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 your youngest.
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 diapers 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-cubic-foot 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.
If you want a workhouse washer that can deal with lots of laundry, you’ll want to take a look at the LG WT7900HBA top-loading washer.
This top-loader washer has a lot of appealing features, including a 5.5-cubic-foot capacity (most normal washers have a capacity of ~4.8 cubic feet), 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, the LG WT7900HBA might be a good fit for you.
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.
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.
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 cubic feet, 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.
The Maytag MVW7232HW top-load washer is a great mix of new features and old-school functionality.
With its capacity of 5.3 cubic feetand 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 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.
Hello! We're Reviewed's appliance testing team. Between us, we have dozens of years of experience lab-testing appliances, and today we’re turning our attention to washers for large families.
Regardless of what we test, we take a two-pronged approach. For starters, we run each appliance through the paces with a battery of standardized objective tests, which lets us cross-compare each products’ performance. We also make sure to just use the products normally, like how anyone would use them in their own home. This pass lets us catch any user interface issues or particularly brilliant design flourishes that you’ll only notice on the hundredth time you do something.
Every washing machine that comes into Reviewed’s labs gets put through the same testing regime, which addresses both performance and user-friendliness. We look at stain removal, wear and tear, water retention, and cycle time.
When testing washing machines through the lens of large families, we specifically look at the washer’s drum size to gauge how much laundry it can hold at one time—our minimum size requirement is 5.2 cubic feet—as well as whether it has a sanitize cycle and a heavy or extra heavy soil setting to deal with all manners of family generated stains, from muddy knees and poopy diapers to pasta sauce and red wine spills.
What You Should Know Before You Buy A Washer For Large Families
Capacity Is One Of The Most Important Metrics
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 cubic feet and 4.5 cubic feet. This drum size can accommodate the laundry needs of a family of four.
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 cubic feet.
There’s An Emphasis On Cleaning and Sanitization
Every washer on this list features both a sanitize cycle and a heavy or extra heavy soil cycle. Why? Because babies poop a lot, little kids are constantly on the ground grinding dirt and grass stains into their knees, and pre-teens and teens are dripping paint, ketchup, or cosmetics all over themselves. Families need wash options that are both tougher and germ-conscious.
If You’re Running Multiple Loads, Speed Matters
Another spec that makes a washer good for large families is the washer’s 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.
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.
Leigh Harrington has more than 20 years experience as a writer and editor for myriad print and digital publications. At USA TODAY and Reviewed, she focuses on coverage about home trends, home improvement, large and small appliances, and gardening.
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.