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Washing Machine Reviews - Expert Analysis and Advice

Best Washing Machines:

If you have gone into a Best Buy lately or Sears you will be amazed at the new colors that washing machines are being produced with - reds and blues just to name a few. A washing machine isn't all that exciting to look at but manufacturers have recently put curves where sharp corners used to exist and they've added glass tops to increase their appeal to buyers. Top loaders used to dominate the market but the newer front load washing machines are very popular and modern looking. Which is better - top loader or front load? Experts say front-loaders perform better but of course they are more expensive. The biggest complaint that we heard was in the latest Consumer Reports on washing machines. The U.S. Department of Energy has put tighter restrictions on washing machines requiring a 21% drop in energy usage by the new washers. This, unfortunately, has reduced the ability for top loaders to get the clothes clean and wash them properly.

Best Front Loader:

CR says that not one of the top load washing machines received an 'excellent' score in washing performance with many models getting the worst scores that they have ever seen. The center post agitators in the top loaders are just not capable of washing as efficiently with the lower energy requirements. There are top-loaders that come without agitators and they are called HE (high efficiency) washing machines but they still don't perform as well as the front loaders when it comes to water and energy usage. We read countless opinions from experts that say for now don't buy an high efficiency top loader. Front loaders are all the rage these days and definitely perform better than top loaders. Front load washers will wash clothes better and they are more energy efficient. When it comes to features on your washing machine, look for ones with a variety of cycles (4 to 5) and settings that allow you to wash sheets or delicates properly. Automatic detergent dispensers or those that release bleach and fabric softener are pluses. Overall, the front loaders are recommended since they can handle larger loads and actually wash your clothes the best. Whirlpool gets the best repair ratings for front loaders while Maytag comes in dead last with almost 20% of their front loader washing machines needing repairs. KitchenAid was the worst in the top loader category while GE, Kenmore, and Whirlpool are near the top for least repairs. Expect to spend at least $900 to $1500 for the newer washing machines that do a good job of cleaning your clothes. The top brands are Whirlpool, Kenmore, Ge, Fisher & Paykel, LG, Bosch, Samsung, and Frigidaire. Shop around and look for deals at stores like Sears. You can often find a 30% discount if you buy multiple appliances. Other stores like Lowes, BestBuy, and Circuit City also carry the latest washing machines. One last reminder, buying the extended warranty is probably not a good idea unless you are purchasing one of the models with a terrible repair history.

RECOMMENDED - We found some great reviews online at ConsumerSearch.com and GoodHousekeeping but our picks were definitely swayed by what we found in Consumer Reports magazine. This was one of the first years they didn't hand out their "best buy" awards to any top loaders. They just don't clean well enough they said. The highest rated were the HE washers, but at $1000+ they are not recommended. Most of the top loading washing machines get pretty bad scores for water efficiency and that is not good news since the world will soon face a water shortage. If you can't afford the front loaders, then consider the GE Profile Harmony ($890). At least it cleaned clothes pretty well and has a decent capacity. The drawback is water usage (noted above) and it's not so gentle on clothes. Perhaps next year the top loaders will improve their performance levels and compete better with front loaders.

Forget about the higher cost up front, you will probably save more in the long run with the a quality front loading washing machine. They are very water and energy efficient which should save on your bills immediately. Also, the washing performance on several is considered "excellent". Their large load capacities will save you from having to do extra laundry and most are very gentle on clothes during the wash and rinse cycles. The top rated front loader is the Whirlpool Duet HT GHW9400P ($1200) with a reasonable price and superior performance. Whirlpool has the best repair history for front loaders which should make the $1200 feel like a solid purchase. At $100 cheaper is the Bosch Nexxt 500 Series WFMC3301UC which gets solid ratings for features and performance. The LG WMO642H ($1000) has top reviews for gentleness on clothes, capacity, and it's very water efficient.

If you are going to save money when buying a washing machine, go with a front loader and skip the top loaders. The Frigidaire Gallery LTF2940E ($700) is the best budget front loader when compared to other models. It's a 50% savings off the more expensive and top rated LG Tromm SteamWasher ($1500) but you still get a solid machine that will wash your clothes pretty good. We found some great customer feedback on the Gardenweb.com forums for this model. This particular model was at Lowes home improvement stores but comparable models can be found at Sears. Haier makes the best portable washing machines. They range in price from $190 to $300 and we found several listed on A1pluselectronics.com. These compact washing machines are great for small loads and many come with no central agitator which increased your clothes capacity.

Top Selling Washing Machines:

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