Which Washer is Best for You?

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If you’re in the market for a new washing machine, you have a lot of options. But that can make it harder to find the right one for you. The Good Housekeeping Institute (GHI) has a rundown of the pros and cons of three of the most popular types.



  • Can be stacked with dryer.
  • Large capacity accommodates big loads and bulky items.
  • Provides best cleaning performance in all GHI tests.
  • Wash cycle uses less water, so it’s the most energy efficient.
  • High spin speed extracts more moisture, which cuts down on drying time.
  • Comes with numerous custom setting options.


  • The most expensive.
  • Wash cycle time is generally longer, up to 30 minutes.
  • High vibration during the spin cycle.
  • Water can get trapped inside, leading to musty odors.

Bottom Line: If you do a lot of laundry and it tends to be heavily soiled, a front-loader could be worth the extra cost.

Traditional Top-Loader


  • You don’t have to bend much when transferring clothes.
  • You can usually add clothes after the cycle has started.
  • Wash cycles are shorter, and with minimal vibration.
  • You’re unlikely to have musty odors to deal with.


  • Heavily soiled clothes or full loads might not get as clean.
  • Most can’t accommodate large items like comforters.
  • It’s not stackable.
  • More water can remain in the clothes after the spin cycle, which can lengthen drying time.

Bottom Line: If you just need to do basic laundry without custom settings and you don’t want to spend a lot, a traditional top-loader gets it done.

High-Efficiency Top-Loader


  • It doesn’t have an agitator, so it can accommodate larger loads and bulkier items, like comforters.
  • Cleaning performance is comparable to front-loaders.
  • It uses less water than a traditional top-loader, which translates into energy savings.
  • Musty odors are unlikely to be a problem.
  • It’s more expensive than a traditional model, but is more affordable than a front-loader.


  • Wash cycles can be just as lengthy as with front-loaders.
  • It’s not stackable.

Bottom Line: Combines top-loader style with front-loader functionality If you can’t make up your mind, this might be your best bet.

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