Everything scales up when you have a big family. Groceries are consumed faster, toilet paper disappears in a blink of an eye, and laundry piles up until it's taller than a small child.
For those situations, you need a washer with a high capacity and speedy cycles. Also, since kids enjoy finding creative ways to get dirty, families with small children should invest in a washer with a sanitize feature. There are even washers out there that come with a secondary mini-washer to keep items like cloth diaper separate from everything else.
Considering the various needs of a large family, we went through the data we’ve collected from testing hundreds of washing machines to select the best one. The LG WM9000HVA(available at Best Buy for $1,799.99) came out as the clear winner. It has everything we were looking for: high capacity, fast cycles, and the ability to sanitize clothing.
If you think the WM9000HVA is way too expensive, not to worry, our roundup also included more affordable models.
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These are the best washers for large families we tested ranked, in order:
With a steam cycle, a sanitizing wash, and a large 5.2-cu.-ft. capacity, the giant LG WM9000HVA has a unique, sleek look that will class up a laundry room. Despite knowing that its 29-inch width is 2 inches wider than most other washers, we were impressed by how much this front-load washer could fit—and how well it cleaned. The Heavy cycle removed about 81 percent of the stains in our test, which makes it one of the highest performing washers we've ever tested when it comes to stain removal.
If you've got a lot of laundry to do, this LG will make short work of it. Since it's compatible with LG's TwinWash system, you can do two loads at once if you need to. Plus, it boasts both great form and function. LG has cleverly designed this washer to have an angled basin so that it's easier to unload it without having to bend over as much. It also has an extremely quiet operation; not only does it look like a fashion statement in your laundry room, but it won't disrupt conversation in the next room over.
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 Washers For Large Families
When we recommend a washer as one that’s good for large families, we’re mostly looking at that washer’s capacity. A washer’s drum is rated in cubic feet, and the higher the number is, the more laundry you can fit into the washing machine for a given cycle.
The average washing machine has a drum capacity is between 4.2 cu. ft. and 4.5 cu. ft. With this drum size, you can fit a family of four’s weekly laundry load. When you have a larger family, however, chances are that you’ll have bigger and more frequent laundry loads; in this case, we look for washing machines that have capacities with a minimum of 5.0 cu. ft.
According to the Spruce, a 5.0-cu.-ft. capacity drum translates into roughly 20 to 22 lbs. of laundry, which is nearly 1.5 times more laundry than you can fit into a normal-sized top- or front-load washer.
The largest washer on our list, the Kenmore Elite 31633, boasts a capacity of 6.2 cu. ft., and claims to be able to fit over 30 bath towels into a single load. Clearly, if you have lots of kids and adults in a single household, the more space you have in your washer, the better.
Another spec that makes a washer good for large families is cycle time. Sometimes, even with large capacity washers like the ones listed here, you’re still going to be running multiple cycles of laundry in a given day; it’s best for everyone if those cycles don’t take too long.
You’d think that more laundry in a load would automatically translate into longer cycle times, since, you know, there’s more laundry to clean. However, some brands have come up with ways to efficiently disperse detergent and rinse it out fairly quickly, which cuts down on the time you’re standing around waiting to put laundry into the dryer. LG’s TurboWash, for example, can reduce wash time by 20 to 30 minutes by spraying detergent directly onto clothes, and then removing that detergent with a high-powered rinse.
Lastly, the washer has to be able to get even your dirtiest clothes clean in a single cycle. With more people in the house, there’s a lot going on, and you don’t have time to assess every item of clothing to see that it’s clean; it just has to get done right the first time. So, for the best washers for large families, our list has washing machines that have a large capacity, quick cycles, and great stain removal.
Other Washers We Tested
If you want a lot of bang for your buck, then the 4.5-cu.-ft. LG WM3500CW is the front-load washer for you. Like most LG washers, you can customize each part of the cycle, from the timing, to the amount of spin, to the level of soil on your clothes. This washer did stellar in our lab tests; its stain-removal capabilities has it cleaning as well as or better than more expensive washers.
The Cold Wash feature makes it easy for you to save money on your utility bills, and if you're going to be away from home for a while, the Fresh Care feature continues to tumble your clean laundry so that it doesn't sit and get stale in the washer. Last but not least, this washer works with Google Assistant. You could, in fact, turn your washer on with a voice command. The LG WM3500CW packs great cleaning performance and neat features into a relatively small price tag.
Combining excellent stain removal ability, a massive drum, and a plethora of features, the MHW8630HC is the best Maytag washer we’ve tested to date. The Heavy Duty cycle aced our cleaning tests, dealing with everything from red wine to oil. We also appreciated the MHW8630HC’s internal water heater. With it, the Sanitize cycle achieved temperatures of around 130°F, allowing you to easily eliminate the most common illness-causing bacteria.
Cleaning alone does not make a great washer. This Maytag also makes the chore of doing laundry easier. It has an automatic detergent dispenser that holds soap for up to eight loads so you don’t need to keep busting out the bottle. In addition, the MHW8630HC comes with Fresh Hold and Overnight Wash & Dry. Both these features tumble the drum after a wash has finished, which means that for full-sized loads, it keeps a musty odor from developing or can wash and dry a shirt or two.
If you need to get through tons of laundry, the LG WM4500HBA should be your go-to front-loader. Its huge 5-cubic-foot drum will help you tumble through piles of dirty clothes, and its automatic detergent and fabric softener dispensers only need to be refilled every 18 cycles. It also has some nice smart features, like remote start and notifications, which can help with accessibility (or for those of us who set a cycle going and then completely forget about it).
The WM4500HBA has average cleaning performance, which is more than enough for lightly-soiled laundry, but it might struggle with scrubbing out significant stains. Still, we believe this machine succeeds at what it's trying to do, which is clean lots of laundry very quickly. As such, we'd mainly recommend this washer for large families, those who pile up their beds with comforters or warm blankets, or anyone who has trouble keeping up with the sheer volume of their laundry.
The LG WM8100HVA is a great-looking washer with a graphite steel finish, clean lines, and curved edges.
Beyond its looks, this LG is also just a solid washer. When it comes to scrubbing out stubborn stains, it’s better than average. Its spin cycle is pretty good at removing excess water, which makes for quicker and cheaper drying. Its 5.2-cubic-foot capacity drum accommodates large loads of laundry—an asset for families. The cherry on top: It finishes most cycles very, very fast.
It also has some great extra features, like steam cleaning and a sanitize cycle for particularly gross garments. If that weren’t enough it’s also covered by a pretty robust warranty.
The one sticking point—as so very often is the case—is its price point. While we think the LG WM8100HVA is a great washer that just about everybody would be happy to have in their laundry room, we also have to point out you can find similarly great performance and features from models that cost hundreds of dollars less.
Most of the hype surrounding the large capacity, 5.0-cu.-ft. Samsung WF50K7500AW front-load washer is focused on its AddWash feature—an extra door on the front that does nothing extra—when it should be focused on its solid stain removal and fast cycles. The Normal cycle is only 30 minutes long, and in that time, it effortlessly deals with stains, even with a large load of laundry. While the Normal cycle is a solid performer all by itself, for really tough stains, the Heavy cycle cleans even better. If you prefer to save money on heating up water, the Eco Cold cycle will make your wallet happy.
Like most high-tech washers, there's plenty of customization options here: You can set the water temperature, soil level, and spin amount in a given cycle, with extra rinses and spin options also available. This is a good washer for large families; it gets through mountains of laundry more efficiently than its competitors.
Shorter cycles with Super Speed feature
Excellent stain removal on Heavy Duty cycle
Extra spin removes excess water
AddWash feature not useful
The GE GFW850SPNRS is a feature-packed, high-performing washing machine that won’t break the bank. This washer debuts GE’s take on the smelly washing machine problem, which involves a door gasket that incorporates Microban antibacterial materials and a through-door vent system that doubles as a dryer for small laundry loads. With built-in WiFi, a reversible door, a stunning sapphire blue finish, a capacity of 5.0 cu. ft., automatic detergent dispensing, and a steam cycle, this washer is really pushing the envelope when it comes to useful features.
While the features are nice, what you really need in a washer is performance, and this washing machine doesn’t disappoint. Its stain removal abilities were strong across the board for the four cycles we tested (Normal, PowerWash, Quick Wash, and Delicates), and it exhibited relatively low wear and tear on our test laundry. Its 21-minute-long Quick Wash cycle will get your laundry clean in the blink of an eye. For a washing machine that’s tough on stains and that you won’t mind showing off to visitors, check out the GE GFW850SPNRS.
Younger, tech-savvy families will definitely appreciate the Whirlpool WFW9620HC washer. With its automatic detergent dispenser, touchscreen control panel, and large 5.0-cu.-ft. capacity, you’ll be able to get a lot of laundry done in very little time. Additionally, for those who want to be able to monitor your laundry without checking on it manually, you can easily start, stop, and track the cycles for this smart washer in the Whirlpool app.
For the most bang for your buck, use the Normal cycle, which did a good job of cleaning our test load, and only took about 40 minutes to finish. While the Quick cycle didn’t do as well cleaning-wise, it clocked in at a shockingly short 13 minutes; if you only need to wash a couple of lightly-soiled outfits, this washer will get you out the door in record time. While it still left the clothes a bit damper than we were expecting at the end of the cycle, well, that’s what a dryer is for. If you want a washer that does its best to solve common laundry pain points, the Whirlpool WFW9620HC may be the right washer for you.
In the laundry world, Kenmore only gives its "Elite" badge to the best of the best. The Kenmore Elite 41983 lives up to its moniker in every sense of the word. This 5.2 cu.-ft. washer is amazingly fast, needing just 30 minutes for a Normal cycle, and 18 minutes for a Quick cycle.
Not only is it fast, but it cleans well. Another clever feature that's included is Stay Fresh: the machine continues to gently tumble your laundry load for up to 19 hours after a cycle has finished so that your clothes don't dry in a clump if you can't get to the washing machine in time.
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 Samsung FlexWash WV60M9900AV is a giant front-load washer with a small top-load washer attached to the top. As the name suggests, the FlexWash offers unparalleled flexibility. Imagine starting a Delicates cycle full of lingerie and a Normal cycle full of towels at the same time!
The front-loader portion has all the top-of-the-line features from Samsung: steam, sanitize, and a 30-minute Normal cycle. The mini top-load washer can clean lightly-soiled items, but your really dirty clothes should still go in the 5.0-cu.-ft. front-load washer.
The Whirlpool WTW7120HC is a solid washer. It has decent cleaning power, and its built-in faucet and pretreating brush are excellent features that make it easier to take care of your clothes. It also makes sure to wring out a lot of water during its spin cycles, which will save your dryer a lot of extra work.
On the downside, the WTW7120HC is currently very expensive to purchase, and its smart features require a paid subscription to access beyond the first six months.
The LG WT7800CW has a massive 5.5-cubic-foot drum, enough room—to the delight of laundry-doing parents everywhere—for multiple baskets of laundry at once. If you have ever felt like your washer isn’t using enough water, the WT7800CW offers a Deep Wash cycle, which uses over 40 gallons of water—four times as much as the Normal cycle. Not exactly the most eco-friendly cycle, but one many people will appreciate on occasion.
However, if you’re more partial to doing multiple, smaller loads of laundry, this washer has you covered. It features LG’s Turbo Wash, which can fully clean a basket of laundry in under 30 minutes. The only reason this LG isn’t scoring higher is that once you fill it to capacity, the cycle times slow to a crawl.
When it comes to washing machines, you can't get much bigger than the Kenmore Elite 31633. With its humongous 6.2-cu.-ft. capacity, the 31633 can turn a mountain of dirty laundry into a molehill chore. Not only does this washer have the size, but it also has the speed.
Utilizing Kenmore's Accela Soak Technology, the 31633's cycle times max out at about an hour, so you're in for some speedy cleaning. Speed, size, and performance come together in perfect balance with this washer.
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 LG WT7300CW. This 5.0-cubic-foot capacity 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 Maytag MVW7230HW top-loader carries a premium price, but if you can get it on sale it offers some decent performance for a traditional top-loader. On our tests, we found it performed about as well as the average washer and also had some nice extras like a built-in faucet and an impressive, decade-long warranty.
Want a big washer that can deal with big messes? The 5.2-cu.-ft. capacity Maytag MVW8230HC top-load washer gets the job done. With its pole agitator, smart features, stainless steel finish, and control panel that has both a dial and buttons, this Maytag washer is a great combination of old-school functionality and new tech features.
In our lab tests, we were really impressed with the stain removal power of the Heavy Duty cycle, and that’s without activating the much-touted Extra Power stain removal booster. The other cycles did a pretty good job of cleaning, but the other great part of this washer is that it was very gentle on our test loads of laundry, so it won’t wear out your clothes prematurely after several washes. If you find yourself constantly tackling really dirty laundry, you’ll appreciate the Maytag MVW8230HC washer.
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.
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.
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.
Our team is here for one purpose: to help you buy the best stuff and love what you own. Our writers, editors, and lab technicians obsess over the products we cover to make sure you're confident and satisfied. Have a different opinion about something we recommend? Email us and we'll compare notes.