Read Before You Buy: Washing Machines

Let’s face it, laundry can feel like a neverending cycle, especially with messy kids or active lifestyles. But the alternative – a mountain of dirty clothes – is unthinkable! Clean clothes are essential for our health, comfort, and confidence. That’s why investing in a good washing machine is a smart decision. A reliable washer will efficiently clean your clothes, saving you time and effort in the long run.

That said, there’s a lot to think about before you head off to your favorite appliance store or website and make a purchase. Be sure to use your checklist below and do the necessary research to ensure you don’t buy the wrong product (and potentially save yourself money).

To help in your search for the perfect washing machine, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of factors to consider before you buy:

Needs Assessment: Understanding Your Laundry Habits and Space

Budget: Washing machines can range in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. Determine how much you’re comfortable spending before you start shopping. 

Laundry Habits: Consider how often you do laundry and how big are the loads that you typically wash. If you have a large family or wash bedding frequently, you’ll need a washer with a larger capacity.

Space Constraints: Don’t forget to measure the space where you plan to put the washing machine. Factor in venting requirements for dryers if applicable. Consider whether a top-load or front-load washer will work best based on your laundry room layout and ease of access. If space is a concern, check out a stackable washer and dryer. “Make sure that the units are compatible to being stacked,” reminds The Spruce, “as you cannot put a washer or dryer on top of one another unless they are stackable ones. You will also need the stacking kit which is a safety feature that ensures the dryer stays in place.”

Utility Hookups: For proper operation, most washing machines need a dedicated 20-amp, 120-volt circuit with a three-prong outlet. They also require hot and cold water connections and a drainpipe. Double-check if the model you’re considering has different requirements. 

Features for Functionality and Efficiency

Top-Load Washer Top-load washers are typically less expensive and easier to load. Some top-load washers include an agitator in the middle, while others have an impeller, or rotating plate at the bottom. The latter results in a gentler wash for clothing. Drying times for clothes washed in a regular agitator top-loader can be longer because clothes are not spun as fast so less water is extracted. Drying times are lessened in a high-efficiency top-load washer because they use less water and spin faster. Consumer Reports points out that “Cycle times are typically shorter than other types, often 35 to 65 minutes using the normal wash/heavy soil setting, and faster using the normal soil setting.” 

Front-Load Washer: Front-load washers tend to be more water-efficient and have a higher spin speed, which can help clothes dry faster. One thing to keep in mind is that the door locks during the washing cycle so a rogue sock or other forgotten item cannot be added. While all types of washers can develop mold, it is definitely more prevalent in front-load washers. As Consumer Reports notes, “Mold can develop in various parts of the washer, including in the dispensers and the rubber gasket around the opening. To curb washer mold, follow the instructions in your owner’s manual. Run the tub-clean feature regularly. If your washer doesn’t have that feature, run the washer on the hottest water-temperature setting with a cup of bleach but no laundry.”

Combination Washer/Dryer: Tom’s Guide notes, If you struggle for space, then a combination washer/dryer might be best. These machines function as both washers and dryers, meaning you can wash and dry clothes in the same drum. While the design makes sense, we’ve found that these hybrid machines generally struggle in performance; they take much longer than a standalone dryer.” 

Wash Cycles: Most washers have a variety of wash cycles, including delicate, heavy-duty, and sanitize. Choose a washer with cycles that fit your needs.

Spin Speed: The spin speed is measured in revolutions per minute (RPM) and determines how much water is removed from clothes during the spin cycle. A higher spin speed can help clothes dry faster, but it can also be harsher on delicate fabrics.

Energy Efficiency: Look for a washing machine with an Energy Star rating. Energy Star washers use less energy and water, which can save you money on your utility bills.

Noise Level: If noise is a concern, consider the decibel rating of the washer, especially if you live in an apartment or have noise-sensitive family members.

Smart Features: Some washing machines come with smart features, such as the ability to be controlled from your smartphone. These features can be convenient, but they may also add to the cost of the washer.

Additional Considerations

  • Warranty: Make sure the washing machine you choose comes with a good warranty. Tom’s Guide explains that “Most brands offer a one-year warranty on washers, but according to the National Association of Home Builders, a washing machine has a lifespan of about 10 years. We recommend skipping an extended warranty as on average, repairs within the lifetime of the appliance won’t be greater than the cost of the warranty itself.” 
  • Delivery and Installation: Find out if the price of the washing machine includes delivery and installation. Also, some companies will haul away your old washer so be sure to ask if they offer that service as well. 
  • Reviews:  Read reviews of different washing machines before you make a purchase. Customer reviews can offer valuable insights into real-world performance and user satisfaction.

By considering these factors, you can choose the best washing machine for your needs and budget.

Next you’ll want to think about the different brands of washing machines. Of course, there is no such thing as the “best” brand as each has their ups and downs. But knowing the differences and learning about the various features each one offers should help you feel more confident in your purchase.

*Note that features vary on select models 
LG Washing Machine
LG Washing Machine


A variety of washers are available from LG, including front-load, top-load, and washer/dryer combos. LG washers take the guesswork out of laundry with a range of smart technology features in both front-load and top-load models. These washers customize wash cycles for optimal fabric care, ensuring your clothes last longer. LG’s high-efficiency washers tackle tough stains while accommodating bulky comforters and towels.

Select models boast innovative Steam Technology that removes allergens and freshens clothes without harsh chemicals. Models with 6Motion Direct Drive Technology use six different techniques providing a thorough clean that is optimal for all fabrics. TurboWash360 Technology delivers a powerful clean in less time, saving you precious time.

With LG Washing Machines, you get advanced technology, exceptional cleaning, and innovative features. In addition to the LG website, their washers are available at Lowes, Home Depot, Best Buy, Costco, Amazon, and other retail stores. 

Samsung Washing Machine
Samsung Washing Machine


Say goodbye to laundry confusion and wasted time with a washer from Samsung! Washers enabled with AI OptiWash and the AI SmartDial will analyze your load and recommend the optimal wash cycle. Plus, Wi-Fi connectivity allows you to control your washer with the SmartThings app which allows you to receive end-of-cycle notifications and remotely start, stop, or delay your wash cycle right from your phone – no matter where you are.

The Auto Dispense System holds enough detergent and softener for up to 32 loads, automatically dispensing the right amount for each wash. Super Speed washers and dryers work together to deliver a complete laundry cycle in under 60 minutes, giving you back valuable time in your day.

Their innovative Pet Care Cycle found on select models removes 6 times more pet hair while reducing odors and allergens, leaving your clothes feeling fresh and clean. Samsung washers are available on their website, Best Buy, Amazon, Home Depot, Costco, and Lowes.

GE Washing Machine
GE Washing Machine

GE Appliances

GE washers are designed to complement your laundry room or basement with a sleek, modern aesthetic. They’re also easy to use, with intuitive controls and clear displays. Choose from top-load washers for easy loading and unloading or front-load washers for superior water efficiency. Their energy-efficient GE ENERGY STAR qualified washers save you money on utility bills without sacrificing cleaning performance, style, or convenience.

For added accessibility, GE also offers ADA-compliant washers featuring easy-to-open doors and intuitive controls, making laundry day more manageable for everyone. Select models of GE washers boast innovative features like the first and only UltraFresh Vent System with OdorBlock to combat lingering odors by eliminating excess moisture within the washer. Plus, Smart GE washers with built-in Wi-Fi lets you connect to the SmartHQ app for remote monitoring and cycle control.

Pretreat tough stains with ease using the integrated water station that dispenses water and detergent together, or just water, all at your desired temperature, for a powerful pre-clean without extra steps. The industry’s first sanitizing cycle eliminates 99% of common bacteria, leaving your clothes hygienically clean and fresh which is perfect for heavily soiled items or allergy sufferers.

The Tide PODS Dispense on select models includes a targeted water jet that is injected directly into detergent packs, while a shower of water activates the detergent for faster cleaning and deeper results. GE offers washing machines with a variety of features to meet your needs. Their washers can be found on their website, Amazon, Best Buy, Lowes, Home Depot, and other retailers. 

Questions To Ask Your Salesperson

If you’re going in person to buy your machine, you should absolutely work with a salesperson to help you find the right machine. If you’re doing it online, using a live chat option or even calling the company and having someone on the phone while you shop can also be helpful.

Here are some questions worth asking the salesperson:

What are the energy and water efficiency ratings of this model?

  • As mentioned earlier, energy efficiency is highly important. Efficiency ratings can significantly impact your utility bills and environmental footprint. Look for models with high energy and water efficiency ratings to save money and be more eco-friendly over time.

Can you explain the different wash cycles and how they differ?

  • Understanding the various cycles and settings can help you choose a model that best matches your laundry habits, whether you’re washing delicate garments, heavy-duty towels, or need a quick wash option.

What is the capacity of the washing machine, and how do I choose the right size for my household?

  • Again, as mentioned earlier, capacity is crucial, especially if you have a large family or do laundry infrequently. A larger capacity might save you time and energy by reducing the number of loads, but it may also use more water and power per cycle.

What kind of maintenance will this washing machine require?

  • Regular maintenance can extend the life of your washing machine. Ask about self-cleaning cycles, filter cleaning, and other maintenance recommendations.

What is the warranty period, and what does it cover?

  • This is always a big one and can come back to bite if you don’t make it a priority. Understanding the warranty can give you peace of mind. Ask about what’s included, such as parts and labor, and what actions might void the warranty. Sometimes you can even haggle your way into an extended warranty at no cost — it never hurts to ask.

Are there any common issues or recalls for this model?

  • This can give you an idea of the machine’s reliability and any potential problems you might face down the line. Often times you’ll find the salesperson has knowledge of customers who are bringing in certain models more frequently for repairs. Asking this simple question can save you from buying into a major (and expensive) headache.

What are the installation requirements?

  • Make sure you understand if your space meets the requirements for the machine, including hookups, space for opening doors, and any specific electrical or plumbing needs. Also find out if installation is included, and if not, can they throw it in at no cost.

Is haul-away of my old appliance included?

  • Some retailers offer to remove your old washing machine for free or a small fee, which can save you time and effort. This is another one that you might be able to get for free if they normally charge a fee, but are eager to make the sale.

Can you match prices if I find this model cheaper elsewhere?

  • Many stores offer price matching to stay competitive. It’s worth asking, especially if you’ve done your research and found a lower price for the same model elsewhere.

What are the delivery options and costs?

  • Understand all associated costs and timelines for delivery to avoid any surprises. Again, try haggling here to cut some costs off of the bottom line.

Are there any current promotions, rebates, or discounts available for this washing machine?

  • Sometimes, manufacturers offer promotions or rebates that are not immediately obvious. It’s always worth asking if there are ways to save money on your purchase.

These questions can help guide your conversation with a salesperson, ensuring you get the best washing machine for your needs and budget.

Now, if you have a washing machine that you love, or one you truly hate, be sure to share your notes in the comments section below. Be sure to include the brand and model of your machine, not just the brand name.


The Spruce
Consumer Reports
Tom’s Guide
GE Appliances

You might also be interested in:

Best Washer and Dryer Sets
Best Laundry Detergents
Best Irons

Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.