There's the punchline about whether something, usually an expensive something, will also do your laundry for you, ostensibly to make it worth its expense. With an actual washing machine, that answer is basically yes. And some good news is, you don't actually have to shell out for a great washing machine to find one that will fit your lifestyle and, and, you know, . While even the best washing machine may not be able to load itself and transfer your clothes to the dryer, with a bevy of smart-enabled units and all manner of functions and cycles to choose from, we may be getting close to the washing machine that actually does it all. (Now if we could also find a dryer that folds, we'd really be in business.)
When choosing a new washing machine, consider that most units are between 24 and 29 inches wide, with variable depths that are typically between 24 and 34 inches, so your first step is to narrow the list by what fits your available space. Beyond that, aspects such as front-loading or top-loading functionality, capacity, available cycles or a combination of all of these are the most important features to consider when buying a new washing machine.
On average, washing machines run between $600 and $900. But there are units on either side of that average if you're looking for either a very basic model to get the job done or a tricked-out washer with every available feature. (Remember that the self-loading washing machine does not as of yet exist.) I evaluated several models at various price points, sizes and features, to bring you the best washing machines for 2022.
Looking for more home appliance recommendations? These are the best, and for 2022.
Best washing machines for 2022
This front-loading LG model gives you about as much space as possible for a front-loading washer: 4.5 cubic feet, which is considered an extra-large capacity for front-loading models. It has many of the same desirable features as other LG models -- high efficiency, reduced noise, automatic load sensor -- and additionally offers a Speed Wash setting, which has many user satisfaction reviews and cleans a load of laundry in approximately 15 minutes.
This model is sturdy and is designed so a dryer can be stacked on top of it to save space. It also plays a short melody to let you the cycle is finished.
- Best Buy rating: 4.5 out of 5 based on 1,321 reviews
- Lowe's rating: 4.4 out of 5 based on 2,020 reviews
If price is the major factor in choosing your washing machine, this American-made, top-loading Amana model has over five figures of positive reviews between the major retailer sites. The bells and whistles are fewer, and the capacity is only 3.5 cubic feet, but you still get a reliable, straightforward appliance that offers several basic cycles, plus an auto-sensing water level feature that monitors water use and volume and adjusts throughout the cycle accordingly. Despite its lower cost, users frequently remarked positively about the cleanliness of clothing, and that it even ran quieter than expected.
The build for this one seems solid although the look is rather basic. One thing I noticed is that this model does not have a fabric softener slot, so you'll have to just drop it in or buy a separate dispenser.
- Best Buy rating: 4.4 out of 5 based on 5,465 reviews
- Lowe's rating: 4.7 out of 5 based on 9,651 reviews
It's not always about the features that you most regularly use, but about having features available that you might sometimes need to use. If available features are driving your comparative shopping experience for washing machines, GE offers a top-tier, front-loading model with consistent customer satisfaction and just about every available add-on. While it is more expensive than the models listed above, it is still slightly less expensive than other models that offer as many features as it does.
This washing machine offers 5 cubic feet of space, is smart-technology enabled and comes with a whopping 12 standard cycles, including a quick wash cycle and a sanitize function for items such as towels and gym clothes that can commonly attract mildew through moisture. A steam option is also available to help vaporize deep stains, an automatic detergent dispenser measures for you based on the size of the load, and a venting feature allows the washing machine to dry out between cycles even with its door closed. In a sea of otherwise white, black, and stainless steel machines, this GE washer is also, refreshingly, navy blue.
Because of the many features, this model sports a more complex control panel -- a combination of digital and manual dials -- but one I found intuitive and easy to adjust. It has a sleek, modern look and is available in white or sapphire blue.
- Best Buy rating: 4.6 out of 5 based on 499 reviews
- Lowe's rating: 4.6 out of 5 based on 4,519 reviews
While many people do buy matching washer/dryer sets, it's almost never a requirement to do so. However, if your available laundry space is narrow and requires a stackable washer/dryer, (because why resort to air drying if you don't have to?) this LG washer/dryer tower has extremely favorable reviews, offers 4.5 cubic feet of space in the washer and 7.4 cubic feet in the dryer, and only requires 27 inches of width to accommodate it. Among its 10 wash cycles is Allergiene, which uses steam to help remove excess pet dander and dust.
This model is about as sleek as washer/dryer combos get with a fully digital display and control panel. It's available in black steel and white.
- Best Buy rating: 4.7 out of 5 based on 852 reviews
- Home Depot rating: 4.7 out of 5 based on 2,240 reviews
With full-size washing machines averaging about 27 inches wide, this 24-inch model from GE offers a reliable solution for smaller spaces (or smaller door frames). Offering 2.8 cubic feet of space, this petite unit still offers eight wash cycles, including Speed Wash. Users often remarked in reviews about being the best available for a condominium setting, and how the drum still felt like plenty of space to do even large loads of laundry. A folding lid keeps the vertical space requirement on the low side as well or allows for the possibility of a stacked, compatible dryer.
The detergent and fabric softener drawers are set in the back while a dedicated bleach opening sits separately towards the front of the rim. Because it's a top-loading unit, you won't be able to stack a dryer on top which is something to consider if floor space is limited in your laundry space.
- Home Depot rating: 4.4 out of 5 based on 164 reviews
- Lowe's rating: 4.3 out of 5 based on 85 reviews
How we evaluate washing machines
I researched the washing machines on this list by analyzing specs and user reviews from major appliance retailer sites such as, and . I also considered their best-selling and top-rated models, and the available features compared to price as a measure of each machine's overall value. I focused primarily on those models that had a rating of at least 4.5 stars with at least 500 reviews, or at least the highest rating among the highest number of ratings for the feature or size I was evaluating.
Only washing machines that wereby the EPA were considered, for peace of mind concerning energy use and water efficiency. I dove deep into user comments and ratings to ensure there were no recurring problems, issues, or complaints among a particular brand or model. I looked for evidence of various models' ability to treat heavy stains, and for those who had especially positive commentary on delicate cycles that actually treated delicate fabrics delicately.
While we didn't do extensive hand-on testing for this list of best washing machines, I was able to examine several models in various appliance showrooms to get a feel for each unit, and the intuitiveness of its control panel, dials and knobs.
Washing machine buying guide
Washing machine size
The space you have available to accommodate a washing machine is the first consideration toward buying one. Most washing machines are between 24 and 29 inches wide, with variable depths that are typically between 24 and 34 inches. Capacity and size generally go hand-in-hand, with typical models offering you about 4.5 cubic feet of space for your textiles. Extra large capacity models are generally anything above 5 cubic feet, and if you're working with a narrower space in your home, expect to find a washer that only has about 3 cubic feet of space or less. You may have to send out your large comforters and winter coats, but you'll still be able to do average loads of laundry comfortably.
Washing machine styles
Washing machines typically come as top-loading or front-loading models. Top-loading models tend to have larger capacities and utilize an agitator -- a central column that moves your clothes around -- in order to scrub your laundry. Front-loading models may have slightly less capacity and generally work with an impeller, which helps rotate your clothing around the basin so that the clothes rub up against each other for stain removal. Onehas a removable agitator for versatility and the potential of even extra capacity. Top-loading models can be a little easier on the back, as they require less bending to load and unload, but are not as readily available as stackable options with a dryer if you don't have space to accommodate a washer and dryer side-by-side. Most washing machines come in white, black, or stainless steel finishes, with white generally being the least expensive option.
Washing machine cycles
Even basic model washing machines tend to have at least normal, delicate, and heavy-duty cycles, which automatically adjust the heat, water level, and length of cycle settings. Some machines may have pre-set cycles for color loads versus white loads, and then there's a reliable permanent press, which is typically a cycle setting for synthetic materials that are minimally wrinkly. More expensive and digital models tend to have a larger variety of cycle settings, including ones that are specific for bedding or towels, ones that use steam to manage allergens such as pet dander and dust or a sanitize cycle that can help manage mildewed items. You'll typically be using the same couple of settings regularly, so keep that in mind when deciding how much money you want to spend on a washing machine.
Washing machine FAQs
How long should a washing machine last?
Washing machines, similar to many major appliances, are built to last about 10 years. If you have a small household or only use your washing machine minimally, that may extend its utility for a few more years. Taking care of it and cleaning it will also help extend a washing machine's life. Read CNET's tips for how and how often to clean your washing machine.
What is the difference between a front-loading and a top-loading washing machine?
The major difference between front-loading and top-loading washing machines is capacity, with top-loading washing machines typically having more space available for your loads of laundry. Beyond that, you may want to consider who is using the washing machine. Top-loaders are typically easier on the back and require less bending than front-loading models, but are more difficult for children to access. (Whether you also require your washing machine to entertain kids or pets may be worth thinking about, in which case: front-loader.) Also, you may need to consider whether or not you need to stack a dryer on top of your washer. There are stackable options with both top- and front-loading washing machines, but you have more options with a front-loading model.
What does High Efficiency mean in a washing machine?
High Efficiency is separate from Energy Star certification, but both should give you peace of mind concerning your washing machine's energy and water usage. High Efficiency specifically governs water usage, with models that typically require less detergent and use less water than older models that are not indicated as High Efficiency. Also, check out CNET's tips for laundry habits that can help save on your energy bill.
Should I get a washing machine warranty and how important is it?
Your washing machine should last you about 10 years without the need for any major repairs, but a warranty is definitely a good thing to have since it is a large, expensive appliance that probably adds a great deal of convenience and comfort to your living situation. Most manufacturer warranties cover replacement parts and labor for one year from the date of purchase, designed to protect you if you've unassumingly purchased a damaged or defective unit, plus 10 years for your washer's direct drive motor, where applicable. Extended warranty or third-party options are also available for an additional cost.