We've updated this roundup to include the Speed Queen TR5000WN washer. We're testing lots of washers right now, so stay tuned for future updates!
Top-loading washing machines have an undying appeal in the world of American laundry. They were the standard for many years—lots of us grew up with one in our homes—and they remain very popular today. While they might not be as energy efficient as the more modern front-loaders, it’s nice to not have to bend down to unload laundry and there’s less chance for mold to develop in the machine. Besides, there's a certain appeal to doing the laundry with the same type of washer our parents used.
The average top-load washer is cheaper than a front-loader, but that doesn’t mean they’re all bargains. We’ve tested hundreds of washing machines in our testing labs and have sussed out which models give you the most clean without cleaning out your wallet.
On almost every metric, the GE GTW720BSNWS(available at AppliancesConnection for $758.00) came out on top. It can conquer stains, has a ton of customization options, including a Warm Rinse option. If you prefer something a little bit more old-school, or simply want a few more options, all the washers on this list are solid, top-performing choices.
These are the best top-loading washing machines under $1,000 we tested ranked, in order:
Speed Queen TR5000WN
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If you’re looking for a modern top-load washer, the GE GTW720BSNWS fits the bill. With its TIDE Pod dispenser, a stain removal guide, and a Sanitize with OXI cycle, this washer is ready to tackle any laundry load. Despite its many customization options (including the coveted Deep Rinse option, which adds more water to each load), the interface is streamlined and easy to use.
Best of all, this washer has a really effective Normal cycle that finishes in about 45 minutes. Not only was the Normal cycle fast, but its cleaning performance was actually better than the stain removal we observed in the Deep Clean cycle, which is pretty impressive. Our testing also revealed that this washer’s Normal and Delicates cycles are among the most gentle we’ve ever tested; you won’t have to worry about wear and tear on your clothes. For a washing machine that successfully marries neat new features with solid cleaning performance, check out the GE GTW720BSNWS washer.
We have plenty of experience testing these products in the lab, but we've also used them like normal people would in the course of their daily lives, which means that we have a great sense for what appliances are bargains at their price points, and which appliances have really useful extra features (as opposed to the kitchen-sink approach to features).
With all this in mind, you can feel confident that when we recommend a product, we're giving it our Reviewed stamp of approval, which means two things: firstly, this appliance performs well, and secondly, this appliance is easy to use. We're always reviewing new products, so stay tuned for our reviews and roundups of the latest products in laundry, refrigerators, dishwashers, and vacuum cleaners.
Every washing machine that comes into Reviewed’s labs gets put through the same testing regime, which addresses both performance and user-friendliness. Performance tests include:
Stain removal – Using a strip of AHAM-approved stains (which includes cocoa, sweat, pig’s blood, red wine, and oil), how much of each stain can this washing machine remove?
Wear and tear – During a given cycle, how hard is the mechanical action of the washing machine on your clothes?
Water retention – How much water does your washing machine spin out at the end of the cycle?
Cycle time – How long is each washing machine cycle?
The best washing machines have solid stain removal abilities, do not damage your clothes, retain little water, and have short cycle times.
Beyond these performance tests, we also assess the usability of each washing machine, based on our experience, both during testing and during more casual use (one perk of working at Reviewed is that there is plenty of laundry machines on premises!). Our main goal is to get the answer to one question: How easy is it to actually use this washing machine? This involves cumulatively assessing the control panel, the door, the detergent dispenser, and any smart features that are included.
By combining the performance data with our own observations, we can make the solid recommendations for someone looking for any type of washing machine at any price point.
What You Should Know About Top-Loaders
You've probably heard people bragging about their beautiful front-load washing machines (and rightfully so); why would you want to buy a top-loader? As it turns out, there are plenty of reasons to buy a top loader, but the three most important reasons are this: ease of use, extra water options, and ergonomics.
Ease of Use
While recent studies indicate that front-load washing machines are overtaking top-load washers in the laundry popularity contest, some shoppers prefer to stick with what they know—top-loading washing machines with pole agitators. The sentiment isn't misplaced; getting a machine similar to one whose layout and logic you're used to will make your laundry life easier, even if most top-load agitator washing machines have gotten a tech-induced face-lift, and will probably look slightly different than the one in your mom's basement. Additionally, you can easily throw laundry into a top-load washer after a cycle has started—this is a much more difficult task for a front-load washer, which has to pause the cycle so that the water doesn't spill out when you open the door to throw in an errant piece of laundry.
In general, most top-load washing machines are less complicated than front-loaders, which often come with control pads that look like they belong on a spaceship. If you just want to hit a few buttons and get your laundry going, you'd probably be better off with a top-loader.
Top-load washers have different ergonomics than front-loading washers. If you prefer to just drop laundry into the washer from a standing position, and don't want to crouch down to get your clothes into and out of a front-load washing machine (or have to stack your front-loader so that accessible while standing), then you're probably better off with a top-loader. The washing machine type and feature set are just two of the things to consider when you're buying a washing machine, but knowing that you prefer a top-load over a front-load washer will help to narrow down your choices considerably.
Other Top-Loaders We Tested
The LG WT7500CW is one of our top picks for top-load washers thanks to its size, speed, and power. The 5.2-cu.-ft. drum easily accommodates a large load of laundry, and its Normal cycle can be as short as 30 minutes, although it may take up to an hour if you're washing a larger load. Even with its short cycle times, it removed most major stains in our tests. While it uses a bit more water in each cycle than expected, it's hard to complain with this level of stain removal.
With options like Oxi Sanitize, Cold Wash, and Water Plus, all of your potential stain scenarios are covered. This top-loader has a clear top so that you (or maybe your kids) can be entertained while you wash your laundry get clean in real time. Between its size and its cleaning performance, with the LG WT7500CW, you're getting a lot of bang for your buck.
If you want a workhouse washer that can deal with lots of laundry and lots of different laundry situations, you’ll want to take a look at the LG WT7900HBA top-loading washer. This washer has a lot of appealing features, including a 5.5-cu.-ft. capacity (most normal washers have a capacity of ~4.8 cu. ft.), an Allergiene cycle (which claims to remove pet dander and dust mites), and seven steam cycles (including Normal, Allergiene, and Sanitary).
Additionally, the cycle times are nice and short. The Normal and Speed Wash cycles both clock in at 30 minutes long. If you really have some serious stains to remove, though, we recommend the Heavy Duty cycle, which performed the best in our stain removal tests, and takes less than two hours to run. While this washer isn’t as efficient as some LG front-load washers we’ve tested, if you like top-load washers and want a larger tub capacity, fast cycle times, and steam cycles, the LG WT7900HBA might be a good fit for you.
If you want a washer that is both beautiful and functional, then you’ll appreciate the Samsung WA50R5400AV top-load washer. This washer has some really nice features that belie its affordable price tag; who wouldn’t want a built-in faucet for pretreating stains, a soft-close top, or a fingerprint-resistant black stainless steel finish?
During our testing, the Heavy Duty cycle had the strongest stain removal performance, but the Normal cycle comes in a close second. Depending on your expectations, you may find that a 55-minute-long Normal cycle is too long or just right. Fortunately, if you need an even shorter cycle time, this washer has a Super Speed option that can shorten your Normal cycle time to as little as 36 minutes. If you want a washer with a luxury feel and a non-luxury price, check out the Samsung WA50R5400AV washer.
The Maytag MVW7232HW top-load washer is a great mix of new features and old-school functionality. With its capacity of 5.3 cu. ft. and it’s Extra Power stain removal booster, this washer can handle large loads without taking a hit on cleaning. For those who like having control over the amount of water in your wash, you’ll be delighted by the Deep Fill option, which allows you to add varying amounts of extra water to your wash cycle.
In terms of stain removal, this washer has some of the best-performing Normal and Heavy Duty cycles that have ever come through our labs. Even better, we found that this washer is gentle on your clothes. While the cycle times are longer than those of some other washers we’ve seen on the market (the Normal cycle clocks in at ~40 minutes), for the kinds of cleaning power you get with the Maytag MVW7232HW, you won’t mind the trade-off.
The "What to Wash" and "How to Wash" control panel system helps to ensure that your clothes won't get ruined in the Whirlpool WTW7500GC. With over 20 different combinations, this washer can handle any laundry situation. One of those options is ColorLast, which keeps your clothes from getting stretched out or losing their vibrancy by washing in cold water and with a gentler agitation setting.
On top of that, this top-load washer offers a built-in faucet. This feature allows you to easily pre-treat tough stains without the need for a utility sink. The Heavy cycle offers the best cleaning performance, but the other cycles are nothing to sniff at. Between its awesome stain removal, intuitive control panel, and built-in sink, this Whirlpool washer will make itself right at home in your laundry room.
While today's washers are all about efficiency, some people prefer their washers to completely fill up with water for every cycle. If that's you, then look no further: the LG WT7100CW top-load washer won't disappoint.
With large, intuitive controls and a nice soft-close lid, this washer is easy to use, but still has enough options to please even the pickiest of laundry doers. It did an okay job of stain removal and didn't spin out as much water as we'd hoped it would, but for those who want a lot of water in each laundry cycle, the Deep Wash cycle is sure to be a people pleaser. In fact, that Deep Wash cycle uses about four times the amount of water used in a Normal cycle. With its quiet operation and see-through lid, the WT7100CW is a solid choice for someone who wants to upgrade from an old-school washer with a pole agitator, but isn't quite ready to embrace a high-end, high-tech laundry set up.
If your laundry hamper is full of delicate pieces, sportswear, or other items that don't do as well as cotton does in a washing machine, you're going to love the LG WT7300CW. This washing machine has a clear glass lid so that you can peer down and see the wash plate wash your clothes. One of the metrics by which we judge washers is wear and tear, that is, how much the washer damages the threads of your clothes in a given cycle. Out of the washers we've tested recently, the Normal and Delicates cycles on the LG WT7300CW were the most gentle.
LG is known for its feature- and gadget-heavy appliances, and the WT7300CW doesn't disappoint. While it has a ton of extra cycle options (like Tub Clean, Turbo Wash, and Water Plus), you still select cycles by turning a dial and pressing a button. The cycle times are a bit longer than some of the other LG washers we've tested recently, and the Quick cycle option is located on the panel, rather than on the dial, but its gentle and efficient cleaning performance makes the LG WT7300CW an easy choice for one of our top top-load washers.
The GE GTW685BSLWS has time-tested features in a more modern context. Its soft-close glass lid is a nice bonus, and it allows you to monitor the wash as it agitates. All you need to do to turn on the machine is to lift up the lid. A single knob lets you dial up a wash cycle; because they’re clearly labeled, it’s a breeze to pick the one you need. You can have granular control over each wash load by choosing the soil level, water temperature, spin, and rinse. Once you’ve set it, you can save it using the My Cycle feature.
Of course, you can also just use the default cycles and settings and get good stain removal results; with the turn of a dial and the tap of a button, you can start your laundry day off right. This top-loading agitator machine helps you get clean laundry by successfully balancing old-school design and high-tech features.
If you don't have a utility sink in your laundry room, you might appreciate the Activewash sink and ridged wash basin built into the Samsung WA52M7750AV washing machine. To get the best cleaning performance, we recommend that you use the Heavy cycle, which clocks in at about one hour and 20 minutes long. It's only about seven minutes longer than the Normal cycle, but does a better job at stain removal.
If you need to tackle really tough stains, you can use the Steam Sanitize cycle to blast dirty clothes with high heat and enough steam to loosen and remove stains from fabrics. A steam cycle also doubles as a handy way to refresh musty or packed away clothes. With the variety of cycles and options available on this Samsung washer, even the pickiest of laundry doers should be satisfied.
Have you held off doing a load of whites because there weren't enough to justify an entire cycle? Or perhaps you want to give your delicates a deep clean without a lot of spin? The Whirlpool Cabrio WTW8000DW wants you to be able to do just that. With the Intuitive Touch Controls, you'll be able to tell the washer What to Wash and How to Wash. Tapping two buttons will give you access to over 25 different wash cycles—meaning whatever the laundry situation, you'll be covered.
Its 5.3-cu.-ft. drum can easily handle a family of four's laundry, its stain removal power is just about average, and the Normal cycle takes less than an hour to run. If you're often confronted with a variety of stains on a variety of fabrics, this Whirlpool will take the stress out of wash cycle selection.
With its generous 4.7-cu.-ft. capacity, the Maytag MVWB765FW is ready to tackle huge loads of dirty clothes, vanquishing stains with its corkscrew agitator and long PowerWash cycle. It does a good job cleaning, is fairly gentle on clothes, and makes it easy to select a cycle with a single knob.
The glass lid lets you spy on the wash as it agitates, and you can use the Deep Fill feature to add more water to the wash, which is perfect for really dirty loads of laundry.
Don’t start the wash if you’re in a hurry—this machine’s cycles are slow. But since you can wash so much laundry in the giant tub, it uses the time well.
Speed Queen is one of those brands that has a cult following. While some people enjoy the digital displays, smart connectivity, and efficiency of newer washing machines, others just want a no-frills washing machine experience. Speed Queen delivers on the latter. The Speed Queen TR5000WN AWN63RSN115TW top load washer has a pole agitator, a capacity of 3.2. cu. ft., and three dials (wash temperature, load size, and cycle selection) on its control panel. Unlike today’s more efficient washers, with this Speed Queen, the water fills up the entire tub on nearly every cycle.
This washer did just fine in our performance tests—it did an okay job of removing stains, and didn’t damage our test loads of laundry. The major selling point of Speed Queen washers, though, is the warranty. While most washers have a one-year parts and labor warranty, this washer has a five-year parts and labor warranty. If you want a basic washer that won’t let you down after a year or so, be sure to check out the Speed Queen AWN63RSN115TW.
easy to operate
weak on stains
Whirlpool Cabrio WTW7000DW
The Whirlpool WTW7000DW is a top-load washer that is a combination of tech and legend. This washer is great for those who grew up using a Whirlpool top-loader in their childhood home: It has all of the normal washer features you recognize and love, but it has a sleek interface that uses a touchscreen, rather than a dial. However, for those who prefer the simplicity of twisting a few dials, this touchscreen panel is still very intuitive; it’s divided into two halves: “What to Wash” and “How to Wash”.
The WTW7000DW has a solid cleaning performance, especially with the addition with the Deep Clean option selected. A Normal cycle takes about an hour, and the Quick cycle is only 23 minutes long. One downside is that, after a Quick cycle, the laundry comes out very wet. However, as long as you can dump it into the washer quickly, it shouldn’t be a problem. If you want a washing machine that cleans well and is easy to use, look no further than the Whirlpool WTW7000DW.
Jonathan Chan currently serves as the Lab Manager at Reviewed. If you clean with it, it's likely that Jon oversees its testing. Since joining the Reviewed in 2012, Jon has helped launch the company's efforts in reviewing laptops, vacuums, and outdoor gear. He thinks he's a pretty big deal. In the pursuit of data, he's plunged his hands into freezing cold water, consented to be literally dragged through the mud, and watched paint dry. Jon demands you have a nice day.
Julia is the Senior Scientist at Reviewed, which means that she oversees (and continually updates) the testing of products in Reviewed's core categories such as televisions, washing machines, refrigerators, and more. She also determines the testing methods and standards for Reviewed's "The Best Right Now" articles.
We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.