The best matching washers and dryers

Washer-dryer pairs that cleaned up in Consumer Reports' tests.

Consumer Reports

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(Image: Consumer Reports)

(Image: Consumer Reports)

 

Matching washer and dryer pairs are a popular choice although some don't make a great couple. Their coordinating style and color make a statement, but you'll question how a terrific washer and a noisy dryer that's tough on clothes ended up together. Enter the matchmaker. Consumer Reports tests found matching pairs that are worth a look.

Now about the prices. The top-rated washers and dryers are expensive. Blame it on the rising cost of manufacturing and transportation, as well as much larger capacities, stainless-steel drums, added cycles and features, and better styling. Specialty cycles take out the guesswork, but up the price. Our tests have found that basic cycles can handle most of your laundry needs. So ask yourself if you want to pay extra for a bedding cycle or one for your jeans. 

Did you know? The washer and dryer Buying Guides offer a look at the advantages of each washer type and features. Use the Ratings selector to narrow your choices by brand and price, and click on the Features & Specs tab to compare features. The Brand Reliability tab offers helpful information and so do user reviews. And if you have questions e-mail me at kjaneway@consumer.org. 

CR Tip: Take a look at the washers and dryers that scored very good or better in our tests for noise if you're placing the washer and dryer near bedrooms. You'll know they're working but they shouldn't disturb you. You'll hear the machines that scored good or lower. They make sustained sounds that can be annoying.

 

The Quietest Couples

Our tests found pairs that are quiet enough for placement near a family room or bedrooms. All offer large or even jumbo capacities and the dryers have moisture sensors that help save energy by turning off the machine when the laundry is dry. Many have a steam option. Our dryer tests have found that steam didn't remove wrinkles but did remove more odors than conventional dryers, and steam washer settings slightly improved stain cleaning. We frequently show appliances in white but many pairs are also available in other colors and up the price of each machine by $100 or so. 

 

Where Are LG Top-Loaders?

LG pairs that include a high-efficiency top-loader and matching dryer are no longer highlighted here. That's because our latest Brand Reliability data shows that LG top-loaders are significantly worse than most other brands when it comes to being repair-prone. And while they offer impressive performance, their brand reliability keeps them off the recommended list. However, LG front-loaders are among the more reliable brands, and LG is the most reliable brand of both electric and gas dryers, according to Consumer Reports' 2014 Annual Product Reliability Survey of over 100,000 subscribers who bought new washers or dryers between 2007 and the first half of 2014.  

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Kenmore Elite 41702 washer & 81702 dryer

Kenmore Elite 41702 washer & 81702 dryer

Kenmore Set

Kenmore Elite 41072 front-loader and Kenmore Elite 81072 electric dryer
Price: $1,000 each
Here's the deal: The washer is near the top of our Ratings and made our top picks. It has 14 cycles, offers excellent washing, was gentle on fabrics, and has a jumbo capacity—it fit about 25 pounds of our laundry. Claimed capacity is 5.2 cubic feet. The dryer was excellent at its job and also has a jumbo capacity. Claimed capacity is 9 cubic feet. 
Consider this: Normal wash time using the heavy soil setting is 95 minutes. You'll save about 15 minutes by using the normal-soil setting and try the Accela-Wash option. It offers comparable wash performance in about 15 to 20 minutes less. 
Need to know: Each machine is 29 inches wide—2 more than usual—but can be stacked to save room. Gas dryer is Kenmore Elite 91072, $1,100. 

 

LG Duos

LG WM8500HVA front-loader and LG DLEX8500V electric dryer 
Price: $1,450 each
Here's the deal: The washer is near the top of our Ratings and both machines make the recommended list and have jumbo capacities, each holding about 26 pounds of our laundry. Claimed capacity is 5.2 cubic feet for the washer, 9 for the dryer.The washer was superb at cleaning and gentle on fabrics and has 14 cycles; the dryer excelled at drying. 
Consider this: It took 90 minutes to do a normal wash on the heavy soil setting, but the TurboWash option offers comparable wash performance in 15 to 20 minutes less time.
Need to know: Each machine is 29 inches wide, two more than usual, but can be stacked. Only available in a graphite-steel finish. Gas dryer is LG DLGX8501V, $1,550. 

LG WM4270HWA front-loader and LG DLEX4270W electric dryer
Price: $1,000 each 
Here's the deal: Neither made our top picks but both were impressive at their task and relatively quiet. Claimed capacity is 4.5 cubic feet for the washer, and 7.4 for the dryer. The washer fit 22 pounds of our laundry, was gentle on fabrics, and has 14 cycles. 
Consider this: Normal wash time on heavy-soil setting is 75 minutes. Save 15 minutes or so by using the normal-soil setting. And the TurboWash option offers comparable cleaning in 15 to 20 minutes less time.
Need to know:  These machines can be stacked. Gas dryer is the LG DLGX4271W, $1,100. 

 

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Maytag Maxima MHW8100DC front-loading washer & and Maytag Maxima MED8100DC dryer

Maytag Maxima MHW8100DC front-loading washer & and Maytag Maxima MED8100DC dryer

 

Maytag Mates

Maytag Maxima MHW8100DC front-loader and Maytag Maxima MED8100DC
Price: $1,400 each
Here's the deal: This recommended front-loader offers excellent washing and held 22 pounds of our laundry. Claimed capacity is 4.5 cubic feet. It was gentle on fabrics and there are 11 wash cycles. The dryer was superb at its task and among the quietest tested. Claimed capacity is 7.3 cubic feet. These appliances are made in the U.S.
Consider this: The washer took 75 minutes using the normal cycle on heavy-soil setting.
Need to know: Gas dryer is Maytag Maxima MGD8100DC, $1,500. Washer and dryer can be stacked to save space. The $950 Maytag Maxima MHW5100DW front-loader performed similarly to the Maytag Maxima MHW8100DC and made our top picks, but is relatively noisy. Matching electric dryer is the Maytag Maxima MED5100DW, $950.

Maytag Bravos MVWB855DW high-efficiency top-loader and Maytag Bravos MEDB855DW electric dryer
Price: $1,050 each 
Here's the deal: The washer made our top picks, delivers impressive cleaning, and was very water efficient. It fit about 26 pounds of our laundry. Claimed capacity is 5.3 cubic feet. There are 11 wash cycles. The dryer was impressive at its job and capacity is claimed to be 8.8 cubic feet. These machines are made in America. 
Consider this: Normal wash time was 80 minutes. That's using the normal wash on heavy-soil setting. You'll save about 15 minutes using the normal-soil setting. This washer wasn't so gentle on fabrics, but that's true for most top-loaders. 
Need to know: Maytag is offering a $250 rebate if you buy the pair by October 20, 2015. See details here Gas dryer is the Maytag Bravos MGDB855DW, $1,150. 

 

Samsung Sets

Samsung WF56H9110CW front-loader and Samsung DV56H9100EW electric dryer
Price: $1,450 washer, $1,500 dryer
Here's the deal: These recommended models are top rated, excellent at their job, relatively quiet, and have jumbo capacities. The washer held 28 pounds of our laundry and was among the gentlest on fabrics. Claimed capacity is 5.6 cubic feet for the washer and 9.5 for the dryer. There are 15 wash cycles.
Consider this: Normal wash on heavy-soil setting took 90 minutes. Use the normal-soil setting and you'll save about 15 minutes. The SuperSpeed option trimmed wash time of full loads about 15 to 20 minutes without affecting cleaning.
Need to know: Each machine is 30 inches wide, three more than usual, and can be stacked. The matching electric dryer is shown in the ratings as ending in "EG" to indicate the tested model has an onyx finish; "EW" is white and listed here as it matches the tested washer. Gas dryer is shown in ratings as the Samsung DV56H9100GP, $1,600. 

Samsung WF56H9100AG front-loader and Samsung DV56H9100EG electric dryer
Price: $1,200 each
Here's the deal: This washer has one the largest capacities of the tested front-loaders and fit about 28 pounds of our laundry. Claimed capacity is 5.6 cubic feet. It offers impressive cleaning and was gentle on fabrics. There are 15 wash cycles.The top-rated dryer was superb at drying and also has a jumbo capacity. Claimed capacity is 9.5 cubic feet. Both machines are recommended.
Consider this: Normal wash time on heavy soil setting was 85 minutes, but the SuperSpeed option cut wash time of full loads by about 15 to 20 minutes without sacrificing performance.
Need to know: Each machine is 30 inches wide, three more than usual, and can be stacked. Gas dryer is Samsung DV56H9100GP, $1,300.

Samsung WA56H9000AP high-efficiency top-loader and Samsung DV56H9000EP electric dryer
Price: $1,100 each
Here's the deal: This washer has a jumbo capacity and can hold about 28 pounds of laundry. Claimed capacity is 5.6 cubic feet. Washing was impressive and there are 15 cycles. Normal wash time on heavy soil setting was 75 minutes. The dryer was excellent at its job and has a jumbo capacity. Claimed capacity is 9.5 cubic feet. Both are recommended. 
Consider this: As with most top-loaders this washer wasn't so gentle on fabrics.
Need to know: Each machine is 30 inches wide, three more than usual. The washer's waterproof cycle prevented the washer from becoming unbalanced when we washed several waterproof jackets. Gas dryer is Samsung DV56H9000GP, $1,200. 

Samsung WA52J8700AP high-efficiency top-loader and Samsung DV52J8700EP electric dryer
Price: $1,000 each
Here's the deal: The washer was impressive at cleaning and made our top picks. The jumbo capacity fit 26 pounds of our laundry. Claimed capacity is 5.2 cubic feet. The dryer was excellent at its job; claimed capacity is 7.4 cubic feet. Both machines are relatively quiet. 
Consider this: Wash time was 75 minutes using the normal wash heavy-soil setting. Try the SuperSpeed option. It cuts wash time by 15 to 20 minutes and cleaning is still impressive. However, the washer wasn't so gentle on fabrics although that's true for most high-efficiency top-loaders tested. It has a water jet and built-in sink with ridges—a modern take on the washboard—that enable you to hand wash and soak stained items before they go into the machine.
Need to know: Each machine is 27 inches, the standard width, yet capacity is very large. So when shopping reach into washer to see if you can touch the bottom of the tub. The dryer is Energy Star qualified and using the eco-mode can save you some energy but extends dryer time. 

 

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Whirlpool Duet WFL98HEBU front-loading washer & Whirlpool Duet WEL98HEBU electric dryer

Whirlpool Duet WFL98HEBU front-loading washer & Whirlpool Duet WEL98HEBU electric dryer

 

Whirlpool Pairs

Whirlpool Duet WFL98HEBU front-loader and Whirlpool Duet WEL98HEBU electric dryer
Price: $1,500 each
Here's the deal: Both have a large capacity. Claimed capacity is 4.3 cubic feet for the washer and 7.4 for the dryer. The washer offers excellent wash performance and was gentle on fabrics. There are 13 wash cycles. Normal wash time, on heavy soil setting, is 75 minutes. That's faster than most.The dryer was superb at drying and among the quietest tested.
Consider this: These machines are expensive, in part, because they are Wi-Fi enabled, providing remote control via your smart device that lets you monitor your laundry's progress, start/stop the machine, and more.
Need to know: Made in the U.S. Machines are only available in silver and can be stacked. Dryer is not available as a gas model.

Whirlpool Cabrio WTW8500DW high-efficiency top-loader and Whrilpool Cabrio WED8500DW electric dryer
Price: $1,000 each
Here's the deal: The washer was impressive and made our top picks.The dryer excelled at drying. Both are relatively quiet. This washer fit 26 pounds of our laundry and was one of the gentlest on fabrics. There are 26 wash cycles. That's right, 26. Claimed capacity is 5.3 cubic feet for the washer and 8.8 for the dryer. 
Consider this: Normal wash time on heavy-soil setting was 80 minutes. Save 15 to 20 minutes by using the normal-soil setting.   
Need to know: Made in the U.S. Gas dryer is the Whirlpool Cabrio WGD8500DW, $1,100. 

CR Tip: Some HE top-loaders come with a warning not to wash waterproof items, or the manufacturer may suggest using the low-spin or no-spin mode to prevent the load from becoming unbalanced, which can cause the machine to shake too much, even damaging the machine and laundry area. Check the manual before you buy.  

 

More from Consumer Reports:

7 Best Mattresses For Couples

The Best Places To Buy Large And Small Appliances

Consumer Reports has no relationship with any advertisers on Yahoo.

 

Impressive Pairs For $1700 Or Less

You'll pay about $3,000 for a top-rated front-loader and its matching electric dryer, plus $400 to $600 if you want pedestals to boost their height. But if your budget is around $1,700 or less, take a look at these pairs that did well in our tests. The trade-off? It might be capacity, number of wash cycles, or quiet operation.

CR Tip: Before you give up on your dryer consider that most of the improvements in performance and efficiency are found on washers. If you're set on a matching duo, in general it's smart to select your washer first and then the dryer. Here's a look at several matching pairs, most did not make our recommended list, but all of these washers and dryers were impressive at cleaning or drying. 

 

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Kenmore 28132 top-loading washer & Kenmore 68132 electric dryer

Kenmore 28132 top-loading washer & Kenmore 68132 electric dryer

 

Kenmore Set

Kenmore 28132 high-efficiency top-loader and Kenmore 68132 electric dryer
Price: $800 each
Here's the deal: The washer has eight wash cycles and made the recommended list. It's the least expensive and fastest of the top picks. Cleaning was impressive and it took 60 minutes using normal wash on a heavy-soil setting. Use the normal-soil setting and you can save about 15 to 20 minutes. And here's a way to speed up doing laundry: This washer fit about 26 pounds of our laundry. Claimed capacity is 5.3 cubic feet. This machine is relatively quiet, as is the dryer. The tested dryer was superb at drying. The dryer highlighted here is a similar model and we expect performance to be similar to tested dryer. Claimed capacity is 8.8 cubic feet.
Consider this: The washer wasn't so gentle on fabrics although that's true for most HE top-loaders we've tested. The dryer is Energy Star-qualified and you will save some energy but extend drying time using the eco-mode.
Need to know: Each machine is 27 inches wide, standard width, and yet capacity is jumbo. When shopping reach into the bottom of the washer to see if you can grab that last sock. 

 

LG Duos

LG WM3570HVA front-loader and LG DLEX3570HVA electric dryer
Price: $800 each 
Here's the deal: They didn't make our recommended list but the washer was excellent at cleaning, gentle on fabrics, and fit about 21 pounds of our laundry. Claimed capacity is 4.3 cubic feet. There are 12 wash cycles. The dryer aced its job; claimed capacity is 7.4 cubic feet. Both machines were relatively quiet. 
Consider this: Wash time on normal wash heavy-soil setting was 95 minutes. Use the TurboWash option. It cut wash time of full loads by 15 to 20 minutes and offers comparable wash performance.
Need to know: Machines are stackable. These matching models have a graphite finish. In the ratings the dryer model name ends with a "W" to indicate that the tested model was white. It costs about $100 less than the graphite finish. Gas dryer is LG DLGX3571W in white or LG DLGX3571HVA in graphite. 

LG WM4270HWA front-loader and LG DLEX4270W electric dryer
Price: $830 each 
Here's the deal: Not on our top-pick lists but worth considering since LG front-loaders are among the more reliable front-loader brand and LG electric and gas dryers are significantly more reliable than other brands, according to our survey of over 100,00 subscribers. The washer was impressive at cleaning and has 14 cycles. The dryer was impressive at drying. Claimed capacity is 4.5 cubic feet for the washer, 7.4 for the dryer. Both have large capacities and are relatively quiet. 
Consider this: Normal wash time using the heavy-soil setting was 75 minutes. Use the normal-soil setting and save about 15 minutes, and the TurboWash option cuts 15 to 20 minutes off wash time and cleaning was just as good in our tests.
Need to know: Stackable. Gas dryer is the LG DLGX4271W, $930. 

 

Samsung Sets

Samsung WA45H7000AW high-efficiency top-loader and Samsung DV45H7000EW electric dryer
Price: $500 washer, $700 dryer
Here's the deal: Not top picks but worth a look. The washer has nine wash cycles, was impressive at cleaning, gentle on fabrics, unlike most HE top-loaders, and fit about 22 pounds of our laundry. Claimed capacity is 4.5 cubic feet.There's a waterproof cycle for rain gear, shower curtains, and other waterproof items. The washer was relatively quiet. This dryer we tested dryer aced it job and was relatively quiet. The dryer highlighted here is a similar model and we expect it to do the same. Claimed capacity is 7.4 cubic feet.
Consider this: Wash time is 80 minutes using normal wash on heavy-soil setting. Use normal soil setting and you'll save about 15 minutes. 
Need to know: 
Gas dryer is the Samsung DV45H7000GW.

 

CR Tip: Increasing capacities meant it was time to update the capacity scores in our ratings of washers and dryer. A machine now needs to hold about 25 or more pounds of laundry to earn an excellent capacity score. Most families can get by with a machine that’s rated very good or even good in capacity. Very good indicates that the washer fit about 20 to 24 pounds of our laundry. A good score means the washer held about 15 to 19 pounds.

 

How We Test Washers And Dryers

In addition to washing performance, Consumer Reports' washing machine tests look at 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 might annoy you if your laundry room is adjacent to a living area. And we compare cycle times using the normal wash, heavy-soil setting. If you use the normal-soil setting you can save about 15 to 20 minutes. Front-loaders usually take anywhere from 65 to 105 minutes to wash an 8-pound load. Top-loaders are a little quicker, most ranging from 45 to 90 minutes. As for capacity, models rated excellent in capacity fit 25 or more pounds of laundry. Models scoring very good in capacity fit 20 to 24 pounds of our laundry.

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. Models that earned excellent or very good capacity scores in our dryer tests can hold large loads as well.

You can find more details on the model page for each washer and dryer, and compare up to five washers or dryers using the comparison feature on our Ratings charts. Before you buy, look online for sales as well as manufacturer rebates and utility rebates for Energy Star washers and dryers; the first Energy Star dryers arrived in stores in the summer of 2014. For more information read, "How much energy does an Energy Star dryer use?"

  

A Word About Washer Types

Front-loaders use less water than top-loaders but typically have longer wash cycles—some take 90 minutes or more. That's not the end of the world, but it may be the beginning of laundry pile-up. Since front-loaders use less water, the detergent is more concentrated and the machine's tumbling action can also help boost cleaning. Manufacturers recommend using HE detergent—that's high efficiency—for front-loaders and HE top-loaders. Regular detergents are too sudsy for these machines.

The best front-loaders clean better and use even less water than most of the top HE top-loaders. Front-loaders spin faster than HE top-loaders so more water is typically extracted, reducing drying time. 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.

Did you favorite washer and dryer make the cut? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

 

Copyright © 2006-2015 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. No reproduction, in whole or in part, without written permission. 

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