Best and Worst Top-Load Agitator Washing Machines From Consumer Reports' Tests

·2 min read

GE, LG, and Samsung make models that stand out

By Keith Flamer

Traditionally, agitator washers were the no-frills station wagons of the laundry aisle, while high-efficiency top-loaders and front loaders, respectively, raced in the muscle car and luxury lanes—loaded with shiny, sleek designs and advanced technology. So why are agitators always more popular than those other eye-candy washing machines? Let’s pop the hood on that.

Agitator washing machines are often your least expensive option and cycle faster than other washer types. The downside? Performance. In Consumer Reports’ tests, most agitator washers don’t clean as well as HE top-loaders—the type without an agitator—or front-load washers. And until recent years, they washed fewer clothes per load. They can also be water hogs, typically using 20 gallons or more per load.

To make agitators more appealing, manufacturers have begun to tweak the machines to be more like feature-rich HE top-loaders and front-loaders. That’s why you’ll see agitator top-loaders in our ratings that have stylish details, such as a stainless steel look and a glass lid. Some now have jumbo capacities, so you can do more laundry at once.

All that drives up the price of the models, undercutting an agitator’s biggest selling point. At the same time, prices on other washer types have come down. Like cars, washers are highly competitive machines.

CR members can read on for ratings and reviews of six impressive agitator top-loaders in our ratings, along with three to skip. LG and Samsung agitators rank high, though they’re too new to this category for us to rate them for predicted reliability and owner satisfaction. If you’re wondering if this particular type of machine is right for you, read about the five things you need to know about top-load agitator machines, and to learn about other options, check out our washing machine buying guide. As you’re shopping, double-check to make sure you can fit the new machine in your space (and through doors) by noting the dimensions in our washing machine ratings.

6 Impressive Agitator Top-Loaders From CR's Tests

3 Worst Agitator Top-Loaders

These three agitator top-loaders rank lowest of all washers we’ve tested.

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