The GE GFW148SSMWW is a decent little compact washer that can offer some good cleaning power for something its size. While cycles took a little longer than the average compact washer (and a lot longer than a full-size model would), we still think it's a reasonable purchase for its price point.
As real estate prices soar, tiny homes are becoming more prevalent. If you’re thinking about moving into one, there are multiple aspects of your life that you’re going to have to scale back, including your laundry. No more 6-cubic-feet behemoths for you, you’re going to have to get a compact.
You might have to compromise on size, but getting the right model means you won’t have to lose a shred of performance. However, smaller capacity does mean more loads and more time spent doing laundry, but that’s a small price to pay to avoid lugging your dirty clothes down to the laundromat.
Also, keep in mind that compact washers often require a 220V connection. If you live in a condo or apartment, you’ll probably need the association or landlord’s permission to get a compact set installed.
With these obstacles in mind, we spent months researching and testing the compact washing machines. After analyzing their stain removal, water usage, and features, the Miele W1 WXR860WCS(available at AJ Madison) came out on top.
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These are the best compact washers we tested ranked, in order:
Miele W1 WXR860WCS
Fisher & Paykel WH2424F1
Miele WXR 860 WCS
If you're in the market for a compact washer, but don't want to sacrifice cleaning quality, the Miele W1 WXR860WCS(available at AJ Madison) is one of the best options available. It offers just as much cleaning power as an average full-size washer, but manages it from within a very compact frame.
We also loved its effective spin cycle, which got rid of more water than many of its standard-sized competitors. This will save your dryer a lot of work, and also save you money on your utility bill.
You will have to pay for this power and convenient size, however. Even compared to other compact washers, the W1 is expensive. Still, it's hard to argue with results, and you just can't find this kind of cleaning power elsewhere in a compact washer.
The LG WM1388HW is a great compact washer for a family that has limited space, emphasis on the word family. It's clear from the cycle selection and control layout that this LG was designed to be a supplementary washer for new parents. You might scoff at the idea of shelling out an additional $999 just to clean your kid's clothes, but if you're considering using cloth diapers, you might change your tune.
The WM1388HW has a powerful Sanitary cycle aided by an internal water heater, meaning germs on security blankets and those cloth diapers don't stand a chance. When you combine the high temperatures with a highly-textured steel drum, you get a washer that is tough on stains, and gentle on laundry.
We were a little disappointed at how slow this machine is. Even the Speed Wash took over an hour. While this isn't out of the ordinary for a compact washer, it is surprising, given that full-sized LG washers have a feature called TurboWash, which creates cycles that are some of the fastest in the industry.
The Fisher & Paykel WH2424F1's control panel brims with features. It boasts 12 cleaning cycles, specialized add-ons like steam, and even a Wool cycle approved by Woolmark to ensure it won't wreck your favorite sweaters. And while this machine might have a very European-like feel, (Fisher & Paykel is based in New Zealand) we think Americans will take a shine to it.
First off, the WH2424F1 has reasonably fast cycles. Quick Wash averaged in at around 32 minutes and aced our stain removal test. In fact, this washer did pretty well across the board when it comes to cleaning clothes. We found in a few instances, like the Heavy cycle, the Fisher & Paykel outperformed the higher ranked Miele W1.
However, the WH2424F1 lagged behind efficiency ratings, preventing it from taking a top spot. At the end of each cycle, this compact failed to spin out excess water as well as its competitors. That means more work for the dryer. Luckily, the accompanying Fisher & Paykel DE4024P1 is an excellent ventless dryer. At the end of the day, we also noticed that the WH2424F1 uses more resources than we'd like. Based on our testing and data about the number of times the average American does laundry, we estimate this washer to cost about $70 a year to operate. To put that in perspective, that's about 43 percent more than what the Miele W1 uses.
Overall, if you want cleaner clothes and are will to wait hours for them to get dry, the Fisher & Paykel WH2424F1 is worth checking out.
The GE GFW148SSMWW is a solid compact washer that won’t disappoint. It has decent cleaning power and the main downside, long cycle times, may not be a deal-breaker for many consumers—especially given that most compact washers also have longer cycle times. The selling point here is that the GFW148SSMWW offers appropriate performance for its price point.
Of course, compact washers and dryers tend to charge a premium for their reduced size: If you can fit a full-size model in your home, those will give you more bang for your buck overall.
I'm Jon Chan, and I tested all these compact washers, along with a few hundred other laundry machines. Over the years, my testing and reviewing philosophy is centered around: performance, value, and usability. To this end, washers that I recommend have to do something exceptional in two of these categories, while offering something in the third.
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 Compact Washers
Still not sure if you want to invest in a compact washer, or how a compact washer is different from a regular washer? We've got the info you need so that when it comes time for you to make a purchasing decision, you can buy the washing machine that's right for you and your home.
Broadly speaking, a compact washer is defined by having a width less than 27 inches. Most compact washers are 24 inches wide. Compact washers also tend to be slower than full-sized ones. Expect wash cycles to take at least an hour, while heavy-duty cycles can last up to three hours. A smaller drum and longer cycles mean you’ll have to do laundry more often, at least two to three times a week.
You should check the power requirements of any compact washer you buy. There’s a chance that it’ll require a 220V outlet to work, the same as your dryer. In cases, like with the Bosch WAT28401UC, the washer must be plugged into the dryer for it to function.
Also keep in mind that compact washers are often more expensive than full-sized ones. They're a specialty product, meant to cram all the same performance as a full-size unit into a smaller space, so expect to pay a premium for that extra engineering.
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.