When it comes to the issue of washing machines, are we biased? Yes. In our opinion, front-loading washing machines: - Offer superior cleaning and efficiency at the same cost as the best top-loading machines; - Use less water than top-loaders; - Accommodate larger loads for increased efficiency; - Achieve better moisture extraction in the spin cycle, which means shorter (and less costly) drying times; - Can be stacked with a dryer to save space.
(NB: we don't review washer/dryer combos, which are usually more expensive. We think it's smarter to choose a washer and dryer separately.)
Our Top Ten Picks:
Below: The LG Steamwasher (model # WM2487HA) is highly rated, good-looking, and loaded with features. At $1,299 (for white) and $1,399 (for red), it offers outstanding energy and water efficiency, two optional steam settings, a cycle to moisten clothing to make ironing easier, and another that adds steam for boosting cleaning performance. Finally, it's stackable. Shown in midnight blue, perched on the LG Washer Pedestal with Drawer ($179); at AJ Madison.
Below: LG's 27-inch Front Load Washer (model #WMo642HW) with 4.0 cubic foot capacity, ultra-quiet operation, and a NeveRust stainless steel drum. Highly energy and water efficient; costs $899 at AJ Madison.
Below: For the technology-minded, the GE Profile SmartDispense frontload washer determines a load’s weight and dirt-level, then calculates and releases the needed amount of water, detergent, and fabric softener. The company estimates that the machine saves 5,800 gallons of water or more each year. $1457 at Richmond Appliance.
Below: The stackable Frigidare Gallery (GLTF2940F) is a great buy at $594 at Absolute Home. It receives high marks for its washing performance and energy efficiency. It offers automatic temperature control and automatic detergent and bleach dispensers.
Below: Kenmore Elite HE5t 4.0 cubic foot King Size Capacity Plus front-loading washer offers a large range of cycles, including a high-heat sanitary option, quiet operation, and a great range of colors. Highly rated by consumer groups and users; $1,299 at Sears. (NB: manufactured by Whirlpool.)
Below: The Whirlpool version of Kenmore's Elite HE5t is the WFW9400S Ultra Capacity Plus Washer. It carries the Whirlpool name and is available in gray ("Diamond Dust"). $1,099 at Rainbow Appliance.
Below: The Whirlpool Duet Steam (WFW9750WW) is $1,399 at AJ Madison. It's an especially quiet, stackable, and spacious machine with great ratings. The high price includes the steam option, which offers better cleaning performance (but also increases cycle time).
Below: If stacking isn't important to you (controls are on the top), consider the popular Bosch Nexxt 500 Series (WFMC530). Good user reviews for washing performance and energy efficiency; includes many automatic features common at this price level. $939 at AJ Madison.
Below: For those tied to the Maytag brand, consider the Maytag Epic (MHWZ400T). While Maytag has come under fire for repair problems, initial reports are good for this model. Stackable, highly energy efficient, and priced under the $1,000 mark ($719 for black; $619 for white) at AJ Madison.
Below: The Miele Touchtronic Superlarge Capacity W4840 receives high ratings for washing and efficiency. Very spacious interior, very quiet operation, and is stackable. $1849 at AJ Madison.
Below: The Asko Designer W6903 offers a fully integrated look with the option of custom panels. Stackable and compact (24"), the Asko can be concealed under a kitchen counter, stacked in your bathroom, or take part in a sleek laundry room. High efficiency performance and great looks don't come cheap. $1999 (for custom panel option) or $2199 for stainless at AJ Madison. .
To be fair, we want to list a few "cons" with front loaders:
- Have to stoop down to access. An accessory worth considering is a laundry pedestal with a drawer (offered by most manufacturers) that raises your washer off of the floor to eliminate stooping to access your laundry on your front-load washers. Offers good storage for detergents and such.
- Some complain of mildew smell due to small amounts of water that remains in high efficiency washers. Mildew tablets are available. A simpler solution is to leave the washer door cracked open after loads, so any remaining water can evaporate.