Take a look at online promotions for laundry appliances and you'll often see a woman beaming as she breezes past her stylish matching washer and dryer. At Consumer Reports we value substance over style and typically recommend that you buy the best machine for the job. Fortunately, in our tests of washers and dryers we found 10 pairs in which each individual machine performed impressively.
All of the washers in our dynamic duos are recommended models or Best Buys and the few dryers that didn't make the list came close. The pairs include both front-loading washers and high-efficiency (HE) top-loading washers. The best front-loaders clean better and use even less water than the best HE top-loaders. Front-loaders spin faster than HE top-loaders so more water is typically extracted, reducing drying time but front-loaders generally have longer wash cycles. HE top-loaders don't have a center agitator and use a variety of methods to lift and tumble laundry. They're high-efficiency because they use less water and spin faster than conventional top-loaders, also cutting dryer time.
In addition to washing performance, Consumer Reports tests how gentle a washing machine is on fabric as well as its energy and water efficiency. We also look at such factors as noise and vibration that homeowners might find annoying if the laundry room is adjacent to a living area. And we compare cycle times. Front loaders can take anywhere from 65 to 105 minutes to wash an eight-pound load. Top loaders are a little quicker, ranging from 35 to 75 minutes.
All of the dryers on the list have large capacities and a moisture sensor that helps save energy by shutting off the machine before the laundry is dried too much. That's easier on fabrics, too. In our clothes dryer tests, we run the machines with different sized loads and a variety of fabrics. We also measure noise, capacity and convenience. Here's a laundry list of 10 matching washers and dryers that were top performers.
You can find more details on the model page for each washer and dryer. You can also compare up to five washers or dryers using the comparison feature in our Ratings. And, before you buy, look online for sales as well as rebates from manufacturers and Energy Star (washers only).