The 6 Best High-Efficiency Washing Machines of 2023

Our top pick is the Samsung Front Load with Vibration Reduction.

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Doing laundry


A washing machine is a significant investment for most people, so it’s worth doing the research on the one that is right for you and your home. Once you have decided on the size and features that seem best for you (get our guide at the end), energy and water efficiency are next. All the machines included here are Energy Star-rated (see more on that below) except where noted, which will save you money in both energy and water bills.

Note that the least expensive machines you see at any of the appliance sellers online or in-store are usually not Energy Star-rated for a reason—they aren’t as efficient (unless there’s an efficient model on sale from a previous season). That lower price might seem tempting when it’s time to buy, but you will likely end up paying for the difference in energy and water bills over time—not to mention wasting resources

Ahead, the best high-efficiency washing machines on the market.

Best Overall

Samsung 4.5 cu. ft. Front Load Washer with Vibration Reduction Technology+

Samsung washer

Courtesy of Samsung

Dimensions: 27 x 38.75 x 31.375 inches | Capacity: 4.5 cubic feet | Number of Wash Cycle Options: 10+

This washer wins this category for using the least amount of energy and water according to the Energy Star list of energy-efficient machines—while still offering the most washing choices (10) and options (six). It also gets very high marks from testers on its ability to get the dirtiest clothes clean while still being gentle on clothing.

It has a self-clean feature that promises to eliminate 99% of bacteria that can form in the drum (which is what can lead to a musty odor that’s common in front-loading machines). It’s about $100 to $200 less than other similar machines.

Price at time of publish: $888

What Does Energy Star Mean?

Energy Star ratings aren’t on a tier or level system like other ratings you might be familiar with. It’s either Energy Star-rated because it meets a standard for energy savings over other similar machines or it doesn’t get to carry the seal. All machines included here are Energy Star-rated except where noted. That means they use about 25% less energy and 33% less water than non-rated machines. That electricity savings adds up over time to $35 per year on your utility bills and about 2,000 gallons of water per year based on an average of 300 loads a year.

Best Top Loader

LG Electronics WT7300CV 5.0 cu. ft. Smart Wi-Fi Enabled Top Load Washer

LG Electronics 5.0 cu. ft. Smart Top Load Washer

 Courtesy of Best Buy

Dimensions: 27 x 44.5 x 28.375 inches | Capacity: 5 cubic feet | Number of Wash Cycle Options: 8

For those who prefer a top-loader for space or mobility reasons, this one is big enough to wash a comforter and a set of king-size sheets. The TurboWash3D design eliminates the agitator, though, so it’s a lot easier on clothes (anyone who’s had clothes ripped apart by a top-loader knows how rough they can be).

This washing machine is both energy- and water-efficient compared to other top-loaders, and it offers a special cold-wash mode that promises to clean clothes as effectively as warm water (cold water washes use even less energy). It's Energy Star-certified and CEE (Consortium for Energy Efficiency) Tier 1.

Price at time of publish: $1,150

Best Front Loader

Electrolux ELFW7637AT 4.5 cu. ft. High-Efficiency Stackable Front Load Washer with SmartBoost

Electrolux 4.5 cu. ft. High-Efficiency Stackable Front Load Washer

Courtesy of Best Buy

Dimensions: 38 x 27 x 32 inches| Capacity: 4.5 cubic feet| Number of Wash Cycle Options: 10

Front-loading washing machines, due to their design, are generally more efficient when it comes to water use—they're also stackable and since access is in front, they can be easier to use in a tight space.

This unit offers 10 wash cycle options, including a 15-minute fast wash for items that are lightly soiled, a steam cycle to remove stains, and a specialized "Pure Rinse" cycle that rinses cleaner than the extra rinse cycle without using more water. The sanitize setting kills 99% bacteria without the use of chemicals, while the NSF-approved allergen cycle removes 95% of all allergens from clothing and linens. Its extra-large capacity fits a king-sized comforter, so it's ideal for large families or if you wash bedding often.

Price at time of publish: $1,215

Best Compact

Bosch WAT28400UC 300 Series Compact Washer

Bosch washer

Courtesy of Amazon

Dimensions: 23.5 x 33.25 x 24.25 inches | Capacity: 2.2 cubic feet | Number of Wash Cycle Options: 15

All Bosch’s washers are compact—both narrower, less deep, and shorter than other models—so you have more room in your laundry area not taken up by machines. The drum volume is 2.2 cubic feet, about half the size of a regular washer, but many people don’t need to wash 17 towels at once, so a smaller unit makes sense.

The smaller size doesn’t mean you get less performance, though; these washers have 15 different cycle options, including a drum clean and an anti-allergen setting. Bosch washers do a very good job despite their small size. Plus, they boast quiet cycles and longevity, with some users reporting 15 years of service or more.

Price at time of publish: $2,157

Best Foot-Powered

Yirego Drumi Portable Non-Electric Washing Machine

Drumi washer

Courtesy of Amazon

Dimensions: 15.875 x 16.4 x 19.5 inches | Capacity: 0.3 cubic feet | Number of Wash Cycle Options: 1

The foot-powered Drumi not only cleans clothes via the power of your legs, but it also has a rinse and spin cycle. Other foot-powered washers lack a spin cycle, meaning you have to squeeze water from clothes by hand, which isn’t easy with heavier fabrics like a t-shirt or towel.

The Drumi is basically equivalent to a delicate cycle in a machine, which is all many of us need to get our clothes clean—but stains and soiled parts should be pre-treated. This unit comes with a hose so you can drain it away from the unit, into a shower or other type of drain.

Price at time of publish: $369

Best Washer/Dryer Combo

LG Electronics WM3488HW 2.3 cu. ft. Compact All-in-One Washer and Dryer Combo

LG Electronics 2.3 cu. ft. All-in-one Front Load Washer and Electric Ventless Dryer in White

Courtesy of Home Depot

Dimensions: ‎24 x 33.5 x 25.5 inches | Capacity: 2.3 cubic feet | Number of Wash Cycle Options: 14

Washer/dryer combos aren’t for everyone—it's asking a lot from one device. Because washing and drying both happen in one unit, it’s a pretty long process (how long depends on the items being washed and the cycles chosen). But there are some who think these units are great, and owners of this LG model love the convenience of putting a dirty load in and getting home from work to clean, dry clothes.

This unit has an average-size drum for wash sizes equivalent to non-combo units, and it can be set up to dry without a vent—great for installing in an apartment without altering the wall for a vent. Because it’s a combo unit, this isn’t Energy Star-rated, but it is CEE Tier 1-rated, which is the same standard as Energy Star.

Price at time of publish: $1,716

Final Verdict

Our top pick for a high-efficiency washer is the Samsung WF45T6000AW (view on Best Buy). If you prefer a top-loading machine, we recommend the LG Electronics WT73000VV (view at AJ Madison). 

What to Consider When Buying a Washing Machine


First, think about the size of the machine you need: If you have plenty of space for a washing machine, you will have the most options since washers can be bulky. However, there are also plenty of solid options for those who live in apartments, tiny homes, or cabins, called compact washers. These are about a third of the size of a traditional machine and usually offer similar cycle variety and rinse options. There are even portable washer options—they roll on wheels, so they can be put away in a closet or under a counter when not in use and hook up to a sink faucet and drain that way, too.

Laundry Volume

What size you need or want also depends on the volume of laundry you’ll be doing. If you are a single or couple and don’t need to do large amounts of laundry, a smaller washer may be ideal. If you have multiple people in your household and/or change your sheets, blankets, and towels very frequently, you’ll likely be frustrated by a smaller drum (which is the inside of a washing machine’s cleaning area). The drum can vary a lot, from less than 1 cubic meter on a portable machine to 4.5 cubic meters on the larger capacity ones. The latter can wash 17 towels at once or a large comforter plus a set of king-size sheets, to get an idea of how much they can hold.  


If you have any special laundry needs in mind (if you have a lot of delicate or wool clothing you don’t want to wash in your sink, or need heavy-duty cleaning options), keep an eye out for that feature—some of the units on this list have 15 cycle options with very specific wash lengths and spins for various fabrics, some have fewer options.

Some also have more options for water temperatures, which is useful if you have clothing or linens with specific temperature needs, like “tap cold” versus “cold” for woolens. Whether you need this level of detail for your washing needs depends on your clothing, but if you spend more on your clothes and like to keep them around, a washer with the exact cycles you need can save you time and money (so your clothes don’t get destroyed by using the wrong wash cycle). 

Front v. Top Loading

Top-loading vs. front-loading really comes down to preference—would you rather reach down and across (or squat and reach forward) to pull wet laundry from the wash, or would you prefer to reach down and into the machine? Depending on your mobility, one set of motions might be easier than the other, or you might just prefer one or the other. That’s the bulk of the calculus here. 

Generally, front-loaders clean a bit more efficiently, using less power and somewhat less water, so most of the models on this list reflect that advantage. Top-loaders tend to be a bit less expensive. Top-loading washing machines often have an agitating arm that can be hard on clothes, however, reducing the number of wears they will provide, since they physically agitate the clothing against hard plastic or metal. However, not all top-loaders have this system so clothes and sheets aren't destroyed because there's no agitating arm.


As with anything, cost plays a huge role in the ultimate purchasing decision. Though budget picks on other lists may be tempting, we skipped the category for a reason: Price differences between the least-expensive models of various similar brands are small enough to be inconsequential. If you are on a budget or just like to save money, it pays to surf the sites and plan for sales. You’ll find year-old or previous models of machines discounted by half as stores look to move inventory, meaning you could find a higher-end machine than you think you can afford.

Also, look for “open box” discounts—these are machines whose boxes have been opened but were never used. Calling your local store and asking about these machines might be worth the 15 minutes it takes to pick up the phone and try a few, as sometimes they are not advertised online. 


Are all new washing machines considered high efficiency?

There are still a few models of non-HE machines available, but they aren’t easy to find. So almost every new washing machine you are likely to find will be a high-efficiency model.

Can washers that don’t have an Energy Star rating still be considered high efficiency?

For traditional washers, no. But foot-powered or alternative washers might use minimal water and power (or no power at all) and not be included in Energy Star ratings since the system is designed for the compact or regular-sized washers that plug into the wall.

What are the advantages of high efficiency washing machines?

HE washing machines not only use less water and electricity, they use less detergent, too. Although that detergent used to be more expensive, it’s now often the same price-per-load. HE washers, since they generally don’t have a central agitating arm, are able to fit larger loads in the same amount of space, and aren’t as hard on clothing (that central arm puts a lot more stress on fabrics than a rotating exterior drum and water do).

Why Trust Treehugger?

To create this list, we researched the market and looked for those that are Energy Star rated, in addition to considering manual and compact/portable options. We also took third-party reviews and user ratings into account, and referred to the Energy Star site for specifications about water and energy use.

Starre Vartan has been researching and reviewing environmentally sustainable products for 15 years and wrote a book on eco-friendly, healthy living. She lives in a rental home so has no choice about her washing machine, but bought an LG front-loader when she had the opportunity in a former home. She exclusively dries clothes outside as long as it’s not actively raining.