Front-Load Washer Review
What is a Front Load Washer?
The top performers in our review are the Electrolux Wave-Touch, our Gold Award winner; the Samsung WF5200, our Silver Award winner; and the LG Mega Capacity, our Bronze Award winner. Here's more on choosing a system to meet your needs, along with details on how we arrived at our ranking of 10 washers.
Laundry is one of those chores that never end. At times, the piles of socks, shirts, pants, bedding and towels can be overwhelming, especially if your washer doesn't operate efficiently. Traditional top loading washing machines can be hard to load and unload, requiring you to reach in and lift out your heavy, wet clothes. Fortunately, front load washing machines are a stylish and functional way to alleviate the hassle of a top loader and can make your life much easier.
What is a Front Load Washer?
Most likely, you are used to a washing machine with the lid that lifts up. Alternatively, front load washing machines look more like your traditional dryer. Instead of having the lid on the top of the washer, the washer door is located on the front, allowing for easier loading and unloading.
The first time you see a front load washing machine, you'll most likely think to yourself, "Won't that door pop open when the cycle starts?" Fortunately, no, it won't. The design of front load washers allows it to fill with enough water to wash your clothes while the seal holds the liquid in tight. For more on the differences between top load and front load washers, read our informative articles here.
Having clean clothes is essential, especially if you have a large household of active people. Grass stains, soiled clothing and dirty towels need to be cleaned on a regular basis, so a high-efficiency front load washer is an excellent home improvement.
Features of the Best Front Load Washers
Front loaders aren't top load washers turned on their sides; there many differences beyond the door location that make them a good appliance choice for homeowners. One of the finest features found on the best front load washers is a steam option that helps soften the fabric of your clothes, making stains easier to remove. Steam is also essential for an effective sanitation cycle, as the washer heats the steam to a higher temperature than a regular hot water cycle. This hotter water eliminates more germs and bacteria.
All washers clean clothes, but our front load washing machine reviews help uncover the unique and standard features and cycles of each washing machine, such as time delay, allergen and activewear cycles, and if you can save a favorite custom program for future use. The number of included preset cycles is important when you're on the go, while other cycles, such as delicate and hand wash, are essential if you own clothes made of specialty fabrics. Take into consideration what your wardrobe and lifestyle needs are and use our reviews to narrow down your search for the best front loading washing machine.
Picking the Right Front Loader for You
Now that we've discovered some of the benefits and features of a front load washer, it's time to consider which machine is the best front load washer for you and your household. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average household washes 400 loads of laundry a year on average. That's roughly 33 loads a month, or even more if you have a large family or live an active lifestyle that requires extra washes for gym or work clothes. That can equate to a large amount of water and power usage, so finding the right size of washer that doesn't cost too much to run or use is important.
Size and Space
Front loaders like the LG Mega Capacity and the Bosch Axxis are excellent choices for under-counter installations because of their short heights, while the Electrolux Wave-Touch has a larger design that fits better on a pedestal, or stacked with its matching dryer. Take into consideration your existing laundry space. How much room do you really have? Will a front load washer take up more or less space than your existing laundry machines? When you measure, don't forget to include space for the hoses and dryer vent hose, as those require additional inches.
Nearly all the front loaders on our Top Ten Reviews lineup can be placed on a pedestal stand. This custom stand raises your washer to a more manageable height, requiring less bending on your part. Pedestals are an additional cost, but they're well worth it, as they usually include a storage drawer, giving you a place to store dryer sheets, detergent and other laundry essentials. The GE RightHeight is the only front load washer on our lineup that has a pedestal built in, giving you extra value right off the bat.
If you are short on space in your laundry room, stacking might be the answer. All the washers on our Top Ten Reviews lineup have optional stacking kits you can purchase. This lets you place your dryer on top of your washer, freeing up more space in your laundry room. You could use that space to store your laundry essentials, or put in a table for folding. Either way, front load washers can save you space while giving your wardrobe the efficient clean it deserves.
Energy & Water Efficiency
Saving space is a great benefit of owning a front loader, but it's not the only reason to consider purchasing a front load machine. With stricter government regulations of water and power consumption, washing machine manufacturers have had to improve their designs to be considered for Energy Star and water consumption ratings. Energy Star compliant front loaders are at least 20 percent more power-efficient than a standard washing machine and by requiring less power to run, they save you money on the operating costs every year.
Your front loader's water consumption is reflected in its water factor. This measurement shows how many gallons of water per cubic foot are used per wash. The lower the water factor number, the more water-efficient the washing machine is. The average water factor for the best front load washing machines on our lineup is around 2.8, which equates roughly to 12 gallons of water used per wash. By choosing a front loader that is both water- and energy-efficient, you can save money on your power bill and conserve precious water.
Summary and Recommendations
Having an efficient, reliable washing machine in your home can help make your home run smoother, and with a front load washer, you can do more laundry with less power and less water. Through our evaluations and research, we have found that the best front load washing machines fit in your current laundry space, can stack if needed, and give your clothes as good a wash in a more efficient manner than a traditional top load washing machine. We recommend the Electrolux Wave-Touch, the Samsung WF5200 and the LG Mega Capacity as the best front load washers due to their performance, available options and cleaning efficiency. These models are a great place to start if you are looking to replace your current washing machine.