Buying Guide

Best Washing Machines for Your Laundry Room

Analyze Your Washer Needs
A family loading a washing machine.

How to choose the best washing machine can depend on how you’ll be using it. Analyze your wash patterns to zero in on the washer features that will be most important to you before you start shopping.

Things to consider:


· How much space will you have for the washer/pair? 

· Will the unit be close to sleeping or living quarters?


· How many pounds of laundry will you need to do per week? 

· How much time per week can you devote to laundry?

· How many people are in your family? A rule of thumb suggests families of three or fewer only need a compact or medium washer, but larger households need larger models.

Cleaning Challenges

· Do you have many delicate items in your regular laundry? 

· Do you frequently wash items that are heavily soiled, such as team or restaurant uniforms or baby clothing?

· Will you often wash bulky items, such as bed linens and towels?

· Do you or your family members suffer from allergies?

Laundry Habits

· Will you need to add clothes after the cycle starts? 

· Do you typically leave laundry in the machine for a while after the cycle is done?


· How much are you willing to spend? 

· What features might you be willing to give up for a more affordable machine?

Front-Load vs. Top-Load
A front-load washer.

Washers come in both front-load and top-load styles. Most front-load styles are considered high-efficiency (HE), but top-load styles can be either high-efficiency or traditional washing machines. A high-efficiency (HE) machine must meet set standards of conservation in its use of water and energy to earn an HE designation. While an HE washer is slightly more expensive than a traditional machine, it may help save money over the long term.

Front-Load Washer Benefits

  • Uses less water/energy
  • Some units are stackable; optional pedestals can raise the washer about a foot and provide extra storage space
  • Modern look
  • More cleaning options

Top-Load Washer Benefits

  • Less expensive to purchase and repair
  • Easy to reach; no pedestal required
  • Clothes can be added after the wash cycle has begun
  • Traditional look
Best Washing Machines for Your Needs

Once you've decided the features you require, it's time to shop for your new washer. 

Tip: If you opt for a high efficiency (HE) washer, be sure that you also change to using HE laundry detergent. HE detergent is specially-formulated for the lower water volume used by HE washers. Using regular detergent in an HE machine can have disappointing results and in some cases can damage the machine.

Traditional Washing Machines
A traditional washing machine.

Click Here to Shop Traditional Washing Machines

  • Make loading and unloading easy with access to the drum from the top.
  • A central agitator moves the clothes around the drum during the wash cycle.
  • Settings allow you to choose the appropriate water level.
  • Normally, three temperature settings are available: hot/cold, warm/cold and cold/cold. Newer models offer a wider range of temperature settings.
High-Efficiency Top-Load Washers
A Top-Load High-Efficiency Washer.

Click Here to Shop High-Efficiency Top-Load Washers

  • Offer several wash cycle options; some use a series of different directional movements to get clothes clean as opposed to the agitation of traditional models.
  • Impeller washers feature a cylinder at the bottom of the drum that delicately moves clothes through the wash cycle and produces clean laundry without as much wear and tear as agitator models.
  • Utilize higher speed spins and increased water extraction but with reduced energy consumption.
  • Require high-efficiency (HE) detergents, which are ultra-concentrated.
Front-Load Washers
A front-load washer.

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  • Clean better and are more energy efficient than the best high-efficiency top-load models.
  • The load monitoring feature determines the amount of water for the load based upon the weight of the clothes.
  • Washer partially fills with water and cleans by lifting the clothes to the top of the tub and dropping them back down into the water.
  • Touchpad controls offer convenient start time delay and memory settings.
  • Can be used with a laundry pedestal, which raises your washer to a more comfortable height for loading and unloading.
Stackable Washer/Dryers
A woman loads a stackable washer.

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With stackable or unitized washer/dryer centers, the dryer can sit atop the washer, using less square footage but adding more height.

  • With front-loader washers, the centers have more energy efficiency.
  • The elevated dryer may require the use of a pedestal.
  • A stacking kit can ensure that the center will remain in place.
Portable Washers
A portable washer.

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Portable washers can be extremely convenient when space is at a premium.

  • Most have adapters to use a faucet as a water source and then drain into the sink.
  • When not in use, they can be wheeled out of sight for storage. 
  • Compact size often means a trade-off in load capacity. 
Washer/Dryer Combos
A woman next to a washer/dryer combo.

Click Here to Shop Washer/Dryer Combos

As a single appliance, a washer/dryer combination can cut your laundry room’s space requirements in half. It can often fit into a space the size of a small closet and is ideal for apartments or 1-2 person households.

  • Spares the effort of moving damp, heavy clothes from one appliance to the other. 
  • Tends to cost less than a set.
  • Often needs more drying time than standard dryers.
Installation Requirements
A man installs a washing machine.

Delivery and installation of your new washer will go much more smoothly if you’ve made sure in advance that the intended space has everything the washer needs to be supported and hooked up.


  • Width: For proper air circulation, add one inch of space on either side of the width of the washer.
  • Depth: Add six inches of space to the depth of the washer to accommodate the hookup and door clearance.
  • Height: Top-load models should have at least 20 inches of clearance above the door of the machine.


A perfectly flat floor is preferable for installation, but highly unlikely; be sure the floor has no more than a one-inch slope. If installing on an upper floor in your home, make sure the floor is properly reinforced to support the weight of the machine.

Required connections

  • Hot and cold water lines (must be within 3 feet of washer hookups)
  • A 3- or 4-prong power cord
  • Wastewater drain connection

Consider the following when shopping for new appliances:

  • 3-prong plugs are used for homes build before the year 2000. 
  • 4-prong plugs are used for homes built after the year 2000. 

When you add professional installation to your new appliance purchase from The Home Depot, a compatible cord is required. The delivery agent carries both types of cords to make sure your home is covered.

When you purchase a new appliance from The Home Depot without professional installation, a 4-prong cord is sent by default. If your home is equipped with a 3-prong outlet, you will need to purchase a 3-prong cord or connector adapter separately. 

Washer Features
A washer with a touch pad.

The more features you get in a washer, the higher the cost. However, some features are fairly standard and extremely useful:


Smart Washers

  • Washers with Wi-Fi connectivity offer such special features as notification on your phone when the cycle is complete.

Stainless Steel Tub 

  • Resists rust and withstands higher spin speeds in HE washers, extracting more water while protecting clothes from snagging.

Automatic Dispenser

  • Convenient feature that can store several loads worth of detergent, fabric softener and bleach and dispense during designated points in the wash cycle.

Automatic Temperature Control

  • Automatically adjusts water temperature to the ideal settings for the selected wash cycle.

Extra Rinse Cycle

  • Optional extra rinse eliminates soap residue and pet hair on clothes, which can be helpful if anyone in the household has skin sensitivities.

End-of-Cycle Signal

  • Alerts you when wash cycle is complete to remind you to move clothes to the dryer.

Navigating the top-rated washing machines can mean matching your household’s needs with the laundry appliance’s various features. From gentle washes to thorough cleans, today’s best washers make laundry day easier and help you take a load off.