Slowest Washers From Consumer Reports' Tests

Kimberly Janeway

Consumer Reports has no financial relationship with advertisers on this site.

Consumer Reports has no financial relationship with advertisers on this site.

With all the things you need to get done in a day, we're guessing laundry is about the last thing you want to spend more time on.

After all, if you're like the average family, you're doing about 300 loads of laundry a year, according to Energy Star. Multiply that by 120 minutes, which is how long the slowest machine in CR's washer tests takes to do a load, and we're talking 600 hours of washing time. You've got better things to do.

That’s why in our tests, we record how long each washer takes to do a load using the normal wash/heavy-soil setting. Wash times in our current ratings vary from as little as 35 minutes to 120 minutes. While wash time doesn't factor into a model's Overall Score, it makes it easy for you to compare how long different models take. 

Front-loading washers usually take the longest to clean, from 70 to 120 minutes in our tests. There are pluses to front-loader, however. “As a group, they deliver the best cleaning, are gentle on fabrics, and extract much of the water, shortening dryer time,” says Richard Handel, who oversees our tests of laundry appliances.

HE top-loaders, the type without an agitator, typically clock in between 60 and 85 minutes in our tests, and cleaning is often impressive, though they can be rough on fabrics. Agitator top-loaders are usually your fastest option, taking 35 to 65 minutes to do a wash in our tests. But they typically have a harder time removing difficult stains. They use the most water of these types and can be tough on fabrics. 

You might think that manufacturers charge less for slow washers. Nope. Most of the washers in the 100-minutes-or-more lot sell for $800 to $1,820. By comparison, 83 percent of washers sold last year cost $800 or less, according to TraQline, a market research company. 

Below are six washers that stood out in our tests for being among the slowest in their categories. To find models that perform well in less time, check out our washer ratings.

Read on for our top tips on speeding things up when you do laundry—no matter what kind of washer you have.

Six Washers That Sure Take Their Time

For more details on these and other washers we test, see our washing machine ratings

How to Save Time Doing Laundry

1. Sort it. Your washer is designed to clean certain types of clothing and soil levels differently. So for optimal results—and to avoid having to do a second wash—sort your laundry into piles according to color, soil level, and bulkiness, and choose the most appropriate cycle for each load. For instance, group especially dirty laundry together and choose the heavy-soil setting, or place delicates together and use the cycle for delicates. And to avoid lint-laden sweaters or corduroys, wash these and other lint-attracting clothing separately from clothes that tend to shed, like fluffy sweatshirts.

2. Do full loads. You’ll spend less time doing laundry this way, and save water and energy, too. Check the washer capacities in our ratings, and choose the best size for your family.

3. Treat stains immediately. To avoid washing and rewashing, treat stains before they set in, so they’ll be easier to remove in the wash. Just be sure the stain is gone before you put that piece of clothing in the dryer, because the heat can set it, making it harder to retreat.

4. Use the fastest cycle for the job. The normal wash/normal-soil setting should work for most loads, according to our testers, and is typically faster than the heavy-soil setting. When your clothes aren’t that dirty, try the light-soil setting.

5. Try additional wash options. Some washers have options that trim time. Kenmore’s Accela Wash, LG’s TurboWash, and Samsung’s Super Speed options do just that. And in CR’s tests they cut the wash time of our loads by about 15 to 20 minutes without affecting cleaning performance.

6. Use the right amount of HE detergent. Too much and it can cause the washer to rinse repeatedly, extending wash time and wasting water. So be sure to follow the instructions on the detergent label for the type of load you're doing.

7. Cut time on the dryer side.

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  • Start by increasing the washer drum’s spin speed, if possible, to remove more water from the laundry. Just don't do this with delicates, because it might be too rough on them. The same goes for waterproof items in an HE top-loader, because water could be trapped in the clothing itself and cause the load to become unbalanced, resulting in excessive shaking.
  • To keep the air flowing in your dryer so clothing dries faster, be sure to clean the lint filter before every load.
  • Scrub the filter once a month if you use dryer sheets, because they can leave a film on the filter, reducing airflow. 
  • Remember to clean the dryer duct each year to clear airflow and help prevent dryer fires

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