We've updated this roundup to include the LG WT7300CW. We're testing lots of washers right now, so stay tuned for future updates!
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 AppliancesConnection for $1,294.70) 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The 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.
The best feature, however, 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. A washer with a built-in, convenient feature like ActiveWash is something worth putting in your laundry room.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cindy Bailen loves writing about major appliances and home design and has spent over 15 years immersed in that. In her spare time, Cindy hosts pledge programs for WGBH-TV in Boston and other public television stations.
Jonathan Chan currently serves as the Senior Lab Technician 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.
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.