Laundry is one of those chores that never seems to 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. 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.

Our Suggestions: Which Front Load Washer Would Suit Your Household?

Now that we've discussed 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 anyone else who might live under the same roof. You undoubtedly want to consider your wardrobe and lifestyle needs and narrow down your search for the best front loading washing machine for your household. Here are some recommendations based on our observations that might assist you as you make your selection.

Best for Big Wash Loads

If you have teens in sports who come home with grimy uniforms, or swimmers who plow through piles of towels, or just a big family, a front load washer can be a life-saver. These helpful appliances can handle big loads so you can wash more items at one time and get laundry duty done quickly.

Kenmore Elite

This front loading washer has a 5.2-cubic-foot interior that can handle very large laundry loads, including bedding such as comforters. You also get 14 wash cycles, eight wash options and five soil levels, along with a powerful sanitize cycle certified by the National Sanitation Foundation. This cycle would be deeply reassuring to parents using cloth diapers, since you can keep the interior of your washer safely clean. This washer also gives you a Kids Wear cycle, which provides a second rinse to remove residual detergent that can irritate kids’ skin. You also get a SteamTreat function that can clear away set-in stains. A great front loading washer and dryer combination would be this washer paired with the matching Kenmore 81072, a 9.2-cubic-foot electric dryer that can tackle even wet bedding. It comes with Wrinkle Guard, which tumbles laundry quickly for as long as 150 minutes after the cycle ends, an Express Dry capability and a Small Load cycle that works fast.

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Samsung

With an interior capacity of 5 cubic feet, this is a big front load washer. This means you can do fewer loads of laundry, since you can put considerably more items into it for each wash cycle and still have enough room inside for the clothes to get thoroughly cleaned. It comes with excellent time-saving features such as a Super Speed wash cycle, which lets you wash a full load in 30 minutes, and an AddWash feature, a small door that permits you to quickly pop in that stray sock or pair of shorts while the wash is underway. It also comes with technology to deeply penetrate fabrics with foam and a steam wash function so your clothing will be fresh and sanitary. Looking for a matching front load washer and dryer, you might look at the Samsung DV50K7500.

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LG

This front loading washer is designed with TurboWash technology, which gives you extra-fast washing cycles. Another unusual feature is an angled washer door that curves gently upward to make it ergonomically better for your back, shoulders and arms as you reach in to get wet laundry, which can be very heavy.  An excellent companion to this appliance is the LG DLEX4370K, with its 7.4-cubic-foot interior that can handle big loads. It also gives you 14 drying programs, a Steam Fresh cycle, smartphone capabilities and a sensor dry function that makes sure clothes are done before you remove them from the dryer.

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Best for Small Homes

If you're short on space, a compact front loading washer is the answer to your laundry day blues. Today's compact washers can handle a surprisingly large amount of dirty clothes, sheets, towels and more, making laundry a simple and speedy task.

Bosch

This speedy and compact front load washer is ideal for small living quarters, since it measures only 24 inches wide but is designed with SpeedPerfect. This function offers speedy washing cycles, and the EcoSilence motor keeps things quiet while the machine is running. Despite its small size with a 2.2-cubic-foot stainless steel drum interior, you can launder a lot of things at a time, including 16 towels in one load. This front load washer keeps utility bills lower than a standard washer, because the efficient Bosch is Energy Star certified. The estimated yearly operating cost is only $10, according to the U.S. Government EnergyGuide. For an attractive and functional front load washer and dryer combination, you might want to look at the Bosch WTG86402UC.

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LG Compact

Editor's Note: The WM1388HW is now available. Clicking the Buy button will take you to this version for purchase. The manufacturer lists the new version as offering the following features: a compact, 24-inch design; a large, 2.3-cubic feet capacity; a 10-year warranty; and phone app controls. We will evaluate, rank and review the WM1388HW when we next update the Front-Load Washer reviews. Meanwhile, enjoy our review below about the WM1377HW.

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Best for Stacking With a Dryer

Even if you live in an apartment, condo or really small house, you don't have to endure the chore of hauling dirty clothes to a laundromat. A stackable front loading washer and dryer combination lets you wash and dry everything comfortably and conveniently in your own home.

Frigidaire

This substantial front load washer can be stacked with a dryer in case you live in a small dwelling or need more space. This 3.9-cubic-foot washer gives you a Ready Steam function to remove tough stains, 10 washing cycles, five different soil cleaning levels, a sanitizing cycle, and a special fresh-water rinse to really get white things white and remove even more allergens. It also works fast – you can do a full load in 20 minutes. It operates quietly so it doesn't disturb anyone who is napping or studying. An accompanying electric dryer for this front load washer is the Frigidaire FFSE5115PA, which provides a 7-cubic-foot drum, a quick dry function that even accommodates big loads, and a wrinkle release cycle that tumbles clothes without heat to cut down on wrinkling.

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Electrolux

This spacious and efficient front load washer can be stacked with a dryer, but unlike other washer-dryer combos, it can be stacked on top of the dryer rather than positioned on the bottom. In another break with tradition, this washer's steam cleaning sends steam from the bottom up. You also get a function that mixes water and detergent before the washing cycle starts in order to enhance stain removal, a sanitizing cycle, a thorough cold-water washing cycle, and a well-balanced design so the machine does not shake while in operation and functions quietly. The matching dryer for this machine is the Electrolux EFME617STT. This 8-cubic-foot electric dryer has nine drying cycles, a clothing refresh cycle to erase wrinkles and sensors to prevent over-drying laundry.

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Time-Savers for Busy Households

If you've got a hectic life and sometimes forget to pull that clean, wet laundry out of the washer, there are time-saving models available that intermittently tumble and air the laundry inside for up to 12 hours. This way, you can dry the laundry at your convenience and still avoid that mildew smell. There also are front loading washers with extra-fast cycles and other time-saving features to make laundering your clothes faster than with any standard washer.

GE

This GE top loading washer gives you a Time Saver mode that thoroughly washes a full load of laundry in 37 minutes. You can also make short work of stains with the specialized removal functions for blood, tomato, wine, dirt, grass or coffee. This washer offers a precise distribution of detergent throughout wash cycles to enhance cleaning. You can get clean and fresh clothes quickly with the help of this 4.9-cubic-foot washer's sanitizing cycle that eliminates as much as 99 percent of bacteria. It can also clear away as much as 99 percent of pet dander and dust mite allergens. This washer is certified by the National Sanitation Foundation. If you want a front loading washer and dryer combination, also take a look at the GE GFD49ERPKDG. This dryer comes with sensors that determine drying time depending on the wetness of clothes, a steam clothing refresh cycle, and a tumbling mode that prevents sheets and other items from becoming tangled.

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Maytag

If you start a load of laundry and then find you must rush off to work or get some sleep, never fear. You will not end up with mildew-smelling clothing. This front loading washer provides a FreshHold option that includes a built-in fan and intermittent tumbling for your clothing that extends for 12 hours, so when you pull them out, they are clean and smell good. You also get a Power Wash cycle with this front load washer and an Optimal Dose Dispenser that emits carefully measured amounts of detergent and can hold enough to last through 12 loads. A good front loading washer-dryer combination would be this machine and the Maytag MED8200FW. This matching dryer offers a speedy Power Dry capability, a 7.4-cubic-foot drum and a refresh cycle with steam to cut down on wrinkles.

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Whirlpool

This 4.5-cubic-foot front load washer is capable of taking on big loads and offers a feature that will help busy people: the 12-Hour FanFresh option. In case you are too busy to take the wet clothes out and put them in the dryer, this machine includes a fan that can operate for up to 12 hours, tumbling your laundry so the clothes stay fresh and do not take on a mildew-like smell as they remain in the washer. You also get a color-protecting wash cycle that adjusts the washing actions and time so your clothes are less likely to fade, while a presoak function loosens ground-in dirt and stains. A good choice to go with this washer is the Whirlpool WED90HEFW, a 7.4-cubic-foot, high-efficiency electric clothes dryer. Its memory touch controls save time, since you do not have to program it each time you do a similar load of laundry, and its moisture-sensing capability gauges the necessary level of drying. 

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How Are Front Load Washers Different From Other Washers?

Most likely, you are used to a washing machine with a lid on the top of the machine that lifts up. Alternatively, front load washing machines look more like traditional dryers. Instead of having a lid on top of the washer, the washer door is located in the front, allowing 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 a front load washer allows it to fill with enough water to wash your clothes while the seal holds the liquid tightly inside. 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. 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.

What Is Important in Choosing a Front Load Washer?

Before even investigating a new front loading washer, it’s best to consider your existing laundry space. How much room do you really have? Will a front load washer take up more or less space than your current laundry machines? When you measure, don't forget to include space for the hoses and dryer vent hose, as those require additional inches.

Some front loader washers are excellent choices for under-counter installations because of their short heights, while others have a larger design that fits better on a pedestal. If you live in a condo or other small dwelling, perhaps a stackable washer and dryer combination would work best for you.

Many of these front loaders 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.

If you are short on space in your laundry room, stacking might be the answer. 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 supplies 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.

Front loaders aren't top load washers turned on their sides; there are many differences beyond the door location that make them good appliances for homeowners. One of the finest features found on the best front load washers is a steam option that softens the fabric of your clothes, making stains easier to remove.

Steam is also a remarkable feature 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, which means cleaner clothes for you and your family. While everyone appreciates cleanliness, this feature is especially helpful if you have a baby and use cloth diapers or have other youngsters in the household who get really messy from playing outdoors, spilling food and just being kids.

All washers clean clothes, but each front load washing machine has a different mix of unique and standard features and cycles, such as time delay, allergen and active wear cycles, and custom programs that you can save for future use. The number of included preset cycles is important when you're in a hurry, while other cycles, such as delicate and hand wash, are essential for clothes made of specialty fabrics.

What Else Should You Look for in a Front Load Washer?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the typical 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, work or baby 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.

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 the machine uses per wash. The lower the water factor, the more water-efficient the washing machine is. The average water factor for the best front load washing machines is around 2.6, which is less than 12 gallons of water 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.

An efficient, reliable washing machine can make your home run smoother, and with a front load washer, you can do more laundry with less power and water. The best front load washing machine for you should fit in your current laundry space, stack on top of the dryer if needed, and give your clothes as good a wash as a traditional top load washing machine in a more efficient manner.

Contributing Reviewer: Linda Thomson