Washing Machine Buying Guide

A Guide to Find the Best Washing Machine For Your Needs

The Greatest Appliances Washing Machine Buying Guide shares all you need to know to make an intelligent decision before buying your next clothes washer.

No matter how hard you try, you will never be able to escape the chore of washing clothes. A dependable washing machine which will gently clean your clothes for many years is what you should look for.

If you already know all about clothes washers and just want to find the best one to meet for your needs, be sure to check out our Washing Machine Reviews. You should also check out all of our Appliance Buying Guides.

Washers have a wide price range, from as low as $350 to as much over $2,000 depending on the capacity, features, and type. We will show you how you can find the best washing machine to meet your specific needs.

image of haier washing machine buying guide

Consider These Types

Do you have a preference in how you load and unload your laundry? Would you rather need to bend down to load a front-loading washer or do you prefer standing upright, loading the washing machine from the top? Of course, you can always purchase a pedestal that will raise the height of front-loader, which makes it easier, however you will need to shell out an extra $250 or so for that added convenience. If you are looking for a good washer and dryer combo, check out “The Best Matching Washer and Dryer Sets”. To find help with finding the perfect dryer, check out our “Clothes Dryer Buying Guide”.

image of kenmore top loading washing machineTop-Load Washing Machine

Agitator models are cheaper and are quicker than top-loading washing machines that do not have an agitator, also known as high-efficiency (HE) washing machines. The majority of HE washers are have better cleaning capabilities, are more gentle on fabrics, require less water, and provide larger capacities. In addition, they typically spin faster, removing more water and reducing required dryer time, even though the spinning can sometimes tangle clothes. Stick to our tips for getting the best out of your HE washing machine. And keep in mind that some are extremely deep. When comparison shopping, reach in and imagine you are pulling out that last sock. If you have to grab the tongs, keep looking.

Front-Load Washing Machine

Front-load washing machines are typically the more costly choice. The best front-loaders are better at cleaning and are more gentle on clothes than the best HE top-loading washing machines while not using as much water. Front-loader cycles are longer than HE top-loaders, however they spin quicker, resulting in the extraction of more water, which reduces dryer time. The high-spin speed, together with the method of the spinning, can sometimes make some washing machines shake and vibrate. Concrete floors do a good job of absorbing the vibrations, however wood-framed floors do not absorb the vibrations very well.

image of LG front Loading Washing MachineMeasure Your Space

Larger capacities sometimes result in a washing machine being two or three inches wider than the regular 27 inches; this is the same as with dryers. Take measurements of the space you have to work with and add at least 6 extra inches in the back of the washing machine to allow for water hookups, and an inch or two between the washer and dryer. Take measurements of the doors to your home as well to make ensure your new washing machine is going to fit through them.

If you’re installing your machines close to bedrooms or the living room, take a look at the ones that performed very good or better in our noise tests. At this rating, you will know that they are working but they won’t be loud enough to disturb you. And while the majority of manufacturers have managed to reduce the vibrations of front-load washing machines, pay special attention to the vibration scores in our Washing Machine Ratings Charts.

Add Up the Towels in Your Hamper

We don’t all require a washing machine that’s capable of holding 28 full-size bath towels, which is what you will find with a washer that has 6.2 cubic feet of capacity. A machine that has between 4.2 and 5.1 cubic feet is able to hold between 16 and 21 towels. Those that have 3.3 to 4.2 cubic feet should be able to accommodate 14-16 towels. We no longer provide scores on the capacity as it’s a personal preference as to how critical of a factor that is. Only you can be the judge of that.

Five Fantastic Features

The greater the number of features, the more exorbitant the price. Consider the steam feature as an example. A lot of mid- and high-priced washing machines offer a steam setting. Our tests discovered steam only slightly increases a washer’s ability to remove stains. So pick a high-performance washer in your budget, then only the features that give you added convenience or save time. Here are some to keep an eye out for.

Automatic Dispensers

Built for dispensing detergent, bleach, and fabric softener at the proper time, some washing machines is capable of holding up to several months’ worth of detergent.

Automatic Temperature Control

Instead of than mixing hot and cold water in preset proportions, auto temperature control makes adjustments to the water, setting it to the optimal temperature for the setting chosen.

Extra Rinse Cycle

Front-loaders and high-efficiency top-loading washers require much less water than agitator washing machines do. Taking advantage of the extra rinse cycle can aid in getting rid of pet hair and other messes. If your skin is sensitive to detergent residue, the extra rinse will help you from having unnecessary reactions.

End-of-Cycle Signal

A jazzy tune or series of beeps lets you know that it’s time to move your clean laundry from the washing machine to the dryer or clothes line.

Brands That Matter


Frigidaire’s range of prices for their washing machines it manufactures is low to mid level. They offer HE top loaders, agitator top loaders, and front loaders.


The GE brand manufactures washing machines at many different price points and have the following types of washers on the market: Front loaders, agitator top loaders, and HE top loaders.


This brand manufactures an assortment of washing machines across its Kenmore and Kenmore Elite brands, but they’re sold only via the brands website and at Sears.


LG manufactures front-loader washing machines and HE top-loader washing machines. The cost of this brand’s washers range from mid level to the high end.


Maytag markets the following types of washing machines: Front loaders, HE top loaders, and agitator top loaders. The brand’s prices include a wide range. The Maytag brand also includes the Bravos, Maxima, and Centennial lines.


Samsung manufactures HE top-loader washing machines and front-loader washing machines, and its prices range from the mid level to high.


This brand manufactures several lines, including the Cabrio and Duet lines, and covers various prices across a full range. Whirlpool makes agitator HE top-loader washing machines and front-loader washing machines.

Speed Queen

Speed Queen manufactures front-loader and agitator top-loader washing machines, and they are sold at a high price point. However, this brand has a very loyal following.


The Electrolux brand manufactures only front-loader washing machines, and they are normally at the high end of the price range for washing machines. Electrolux is also the parent company of Frigidaire.

Other Brands

Other brands available on the market include, Fisher & Paykel and Amana.