This is a tale of two washers. Both are made by LG. Both top our latest Ratings. If you had to choose one, what's the difference? About $350 and the fact that it's time to come clean--are you a fan of front-loaders or totally devoted to top loaders?
The best front-loaders clean better and more efficiently than the best high-efficiency (HE) top-loaders. "The fact that front-loaders use less water than HE top-loaders means that the detergent concentration is greater in a front-loader and front-loaders generally have longer wash cycles," says Emilio Gonzalez, an engineer who runs Consumer Reports' tests of laundry appliances. "The front-loader's tumbling action can also help boost cleaning." Front-loaders spin even faster than HE top-loaders, so typically more water is extracted and drying time is reduced. And as a group, front-loaders tend to be very quiet.
That said, more than twice as many top-loaders were sold in the last 18 months, according to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, a trade group. Among the best washers we've tested, front-loaders usually cost several hundred dollars more than top-loaders. The front-loader's wash time can take up to 100 minutes, and while vibration isn't a problem for our highest rated models, it is possible that a front-loader's high spinning speed might vibrate too much for it to be placed near a living area in your home. And then there's the question of convenience. Does it bother you to have to stoop to put laundry in the front-loader, or do you prefer dropping dirty laundry in the top-loader?
Now about those LGs. The LG WT5070C[W], $1,000, tops our latest Ratings of top-loaders and is a CR Best Buy. This HE model offers impressive cleaning, large capacity, and a 65-minute normal wash cycle. As for the top-rated front-loader, the LG WM8000H[V]A, $1,350, was excellent at washing, is a recommended model, and offers the largest capacity we've tested. But the normal cycle time is 100 minutes. However, the TurboWash option cut wash time by about 20 minutes in our tests and delivered comparable cleaning of our eight-pound load of laundry.
For all the details on performance and features, see the results of our washing machine tests. These LG washers have matching dryers that we've tested. They're also recommended models, so check the dryer Ratings. We've noted the matching dryer on the washer model page.