The Best Washers for Large Families of 2018By Cindy Bailen, Jonathan Chan, Kyle Hamilton, and Julia MacDougall
If you have a large family, then you know what you need in a washing machine—high capacity, fast cycles, and great cleaning performance. In addition to those basics, the washers we recommend here also have great features that are aimed at making the laundry doers in a big household breathe a sigh of relief. Whether it's a wash that sanitizes clothes in addition to cleaning them, or a second, smaller washer that allows you to do two loads of laundry simultaneously, we can help you to find the right washing machine for your bustling home.
Our team of laundry experts have lab-tested over 300 washers and dryers; after all those tests (and all of that laundry), our favorite washer for families like yours is the LG WM9000HVA (available at AppliancesConnection for $1,615.10). Our other picks cover a wide variety of price points and features.
(If you need a dryer that can deal with similar laundry loads as these high-capacity washers, be sure to check out The Best Dryers for Large Families.)
Want to know more about a washing machine? Just click on the product's link to read the full review.
Updated November 16, 2018
LG WM9000HVABest Overall
With a steam cycle, a sanitizing wash, and a 5.2 cu. ft. capacity, the giant LG WM9000HVA has a unique, sleek look that will class up a laundry room. We were impressed by how much it could fit—and how well it cleaned. Since it's compatible with LG's TwinWash system, you could even do two loads at once. The Normal cycle with TurboWash is only 34 minutes long, and will save you tons of time. Also, despite its large capacity, this LG washer is among the most efficient (with both water and power) that we've tested. If you've got a lot of laundry to do, this LG will make short work of it. Read the full review.
What makes a washer good for a large family?
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 between 4.2 cu. ft. to 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 20-22 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 20-30 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.
How We Test
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 – on 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.
The Samsung WF50K7500AW is a victim of its own marketing. While most of the hype surrounding this 5.0 cu. ft. washer is focused on its AddWash feature–an extra door on the front that does nothing extra–it should be focused on its solid stain removal and fast cycles. Adding the Super Speed option cuts the Normal cycle down to about 30 minutes, which is nothing to sneeze at. Families should buy this washer because it gets through mountains of laundry more efficiently than its competitors. Read the full review.
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. Even though it was fast, it removed most major stains in our tests, and options like Cold Wash and Water Plus cover all of your wash water preferences. If you don't mind the fact that it uses a bit more water in each cycle than expected, then you're getting a lot of bang for your buck. Read the full review.
In the race to build the world's biggest washing machine, the LG WT7700HVA is on the honor roll. With a capacity of 5.7 cu. ft, the drum can fit about three baskets of laundry in a single cycle. This top-loader also has a bunch of neat features, including the time-saving TurboWash, the stain-busting Steam option, and a veritable buffet of cycle customizations to make your life easier. It's not the most efficient washer or the best at stain removal, but if it's volume you're after, this LG is a good choice. Read the full review.
Kenmore Elite 41983
Kenmore Elite 41983
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. Read the full review.
The attractive Samsung WA54M8750AW is competitively-priced, and comes with a roomy 5.4 cu.-ft. tub with plenty of room for laundry. It cleans clothes well, and it has plenty of family-friendly cycles and options. But the feature most unique to this machine is ActiveWash. ActiveWash is a combination faucet/hand-washing sink that's built into the top of the washer, so you can clean and soak your clothes—then dump them straight into the washer. When you're done hand-washing, the sink basin simply flips up next to the top of the washing machine, and the rest of your laundry routine proceeds normally. Read the full review.
Samsung FlexWash WV60M9900AV
Samsung FlexWash WV60M9900AV
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. Read the full review.
Kenmore Elite 31633
Kenmore Elite 31633
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. Read the full review.
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 out of this 5.2 cu.-ft. washer, we recommend that you use the Heavy cycle, which clocks in at about one hour and twenty minutes long. It finishes in only seven minutes longer than the Normal cycle, but does a better job at stain removal. While it does only an average cleaning job, this Samsung washer has a ton of cycles and cycle options, so it should leave even the pickiest of laundry doers satisfied. Read the full review.
Whirlpool Cabrio WTW8000DW
Whirlpool Cabrio WTW8000DW
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. Read the full review.