When it comes to washing machines, are we biased? Yes. In our opinion, front-loading washers are it.
In the years since we last reported on front-loading washers, manufacturers have tackled the one big issue that plagued the machines: mold and mildew from standing water. They took the issue head on and created anti-bacterial surfaces, improved water drainage, and developed automatic door-propping devices. With that issue fixed and entry-level pricing at more affordable levels, what is there not to like about front-loading washing machines? They offer superior cleaning with far less water than the best top-loaders. They accommodate larger loads and achieve better moisture extraction in the spin cycle, which means shorter (and less costly) drying times. And they can either be put side-by-side or stacked with a dryer to save space.
(OK, we admit it, there is one downside: having to stoop down to access the machine. An accessory worth considering is a laundry pedestal with a drawer that raises your washer off of the floor to eliminate stooping and provide storage space for detergents or other laundry tools.)
We’ve researched the current market offerings of primarily full-sized (typically 27 inches wide) washers and used reviews, personal experience, and consults with appliance repair and sales experts to narrow our picks. All the offerings are Energy Star certified, have stainless steel drums, glass doors, and can be installed side-by-side or stacked for flexibility. Here are our 10 picks.
N.B.: Have a front-loading washer you love? Share your experience in the comments below.
For more washing machine and laundry room tips, see our posts:
- Cleverly Camouflage the Washer/Dryer
- Remodeling 101: What to Know When Replacing Your Washer or Dryer
- Domestic Science: How to Stop Your Washing Machine from Releasing Microplastics into the Ocean
- Domestic Science: How to Clean a Washing Machine
N.B.: This post was originally published on September 11, 2013. We have updated it with new and additional product selections and current pricing.
Frequently asked questions
What is the advantage of a front-loading washing machine?
Front-loading washing machines are known for their energy efficiency, water savings, and gentle cleaning. They use less water and detergent compared to top-loading machines, and their tumbling action is ideal for cleaning delicate fabrics.
Which front-loading washing machine is the most energy-efficient?
Among the featured washing machines, the Miele WWH860WCS stands out as the most energy-efficient. It is ENERGY STAR certified and has various eco-friendly features to reduce energy consumption.
Can front-loading washing machines handle large loads?
Yes, front-loading machines are typically designed to handle large loads. They have a spacious drum capacity that can accommodate bulky items like bedding and large quantities of laundry.
Are front-loading washing machines more expensive than top-loading ones?
Front-loading washing machines generally have a higher upfront cost compared to top-loading machines. However, their long-term energy savings and durability often make up for the initial investment.
Do front-loading washing machines require special detergents?
Front-loading washing machines work best with high-efficiency (HE) detergents. These detergents are designed to produce less suds and prevent residue buildup in the machine.
Are front-loading washing machines prone to mold or mildew?
While front-loading machines can be more susceptible to mold or mildew due to their airtight seal, regular cleaning and maintenance can prevent this issue. Wiping the door gasket, leaving the door open after use, and using cleaning products specifically designed for washing machines can help combat mold or mildew.
Which front-loading washing machine offers the quietest operation?
The Bosch WAT28402UC is highly regarded for its quiet operation. It features an anti-vibration system and special insulation to minimize noise and vibration during the washing cycle.
Can front-loading washing machines be stacked with a dryer?
Yes, most front-loading washing machines have a stacking capability. You can purchase a compatible dryer and stack it on top of the washer to save space in your laundry area.
Are front-loading washing machines gentle on clothes?
Yes, front-loading washing machines are known for their gentle cleaning action. The tumbling motion and absence of an agitator ensure that clothes experience less wear and tear during the washing process.
Do front-loading washing machines have a longer wash cycle?
Front-loading washing machines generally have longer wash cycles compared to top-loading machines. This is because front-loading machines use less water and rely on longer wash times to achieve deep cleaning results.