Here are our top-rated front-loading washers that we reviewed in 2012.
Front-loaders are by far the most popular style of washing machine. Because a front-loader only fills half of the drum with water, these units tend to be more energy efficient than top-loaders. And because they clean with a spray-and-tumbling action rather than an agitator, they're easier on clothes, particularly delicate items. Here are our current top-rated front-loading washing machines.
Kenmore Elite 41472 ($1,043-$1,299)
Kenmore's Elite 41472 is a high-end washer that can get clothes remarkably clean in only 38 minutes, and saves you around 20 minutes over comparable models on every normal cycle. It's just as effective as comparable washers that take twice as long per load. The 41472 costs a bit more than other models, but it earns the Elite title in its model name. As far as efficiency, it'll run you around $35 a year to run, $20 less than a comparable top-loader. So if you're replacing an older washer, you'll see a drop in your energy bill. In addition, there’s an effective Sanitary cycle, as well as a steam wash option.
LG WM3470HVA ($1,056-$1,199)
The LG WM3470HVA is a fast and versatile washer. It debuts a new feature called TurboWash, which alters the spray patterns of water inside the machine to accelerate the wash. It has a load of other custom options, and also offers a steam wash and a customizable preset button. Though we measured only average energy efficiency, its large capacity means that you'll get more clothes in for its quick cycles. Wash performance pretty much right down the middle, though the Normal cycle performed quite well. One negative, though, is that the control panel is difficult to understand and read. But all told, this is a great buy.
Maytag MHW6000XR ($1,058-$1,399)
Maytag's MHW6000XR is an attractive, large-capacity front-loader with good cleaning performance. It did a fantastic job removing stains, including tough oil-based ones, but did struggle a little bit to remove dirt and debris. It is among the best washers we've ever tested, but the MSRP is hundreds more than most competing models (though the street price is in line with all of the top-rated front-loaders in this roundup). It's efficient, using very little water and costing around $30 a year to operate. It's also easy to load and operate, and although the smattering of options doesn't include a custom preset button, it really performs well. This Maytag delivers—just not on a budget.