Matching washer and dryer pairs are a popular choice but 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 a number of matching pairs that are worth a look.
The top-rated washers and dryers are expensive. Blame the rising cost of manufacturing and transportation, as well as much larger capacities, stainless-steel drums, added cycles and features, and improved 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.
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.
Full washing machine Ratings and recommendations.
Full clothes dryer Ratings and recommendations.
Our tests found a number of matching washer and dryer pairs that are quiet enough for prime 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 of the washers and dryers 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. Here's a glimpse.
For more details on their performance and features, see our Ratings of washing machines and clothes dryers.
Kenmore Elite 41073 front-loader and Kenmore Elite 81073 electric dryer
Price: $1,350 each
Here's the deal: The washer is near the top of our Ratings and has 14 cycles, offers excellent washing, was gentle on fabrics, and has a jumbo capacity—it can hold about 26 pounds of laundry. It made the recommended list. The dryer was excellent at its job and also has a jumbo capacity. Both machines let you transmit data by smartphone to a service center that will try to identify the problem without a house call.
Consider this: Normal wash time using the heavy soil setting is 95 minutes. 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 91073, $1,450.
LG WM8500HVA front-loader and LG DLEX8500V electric dryer
Price: $1,450 each
Here's the deal: The washer is at the top of our Ratings and both machines make the recommended list and have jumbo capacities, each holding about 26 pounds of laundry. The washer was superb at cleaning and gentle on fabrics and has 14 cycles; the dryer excelled at drying. Each has SmartDiagnosis. It enables you to use your smartphone to transmit data to LG. Their service center will try to identify the problem without a house call.
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 WT5680HVA high-efficiency top-loader and LG DLEX5680V electric dryer
Price: $950 each
Here's the deal: This top-rated washer is recommended and among the few top-loaders to deliver superb cleaning. It has 14 cycles and a jumbo capacity that can hold about 26 pounds of laundry. Normal wash time on the heavy soil setting was 75 minutes. The TurboWash option offers comparable cleaning in less time. The dryer was superb at drying and also has a jumbo capacity.
Consider this: As with most top-loaders this LG wasn't so gentle on fabrics. Reach into the washer tub when shopping and try to touch the bottom. If you'll need tongs to retrieve clean socks find another washer.
Need to know: Each machine has SmartDiagnosis. Gas dryer is LG DLGX5681V,$1,050.
LG WT5070C[W] high-efficiency top-loader and LG DLEX5170[W] electric dryer
Price: $830 washer, $900 dryer
Here's the deal: The washer was impressive at cleaning and gentle on fabrics. It has 12 cycles and normal wash time on heavy soil setting is 65 minutes. The dryer excelled at drying and of the dozens tested, it's one of the quietest. Both machines have large capacities.
Need to know: Each machine has SmartDiagnosis. Gas dryer is LG DLGX5171[W], $1,050.
Maytag Maxima MHW8100DC front-loader and Maytag Maxima MED8100DC
Price: $1,300 each
Here's the deal: This recommended front-loader offers excellent washing. It was gentle on fabrics and there are 11 wash cycles. The dryer was superb at its task and among the quietest tested. They're 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, $1,400. Washer and dryer can be stacked to save space.
Samsung WF56H9100AG front-loader and Samsung DV56H9100EG electric dryer
Price: $1,500 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. 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. Both 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, $1,600.
Samsung WA56H9000AP high-efficiency top-loader and Samsung DV56H9000EP electric dryer
Price: $1,300 each
Here's the deal: This washer has a jumbo capacity and can hold about 28 pounds of laundry, the most of all tested top-loaders and more than most front-loaders. Washing was impressive. Normal wash time on heavy soil setting was 75 minutes. The dryer was excellent at its job and has a jumbo capacity. 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, $1,400.
Whirlpool Duet WFL98HEBU front-loader and Whirlpool Duet WEL98HEBU electric dryer
Price: $1,500 each
Here's the deal: Both have a large capacity. 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: Machines are only available in silver and can be stacked. Dryer is not available as a gas model.
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.
The best washers and top dryers in Consumer Reports' tests are typically among the most expensive, so if you want a matching dryer for your new washer you might have to spend lots of money to do loads of laundry. You'll pay about $3,000 for a top-rated front-loader and its matching electric dryer. But if your budget is around $1,600 or less, take a look at the pairs that did well in our tests and that won't break the bank. A word of caution. Some are relatively noisy, something to think about if you want to install them near bedrooms or a family room.
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 of the models did not make our Recommended list, but all of these washers and dryers were still impressive at cleaning or drying. For more details on their performance and features, see our Ratings of washing machines and clothes dryers.
Kenmore Elite 41472 front-loader and Kenmore Elite 81472 electric dryer
Price: $700 each
Here's the deal: They didn't make our top picks but were impressive. The front-loader was superb at cleaning, very gentle on fabrics, and relatively quiet. The dryer was impressive at its job and also relatively quiet.
Consider this: The normal wash time, on heavy-soil setting, was 85 minutes in our tests. Try the Accela-Wash option. It cut wash time by about 15 to 20 minutes without affecting cleaning or gentleness. Washer capacity isn't as large as the top models. It held about 19 pounds of our laundry, so it should suffice for most families.
Need to know: Gas dryer is Kenmore Elite 91472, $800. Washer and dryer can be stacked.
Kenmore 27102 high-efficiency top-loader and Kenmore 67102 electric dryer
Price: $600 each
Here's the deal: Not on our list of top picks, but keep reading. The washer was very good at cleaning, used less water than most top-loaders tested, and got the job done in 45 minutes. That's fast, for a washer without an agitator. The dryer was excellent at drying and relatively quiet.
Consider this: The washer is noisy and capacity isn't as large as the top-rated models—it held about 19 pounds of our laundry—but should do for most families.
Need to know: Gas dryer is the Kenmore 77102, $700.
LG WT4870CW high-efficiency top-loader and LG DLE4870W electric dryer
Price: $800 each
Here’s the deal: They didn’t make our recommended list but the washer was impressive at cleaning and gentle on fabrics. Normal wash time on heavy soil setting is 75 minutes. The dryer was superb at its job. Both have large capacities and can hold about 22 pounds each, and are relatively quiet.
Need to know: Both machines have the SmartDiagnosis feature. Gas dryer is LG DLG4871W, $900.
Maytag Bravos XL MVWB725BW high-efficiency top-loader and Maytag Bravos XL MEDB725BW electric dryer
Price: $800 each
Here’s the deal: Neither made our recommended list but offer impressive washing and drying and have large capacities. The dryer is relatively quiet.
Consider this: Like most top-loaders the Maytag wasn’t so gentle on fabric, and this washer is relatively noisy. Normal wash time on heavy soil setting was 90 minutes—longer than most.
Need to know: Gas dryer is Maytag Bravos XL MGDB725BW, $900.
Samsung WA45H7200AW high-efficiency top-loader and Samsung DV45H7200EW electric dryer
Price: $800 each
Here's the deal: While they didn't make the recommended list they were very good overall. The top-loader was impressive at cleaning, has a large capacity, and is relatively quiet. Normal wash time on heavy-soil setting was 75 minutes. The dryer was superb at drying and relatively quiet.
Consider this: Like most top-loaders the Samsung wasn't so gentle on fabrics.
Need to know: Gas dryer is the Samsung DV45H7200GW, $900.
Whirlpool Cabrio WTW5800BW high-efficiency top-loader and Whirlpool Cabrio WED5800BW electric dryer
Price: $630 each
Here’s the deal: Neither made the recommended list but the washer was impressive at cleaning and did a normal wash on heavy soil setting in a brisk 40 minutes. The dryer was excellent at its job.
Consider this: Like most top-loaders this washer wasn’t so gentle on fabrics, and it’s relatively noisy.
Need to know: The washer’s capacity isn’t as big as the top models, but should suffice for most families. The capacity earned a good score, and can hold about 17 pounds of laundry. Gas dryer is Whirlpool Cabrio WGD5800BW, $730.
CR Tip: Increasing capacities meant it was time to update the capacity scores in our ratings of washers and dryers. 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.
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. 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 utilitiy rebates for Energy Star washers and dryers; the first Energy Star dryers arrived in stores in the summer of 2014.
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.
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