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The Ultimate 2022 Guide to Picking the Perfect High-Efficiency Washing Machine

If you’re in the market for a new washing machine, it’s likely you’ve seen the term “high-efficiency” or “HE” thrown around a lot. High-efficiency washers have become incredibly popular in recent years – and for good reason! They provide a number of benefits over traditional washing machines that can really make a difference.

But what exactly is a high-efficiency washer? And what makes them better than a regular washer? Put simply, HE washers are designed to use less water and energy while cleaning clothes more effectively. They have advanced features like sensors that detect load sizes and special wash motions that get clothes cleaner using less water.

Many people make the switch to HE to save money on utility bills and do their part for the environment. An HE washer can reduce water usage by as much as 50% compared to conventional top-load washers. That’s huge savings added up over time! They also cut energy costs significantly.

Beyond the efficiency factor, HE washers are also gentler on fabrics and can double the life of clothes. The gentle tumbling action reduces wear and tear. And they tend to wring out more water by spinning faster, which means clothes dry quicker and require less heat for drying.

But buying an efficient washer that suits your needs can be overwhelming. They come in different configurations, capacities, feature sets, and price points. And who can keep track of all the various model numbers and tech specs?

Luckily, I’m here to help simplify the process! Below I’ll go through:

  • The top 5 highest rated HE washing machines
  • Key factors to consider when selecting the right HE washer
  • Frequently asked questions about high-efficiency washers

Let’s dive in…

The Best of the Best: Top 5 High-Efficiency Washers

I’ve taken the time to comb through hundreds of real customer reviews and expert tests to highlight the top 5 highest performing HE washers available. These models consistently rise to the top for their combination of cleaning effectiveness, efficiency, durability, features and value.

1. LG WT7200CW

The LG WT7200CW is my top pick for the best HE washer overall. This washing machine consistently earns rave reviews across the board for its cleaning performance, reliability, and family-friendly features.

It has a large 5.0 cubic feet capacity so you can wash bigger loads comfortably. And with LG’s advanced 6Motion technology, each wash delivers powerful cleaning results no matter the load size.

Some of the standout features include:

  • Steam cycles that help eliminate stains and odors
  • An allergiene cycle great for people with sensitive skin
  • ENERGY STAR® certified for efficiency
  • A convenient center control panel with smooth dials

Owners say this washer makes laundry day a breeze. It runs reliably over years of use while keeping clothes looking their best. Some minor drawbacks are the higher upfront cost and bulky size. But most reviewers say the outstanding performance is well worth it!

2. Samsung WF45R6300AW

If you love gadgets and technology, the Samsung WF45R6300AW is the high-tech HE washer for you. It has all the bells and whistles to make laundry more convenient than ever.

The real star is Samsung’s Wi-Fi-enabled Smart Dial that lets you control cycles and settings right from your phone. You can remotely start or stop the washer, receive end of cycle alerts, schedule washing, and more.

Built-in AI technology also provides recommendations to optimize wash cycles for each load. It even automatically dispenses the right amount of detergent for you.

Other neat features include vapor technology to penetrate deep stains and a super speedy overnight “wash and dry” cycle.

With all this innovation, it’s no wonder Samsung is a leader in connected home appliances. However, the price tag is steep for this cutting-edge washer. Some owners have also reported issues with the control panel needing service.

3. Electrolux EFLS627UTT

Delicate fabrics require a gentle touch. That’s where the Electrolux EFLS627UTT high-efficiency washer really shines. This front-load washer is specially designed to carefully clean fine fabrics like silks and lace.

The LuxCare wash system provides a unique reverse tumble wash action. Clothes are gently soaked and soaked to lift stains. There are also various fabric-specific cycles plus a quick 15-minute fast wash.

If sanitization is important to you, there’s a Sanitize cycle that eliminates 99.9% of bacteria at high heat. And the LuxCare delite drum with smooth stainless finish is gentle on all fabrics.

Owners love how clean their clothes turn out while maintaining the quality of expensive garments over many washes. Some drawbacks are the smaller 4.5 cubic feet capacity and higher price. But for gently washing delicates, you can’t beat the Electrolux model!

4. GE GTW685BSLWS

Shopping on a budget? The GE GTW685BSLWS is the most affordable HE top-load washer with all the essential features you need.

It provides solid cleaning and stain removal at an reasonable price point. Owners are consistently impressed with how well it performs for such an value-priced model.

You still get advanced features like a Sanitize cycle, auto-sensing load size adjustment, and SmartDispense technology for adding detergent. It’s also designed for quiet operation so you can run it without disturbing the household.

While it doesn’t have the bells and whistles of pricier washers, the GE washer nails the basics. Reliability is top notch according to owners who’ve logged hundreds of cycles on it. Just don’t expect a lot of fancy cycles or tech extras. But for an efficient clean at low cost, you can’t beat this GE!

5. Maytag MVWC565FW

For less than $1000, the Maytag MVWC565FW provides outstanding cleaning power that rivals more expensive brands.

This popular top-load HE washer can tackle even the toughest stains thanks to features like the PowerWash cycle and extra power spray arm. It uses a combination of potent high-pressure jets and hot water to obliterate soils.

Yet despite its cleaning muscle, the Maytag washer is surprisingly gentle. The PowerWash cycle also protects fabrics by spraying clothes from top to bottom rather than twisting them around the middle.

Other highlights include a massive 10-year limited warranty, sanitize mode, and automatic load size adjustment. Noise is average but owners say the performance more than makes up for it. Overall, this is an excellent value for an effective heavy-duty cleaning HE washer.

How to Select the Right HE Washer for Your Home

Now that you know the highest rated options, let’s discuss the key factors to consider when choosing an HE washer for your specific needs:

● Size and Capacity

One of the first things to look at is the capacity measured in cubic feet. Standard sizes range from 3.5 to 5.0 cubic feet. Think about your family size and laundry demands. Bigger households often need 5.0+ cubic feet.

You’ll also want to account for bulky items like comforters. Make sure there’s enough room that these can tumble freely. Stacked units tend to have smaller capacities around 3.5 cubic feet.

In general, look for the largest capacity you can fit in your space and budget. More room means less frequent washing.

● Washer Configuration

Next, decide if you want a top load or front load high-efficiency washer.

Front loaders tend to have larger capacities, be energy efficient, and ultra quiet. But top loaders are easier for loading/unloading and stacking.

Controls will be on the top or front. Top controls are more convenient but may allow little ones to tamper with settings and cycles.

Also consider the door swing direction to ensure it works in your laundry space.

● Wash Cycles

Look for washers with cycles to suit all your laundry needs like:

  • Bulky/Bedding – For cleaning large items
  • Allergen – To remove common allergens
  • Steam – Helps loosen stains
  • Sanitize – For killing germs and bacteria
  • Prewash – Dedicated cycle to tackle stains

The more relevant cycles for your laundry, the better!

● Noise Level

Front-load washers are typically quieter than top-load thanks to being drum-based rather than impeller-based. Look for noise ratings around 50-60dB for the quietest washers.

Features like foam insulation and rubber vibration absorbers also help minimize noise. This is especially important if your washer shares a wall with a bedroom or living space.

● Smart Features

Many new washers come with smart capabilities like Wi-Fi connectivity. This lets you control, monitor and receive notifications about your washer from an app.

Look for models with AI technology that customizes cycles based on load size and fabric type. Some even have auto-dispense features to add detergent for you.

While not necessary, smart features can definitely take the hassle out of laundry. They help optimize cycles and give you more flexibility.

● Energy Efficiency

For savings on your utilities, look for washers with higher MEF (modified energy factor) ratings. The minimum is 2.0, but most efficient models are 3.2 and higher. The higher the number, the better!

Also check that your washer is ENERGY STAR® certified. This means it meets strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the EPA. All top HE washers will carry this certification.

● Water Efficiency

Similarly, choose washers with higher WF (water factor) ratings. WF tells you how many gallons of water are used per cycle per cubic foot. The lower the WF, the more water-efficient it is. Most top HE washers have a WF of 3.2-4.2.

Frequently Asked Questions About High-Efficiency Washers

Here are answers to some of the most common questions regarding high-efficiency washers:

Are HE washers really better than regular washers?

Yes, HE washers are better in pretty much every way. They use up to 50% less water and over 30% less energy. They’re gentler on clothes while getting them cleaner. And they spin out more water to shorten drying time. The only downside is a higher purchase price.

Do HE washers actually get your clothes cleaner?

Yes! HE washers have advanced wash systems that provide more mechanical cleaning action using less water. Features like built-in prewash sprays, higher spin speeds, and smart sensors also help remove more dirt, debris and stains from each load.

Do I need to use special detergent in an HE washer?

Yes, you should use detergent formulated specifically for HE washers. Regular detergents create too many suds and foam which HE washers aren’t designed to handle. It can cause error codes, leaking and other problems. Always use HE-specific detergent.

Why is an HE washer’s capacity smaller than my regular washer?

HE washers don’t need as much water to clean clothes. So while the tub drum is smaller, they can clean the same amount of clothing in less overall space. Capacity refers to tub volume, not necessarily clothes volume. So don’t let the smaller cubic feet fool you!

Do cycles take longer on HE washers compared to regular ones?

Some cycles definitely take longer, especially heavy duty and sanitizing cycles, to provide optimal cleaning. But many HE washers have quick wash options also like 30 minute cycles. Cycle times depend more on the wash actions needed, not how long it takes to fill water.

Are front-load or top-load HE washers better?

They both have pros and cons. Front-load units tend to hold more, use less detergent, and be quieter. But top-load models are easier to load, don’t require bending, and don’t have mold issues. It ultimately comes down to personal needs and preferences.

What kind of maintenance do HE washers need?

Front-load washers require regular cleaning of the door gasket to prevent mold, especially with detergent build-up. Top-load models need little maintenance overall. But both should periodically have vinegar rinses and deep cleaning cycles done to keep them fresh and mineral deposit-free.

Why are some HE washers so expensive?

The high-end models include advanced features like steam, Wi-Fi connectivity, auto-dispense detergent, and sensors which raise the price tag. But you can find very decent basic HE washers these days for around $600-$800. While pricier than regular washers, they offset the cost long-term in efficiency savings.

The Final Spin

I hope this detailed guide gives you greater confidence in finding the perfect high-efficiency washer for your home and laundry needs! Here are the key takeaways:

  • HE washers provide big benefits for saving money, water conservation, and fabric care. The slight premium in cost pays for itself over time.
  • Focus on wash cycles, capacity, configurations, smart features and efficiency ratings that match your household and laundry demands.
  • The LG WT7200CW is a top choice with outstanding cleaning performance and family-friendly features. But plenty of options exist to suit different needs and budgets.
  • Take your time researching brands, ratings and reviews to make the best selection for you. An HE washer is a long-term investment that’s worth taking the time to get right.

For more information, check out leading consumer testing sites like Consumer Reports. And don’t hesitate to contact manufacturers directly with specific questions.

Happy washing! Let me know if you have any other topics you’d like to see a detailed buying guide on. I’m always looking for ideas to help simplify purchase decisions and save you money with smart buying strategies.

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