Top-load washers might have nostalgia factor for some, but many are embracing the latest development in laundry—the front-load washer.
Front-loaders have come a long way since their inception: Modern models run more efficiently and get clothes cleaner when compared to top-loaders. Best of all, most front-load washers embrace both form and function, and often have neat features and beautiful finishes to complement their strong cleaning performance.
Once you've decided to buy (or replace) a front-load washer, the next step is to actually pick one out. The process of actually selecting a front-loader can be overwhelming since every major appliance manufacturer makes at least one front-load washer. That's where we come in: We've compiled a list of the best front-load washers available on the market today.
Our current favorite front-load washer is the Electrolux EFLS627UTT(available at Best Buy for $799.99) because of its top-notch cleaning performance, steam features, and detergent pod dispenser.
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These are the best front-load washers we've tested, in order:
Kenmore Elite 41983
The Electrolux EFLS627UTT front-load washer stands as one of the top front-load washers on the market. One reason? It is the world's first washer to have a special place for detergent pods in the drawer, allowing for even distribution of soap. However, this washer also is powerfully competent at removing stains and efficient cycles; it managed to do a solid stain-removal job in both the 46-minute-long Normal cycle as well as a quick 15-minute-long wash time.
The EFLS627UTT has a stainless steel tub and is chock-full of features and options including Sanitize, Perfect Steam, StainSoak, and Extended Refresh. StainSoak reheats and recirculates the detergent so that it has more time to tackle your really tough stains. Extended Refresh is great for those who can't stick around to immediately get wet laundry into the dryer; it continues to tumble your wet laundry in the washer until you get home. Between the bevy of features and great cleaning performance, it's no surprise that the EFLS627UTT is our favorite washer.
Hi there! We're Reviewed's appliance testing team. Between us, we've spent many years testing major appliances including washers, dryers, refrigerators, and dishwashers. 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).
Every washing machine that comes into Reviewed’s labs gets put through the same testing regimen, which addresses both performance and user-friendliness. We test for stain removal power, wear and tear on clothes, water retention and the spin cycle, and cycle duration. The best washers 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. Our main goal is to get the answer to one question: How easy is it to actually use this washing machine?
By combining the performance data with our own observations, we can make solid recommendations for someone looking for any type of washing machine at any price point.
What You Should Know About Buying Front-load Washers
Front-load washers are exactly what they sound like—instead of lifting up your washer’s lid and arranging your clothes in a circle around a pole agitator or impeller, the door opens from the front, and you put your laundry in from the side of the machine.
Where you put your laundry may not seem like a big deal, but it really makes a difference in terms of the appliance's engineering. Additionally, front-loaders tend to outpace top-loaders when it comes to cleaning performance and efficiency.
Are front-load washers better cleaners than top-load washers?
Some studies, including our own, indicate that front-loaders may do a better job at cleaning dirty laundry than top-load washers do. This may have to do with the dynamics of a horizontally-oriented washer drum: in a top-loader, stains are removed from clothes by being in contact with the pole agitator (the big spiral column in the middle), the outside of the washer drum, or rubbing against other nearby laundry.
In a front-loader, the stain removal happens when clothing interacts with the wash drum and when it spins to the top of the wash drum and then falls down onto the laundry at the bottom of the drum. Because each piece of laundry will go through this process multiple times, there's an increased likelihood that stains will be removed from all of your laundry.
Is a front-load washer efficient?
Unlike a top-load washer, a front-load washer does not have to fill a tub with water. Because the drum is oriented horizontally, the washer relies on the fact that your load of laundry is going to be mingling with all of the other laundry a lot, whether they're spun on the drum together or whether they're squished together when wet laundry falls from the top of the wash drum.
Front-loaders use water much more efficiently than top-loaders, because all they have to do is spray water while spinning the drum. This gets all of the clothes wet in two ways: firstly, most of the clothes will get wet because of the water spray, and secondly, those that don't get hit with the initial spray will absorb water from other wet clothes during the spinning-and-falling process.
By using less water in each wash cycle, front-loaders are typically more efficient (i.e. they cost less to operate on a per cycle and per year basis) than top-load washers.
Other Front-load Washers We Tested
We love LG front loader washing machines, and the LG WM3700HWA is one of the reasons why. In addition to its stellar cleaning performance, it's also one of the most water- and energy-efficient washers we've tested. With a dizzying array of features, including an Allergiene cycle that combats pet dander, to the Add Garments button, which allows you to easily pause the cycle and throw in more laundry, it's not surprising that we found this washer to be a people-pleaser.
Even better, the WM3700HWA has a door stop that props the door open after a cycle finishes to help the door gasket dry. This feature may seem minor, but allowing the gasket proper time to dry can prevent mold growth that results in terrible smells. One thing to consider is that the control panel isn't backlit, so to prevent eyestrain, we recommend this washer for well-lit laundry rooms, rather than sparsely-lit basements. That shouldn't be a problem though, since this washer's performance and energy savings mean you'll be dying to show it off to anyone who drops by.
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% 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.
If you want a lot of bang for your buck, then the 4.5-cubic-foot 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.
If you want a workhorse front-load washing machine that has fast cycles and is both tough on stains and gentle with delicates, look no further than the Samsung WF45R6300AV. Like most Samsung washing machines, it has a dizzying array of cycles and cycle options, but the ones that stands out the most are the Sanitize cycle, which gets hot enough to kill all sorts of germs and bacteria, and the No Spin option, which is the best and safest choice for delicate clothes like sports gear, lingerie, bathing suits, and blouses.
The WF45R6300AV is no slouch when it comes to stain removal; the Heavy and Normal cycles are among the best cycles we've ever tested in our labs, hands down. The Quick Wash cycle is effective as well, but the best part of the Quick Wash cycle is its short run time of 28 minutes. If you're a big believer in smart home gadgetry and the Internet of Things, this Bixby-enabled washer won't disappoint. You can get alerts on your phone when a cycle finishes, and download a cycle from Samsung's cycle library that matches your exact stain needs. For a washer that gets the job done right the first time and has useful extra features, be sure to check out the Samsung WF45R6300AV.
With its lower upfront cost, it's no surprise that the Samsung WF42H5000AW is pretty bare bones. However, you'll be pleasantly surprised to fine that this washer, which has a fairly average cleaning performance in general, also has an absolutely stellar Heavy Duty cycle that blasted stains away.
There are a number of extra wash and cycle options, but the panel is legible and easy to navigate. The WF42H5000AW isn't a fancy washer by any definition, but it will clean your clothes without a lot of extra fuss, and that's all you need.
Long-time fans of Maytag washing machines won’t be disappointed with the Maytag MHW6630HC. In addition to the Normal and Heavy cycles, which both have very strong cleaning performances, this washer also has a speedy, highly effective 13-minute-long Quick cycle.
While our testing indicates that this washer is less gentle with clothes than we’d hoped, we think that the MHW6630HC makes up for it with some neat features. You can’t go wrong with a steam option, an extended tumble cycle to keep post-wash clothes from clumping and wrinkling, and the “Extra Power” button, which can help get tough stains out of family-sized loads of laundry. If you need tough stains removed in a short time span, check out the Maytag MHW6630HC front-load washer.
There’s a lot to like about the Samsung WF45R6100AW washer. Not only does it have an amazing number of cycle options (water temperature, load dirtiness, number of rinses, etc.), but its Heavy cycle is near-perfect, and one of the best stain removing cycles we’ve ever seen during lab testing. While we found that this washer was a little harder, wear-and-tear-wise, on clothes than we usually prefer, we think that the trade-off with its amazing stain removal ability is worth it.
Like all of the more recent Samsung front-load washers, the WF45R6100AW has one additional feature that you’ll really appreciate: instead of having one or two specific steam cycles, this washer uses steam cleaning in half of the available cycles, including Normal, Heavy, and Sanitize. If you need a washer to tackle your toughest, dirtiest laundry, the WF45R6100AW won’t let you down.
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, 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-cubic-foot 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’re in the market for a closet-depth washer, the Whirlpool WFW6620HW is a great choice. Its cleaning performance is on point, especially when you access the Sanitize and Steam options.
For a washer in its price range, the WFW6620HW is jam packed with special features. It also has unique cycle selection where you choose "what to wash" and "how to wash it," which might be a more intuitive system for some.
Our one caveat: make sure that the machine is perfectly level during installation. Otherwise, the vibrations and noise might sour your experience.
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.
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.
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.