We updated this guide in June 2022 to ensure all products tested and vetted by the Good Housekeeping Institute Home Appliances and Cleaning Products Lab were in stock, available and accurately priced.
Washing machines have gotten very fancy (and very pricey) in the last few years, and shopping for your perfect match can be overwhelming. Enter the Good Housekeeping Institute Home Appliances and Cleaning Products Lab experts, who have decades of testing under their belts and know the best, most reliable models.
When we test washing machines, we evaluate them on the regular, heavy-duty and delicate cycles for how well they clean and remove stains, how much energy and water they consume and how gentle they are on fabric. That means for each machine we test, we measure 72 stains to assess cleaning and count hundreds of fraying threads to assess gentleness. We also test specialty cycles like bulky bedding and quick or speed wash to see if they perform up to our expectations. If there's a sanitizing cycle, we confirm the machine reaches a high enough temperature for the required amount of time to adequately kill germs on fabrics. We also test each model’s control panel for intuitiveness, how responsive it is and how easy it is to use. We even check how easy it is to open and close the door!
Our top picks:
1Best Overall Washing MachineUltraFresh Front Load Washer with OdorBlock GE Appliances Read More
2Best Value Washing MachineTop Load Washing Machine with FlexDispense and Sanitize with Oxi GE Read More
3Best Extra Large Top-Loading Washing MachineTop Load Extra-Large Capacity Agitator Washer Maytag Read More
4Best Innovative Washing MachineTop Load Washer with 2-in-1 Removable Agitator Whirlpool Read More
5GH Tested Washing MachineTop Load TR7 Washing Machine Speed Queen Read More
Read on for more details about our best washing machines for 2022 (and complete your set by shopping our best dryers of 2022).
- Option to dry machine and door to prevent musty smell
- Automatically adds the correct amount of detergent
- Can wash and dry a small load
- Door gasket, drawer, hose and other parts are treated to prevent germ growth
- Some reviewers say the app is not as useful as they would like
One of the biggest consumer complaints about front loading washing machines is the musty smell that develops when water puddles inside. This GE washer has a venting option that automatically dries the inside of the machine and the door seal when your laundry is done. The machine pulls in outside air to dry the interior while the drum spins intermittently. And the door gasket, dispenser drawer and other internal components are treated with Microban, an additive to help keep mold at bay.
In our tests, the drum and door seal were bone dry after a full vent cycle. We found the wash cycles speedy and very effective, impressively cleaning our cotton and polyester stain swatches in both warm and cold water. Even the quick wash removed a set-in stain in just 20 minutes.
This washer is packed with features, including SmartDispense bulk detergent dispensing. All you do is select the cycle and the washer automatically adds the correct amount of detergent. It holds up to 50 ounces of liquid detergent and is a cinch to fill without spilling. Other extras include steam cycles, WiFi connectivity, and a one-step wash and dry option that washes and air dries a small load overnight.
• Model #: GFW850SPNRS
• Capacity: 5 cubic feet
• Dimensions: 28"w x 39 3/4"h x 34"d
- Sanitize cycle
- Option to add more water for loads that need a deeper cleaning
- Dedicated section for detergent packs
- No steam cycle
If you are looking for a machine with luxury features at a great price, this model from GE is a solid choice. GE washers are always solid performers in our GH Cleaning Lab tests. It has all the key cycles including ones for washing workout wear and bulky items like comforters, down coats and sleeping bags. You won't find steam cycles at this price point, but you can still kill bacteria on the sanitize cycle with the addition of an oxi additive that helps boost your detergent's cleaning power.
We love that the dispenser has a dedicated section for detergent packs to help them dissolve better and the handy stain guide option adjusts the cycle's time and water temperature to better remove stains like tomato, wine, blood, grass and dirt. With the deep fill and deep rinse settings, you can add more water to loads that need them for more thorough washing and rinsing. The washer also comes in gray, but white is a better value.
• Model #: GTW720BSNWS
• Capacity: 4.8 cubic feet
• Dimensions: 27"w x 46"h x 27"d
- Large capacity
- PowerWash cycle to clean extra dirty loads
- Some reviewers say they have a hard time reaching the bottom
This top-loading washer has a center agitator but is still so huge inside that you’ll never notice any compromise in capacity. While it’s energy-saving and efficient, you can add more water if you’d like to with the deep fill option. We found it's a cinch to use because the control panel is clear, easy to decipher and super responsive to the touch.
The PowerWash cycle boosts cleaning for extra dirty loads and RapidWash trims wash time to under 30 minutes for items you need in a hurry. A down-filled coat that we washed on the bedding cycle in a slightly smaller version of this same model came out thoroughly clean, rinsed and free of suds.
• Model #: MVWB965HC
• Capacity: 6.0 cubic feet
• Dimensions: 29.5"w x 43 7/16"h x 30"d
- Removable agitator
- Stain-treating station
- Allows you to add detergent for up to 20 loads
- Some reviewers say it's louder than expected
With this unique Whirlpool top load washer, you never have to decide between buying a washing machine with or without an agitator. This 2-in-1 machine allows you to keep the agitator in for regular loads or remove it for bulky loads like washing a comforter. In our tests, we were impressed with the stain-treating station and Load and Go dispenser which allows you to add detergent once without needing to refill for up to 20 loads. We also found the app useful and easy to use. Unlike any other washing machine we've ever tested, this Whirlpool impressed us so much it was a winner in our 2021 Good Housekeeping Best Cleaning Products Awards.
• Model #:WTW8127LC
• Capacity: 5.2 cubic feet with agitator, 5.3 cubic feet without agitator
• Dimensions: 27.25"w x 42.5"h x 27.88"d
- Compact profile
- Comes with a seven year warranty
- Easily handles large loads
- Smaller capacity than some others
For our GH Tested program, Good Housekeeping Institute's labs test products from brand sponsors and share results on the ones that impress us, like this washing machine from Speed Queen. This slim top-loader might slide into a smaller space with its compact profile, but easily handles large loads and its innovative wash action is energy efficient and gentle on clothes. It’s easy to program with your choice of temperature, soil level and load size selections, or choose from eight special cycles. You can customize your own pre-set favorites you can repeat with just the press of one button.
This machine is super-quiet, and the delay start setting lets you wash when it suits you — even overnight. We found the center agitator didn’t interfere with washing a bulky queen-sized comforter, which came out clean and well-rinsed. In our tests, we’ve found that Speed Queen washers are solid performers, and the seven-year warranty reinforces that.
• Model #: TR7003WN
• Capacity: 3.2 cubic feet
• Dimensions: 25 5/8"w x 42 3/4"h x 28"d
- Automatically detects soil level and adjusts the wash
- Easy to use app
- Can control the dryer from the washer when stacked
- Only comes in brushed black color
While this washing machine won’t do your laundry for you, it does make it easier with loads of smart features. In our tests, we were impressed that after using the washer a few times, it learned our favorite wash cycle settings. It also has an Opti-Wash feature which automatically detects the soil levels and adjusts to add more time or detergent if needed so your laundry always comes out clean. We found the app easy to use with convenient features like remotely starting and stopping the wash, scheduling wash cycles, receiving alerts when the cycle is done and more.
Not only did this washing machine do a great job cleaning but it was quiet as well. The drum is treated with an antimicrobial to help keep the washing machine smelling fresher longer and the Self Clean+ feature will alert you when it’s time for a cleaning. The matching dryer can be installed stacked or side by side. If you do stack them, you can set the dryer right from the washer's control panel.
• Model #:WE50A8800AV
• Capacity: 5.0 cubic feet
• Dimensions: 27"w x 38 3/4"h x 33 1/5"d
- Extra large capacity with pedestal washer
- Works with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa or an app
- Sanitizes and remove allergens
- Pedestal washer sold separately
With a 5.2 cubic-foot mega-capacity washer sitting atop a 1.0 cubic-foot pedestal washer, there’s no laundry task this giant combo team can’t handle, and it’s super easy to load. Use the top washer for your every day and oversized loads and the mini one below for just a few items that need special care or that you need in a hurry.
It features steam, works with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa or an app on your phone and is certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America to sanitize and remove sniffle-causing allergens from fabrics. While the pedestal washer is perfect for delicates, we found the top machine gentle on fabrics, too. Keep in mind the pedestal washer is sold separately for an additional $600 to $829 depending on model and color, but even without the pedestal add-on, we still stand by the main unit as a great choice.
• Model #: WM8100HVA (washer), WD205CV (pedestal)
• Capacity: 5.2 cubic feet (washer), 1 cubic foot (pedestal)
• Dimensions: 29"w x 41 5/16"h x 33 7/10"d (washer), 29"w x 14 1/8"h x 30 7/8"d (pedestal)
- Saves space
- Carries the Good Housekeeping Seal
- Automatically dispenses the correct amount of detergent
- May not handle very large loads
This mighty mini is a Good Housekeeping Seal holder for good reason: Its deceptively large interior and space-saving exterior make it the perfect choice to install in small homes, apartments or as second-floor laundry in a closet or bathroom.
Most unique is its TwinDos system that automatically dispenses the correct amount of detergent and enhancer for top cleaning of both whites and colors. There are tons of special cycles to choose from, including QuickIntenseWash which, in our tests, whitened cotton test swatches and impressively removed tough stains in under one hour. It's also WiFi-enabled so you can monitor and control your wash cycles via your smartphone.
• Model #: WWH860WCS
• Capacity: 2.26 cubic feet
• Dimensions: 23 1/2"w x 33 1/2"h x 25 3/8"d
- Controls for both washer and dryer are in center for easy access
- Built-in sensors can customize cycle
- Can control laundry remotely with app
LG's WashTower gives those short on space and short in height something to be excited about. Sure, all front-load washers and dryers can be stacked to install in a closet, bathroom or wherever space is tight, but LG went a step further by placing the controls for both appliances in the center, so short folks no longer have to stretch to see and set the dryer cycles.
But that's not all. Built-in sensors use AI technology to detect fabric texture and load size to customize the washing and drying cycles for better fabric care. Speed cycles also make quick work of even large loads. Paired with the LG ThinQ app, you can set and monitor both appliances and the washer can even alert the dryer to the type of load coming its way. This particular pick comes with an electric dryer, but the unit is also available with a gas dryer for $100 more.
In our GH Cleaning Lab tests, we found this unit incredibly easy to use and load and unload, especially for our five-feet and under testers! The cycles are speedy, yet gentle and effective, and nice extras, like steam, allowed us to freshen gently worn items for another wear. The machines learn your most frequently used cycles and automatically choose the correct options when you turn them on. Convenient!
• Model #: WKEX200HBA
• Capacity: 4.5 cubic feet (washer), 7.4 cubic feet (dryer)
• Dimensions: 27"w x 74 3/8" h x 30 3/8"d
Good Housekeeping has been testing washing machines pretty much ever since there's been a Good Housekeeping Institute, so you could say it's in our DNA. Today's washers are smarter, gentler, clean better and easier to use than the early models were, but we're still testing them for what we always did — how well they'll clean and care for your clothing and how easy and intuitive they are to use.
When we test washing machines, we base our tests on the industry standards developed by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM). To evaluate the cleaning performance of each load — whether regular, heavy-duty or delicate — we include carefully-placed pre-stained strips of fabric with six stains on each. At the end of the cycle, the strips air dry, then we take multiple measurements on each stain for a total of 288 measurements per load to calculate a total stain removal index for the cycle. For just three cycles on each machine, that's over 860 measurements!
Gentleness is tested by washing cotton swatches with five pre-cut holes in them. When they come out of the machine, the holes are frayed and we count the frayed threads. The more fraying, the more damaging the cycle. For our last test of 12 washers, we counted over 1,000 frayed threads.
Finally, we check the water and energy usage of each machine along with how intuitive the control panel is to use and how easy the washer is to load. We test any special cycles or innovative features as they are designed to be used and even evaluate the owner's manual for how thorough, clear and complete it is.
The first decision you’ll have to make is whether you want a front- or top-loading machine. In Good Housekeeping Institute tests, both types clean so well you likely will not notice a difference in your clothing, though our tests show front loaders do perform a bit better. Which you choose is really a matter of personal preference.
✔️ A front-loading washing machine is the most energy-efficient option. It uses the least amount of water in each load. Clothes get cleaned when they tumble in a small pool of water that’s added by the machine once it senses the weight and type of load. Front-loaders can easily handle big, bulky items, like comforters and sleeping bags, but do require bending to load and unload the tub. Most manufacturers sell pedestal drawers to raise the appliances up off the floor and save some strain on your back.
If space is tight, a front load washer can be stacked with its matching dryer and placed in a closet, bathroom or any narrow area where water, electrical connections and venting are available. (Non-venting dryers are becoming more widely available for installation in spaces where outside venting is not an option and our tests show their performance rivals that of vented models, too.) Keep in mind that water often puddles in the door gasket, dispensers and even the drum itself at the end of the cycle and can lead to mold growth and odors. If you choose a front loader, you’ll need to be diligent about cleaning the gasket and dispenser and leaving the door ajar or drying the machine down so the drum dries out and odors don’t develop.
✔️ A top-loading washing machine is a good choice if you like a more traditional configuration. Because the water in top-loaders drains down and out, they are less likely to develop mold and odors than front-loaders, and that's the reason many consumers prefer them. However, it’s a good idea to clean the tub and dispensers of all washing machines about once per month. Newer, high-efficiency top-loading models provide excellent cleaning and are still energy efficient even though they use more water than front loaders.
Top loaders may or may not have a center agitator. Those without agitators have huge tubs for extra-large loads and gently bounce clothing under a shower of water. Some are so deep that reaching into the bottom to grab the last sock can be challenging for short consumers. Agitator models may be less expensive but may be a little less gentle on fabrics. They get clothes clean by moving them through a pool of water so fabrics are well rinsed. Detergents, especially single-dose packs, are more likely to dissolve completely in them. Top loaders with agitators may have smaller tubs and generally use the most water of any style washer.
Beyond deciding whether a front-loading or top-loading washing machine is best for your needs, here are a few other aspects you may want to consider:
✔️ Capacity: If you find yourself washing bulkier items often or especially large loads you’ll want to opt for a large capacity washer, usually without a center agitator. However, if you tend to wash smaller loads a standard capacity washing machine should be just fine. Make sure you try reaching inside the drum of whatever machine you are considering to make sure it's easily accessible to you.
✔️ Smart features: More appliances, including washing machines, are starting to come with smart features. These features make doing laundry easier by allowing you to schedule a load of laundry from your phone or send notifications when the cycle is finished. More machines use Artificial Intelligence to anticipate your cycle selections and care for fabrics for a better, more convenient laundry experience. Just keep in mind these extra features can be more costly.
✔️ Detergent dispensing: Rather than pouring detergent directly into the washing tub or into the dispenser every wash, some washers come with bulk dispensers that you fill once for multiple loads. These machines will automatically dispense the correct amount of detergent into each load according to the cycle and options you’ve selected and the size of the load the machine senses.
Another thing to keep in mind when it comes to detergent: If you use detergent packs, some washing machines have special single-dose dispensers that ensure the pack is fully dissolved and released at the correct time in the cycle.
✔️ Cycles: Look for the cycles that you use most frequently or washing machines that are programmable if you like to customize your cycle. Other types of cycles that are useful are sanitizing options to kill germs and help with allergies, steam for better stain removal and quick wash for lightly soiled items that don’t need a full cycle to get clean or for items you need in a hurry. If you like having lots of control over how you do your loads, look out for machines that don't allow you to override the preset temperature and spin options on some cycles. You may find using these machines frustrating.
Carolyn Forte, the Good Housekeeping Institute's Home Care and Cleaning Lab Executive Director, has a B.A. in Family & Consumer Sciences from Queens College, City University of New York, and is a consumer products expert. She has been testing, speaking and writing about appliances, textiles, cleaning products and more at Good Housekeeping for more than 40 years as well as consulting with the appliance industry, especially washing machine manufacturers, about appliance testing protocols and consumer laundry habits.