I highly recommend Kenmore's $600 25132 high-efficiency top-load washing machine. Not only does it have the best stain-removal score of any washer we've reviewed to date, it's also currently on sale at Sears for just $450. No, you won't find a digital display, a detergent reservoir, a steam setting or any other advanced features here. But if that doesn't bother you, you really can't beat the 25132's value.
About those specs
With five basic control knobs and no digital display to tell you how much time is left on a cleaning cycle, Kenmore's 25132 looks pretty utilitarian. It also doesn't have a place to add liquid or powder detergent -- just toss your soap into the washer tub before adding your clothes and you're ready to go. This doesn't hurt its overall ease of use, though -- the 25132 is about as simple as it gets (especially for the price).
Here's a comparison chart outlining the 25132's specs versus other models we've tested in the same general price range:
Comparing washing machines
|Kenmore 25132||Kenmore 26132||Kenmore 22352||GE GTW485ASJWS||GE GTW810SSJWS|
|Color finish||White||White||White||White||White, Metallic (for $1,000)|
|Capacity||4.3 cubic feet||4.8 cubic feet||4.2 cubic feet||4.2 cubic feet||5.1 cubic feet|
|# of cycles||12||11||12||13||13|
|Energy consumption||300 kWh/year||169 kWh/year||238 kWh/year||152 kWh/year||152 kWh/year|
|Dimensions (width, height, depth)||27.5 x 36.8 x 27.8 inches||27.5 x 37 x 27.9 inches||27.5 x 37 x 28 inches||27 x 44 x 27 inches||28 x 44.5 x 29 inches|
|Warranty||1 year, limited||1 year, limited||1 year, limited||1 year, limited||1 year, limited|
|Voltage rating||120V; 60Hz||120V; 60Hz||120V; 60Hz||120V; 60Hz||120V; 60Hz|
|App||No||No||No||No||Yes, Android and iPhone|
One main thing stands out in this chart. The 25132 has a smaller internal bin capacity than some of its competition. At just 4.3 cubic feet, it won't be able to hold as much as the $830 4.8-cubic-foot Kenmore 26132 or the $900 5.1-cubic-foot GE GTW810SSJWS.
Less expensive top-loaders often rely on plastic rods called agitators inside the washer bin to help clean your clothes. Since this takes up bin real estate, the cubic-foot capacity suffers. But the 25132 doesn't have an agitator. Instead, it relies on a cylinder that lives at the bottom of the washer bin called an impeller.
Not only do impellers take up less space than agitators, they're also typically gentler on clothes. But even with an impeller, the 25132 is a smaller washer. A typical 8-pound load of laundry should still (mostly) fit inside, though.