A front-load washing machine adds a sleek modern appearance to the laundry room, but these appliances offer more than just good looks. When compared to top-load washers, most front-load models not only use energy more efficiently, but also less water. Moreover, they generally are more effective at thoroughly cleaning clothing and linens to remove stains and odors.
Since so many front-load washers are on today’s market, deciding on the right model can pose a challenge. To simplify the selection process, use this guide to learn which factors and features are important and why the following models are considered among the best front-load washers.
- BEST OVERALL: Maytag Stackable Front Load Washing Machine
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Samsung Front Load Washing Machine with Steam
- UPGRADE PICK: GE Front Load Washing Machine with OdorBlock
- BEST LARGE-CAPACITY: LG Electronics Mega Capacity Front Load Washer
- BEST COMPACT: Bosch High Efficiency Stackable Front-Load Washer
- MOST EFFICIENT: Electrolux Front Load Washer with SmartBoost in White
- BEST SMART: Samsung Smart Stackable Steam Cycle Front-Load Washer
- BEST WITH STEAM: LG Electronics Ultra Large Capacity Front Load Washer
- BEST FOR SHORT CYCLES: GE 4.8 cu. Front Load Washing Machine with OdorBlock
- BEST FOR DETERGENT PACKS: Electrolux Front Load Washer with SmartBoost
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Front-Load Washing Machine
Before shopping for the best washing machine, do some research. Front-load machines come in different sizes, capacities, and configurations. Wash cycle settings, water and energy-efficiency levels, and smart technology (if any) vary from one model to the next. Continue reading to learn more about these and other features to establish priorities while shopping for the best front-load washing machine.
Size is crucial in determining if it will fit in the designated space, so before shopping, carefully measure the area where the unit will go. Check the dimensions of each product under consideration to verify if it fits.
The dimensions of a front-load washing machine vary depending on capacity. However, a standard front-load machine is generally about 27 inches wide, between about 36 and 41 ½ inches high, and from 25 ¼ to 34 ⅜ inches deep.
Capacity—the amount of space in a washing machine’s interior—is measured in cubic feet. The average capacity of a front-load washer is about 4.5 cubic feet. However, some models, such as portable washing machines, may have only about a 2.2-cubic-foot capacity, while larger units may offer a 6-cubic-foot capacity.
To determine the ideal capacity, consider the number of and the habits of household members. A 4- to 4.5-cubic-foot washer can typically accommodate a family of four. Laundry routine—washing frequency and average load size—is also a factor. A 4-cubic-foot model can wash up to 16 pounds of laundry in each load, while a 4.5-cubic-foot unit can clean about 20 pounds in a single load. Those who wash larger loads may want to consider a model with a capacity of at least 5 cubic feet.
Configuration, as it applies to front-load washers, refers to the machine’s placement vis-a-vis the dryer, the door design and its opening direction, and the overall ease of use. While top-load washing machines feature a fairly uniform design and configuration, front-load washers don’t. When determining whether a washer is a good fit for a space, consider:
- Side-by-side vs. stacked washer and dryer combinations: Some front-load washers are designed to be placed next to a dryer, while others are stackable and go beneath a dryer. A side-by-side configuration takes up more space.
- Door design: Some doors on front-load machines swing to the right, while others open to the left. Other models may feature a reversible door or a dual-opening design, which can open in either direction.
- Ease of use: Consider the layout and design of the controls. Look for an easy-to-access control panel and the type of control: Does the user press buttons or spin a dial?
Wash cycles refer to the different speeds best suited for cleaning items such as bedding, jeans, and delicate clothing. Front-load washers often feature a variety of different wash cycles, and product descriptions typically list the total number and type of wash cycles for each model.
Common wash cycles include delicates, whites, heavy-duty, normal, bulky/bedding/towels, and extra rinses. Less-common wash cycles include prewash, permanent press, sanitize, active wear, colors, and hand-wash.
Water and Energy Efficiency
Front-load washers generally are more water- and energy-efficient than top-load models. On average, front-load washers use 12.5 gallons of water per load, while top-load models require closer to 20 gallons per load. Always consult the manufacturer’s instruction manual.
An energy-efficient front-load washer can help keep electricity costs to a minimum. ENERGY STAR-certified washing machines use about 25 percent less energy and 33 percent less water than standard washers.
Smart front-load washers offer the ability to control the machine with a smartphone or even a voice command through Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or other virtual assistants. Users can check on the status of a load and start or stop a cycle from any location with their phone. A smart washing machine also can be programmed to send a notification to the owner’s phone when a load has finished.
Decide if any additional features integrated into the design of a front-load washer can make life easier, including:
- Bulk dispensers: Bulk dispensers allow users to add enough detergent, fabric softener, and/or bleach for multiple loads. The washer automatically dispenses the right amount based on the settings selected.
- Self-clean setting: Self-clean settings can make it easier to keep a front-load washing machine clean and prevent detergent, mold, and mildew from building up in the interior.
- Pedestal compatibility: Pedestals, which function as a drawer to hold laundry supplies, are available for some models.
Our Top Picks
Extensive research and the criteria detailed contributed to the selection of the following products. These models offer a range of capacities, wash cycle settings, smart technology, and other features to help choose the best front-load washer for a laundry room.
This Maytag 4.5-cubic-foot model offers an extra power button and heavy-duty dual temperature cycle for enhanced stain removal. It also has a quick wash cycle that cleans a lightly soiled load in just 15 minutes. A fresh spin setting tumbles clothing for up to 12 hours to prevent wrinkles and maintain the clean scent.
Other features include an internal heater to boost detergent power by increasing the water temperature. An AFRESH cycle setting cleans the interior with a washing machine cleaner, while the Cycle Memory stores settings from a previous cycle for a quick start. This model, which has a stainless steel basin for durability, is ENERGY STAR certified.
Samsung’s 4.5-cubic-foot front-load washer is a budget-friendly option. The ENERGY STAR-certified model offers 10 preset cycles, five temperature levels, and seven other options to customize cleaning. The machine releases steam during cleaning cycles to remove stains.
Its VRT Plus technology reduces vibrations and overall noise. The drum features a unique swirl pattern that spins water from laundry more quickly. A self-cleaning cycle keeps the washer free of bacteria, while a Smart Care feature helps troubleshoot issues from a smartphone.
Users can remotely control this GE washer using a smartphone and receive notifications about cycle status. SmartDispense, which can hold enough detergent for up to 32 loads, automatically releases the right amount for each load. Antimicrobial technology and an UltraFresh Vent system with OdorBlock—which eliminates excess moisture—keep the machine’s interior clean and odor-free. This ENERGY STAR model has a reversible door, Dynamic Balancing, a PowerSteam cleaning, sanitize, and allergen setting, and 20-minute quick wash cycle.
This 5.2-cubic-foot front-load washer from LG Electronics contains a spacious interior drum, which can wash a king-size bedding set and a comforter in one load. The model has 14 wash settings, and its TurboWash technology cleans large loads up to 30 minutes faster than some machines. Steam technology removes wrinkles, dirt, and odors. The machine’s 6Motion technology enhances results via six different washing motions in the cold wash setting.
This ENERGY STAR-certified model features an electronic control panel, a dial to choose between cycles, and an easy-to-read LCD display. A Truebalance anti-vibration system limits vibrations and ensures quiet operation.
This 2.2-cubic-foot front-load washer from Bosch features a compact design for a better fit in tight spaces. It includes SpeedPerfect technology that washes up to 40 percent faster than other models. Choose from 15 cycles, including quick wash, hand-wash, bulky, sanitize, towels, jeans, and drum-clean settings.
An ENERGY STAR-certified washer, it features ActiveWater technology to automatically adjust the water and power for each load. The EcoSilence motor operates at a quiet 54 decibels, and anti-vibration side walls also help limit noise. The washer boasts a stainless steel tub with a wave design to enhance cleaning power.
Electrolux’s front-load washer is an ENERGY STAR-certified model with an estimated yearly cost of $7 on an electric water heater and $6 on natural gas water heaters. An automatic water adjustment ensures it doesn’t waste water. This washer has a 4.4-cubic-foot capacity with a rust- and chip-free stainless steel tub.
Among its nine wash cycles are 15-minute fast wash, hand-wash, sanitize, and steam. Electronic LED controls allow easy operation. This model has a delay start setting, interior lighting, and a reversible door.
This Samsung model, which offers Wi-Fi connectivity, is Bixby enabled to allow users to sync their smartphone to remotely start a load, create schedules, and receive cycle notifications. While it has a 4.5-cubic-foot capacity, its closet-depth design is suitable for tighter spaces.
The ENERGY STAR-certified model boasts 12 wash cycles, including Super Speed to wash a full load in 30 minutes. Additional settings include delicate, prewash, hand-wash, wool, steam, express, extra rinse, and self-clean. A Swirl + Drum Interior extracts water efficiently.
This LG Electronics 4.5-cubic-foot front-load washer is a certified asthma- and allergy-friendly product. It uses steam to remove dust, pet dander, and other potentially irritating substances to reduce allergens in fabrics by more than 95 percent. This model also features ThinQ smart technology, which allows users to check cycle status, start the machine remotely, and receive notifications. It can be paired with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.
The TurboWash 360 feature allows the washer to clean large loads quickly. This model also boasts AI technology with sensors that determine load size and fabric texture for automatic cycle selections. Other features include a scratch-resistant tempered glass door, energy-saving ColdWash cycle, and NeveRust stainless steel tub.
With this 4.5-cubic-foot front-load GE model, users can wash a full load of laundry in just 35 minutes and a lightly soiled load in only 20 minutes. The ENERGY STAR-certified washing machine offers 10 cycle settings and five temperature options. It also features GE’s UltraFresh Vent System with OdorBlock and Microban antimicrobial technology to ensure the interior of the washer stays clean and fresh.
This model has built-in Wi-Fi to let users control the machine with a smartphone and receive updates on load status. The Tumble Care setting can periodically tumble the load to keep damp clothes fresh before drying. Other key features include a 32-inch closet-depth design, patented Dynamic Balancing technology, and a reversible door.
This 4.4-cubic-foot front-load washing machine from Electrolux is the first product on the market with an automatic dispenser for detergent packs as well as liquid detergents. SmartBoost technology mixes water and detergent before starting the cleaning cycle to maximize detergent power. The washer also uses steam clean technology to help remove stains and dirt.
Choose from nine wash cycles, including 15-minute fast wash, hand-wash, steam, and sanitize. This ENERGY STAR-certified model automatically adjusts the amount of water for each load and offers a delayed start option. It has electronic LED controls and a chip- and rust-free stainless steel tub.
FAQs About Front-Load Washing Machines
For more information to help in the search for the best front-load washer, consider the answers to these frequently asked questions.
Q. How much water does a front-load washing machine use?
Water usage varies, but on average, front-load washers use about 12.5 gallons of water for each load.
Q. How do you open a front-load washing machine when the door is locked?
Front-load washers lock during operation to prevent a water leak. Unless absolutely necessary, don’t try to open the door if it’s locked. If you must open the door, stop the wash cycle, drain the water, and wait for the door to unlock.
Q. How do you clean a front-load washing machine?
Many front-load washers offer self-cleaning cycles. Users also can purchase washing machine cleaner to use during the cleaning cycle to help remove built-up detergent, fabric softener, or other gunk.
For a DIY washing-machine cleaner, add 2 cups of vinegar to the machine and run a cleaning cycle (or the longest and hottest load setting if no self-cleaning cycle is present). Next, add 2 cups of bleach to the machine and run another cleaning cycle followed by a rinse cycle. Finally, use a soft towel or sponge to wipe down the interior of the machine, door, and detergent tray.