Control the Best Washing Machines From Your Phone or With a Simple Voice Command
The latest and greatest from our favorite brands.
Published Jun 29, 2022 1:00 AM
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Reading up on Domino’s shopping guides is like having your own personal product concierge. We do the tedious part—deep-dive research, hands-on testing, and tapping experts for advice—so all you have to do is hit “add to cart.” That’s why we call them Simply the Best.
The best washing machines today are nothing like the washers and dryers of the past. Equipped with innovative technology (we’re talking AI-adaptive units that will learn your preferred washing cycles) and extensive finish options beyond the standard white plastic, this array of washers has made shopping for a new unit more fun but also a bit more complicated. With so many out there, how can you figure out what’s right for you?
According to experts, it all depends on how much laundry you do on a routine basis and what exactly you want to get out of your machine. Some are so smart, all you have to do is say a few words, like “remove the wine stain from my linen blouse,” to get the cycle going. But if all you need is a solid, deep clean, your washer doesn’t necessarily have to do double duty as a personal assistant. So we put together a list of the coolest launches, ranging from crazy-fast wash cycles to chic design (sapphire blue or champagne gold exteriors, anyone?), to take your laundry room from a destination you dread to a luxe location that will have you looking forward to wash day.
- Best overall: GE Profile Top-Load 900 Series
- Best value: Whirlpool Top-Load Washer With Pretreat Station
- Best for small spaces : Miele WXI860WCS Washing Machine
- Best for color options: Samsung Smart Top-Load Washer
- Best for big families: LG Mega Capacity Front-Load Washer
- Best for quick cleans: Electrolux Luxcare Front-Load Washer
Best Overall: GE Profile Top-Load 900 Series
Type: Impeller top-load | Capacity: 5.4 cubic feet | No. of cycles: Customizable | Wi-Fi: Yes
What we like:
- Extra-large capacity
- Built-in Alexa (play music, listen to the radio, and more)
- Sapphire blue and carbon graphite matte finishes
- Smart app offers more cycle customization
- Must download updates with Wi-Fi to function correctly
Why we chose it: This machine is customizable with cool colors in matte finishes—but you can personalize your wash cycles, too, with voice control from Alexa.
“Alexa, wash my jeans.” Simply state your wash preference to the GE Profile and watch it do the rest. This machine nails everything we’re looking for in the best top-load washer: a chic, matte finish; stain-removal technology (just identify if it’s chocolate, deodorant, grass, or wine); and 10 basic cycles, including a sanitizing steam finish. These can be selected by the machine’s dials or endlessly customized in the accompanying app. Those AI-powered adjustments that change based on your laundry lifestyle? An exciting bonus.
Speaking of customizations, when you pull the dispenser drawer open, you’ll notice there’s not only a place to drop in detergent, fabric softener, a pod, or a booster, but a custom spot for other add-ons. Michael Mattingly, GE’s executive director of clothes care, offers a pro tip: Distilled white vinegar is a great add-on to loads of athleticwear. The GE Profile line also makes the cut in our collection of the best dishwashers.
Best Value: Whirlpool Top-Load Washer With Pretreat Station
Type: Agitator top-load | Capacity: 4.7 cubic feet | No. of cycles: 36 | Wi-Fi: No
What we like:
- Two-tone finish
- White finish is even more affordable
- Built-in faucet
- Stainless steel drum
- Relies on an agitator to clean clothes
Why we chose it: A basic option that still gets the job done and costs less than $1,000.
From Whirlpool, the maker behind Kenmore appliances (or some, at least), this no-frills option comes at a more affordable price tag compared to the buzzier offerings on this list. But it still provides high-tech, powerful cleaning. This includes a smart adaptive wash—it will sense the size of the load and put in the exact amount of water needed—and Active Bloom, which will change washing actions as needed (although there is already the potential to set and take advantage of a whopping 36 cycles!). Perhaps our favorite feature is the built-in faucet and pretreat brush, so you don’t have to worry about working at a stain in the bathroom and transporting soggy, presoaked clothing into the laundry room. Simply spray and treat above your machine before topping off your load.
Best for Small Spaces : Miele WXI860WCS Washing Machine
Type: Front-load | Capacity: 2.26 cubic feet | No. of cycles: 21 | Wi-Fi: Yes
What we like:
- High quality
- Smart, automatic detergent dispensing
- Digital display is compatible with multiple language settings
- Honeycomb drum protects fibers and keeps items forgotten in pockets from winding up in the drain pump
- Only 1 finish choice (classic lotus white)
Why we chose it: A smart and sustainable model for small spaces.
While we’d love to put all of our bed linens and used bath towels into the wash at once, not everyone has the space for an extra-large washing machine—but that doesn’t mean smaller units are any less sleek or smart. Miele’s is a great fit if you need to stack a pair up in a closet in an apartment where every square inch counts. The newest W1 model comes with all sorts of notable capabilities, including a digital touch-screen control panel and an IntenseWash cycle that provides a deep clean. All the while, it keeps energy consumption to a minimum, even with smaller-size loads, thanks to its Spin and Spray technology that maintains lower water levels and temperatures. This series also offers additional water connections and can pull from well or rainwater sources, further lessening your environmental impact.
Best for Color Options: Samsung Smart Top-Load Washer
Type: Impeller top-load | Capacity: 5.5 cubic feet | No. of cycles: 17 | Wi-Fi: Yes
What we like:
- Start or end a cycle from your phone
- Quiet, with minimal vibrations
- Compatible with Google Home and Alexa
- Easy maintenance: Troubleshoot problems and self-clean via the app
- No built-in steam or sanitizing capabilities
Why we chose it: Finishes include champagne, brushed black, and ivory, but there’s more coming soon.
Finishes have come a long way since that plain old white plastic or metal, and Samsung might just have the greatest range of options, from sharp exteriors to hardware-specific details like a brass knob and door border paired up in brushed black or white, as seen on this top-loader. Samsung has gone all in on its bespoke offerings, including colors and patterns, though as of right now the choices for most of its washing machines are all based on metals, like a cool champagne and brushed steel. While the exterior is certainly the main attraction, it’s the features on the inside that really count: a detergent and softener auto dispenser (that will send a notification to your phone when levels are low) and the ability to sync up with Google Home or Alexa for voice control commands to run 17 different cleaning cycles—including one as fast as 28 minutes. You can also take advantage of the app to start and stop loads no matter where you are.
Best for Big Families: LG Mega Capacity Front-Load Washer
Type: Front-load | Capacity: 5.2 cubic feet | No. of cycles: Customizable | Wi-Fi: Yes
What we like:
- Graphite or black steel finish options
- Tap turbowash for 30-minute cleans
- Steam helps remove 95 percent of allergens (including pet dander!)
- Priciest on the list
Why we chose it: The mega capacity is no joke, and the smart features mean you can tackle everyone’s hampers in less time.
If you’re looking for the best front-load washer, LG’s Artificial Intelligence Direct Drive (or AI DD) offers an impressive piece of technology for your clean: “AI DD delivers customized performance that can sense load size, fabric type, and level of soiling,” explains Sandro Ledesma, LG’s stylist and senior product manager of laundry. “It then automatically adds the recommended amount of detergent and adjusts the wash cycle for optimized cleaning. Using more than 10,000 algorithms, it determines the best motions for the entire wash cycle for optimal clothing care.”
You can also download the company’s ThinQ app to take an even closer look at customizing the 12 programs and 13 wash options. Or simply lean on its built-in AI to choose the best temperature and spin speed.
Best for Quick Cleans: Electrolux Luxcare Front-Load Washer
Type: Front-load | Capacity: 4.5 cubic feet | No. of cycles: 11 | Wi-Fi: No
What we like:
- Reversible door
- Steam settings and a sanitizing cycle
- Option to premix detergent and water for a gentler wash
- Dispenser sections for bleach, detergent, softener, prewash, and pods
- Not compatible with any smart devices
Why we chose it: Like having a personal laundry service at home—it’ll make even your nicest dress shirts crisp and white.
“For anyone sitting at the breakfast table when their 9-year-old announces they have a soccer game that afternoon and you need to bring their uniform to school (and the bus will be arriving in 30 minutes)—this is your dream machine,” offers AJ Madison Appliances’s Amy Chernoff. And while it offers the fastest solution—just 15 minutes compared to the typical half hour—it still promises to provide a deep clean. You can use whatever cleansers you need thanks to a dispenser that provides compartments for bleach, detergent, softener, prewash, and even pods. If you do have some time to spare, there are plenty of other features to enjoy, from using Perfect Steam, to take out stubborn stains, to the Allergen cycle (which the company shares should remove close to 99 percent of allergens from your garments).
We Also Like
- In need of a two-in-one machine? Samsung Smart Dial Washer is a top- and front-loader in one unit, providing you with 6 cubic feet of loads; do a superspeed wash on top and a longer deep clean below.
- We also have our eye on Maytag’s new front-loader with a space age–like door. If you’ve ever thrown in a load and forgot all about it, only to come across a mildewy scent and wrinkles the next day, this machine will keep tumbling for up to 12 hours to make sure your laundry stays fresh before you switch it over to the dryer.
- GE’s Profile series also includes an updated front-loader equipped with the company’s Ultra Fresh Vent with Odor Block, which prevents moisture from stagnating (causing a buildup of mold and bacteria and odors). And while it isn’t equipped with Alexa like the top-loader, it still promises to intuitively clean.
How We Chose These Products
Shopping for a brand-new washing machine can be daunting, to say the least. There are so many options today, and while we love units that offer more than 10 different wash cycle options, anything beyond can start to feel a little confusing. We consulted the experts—those with a hand in product design and industry retailers—to learn which features really are the most important or what shoppers should keep in mind. We then narrowed the search down even more by focusing on the latest launches (i.e., brand-new models or add-on features that have occurred in the past few years) and highlighted the most exciting ones, because we’re guessing if you’re now in the market for a new washer, your previous options were rather limited. Customizable features, sleek and modern finishes (although we do include a trusty, timeless white), and low-maintenance care were all taken into consideration.
Our Shopping Checklist
Top- vs. Front-Loader
“When shoppers are trying to decide between a top-load and front-load washing machine, it ultimately comes down to user preference on a few basic elements of the appliance: comfort, the inner workings of the machine, and capacity,” shares Mattingly, who adds a front-load may require more bending over or reaching. “In terms of the inner workings, front-loading washers use a tumble method versus an agitator, ultimately resulting in a longer wash cycle but requiring less water.”
This tends to also make front-loaders gentler on clothes, as a high-speed spin at a horizontal access is better at removing excess water and doesn’t require the assistance of a plate or tub to move the laundry around like a top loader does. If there’s an agitator, it can wear at your garments more, notes Chernoff. Furthermore, top-loaders can only be installed side by side, whereas front-loaders can be stacked or even raised to a more comfortable height with storage pedestals. But as many of us are more used to a top-loader, it still holds a larger portion of the market share and often has less issues with odor and maintenance. “For most shoppers,” offers Chernoff, “the selection will be determined by space constraints, fuel type, budget, and must-have features.”
The capacity of a washing machine is usually defined by cubic feet, or how much it can hold volume-wise when your linens are wet (that’s why with dryers, the number is typically bigger, because it’s taking dry clothes into consideration). In general, washing machines typically range from 3 to 5 cubic feet, according to Mattingly, but there are specialized models out there, too, like a small model for apartments (or a guest home, like the 2.4-cubic-feet stackable washer Anthony D’Argenzio sourced for one of his Hudson Valley properties) or an extra-large model for families who often do larger loads. In other words, anything less than 3 cubic feet is considered small, 3 to 4 cubic feet is average, 4 to 5 is large, and anything above is extra-large.
“Wash cycles have improved greatly with the innovation of the drain and fill pumps,” notes Ledesma, who specifically points out LG’s TurboWash360, which has equipped the brand’s front-load washers with four variable spray nozzles and one atomizing fill spray. “The variability of spray nozzles allows for various motions to have different spray intensities—this makes the wash cycle faster (about 30 minutes) and more water- and energy efficient.”
In addition to speed-cycle options—one of our picks has brought down the cycle length as short as 15 minutes—newer washing machines do more than prefixed selections of darks, brights, colors, and whites. These days you can expect extra cycles for delicates, heavy duty, sanitizing, and even more specific settings based on fabric types like wool, bed linens, towels, and athleticwear. All these alter settings to soil levels, spin speeds, and water temperature. With some machines, there are even options now to presoak clothes or run an extra rinse cycle.
You might also want to consider a washing machine with a steam option. “Sensitive to chemicals but want the whitest whites? Steam is the answer,” argues Chernoff, who notes it’s also great at removing pet dander and sanitizing difficult-to-clean items like throw blankets. Though it’s important to also note that washing cycles haven’t just improved in sheer number, but the ability to “sense the level of dirt, fabric type, and detergent and adjust automatically,” she adds.
Q: What is a good-size washer for a family of five?
If you have the space, going with a larger capacity unit will likely be more beneficial to you—we recommend 4.5 cubic feet (or larger!). Also consider quick wash cycles, so you can get through everyone’s pile of laundry in less time, even if you may not have the space for an extra-large washer.
Q: How can I make my washing machine last longer?
Mold and bacteria tend to flourish in moisture-heavy areas, like a washing machine, which is why it’s so important to leave the door or the dispenser open just a hair so it can air out between uses. Otherwise, experts have advised giving it a wipe down once a month if prolonging your machine is a priority: Rinse out the drain, add a cup of vinegar, and run a cleaning cycle before wiping down the doors.
Q: What is the best drum material for washing machines?
Stainless steel drums are the cream of the crop (LG even offers a lifetime guarantee on its sets). They’re resistant to all kinds of wear and tear (goodbye, rust) and perform better than their steel-coated counterparts, which may be better for your wallet but are prone to chipping. Plastic drums, on the other hand, are fine in terms of longevity but can be rough on your clothes. If your closet is filled with silk or satin, stick with stainless steel (or, you know, a timeless handwashing).
Q: How do I know what kind of detergent I can use in my washing machine?
There are all sorts of detergent options available these days—powder, liquid, high-efficiency—so it’s important to choose the right one if you want your washer to work to its fullest potential. Always be sure to check the manufacturer guidelines and recommendations. If your wash is coming out odd, it might be that you’re just using too much of something rather than the right or wrong formula.
“Detergent plays a big role in how effective the washer is at removing dirt and stains, but this is a situation where less is more,” says Chernoff. “High-efficiency machines (almost all new washing machines are now high efficiency) and too much ultra-concentrated detergent equals a big mess. There’s an environmental impact consideration as well—more sophisticated machines with advanced cycles like steam all but eliminate the need for bleach and other harsh chemicals. They are also able to load sense so you’re not using more water on a smaller load.”
The Last Word
The best washing machines don’t come cheap, but they will save you time. While today’s latest launches have some pretty exteriors (sapphire blue! champagne gold!), our favorites offer AI-powered technology (washes that adapt with your laundry habits) and cycles geared toward tricky fabrics like athleticwear or stains you’re not sure how to treat. And nearly all can be controlled through an app on your phone or by your voice.