The Complete Guide to Front-Load Washers
Doing laundry is an endless chore. We all want appliances that can handle loads quickly, gently, and efficiently. Top-load washers have been the norm for years. But front-load washers are surging in popularity due to benefits like better fabric care, water savings, cleaning performance, and capacity.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover the top front-load washer models, how to select the right one for your needs, and answers to frequently asked questions about these innovative appliances. Let’s dive in!
The Best Front-Load Washers
Front-load washers encompass a wide range of sizes, features, and budgets. Here are our picks for the best options currently available:
For a smart front-load washer with all the bells and whistles, the LG WM9500HKA is a top choice. This mega-capacity 5.8 cu.ft. model can tackle huge loads in a single cycle.
LG’s revolutionary TurboWash360° technology uses 5 jets to spray clothes from multiple angles, cutting wash time in half. Wi-Fi connectivity allows monitoring and control from your smartphone.
The graphite steel finish and transparent CrystalClear window give this washer an ultra modern style. Expect superb fabric care from LG’s advanced washing technologies.
- TurboWash360° jets reduce cycle times
- Giant 5.8 cu.ft. capacity
- Smart Wi-Fi controls
- CrystalClear window
- Steam sanitization
Pros: Fast wash times, largest capacity, smart home integration
Cons: Very expensive, huge footprint
Price Range: $$$$
For a top-tier washing machine with less bulk, the Samsung WF50A8600AV is packed with features. The 5 cu. ft. capacity can handle around 20 bath towels in one load.
Vibration Reduction Technology (VRT) makes this washer one of the quietest available. It uses an inverter controlled motor that reduces noise during the spin cycle.
AddWashTM provides a convenient door to add forgotten clothes mid-cycle. Super Speed washing can finish a load in just 30 minutes. This Samsung washer delivers excellence across the board.
- AddWashTM door to add clothes anytime
- Super Speed wash finishes in 30 minutes
- Quiet inverter motor reduces vibrations
- Self-clean+ cycle
Pros: Very quiet, great features, fast washing capability
Cons: Expensive, reliability complaints
Price Range: $$$
The Electrolux EFLS627UTT provides solid performance and features at a more affordable cost. With a 4.4 cu. ft. stainless steel drum, it can handle most household loads.
Smart features like LuxCare Wash and the Perfect SteamTM cycle improve fabric care. One unique highlight is the customized cycle selector that learns your habits and recommends your most used cycles.
Owners praise the useful presets, quiet operation, and reliability of this Energy Star certified Electrolux washer. It’s an excellent mid-range option.
- Perfect SteamTM cycle with steam enhances cleaning
- Customized cycle selector learns habits
- StainSoak setting loosens stubborn stains
- LuxCare Wash system is gentle on clothes
- Energy Star certified
Pros: Great features for the price, strong performance, tailored cycle recommendations
Cons: Smaller capacity than premium brands
Price Range: $$
If you want the basics done well for less money, the Maytag MVW6200KW is a good value top-loader. The 3.4 cu. ft. capacity is ample for most households.
The PowerWash® cycle provides extra cleaning power when needed. The stainless steel wash basket resists odors and corrosion.
While it lacks flashy extras, this Maytag washer focuses on core performance. The sturdy build delivers years of reliable service. It’s a great budget-friendly choice.
- PowerWash® deep cleaning cycle
- Wrinkle control option prevents wrinkles
- Stainless steel wash basket resists odors
- 10 year limited parts warranty
Pros: Great price, robust performance and durability
Cons: Basic features, smaller capacity
Price Range: $
The wi-fi enabled LG WM9500HKA leads the pack with turbo speed washing and smart home integration. For power washing in a sleek package, the quiet Samsung WF50A8600AV is ideal. The Electrolux EFLS627UTT strikes a great balance of thoughtful features, fabric care, and value. And the Maytag MVW6200KW provides reliable washing at an affordable cost.
Keep reading for what to look for when picking your perfect front-load washer.
How to Choose a Front-Load Washer
Ready to upgrade from a top loader to a front-load washer? Here are the key factors to weigh when selecting a model for your home:
Front-load washers range from 3.5 to 6 cubic feet. Consider your household needs:
- 1-2 people: 3.5-4.5 cu. ft. is sufficient
- Full family: Look for 5+ cubic feet
- Bulky items: Go larger if washing bedding, towels, sports gear, etc.
Measure your laundry alcove to ensure the washer will fit. Bigger drums mean larger unit dimensions.
Dimensions and Configuration
Standard front-load washers are around 27” wide x 30” deep. Larger capacity models can be 35” deep. Height is usually 32-35”. Confirm the measurements and cutout size needed.
- Side-by-side or stacked: Stackable units allow installing the dryer above, saving floor space.
- Pedestal: Raises the washer higher for easier access.
- Color options: White, black, titanium and chrome are common finishes.
Wash Cycles and Settings
Look for cycles and settings that suit your laundry needs:
- Perm Press or Wrinkle Reduction: Limits agitation to reduce wrinkling.
- Heavy Duty or Power Wash: Provides extra wash action for heavily soiled items.
- Allergen: Removes irritants for sensitive skin.
- Sanitize: Gets hot enough to kill bacteria.
- Quick or Speed Wash: For smaller loads when time is short.
- Eco: Conserves the most energy and water.
The more options, the more customization you have.
Speed and Efficiency
Most cycles run 60-80 minutes. Speed options can cut normal cycles to just 30-40 mins. Shorter times are harder on fabrics though.
Energy Star models use the least resources. Look for ENERGY STAR® certification and low yearly energy/water costs.
Front-load washers range from about 50-80 decibels while running. Models with direct drive motors, vibration reduction, and sound insulation are quietest. Choose one of the quieter options if laundry noise will be an issue.
Reliability and Warranties
Stick with reputable brands known for reliability:
Most brands offer 10 year warranties on the motor and drum, 1 year on parts. Extended warranties add peace of mind.
Higher end models offer bonus features:
- Steam: Penetrates deep to loosen stains. Also kills allergens and bacteria.
- Smart WiFi: Monitor and control remotely from your phone.
- Sanitization: Heats water to sanitize and kill germs.
- Stain Removal: Pre-treats or boosts cleaning for stubborn stains.
- Nighttime Mode: Super quiet washing for sleeping hours.
Consider which extras would be most valuable for you.
Expect to pay $600 – $1200 for a quality front-load washer. Take advantage of sales around holidays and Black Friday. Avoid dirt cheap models with poor reliability. Invest for a machine that will last 10+ years.
For ideal cohesion, purchase a dryer from the same brand. Stackable units are designed to perfectly align. The controls, features and finishes will match. You can buy separately, but a uniform set looks much better together.
FAQs about Front-Load Washers
How do front-load washers work?
The drum lies on its side and rotates back and forth rather than top to bottom agitation. This tumbling action is gentler on fabrics. The door also seals tightly for high-speed spinning without leakage.
What are the benefits of front-load vs. top-load washers?
Front-load advantages include:
- Better fabric care from tumbling wash motion
- Faster spin speeds extract more water
- Higher capacity drums
- Better water and energy efficiency
- Stackable and space saving configurations
They have surpassed top-load machines in performance and features.
Do front-load washers require special detergent?
Yes, use only high efficiency (HE) detergent. Regular soap will oversud and leak. HE detergents produce fewer suds since front loaders require less water. Look for the “HE” label. Powders dissolve best.
How do you use and load a front-load washer properly?
- Don’t overstuff – leave room for clothes to tumble.
- Mix large and small items.
- Load evenly to distribute weight.
- Allow space around detergent dispenser for it to open.
- For stand alone units, don’t remove rubber gasket inside door.
Do front-load washers have issues with mold or mildew?
Some owners report mold in the drum or gasket. To prevent this:
- Leave door open when not in use so it dries out.
- Wipe down any condensation.
- Run wash cycles monthly to clean it.
- Use bleach or other washer cleaners monthly.
Are front-load washers hard on clothes?
Front-loaders are generally gentler than top-load agitator models. The tumbling action reduces mechanical stress and stretching on fabrics. Hand wash delicate items if concerned. Choose cycles like Perm Press to lessen wear.
Do front-load washers need to be cleaned? If so, how?
Yes, regular cleaning keeps them fresh and prevents mold. Monthly:
- Run empty “Clean Washer” cycle with bleach or cleaners.
- Wipe down door gasket with diluted bleach.
- Remove and rinse debris from pump filter.
How long do front-load washers typically last?
Around 10-12 years on average, similar to top-load machines. Invest in a reputable brand and proper care, and a front-loader should provide over a decade of reliable service.
What size and capacity is best for different households?
- 1-2 people: 2.5-4 cu. ft.
- 3-4 people: 4-5 cu. ft.
- Large families: 5.5+ cu. ft.
Match to your average load sizes for optimum washing.
What factors impact the cost of front-load washers?
Brand, capacity, cycles, speed, energy rating, stackability, and extra features all impact cost. In general:
- Basic 3.5 cu. ft. models: $600 – $800
- Generous capacity units with options: $800 – $1,200
- High-end smart washers: $1,500+
Shop sales and use promotions to maximize value at any budget.
Key Advantages of Front-Load Washers
- Better fabric care from tumbling rather than agitation
- Higher spin speed extracts more water
- Increased capacities for larger loads
- Stackable configurations save floor space
- Advanced washing and rinsing performance
- Energy and water efficiency ratings
With the right model matched to your household, a front-load washer can make laundry day much easier. Review the top picks and buying considerations in this guide to upgrade your clean routine!