If you have a growing family, check out our favorite big washers and dryers.
When deciding on a laundry system for a large family, there are a number of things to take into consideration. Size, of course, is paramount. If you have a growing family—and thus a steady flow of sheets, crayoned t-shirts, and soiled napkins—it's a good idea to make every load as large as it can possibly be.
But in choosing some of the best washers and dryers for the large family, we didn't only consider size. Wash quality is a big factor, too, since little kids are experts in creating the most impressive and challenging stains. Unfortunately, while you can't wash everything in the laundry (walls, for example), if you choose your appliances well you can properly arm yourself for the constant struggle of keeping things clean.
Kenmore Elite 41472 Washer ($909-$999)
With a capacity of 4.0 cubic feet, our Best Washer of 2012 isn't the largest washer we've tested, but it's still pretty big. We had high praise for its excellent stain removal skills and simple control panel, but what really blew us away was this front loader's 38 minute normal cycle—one of the quickest we've seen. And, as an added bonus, it's a pretty energy-efficient machine. For that unified aesthetic, pick up the matching 81472 dryer (below), our runner-up for Best Dryer of 2012.
Electrolux EWFLS70JIW Washer ($1,089-$1,549)
This very spacious (4.4 cubic feet) washer not only has one of the largest capacities we've seen but also some absolutely top-notch performance. Like the Kenmore, this efficient washer clocked a speedy normal cycle of 39 minutes—handy if you've got many promises to keep and many loads to do before you sleep. It's a pricey, very high-end machine, so look for it on sale. And if you want a matching set, the Electrolux EWMED70JIW (below) is the best dryer of the year.
Maytag MHW6000XR Washer ($909-$1,299)
This very eco-friendly Maytag demonstrated its worthiness for a large family with superb stain removal capability and a 4.3-cubic-foot capacity. It's on the expensive side, but its performance might be worth the wallet pain if you can find it on sale. If your family plays hard and likes to get dirty, this is one to consider.
Electrolux EWMED70JIW ($1,297-$1,499)
Our 2012 Dryer of the Year, this European import does an incredible living up to its outsized price tag. It has cycles and extra features for every possible contingency, excellent drying performance, and a monstrous 8.0-cubic-foot capacity. It's a complex machine, but it's probably the best choice out there if your family requires lots of trips to the laundry room.
Kenmore 81472 Dryer ($909-$999)
The dryer-sibling of the 41472 washer above, the Kenmore 81472 was our runner-up for the Best Dryer of 2012. With a decent 7.3-cubic-foot capacity, it showed impressive drying capabilities, completely drying a standard 8-pound load in under an hour, and removing 91 percent of the moisture from a 4-pound load in just 25 minutes.
Samsung DV5471AEP ($1,020-$1,199)
This very handsome stainless-steel, 7.4-cubic-foot dryer from Samsung can easily handle large loads and has tons of customizable cycles. Unfortunately, we did find it habitually stopped the automatic cycle too early, so be prepared to go a few minutes past. Even so, it has an exceptionally good quick cycle, and manual mode is always available if there's a difference of opinion between you and the automatic cycle on what "dry" means.