes). Sorting your laundry should help shorten drying times. We didn’t see anything especially troubling in our AI-assisted analysis of Home Depot customer reviews for this dryer. A small percentage of reviews mention that their loads don’t get fully dry with the Sensor Dry mode and that they have to resort to using a timed-dry option. Some reviews also mention that lint can get by the lint filter and that the filter is difficult to clean, but a comparable number say they find the filter effective and easy to clean. Dozens of reviewers mention how much they like the Steam Refresh option.

The GFW650 washer comes in two finishes, white and satin nickel, and the dryer comes in the same finishes in gas (GFD65GSSNWW and GFD65GSPNSN) and electric (GFD65ESSNWW and GFD65ESPNSN). If you want to get these models higher off the floor, you can buy a pedestal (GFP1528SNWW or GFP1528PNSN) with a drawer for storage or a somewhat shorter riser (GFR0728SNWW or GFR0728PNSN). The GE GFW550 washer is very similar to the GFW650 but lacks the Power Clean and Active Wear wash programs as well as the detergent auto-dispensing option, while the larger GFW850 has all the same features as the GFW650 plus a program that allows it to wash and dry a small load in one step, like a combo washer-dryer.

Although the Miele WXD160 holds only half as much laundry as most front-loaders do, you can expect it to last at least twice as long. It’s also great at removing stains.

The matching, stackable dryer for the Miele WXD160 washer is a ventless heat-pump model, so it takes twice as long to dry a load as a vented model. But it can plug into a standard 120-volt outlet and is much more efficient.

If you’re willing to pay a little extra for a washer that should last much longer than an LG, a GE, or one from some other mainstream brand, we recommend the Miele WXD160. Miele designs its models to last 20 years with average use—roughly double the lifespan of any of our other picks, and enough for about 5,000 wash cycles. Not many washing machines are rated for such a long life, and even fewer of them are front-loaders. Obviously we can’t know whether a machine will last that long, but Miele has a great reputation among people who are familiar with its products. In Consumer Reports’s reliability survey, Miele received a Very Good rating for its compact washers and an Excellent for its dryers. We recommend some of the company’s vacuums and dishwashers, too.

In addition to offering admirable sturdiness, the WXD160 is as great at fabric care as any washer we’ve tested. It performed just as well as our other picks, the excellent LG WM4000H and GE GFW650, on our stain-removal and gentleness tests, and other publications that have tested it have rated it highly, too.

The catch: The Miele WXD160 is a compact washing machine, with about half the capacity of a typical front-load washer. If you have a big family and prefer to do your laundry in one or two enormous loads per week, this is not the washer for you. And it can’t accommodate a king-size comforter. But for most other people, this model works fine—it can take a 12-pound load of clothes, the same amount that can fit in a typical top-loader with an agitator at a laundromat. And for what it’s worth, this is the typical size for a washing machine in Europe.

The other quirk is that the matching dryer, the Miele TXD160, is ventless, so it doesn’t need an exhaust hose, and you can plug it into a regular 120-volt outlet. It’s actually a really nice ventless dryer, relying on a heat pump instead of a condenser to remove moisture so that it works well in all conditions—hot or cold, dry or humid, whatever. It uses about half the energy of a vented machine. The downside is that it takes longer—sometimes twice as long—as a vented machine to dry a load of clothes.

The Miele TXD160 had difficulty drying our mixed load on Normal, leaving the heavier items damp at the end of the hour-and-a-half cycle. The LG DLEX3900 (with Energy Saver off) and the Electrolux dryer we tested, both of which are more traditional vented models, were able to dry our test load in much less time and at the same or lower temperatures.

The extra time the TXD160 requires for its drying cycles also means that it tumbles loads for longer and thereby exposes them to more abrasion. We asked Miele about that, and George Tjoumakaris, a product manager for the company, told us that the honeycomb-textured interior of the dryer helps to cushion clothing as it tumbles around in the drum, and also that the cycle selection determines the type of motion (gentler for delicates, for instance) that the drum uses to tumble the load. We plan to do some additional testing to look more into fabric treatment.

The moisture that the heat pump removes gets collected in a reservoir, which you must periodically empty (alternatively, you can plumb out the dryer condensate hose to drain it out just as you would with a washing machine). The control panel lights up when the container is full, but we recommend that you get into the habit of emptying it after every load so the dryer doesn’t stop running unexpectedly during a cycle.

We found it helpful to consult the dryer manual to decipher the options (such as “Outdoor” or “Proofing”) on the control panel and to turn off the end-of-cycle indicator (which will otherwise beep every 20 seconds until you open the door).

The lint trap comes out in two pieces and is easy to clean.

Miele’s Wi-Fi setup is not quite as easy to follow as with the LG and GE apps, but after a couple of false starts, we got the Miele app up and running on an iPhone (but not an Android phone). Unfortunately, unlike with the LG and GE apps, if you stop your Miele machine’s cycle remotely, you can’t restart it remotely, or at least not until someone has reset the MobileStart setting on the machine itself. And unlike with LG’s app, you do not receive maintenance alerts or usage tips when you connect your Miele machines to the Miele app. Overall, the Miele app feels less robust and not quite as intuitive as LG’s.

Finding qualified service can sometimes be tricky if you live far from a major mainland metro area. If you buy a Miele from a local dealer, you’re good, but if you plan to order a Miele online, first check to make sure that there are qualified technicians in your area.

We get it—this Miele washer seems like an oddball choice considering its size and the matching ventless dryer. But it’s a great washer, and it’s your best all-around option if you want a durable and efficient washing machine.

If you need to save money up front, this top-loader with an agitator is a decent cleaner that’s pretty efficient by default and includes several popular features. It might cost you more in the long run, though.

The matching electric dryer for the Maytag MVWC465HW washer has a moisture sensor, but otherwise it’s as bare-bones as a dryer can get. A gas-powered version is available, too.

The Maytag MVWC465HW washing machine has been replaced with a similar model, the Maytag MVW4505MW, and is no longer in production. The MVW4505MW is largely the same as the MVWC465HW, but it has a slightly larger capacity than its predecessor and two additional rinse cycles. The Maytag MEDC465HW dryer has also been replaced with a similar model, the Maytag MED4500MW, which is the same size as the MEDC465HW, but includes new features like a Wrinkle Prevent phase. We plan to test both soon.

If you need a cheap washer and prefer a top-loader, we recommend whichever Maytag or Whirlpool agitator top-loader is on sale when you’re shopping. (We recommend a handful of cheap front-loaders that are worth considering, as well.) We tested the Maytag MVWC465HW, and it was fine.

The MVWC465HW is just okay at fabric care. It did a little better on our stain-removal test than the other agitator top-loaders we tested. On its Normal cycle, it didn’t appear to move a large load of laundry around the tub effectively, but the fabric-on-fabric action was enough to clean stains, and it wasn’t too rough. With the Powerwash setting turned on, it was much more vigorous, and it did better in our stain-removal test but also caused some of the most fraying damage we saw.

The upshot: The MVWC465HW washer (and similar models) can get a load of laundry clean enough for you to wear to work or school, as long as those clothes are not totally filthy. Over time, though, it’ll wear out less-sturdy items faster and might struggle to keep certain pieces looking, smelling, and feeling fresh unless you also do some hands-on care.

Like a lot of modern washers, the MVWC465HW is reasonably efficient by default, filling the tub with just enough water to get all the clothes wet. But it also has all kinds of controls that make it act more like an old-school washer. The Deep Water Wash and Deep Rinse options use much more water if that’s something you find valuable—some people just prefer to see their clothes completely submerged in water—though it’s much less efficient in those modes, especially if you use the Warm or Hot water setting.

Reliability and durability are a bit of a mystery, but here’s what we know: Consumer Reports rates Whirlpool and Maytag top-load washers as Good and Very Good, respectively, for predicted reliability. Yale Appliance says that these simpler, cheaper Whirlpool (and by extension, Maytag) machines actually rank among the most reliable top-loaders it sells—but that’s looking at one-year reliability, not long-term durability.

The owner ratings for this washer are solid, as of May 2022, it had an overall score of 4.5 out of five stars at Home Depot across more than 5,000 ratings, better than the ratings for some even-cheaper models by Whirlpool Corporation and similarly priced top-loaders from GE. In our AI-assisted analysis of those customer reviews, we found that the greatest number of complaints (15% of 1,593 reviews analyzed) involve the washer being noisy, while about half as many complain that the MVWC465HW doesn’t use enough water (and some say that even the deep-fill option isn’t enough). A smaller number (about 6% of the customer reviews we analyzed) say that their clothes don’t come out clean, but more than twice that many are satisfied with the washer’s cleaning performance. About 3% of the reviews we analyzed mention that the washer has needed repairs, which we think is an acceptably low rate. For our part, we accidentally broke the lid sensor on the MVWC465HW during testing as we tried to figure out a way to run the machine with the lid open (which is not how it’s supposed to be used).

If you buy the MVWC465HW or something like it, you’ll definitely save money on the purchase price. You may or may not save money over time compared with choosing a pricier machine when you factor in the extra utilities you might use and the clothes you might need to replace sooner. And we don’t know how it will compare in terms of durability and long-term repair costs. If you need to save money on a washer, you could instead try to wait for one of our other picks to go on sale, or even just get the cheapest front-loader you can find. They’ll always cost more than any of these cheap top-loaders, but you may discover over the long term that you’re saving money and having a better experience.

The matching dryer for the MVWC465HW comes in a now discontinued electric (MEDC465HW) and gas (MGDC465HW) versions. Both versions have moisture sensors, so they shouldn’t overdry your clothes (note, however, that we haven’t tested these dryers yet); otherwise they’re simple, bare-bones machines.

The Electrolux ELFW7637A is the new version of the now-discontinued EFLS627U, which was one of the better stain removers we tested and was our runner-up pick for several years running. We were not able to test the ELFW7637A due to supply-chain disruptions, and we named the GE GFW650 our runner-up because it has had better availability (and also cleans well). The LG WM4000H and GE GFW650 both cleaned just as well as and sometimes better than the EFLS627U in our tests, and the EFLS627U was rougher on fabric. Electrolux told us that the ELFW7637A performs the same as the EFLS627U, while the matching dryer (the electric ELFE7637A or gas ELFG7637A) is designed to produce less of a temperature spike as it dries than its predecessor (we didn’t notice an issue when we tested that model). Like the GE GFW650, and unlike our main pick, the LG WM4000H, the Electrolux ELFW7637A has a reversible door and an extra-water setting. It’s the only model we’ve looked at that has a special slot in the detergent tray for laundry pods (Electrolux calls the system SmartBoost) that allows the pods to get pierced with a stream of hot water and premixed with water in a chamber before being fed into the drum. Unlike our front-loader picks, this Electrolux washer is not Wi-Fi connected. The matching dryer we tested was known to have reliability problems if the vent line was narrow. A gas-powered version is also available.

Electrolux washers and dryers are a mixed bag in terms of reliability. Consumer Reports ranks the company’s washer reliability as Very Good and its dryers as Good, and it has held steady there over the past handful of years. However, Yale Appliance says that it serviced Electrolux dryers for a disproportionate amount of time and stopped selling the company’s laundry machines several years ago.

Electrolux representatives, for their part, told us that the company designs its products to last for a minimum of 10 years “with zero failure” under average use (as defined by the Department of Energy), which translates to at least 4,000 cycles for washing machines. “Depending on user care and maintenance, the product can last way more than 10 years,” they said.

We plan to try the ELFW7637A and ELFE7637A when we test full-size washers and dryers again, but judging from our experience with the previous model, we think this is a pair worth buying if you can find it in stock.

If you want a great washing machine for the best possible price, you might consider buying the cheapest front-loader that you can find. One of these will almost always outperform similarly priced top-loaders, and the predicted reliability should be about the same. Prices have often dropped to the $600 to $800 range in the past, but industry-wide price increases, present economic conditions, and supply-chain issues mean prices are likely to stay at the top of that range or go up further.

As of mid-2022, your choice in this category probably boils down to the GE GFW550, the LG WM3400CW, or any of a few Samsung models, including the WF45T6000AW. (LG’s other front-loaders occasionally get as cheap as these.)

The GE GFW550 is very similar to our runner-up pick, the GFW650, but lacks a couple of wash programs, as well as the detergent auto-dispensing option. It does have the venting option, parts made with Microban, a reversible door, and Wi-Fi–connected features, though. We did not test this model.

The LG WM3400CW did an excellent job in our stain tests, performing nearly as well as our main pick, the LG WM4000H. It took about 15 to 20 minutes longer on the Normal cycle, however, and it was somewhat less gentle on fabrics. The WM3400CW has neither the TurboWash 360 feature nor the steam, sanitizing, or extra-hot water settings, and it lacks Wi-Fi connectivity. It also comes only in white. For a little more money, you can get the Wi-Fi–enabled LG WM3600H, which splits the difference between the WM3400CW and WM4000H: That model has steam but omits extra-hot water and TurboWash 360. We did not test the WM3600H, but it, along with the WM3400CW, performed well in Consumer Reports’s tests.

The Samsung WF45T6000AW is usually the cheapest front-loader you can buy. It cleaned nearly as well as our runner-up, the GE GFW650, and along with our main pick, the LG WM4000H, it had one of the fastest Normal cycles (about 45 minutes). We ended up dismissing it because it was much harder on fabric than any of the other models we tested. We had a similar model (the now-discontinued Samsung WF42H5000) as a budget pick in this guide several years ago, but we removed that recommendation after a spate of bad publicity about Samsung appliances, including some instances of exploding top-loaders and reports of terrible customer service. Samsung seems to have rehabilitated its reputation in recent years. Yale Appliance rated Samsung’s front-load washers second in reliability based on the service calls Yale technicians received, and in JD Power’s 2021 US appliance survey, Samsung ranked highest in customer satisfaction for washers and dryers. (Though the company recalled more than 660,000 of its top-load washers in late 2022 due to potential fire hazard.) Consumer Reports gave the WF45T6000AW an Excellent rating for its washing performance, a Good rating for its gentleness, a Very Good for predicted reliability, and a Good for owner satisfaction.

We put together a 12-pound test load of laundry (considered a large load in the industry) of mixed materials and fabric weights, including T-shirts, jeans, zip-up hoodies, blouses, socks, underwear, and more. We made four nearly identical loads so that we could run multiple tests at once. And we ran all of our tests with 2 tablespoons of Tide Original, the best-selling detergent on Amazon at the time of our testing.

We tested cleaning performance in a few different ways. The test that we’re referencing the most throughout this guide uses a prestained cotton strip made to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) standard, the same strip that all washer brands use to gauge their own washers’ performance, and that Consumer Reports, Reviewed, CNET, and other reviewers use, too. The stains on this strip are sebum (also known as body oil), carbon black (basically a mix of soot and mineral oil), cocoa (chocolate and milk), pig’s blood, and red wine. We washed a new strip with the 12-pound load in each washer, let it air-dry, and then used a colorimeter to measure the intensity of the color post-wash. The lighter the color, the cleaner the strip was.

In the past, we’ve also tried our own stain-removal test using white cotton T-shirts and common types of food stains (mustard for dye-based stains, vegetable oil for oil-based, coffee for tannin-based, spaghetti sauce for a combination of tannin and oil, and egg yolk for protein-based). We also came up with our own solid-soil test using white cotton T-shirts caked in mud. We didn’t find the results illuminating enough to continue using either of these tests.

To measure gentleness, we ran two different tests. First, we used pre-damaged fraying fabric, designed to fall apart strand by strand, to assess how much stress the wash action put on clothes. We also used Poka-Dot fabric (PDF), a cotton swatch covered with blue dots that fall off when abraded; the rougher the cycle, the fewer the dots that remain after washing. We used a digital imaging system to analyze the density of the dots, but the differences were obvious to the naked eye. For the most part, the results of the fraying-fabric test were consistent with those of the Poka-Dot test. We ran these same tests on the Delicate and Heavy Duty cycles for the washers, too, to get an idea of the differences between cycles. In addition, we kept our eyes out for other signs of damage to our test loads (which were made of low-quality clothing, as it turned out), such as shredded sweatshirt drawstrings or disfigured bras.

For top-loaders, we also ran a clothes-circulation test. We placed six red shop rags on top of our standard load and watched the washer try to move them (on a few models we disabled the lid locks to get a better look). If the rags stayed perched on top, it was a sign that the washer wouldn’t be good at washing large loads of laundry because it couldn’t move the clothes well.

In addition, we looked at each model’s wash time, how effective the accelerated and heavy-duty wash cycles were (if they were available), and how much water was retained in the load post-spin. For that last assessment, we weighed our laundry loads before they went into the washing machine (dry) and immediately after they finished the cycle (damp) to determine the percentage of moisture post-spin; the wetter the load, the more time it needs in the dryer.

Although we didn’t measure each washer’s water and energy use, in previous rounds of testing we have set up a few models to drain into 55-gallon trash barrels so that we could get photos of water use and gauge the water temperature on different cycles.

We looked at the cycle, temperature, soil, and spin options on each model and how easy they were to read, comprehend, and select. We also noted door and lid designs. And we paid attention to beeps or other audio indicators to determine how helpful they could be, or whether any models were particularly annoying in that respect.

For picks with Wi-Fi–connected features, we downloaded the required app to an iPhone 13 Pro running iOS 15.3.1 and a Samsung Galaxy A03s running Android 12.0, and we connected (or, at least, attempted to connect) the models following the instructions. We took note of how helpful the push notifications and smart features were, and we tried remote operation of the model when it was available.

To test dryers, we used the same 12-pound mixed load of laundry that we used to test washers. To see how well the Normal sensor-dry setting worked on this unsorted load, we compared the weight of the load before washing against the weight of the load after the drying cycle was complete, and we touched all the items at the end of the cycle to check if they still felt damp. Although underdrying is inconvenient, it’s good for a bit of moisture to remain in your clothes because overdrying is what really wears them out, both through abrasion from extended tumbling and additional exposure to high temperatures.

To see how hot the dryers got during their cycles, we tethered a data logger (which takes temperature readings every minute) to the top of the lint trap of each dryer we tested and used it to track the temperature ranges over drying cycles. On the dryers’ Normal cycles, as well as with the More (or Extra) dry-level setting, the internal temperatures stayed well beneath levels that would harm any clothing. (The highest temperature we measured was 139 °F. Polyester can withstand temperatures of up to 250 °F, Fran Kozen, associate director of the Cornell Institute for Fashion and Fiber Innovation, told us, and wool, silk, nylon, acrylic, cotton, and flax are even more heat resistant. Olefin, a synthetic sometimes used in athleticwear, is the most heat-sensitive among common fibers and is heat resistant to 165 °F.)

Previously, to see what kind of effect the dryers had on tangling, as well as how effective sensor dry would be with a sorted load, we dried an 8-pound load of sheets (three each, twin-size fitted and flat) in each model we tested. None of the dryers we tested had issues with tangling on this medium-size load, so in our latest round of testing we dried a queen-size comforter in each model instead of the 8-pound load of sheets. And none of the full-size dryers had issues with tangling or bunching.

We timed the sensor-dry cycles and compared their actual duration with the time displayed on the control panel. With our test load, most cycles took longer than advertised because the load was unsorted: Heavier, thicker items required more time to dry and would cause the moisture sensor to extend the run time.

For dryers with “refresh” cycles that used steam to remove wrinkles, we placed three dry, wrinkled garments—a thin cotton flannel button-up, a rayon blouse, and a cotton graphic tee—inside and ran the approximately 10-minute cycle to see how effective this feature was at getting out wrinkles. (Spoiler alert: Don’t expect to replace your iron or clothing steamer.)

We also paid a lot of attention to the control panel and how easy it was to understand and use, as well as to the door design and lint tray. For models with Wi-Fi–connected features, we tried them out in the same way we did with the washers.

Speed Queen washers and dryers are durable machines built for laundromats, but you can buy them for your home. We toured the company’s factory, talked to some product managers and engineers, tested the Speed Queen Classic TC5, and ended up with so much to say that we decided to post a separate article about all of that. But here’s the short version: The durability is admirable, but the front-loaders are expensive, the top-loaders don’t clean well unless you use the least-efficient settings, and they all still need repairs sometimes. Oh, and Speed Queen told us all about the “loophole” it found in federal regulations that allowed it to reintroduce its classic top-load washer for 2019.

The Maytag Commercial MVWP575GW is another sturdy, old-school top-loader that is functionally the same as the units the company builds for laundromats. This model doesn’t have much in common with “regular” Maytag or Whirlpool residential washers since it’s built in a different factory and is more like the classic Maytag models that some people recall so fondly from decades past.

This Maytag Commercial machine should be durable over the long term, and we found that it performed better on cleaning tests than the Speed Queen TC5. It’s a few hundred dollars cheaper, too, and it comes standard with a five-year warranty. But it was rougher on our fabrics, it has fewer settings to customize the cycles, it uses a little more water than the Speed Queen on its deepest-water settings, and has a slower spin speed, so your clothes will need more time in the dryer.

We had previously named the LG WT7300C a top-loader pick, but in our subsequent AI-assisted analysis of Home Depot customer reviews, we were troubled by the high percentage (11% of the more than 1,800 reviews analyzed) of complaints saying that this washer required repairs. (By comparison, our front-loader pick, the LG WM4000H, has just 2% of 754 reviews analyzed mentioning problems requiring repairs, and our top-loader budget pick, the Maytag MVWC465HW, has just 3% of 1,593 reviews citing the same thing.) We read about a dozen owner reviews of the WT7300C mentioning that after some time (anywhere from a month to more than a year) the machine would no longer power on; a few others say that the motherboard needed replacing. We reached out to LG for comment via email, and JL Lavina, the senior public relations manager for LG’s home appliances division, responded, “LG is aware of the consumer feedback regarding the power button functionality for this model. Upon further investigation, LG discovered that there was a touch sensitivity issue and addressed this by improving the sensitivity of the control panel for current models. LG has also offered troubleshooting and repair solutions to consumers experiencing this issue.”

We also tested the WT7305C, which has a slightly smaller capacity (4.8 cubic feet versus the WT7300C’s 5 cubic feet), presumably due to the additional agitator. We didn’t find performance to differ significantly between the two, and we prefer having that extra bit of space.

The Amana NTW4516FW agitator top-loader is usually the cheapest washing machine you can buy. It’s made by Whirlpool Corporation, but compared with the other affordable Maytag and Whirlpool models we’ve recommended, it’s less efficient even on its load-sensing setting, it’s noticeably rougher on clothes, and it doesn’t have as many settings to choose from. It’s a decent cleaner, though. We don’t know whether it will prove to be reliable or durable. The reviewers at Consumer Reports rated it as one of the worst products their staff has tested, citing its poor efficiency and roughness. We believe that a Maytag or a Whirlpool model is worth spending a bit more on, but if your goal is to spend as little as possible on a washing machine, we don’t think this Amana is awful.

Guide co-author Liam McCabe spent two years trying to talk Wirecutter founder Brian Lam out of buying one of LG’s comically large high-end front-loaders. Liam did not succeed (and to be fair, Brian needs to wash a lot of beach towels), but we’re going to pass the message on to you: Hardly anyone needs a washing machine as large as the 5.2-cubic-foot LG 8000 or 5.8-cubic-foot 9000 series were. There’s nothing wrong with these humongous washers, but most people will never miss the extra capacity in choosing a standard machine. Standard front-loaders are already enormous.

Based on what we look for in a great washing machine, we think the higher-end Whirlpool and Maytag top-loaders and front-loaders are overpriced. They don’t have anything like LG’s TurboWash 360 feature, and they aren’t the best stain removers. We tested the Maytag MVW6230, for example, and found that it didn’t remove as much of the blood, soot, and cocoa stains as our picks did, and it wasn’t as gentle, either. In Consumer Reports’s ratings, Maytag and Whirlpool models get mostly middling Good ratings for predicted reliability of front-loader and top-loader models (one exception being Maytag’s Very Good rating in predicted reliability for top-loader models). The MVW6230 has Wi-Fi–connected features such as cycle-end notifications and remote start, which some people may find convenient, but we don’t recommend using these features with any such models from Whirlpool Corporation, as the company declined to respond to our questions about its privacy and security practices.

GE’s lower-end top-loaders, such as the GTW335A, are similar to the Maytag and Whirlpool models that we recommend as our budget pick. The company also sells a washer under the Hotpoint brand name, sort of like how Whirlpool’s bottom-end model is branded as Amana. However, the owner ratings for those GE and Hotpoint models are generally a few tenths of a point lower than the ratings for comparable Whirlpool Corporation machines.

We tested a midrange GE non-agitator top-loader, the now-discontinued GTW720B, which is notable because it’s the first top-loader with a special spot in the detergent dispenser for pods. It did fine on our stain-removal and roughness tests but finished a tick behind the LG model that we prefer.

We also tested a popular, less expensive agitator model, the GTW465A, which has received high customer ratings on Home Depot’s site. It was a little less effective at cleaning than the GTW720B but caused a greater-than-average amount of fraying in our test.

GE’s reputation for top-loaders is middling, with Consumer Reports giving it a Good reliability rating. (Yale Appliance left GE out of its top-loader reliability rankings.)

Samsung is one of the best-selling brands of washers in the US because its models tend to look slick in showrooms, pack in tons of features that seem useful and innovative (though they’re usually gimmicky), and often cost less than similar models by competing brands.

We tested the Samsung WA50R5400 and WA40A3005 HE top-loaders as well as the WF45R6300 and WF45T6000 front-loaders. Relative to their closest competitors, none did quite as well on our fabric-care tests, but they also tend to cost less, so that’s arguably a fair trade-off. And they both provide excellent features for the money, such as short cycle times and high-temperature options.

When you look at the stats, Samsung washers appear to be pretty reliable in the short term, as J.D. Power and Yale Appliance report. As for the medium term, Consumer Reports rates the predicted reliability of the company’s machines as Good.

Most of the feedback we hear about this brand comes from people who have had a bad experience with customer service or whose washer has broken after just a few years. No dealer or repair technician we’ve talked to recommends Samsung machines. That could be because Samsung doesn’t really care about those channels—the company sells most of its units through big-box retailers, where it wins on price, and rather than investing in a service team, it just tries to build stuff that won’t break under warranty. But it could also be because when Samsung’s stuff breaks, it breaks spectacularly, as in the case of its exploding top-loaders (and phones) from a few years ago.

Kenmore front-load washers and certain Kenmore Elite top-load washers, including the models we mention in this guide, are just relabeled versions of LG washers. We were unable to confirm this, but we suspect that the Kenmore 41562 (now discontinued) is equivalent to our main pick, the LG WM4000H, for example, and the Kenmore 29142 (now discontinued) is similar to several models in the LG WT7000 top-loader series. Occasionally, you’ll see some Kenmore models on sale for a better price than their corresponding LG versions at Sears or on Amazon.

Other current Kenmore top-loaders are relabeled versions of Whirlpool and Maytag washers—models that we don’t think are anything special.

There’s a whole universe of other laundry machines—portable washers, steam closets—that we just don’t have space to cover here. But we do have guides dedicated to compact washers and dryers and washer-dryer combos.

Many newer homes have GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlets or breakers or AFCI (arc fault circuit interrupter) breakers or both. GFCI protection is basically designed to reduce the danger of electrocution at home, especially when it comes to water (and thus is required by the National Electrical Code in bathrooms and laundry rooms, as well as near kitchen sinks, for example). AFCI breakers are designed to keep the electrical system from starting a fire. A small percentage of people may find that their washing machine tends to trip the circuit breaker for no discernible reason; this annoyance is known as “nuisance tripping.” There could be a number of reasons. If you’re encountering this issue, and a serviceperson has already determined that the washing machine isn’t the culprit—and your home was built in the past few decades—the problem may lie with your outlets.

To figure out if nuisance tripping is what you’re dealing with, Miele (the manufacturer of our upgrade pick) suggests checking whether the machine works in a location without GFCI/AFCI protection. (You can use an extension cord for testing, but it’s not a permanent fix—for regular use, your washing machine should be plugged directly into a protected outlet for safety.) In a newer home, however, all receptacles (another word for “outlets”) might be protected, and this troubleshooting method may not work. We spoke to a few electricians, and they said that replacing the affected outlet is the first thing to try. Miele told us that some of its customers fixed the issue by replacing the receptacles with those made by other brands since the tolerances of these devices can vary. (The brand of a breaker, however, needs to match that of the panel.) One reader told us that they were able to fix the issue by using an adapter for a NEMA 14-30 outlet, but that may not be an option if your home is new construction.

If swapping out the outlets doesn’t help, you may have to call an electrician to figure out what else might be the problem.

Connecting any device to the internet carries security and privacy risks, so there should be some feature of any connected washer or dryer you’d benefit from using—otherwise, it’s not worth taking such risks. If you’re not interested in an appliance’s smart features, don’t bother connecting it online.

Having Wi-Fi features in a washer or dryer also means you have to think of it as you would any computer, which means thinking about the data the company collects and shares, the software and security update cycle, and your responsibilities in making certain the appliance is set up securely. Be sure to use a unique password for any accounts you need to create, enable two-factor authentication if it’s offered (only GE includes this feature right now), and always update the appliance’s software when prompted to do so.

As part of our research, we reached out to the companies behind our picks to ask them to answer a series of questions about their privacy and security practices. Our general rule of thumb: If a company cares about security, it’ll respond with clear answers. Whirlpool chose not to respond to our questions, and when we read its privacy policy we found that the policy covered its website, apps, and appliances, making it difficult for us to suss out what any of it meant. We suggest not using Whirlpool’s connected features for the time being.

The other three companies shared their security practices with us, and in reviewing the information, we found that each follows the type of baseline security we need to see, such as encrypting the data it collects in transit and at rest.

GE’s connected appliances are the only models in this guide with a Gold IoT Security Rating from UL for their security practices. Gold, which sits in the center of the UL rating scale, means that the company encrypts data and maintains the mobile app, and that the appliance is secure out of the box without your having to do anything. None of the other manufacturers currently participate in this ratings program, but we don’t take this as a ding against those companies, as the program was introduced only in late 2019.

All these washers and dryers also allow you to connect a voice assistant like Alexa, and if you do so you’ll be asked to agree to the privacy policies of those companies, as well, so be sure that’s a feature you plan to use.

Here’s what the rest of the companies told us.

Modern, high-efficiency washing machines tend to need more maintenance than agitator washers. The good news is that it’s pretty easy to prevent—and even reverse—some of the most common problems. Here’s how.

Use high-efficiency (HE) detergent. This is crucial! Look for the little “HE” symbol on the bottle or box.

These are high-concentration, low-sudsing formulas, and they’re available at any retailer that sells detergent. We’ve done extensive testing and research to find the best HE detergents if you need help finding one. (It’s also totally okay to use HE detergents in non-HE agitator washers.)

High-sudsing, non-HE detergents are bad for modern washers because all those bubbles have a tough time dissolving into such small amounts of water, so they’re hard to rinse away. It’s like pouring too much bath gel into a tub: The more water you add, the more the bubbles you get until you dilute it enough, or enough time passes. Modern washers can sense when there’s too much sudsing and will run multiple rinse cycles to knock it all down. But that adds as much as 20 minutes to the cycle and wastes a few gallons of water—and it might not wash away all the residue anyway. Over weeks and months, partially dissolved suds can leave behind a buildup of oily film on the door and drum of the washer. That film can smear onto your clothes and can also act as a breeding ground for mildew and mold. A rep from LG also told us that residue and excess suds “can affect various sensors” in a washer, impacting the washer’s performance. What a mess. Just use HE detergent; it’s such a simple way to save yourself a lot of trouble.

Use 2 tablespoons of detergent per load at most. And that’s for the big loads, like 12 pounds and up. For most loads (the average is about 8 pounds), 1 tablespoon is enough.

HE detergents have at least double the concentration of traditional detergents, and in an HE washer, they dissolve into a much smaller amount of water, so you don’t need to put in much. This is the dosage that most washer manufacturers recommend in their owner manuals, and it seems to yield great cleaning results with minimal wear and tear on your clothes or the washer.

Detergent makers will tell you to use more: The minimum suggested dose inside a Tide bottle cap, for example, is about 2.5 tablespoons. Tracey Long, communications manager for P&G, told us that the washer manufacturers’ 2-tablespoon recommendation is a holdover from a time when HE washers were new and HE detergents hadn’t been developed yet; using less detergent was the easiest way to avoid oversudsing and all of its problems. Modern detergents don’t get sudsy, so you can use more of it, which gets your clothes cleaner, according to Penny Dirr, P&G principal researcher in laundry.

However, representatives from LG told us that they still recommended 2 tablespoons at most, based on recent and regular testing of current detergent formulas. Another LG rep called it out plainly: “Perhaps the disconnect exists because detergent makers want consumers to use more detergent so they buy more often.” That said, washing machine manuals (including that of our top pick from LG) recommend following the dosage instructions on the detergent bottles.

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Stand Alone Washer Dryer If you use too much detergent, you’ll feel it as a gritty or slimy residue on your clothes, and your washer will start to build up that same oily, mildew-friendly film you’d get from using the wrong detergent. These are common issues. Readers write to us all the time complaining about such symptoms. Ofer Hubara, a repair technician in South Carolina, said that many of the long-term mechanical problems he saw in washers stemmed from people using too much detergent and causing residue to build up. If any of this sounds familiar, you are probably using too much detergent. Just use less. It’s another easy win.