Cheap T-shirts from Walmart, Target, Old Navy, JC Penney, and the Gap were put through multiple wash cycles and a meticulous comparison. See where they rank.
Washing Machine Performance: Cleaning Effectiveness
Cleaning performance is the most important criterion when assessing a washer of any price, and fortunately, washing machines reviews point to some solid contenders in the budget zone. These top-rated washing machines please most users and experts with their cleaning performance, efficiency, and overall dependability -- all for less than $650.
Washing Machine Cleaning.According to the washing machine reviews that we read, consumers are stubbornly divided when it comes to the topic of cleaning prowess. Those in the traditional top-loader camp remain doubtful that clothes get as clean in front-loaders or high-efficiency top-loaders, both of which lack agitators and require less detergent. Front-loader advocates counter that longer, gentler cycles are more effective. In fact, professional tests referenced on Wikipedia indicate that front-loaders do a better job overall of getting clothes clean. Point taken. But based on the reviews that we found, cleaning capability depends on the particular model you choose.
Reviewers cite the LG WM2101HW as a top rated washing machine. Users posting on the LG site comment approvingly on the sanitary cycle and stain-fighting abilities of this front-load model. Experts at consumer product review sites agree, ranking this unit tops for cleaning performance as well as efficiency and gentleness. Another front-loader, the Frigidaire GLTF2940FS, places slightly lower in expert assessments, although its cleaning ability and overall gentleness are still considered very good. Users' washing machine reviews, like this one on Buzzillions are enthusiastic about the way washables come out, even without pre-treating challenges like dark fruit stains. Then there's the Frigidaire FTF530FS. Owners' judgments of this front-loading washer's cleaning abilities are relatively positive, according to reviews on sites like Amazon, but loud groans about build quality (see below) drown out the favorable reports.
The two inexpensive top-loading washers on our list also do a fine job. Users contend the Admiral ATW4475VQ cleans impressively on the whole, although one washing machine review on Home Depot notes that water temperatures were cooler than expected. The majority of consumers are satisfied with the dirt-busting power of the Maytag Centennial MVWC6ESWW. Others, however, grouse that it doesn't meet even minimal expectations, like getting rid of grass stains or baby food, and some complain on Buzzillions that the auto-fill feature, which senses how much water is needed based on the load, is too miserly with the water.
When it comes to getting washables clean, using the appropriate laundry detergent is just as important as the machine you choose. If you buy a front-loading washer, you must use special high-efficiency (HE) detergent. HE laundry soaps are more expensive than traditional detergents, so it's tempting to opt out, but doing so can negatively affect the cleaning performance of your front-load washer. It's also likely to cause long-term damage, according to appliance repair experts at Fixitnow.com. Note that standard top-loading washers can take either HE or regular laundry detergent without messing up the machine.Back to top »
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