(Updated: April 2023)
According to the United Servicers Association, the average lifespan of a washing machine is only 6-10 years. Some manufacturers even employ the shady practice of planned obsolescence to purposefully manufacture appliances that die prematurely just so you have to buy a replacement more often.
However, the larger issue is that washing machines are simply not as reparable as they used to be.
In any case, I’m going to show you how to beat the odds and get a truly durable washing machine that will outlast 90% of the others. The challenge to finding these gems is in doing lots of in-depth research while sifting out marketing hype and dishonest reviews.
I spent well over 20 hours initially researching this article(not including my regular updates)
It was nigh-on purgatory, but I did it. (Yes, you’re welcome.)
My primary sources have been appliance repair services, Consumer Reports ratings and the ruthlessly independent opinions of owners found in Reddit forums like r/buyitforlife and several others.
Top Picks For Durability
These are my top picks for 2022. For more details on each model stick around to the end of this article.
Best Top Loader
Best Value Top Loader
Best Front Loader
Best Value Front Loader
I’ll begin with general shopping tips and then move on to specific recommendations in two categories:
- The most durable top load washing machines
- The most durable front load washing machines.
The Most Durable Washing Machines Brands
NOTE* Ranking durability by brands is a rather simplistic assessment since even reputable brands make duds. What really matters is which specific models hit it out of the park Even “less durable brands” make “outperformers” worth looking at.
For example, Maytag’s reputation for durability has slipped quite a bit in recent years, but their model 575 commercial grade residential washer is extremely durable- a hold-over from Maytag’s better years.
That said, overall the top three most durable washing machine brands for 2023 are:
- Speed Queen
2023 Most Durable Front Load Washing Machines
The main reason people choose a front-load washer is for energy efficiency. According to the EPA, efficient front-load washers use 45% less electricity and 50% less water than traditional top-load agitator-style washers.
Currently, LG is leading the market in manufacturing reliable, long-lasting front-load washers. In fact, LG takes the top 6 spots in Consumer Reports for reliability ratings followed by Speed Queen.
In 2021, Yale Appliances of Boston did a study to see which brand of frontload washers required the most service calls over 9 a month period. LG front loaders represented the least service calls at only 3.3%. The worst performer was Maytag at 15%. Ouch!
LG WM4000HWA 4.5 ft2 Smart Washer
- Price: ~$950
- Available at: Home Depot or ABT Appliances
- Matching Dryer: DLEX4000W
- Capacity: 4.5 ft2
- 1 Year + 10 year Direct Drive Warranty
- Smart App integrated
- Steam function
- Available Colors: White or Black Steel
- CR Top Pick for 2022
If you want a durable washing machine but still want all the modern bells & whistles then you should definitely check out this washer. Beyond its large capacity and attractive price point, the WM4000HWA comes with full remote operation via the LG’ ThinQ app. This washer can even talk with compatible LG dryers(like this matching one) by sending presets to match whatever type of fabric the washer is currently washing.
LG WM3400CW 4.5 ft3 Washer
- Price: ~$750
- Available at: Home Depot or ABT Appliances
- Matching Dryer: DLE3400W
- Capacity: 4.5 ft3
- Warranty: 1 Year + 10 years on Direct Drive
- Best Seller
- Available Colors: White
In my opinion, the LG3400CW is easily one of the best-value front-load washers on the market. That opinion is solidly backed up by Consumer Reports, and Yale Appliances 2021 repair study. This best selling washer hits the sweet spot of price, capacity and durability. The only draw-back is that it is only offered in white.
GE GFW850SPNRS Smart Washer
- Price: ~$1100
- Available at: Home Depot and ABT Appliances
- Matching Dryer: GFD85ES
- Capacity: 5 ft3
- Microban antimicrobial technology
- Wifi enabled
- UltraFresh Vent System prevents must and mold
- Steam function
- Reversible Door
- Warranty: 1 Year/10 years on motor
- Available Colors: White or Blue Saphire
This GE washer is a prime example of why you should not discount outliers. GE generally hasn’t been known as reliable and, as such, it takes Consumer Reports several years to catch up with changes like this.
According to Yale appliances, GE front loaders have recently become one of their least serviced washers. They recommend this washer in particular for its Microban surfaces and forced air venting which virtually eliminates the bane of most front loaders: mold and must.
I’m still not fully convinced on GE but this washer certainly has some very good features not found on other washers.
2022 Most Durable Top Load Washing Machines
Top loading washing machines are much simpler designs than frontloaders which generally means they can be more durable. Of course, a lot still depends on the quality the manufacturer puts into the components and electronics.
There are two categories of top-loading washing machines to consider:
- Agitator- This is the classic design your grandma’s washer had with a central vertical pillar(agitator) in the middle of the barrel which helps moved the clothes side to side in a scrubbing motion. Agitator washers are generally the cheapest type of washing machine but the least energy efficient and hardest on fabrics.
- HE(high efficiency)- These washers do not have a central agitator, offer more capacity, and are able to extract more water from your clothes thereby reducing drying times. The downside is that they generally have longer cycles than agitator washers.
Speed Queen TR Series (Agitator style)
- Price: ~$1200-1400 (model dependant)
- Available at: ABT Appliances
- Matching Dryer: DR7004WE
- Made in the USA
- 3-7 Year Warranty(model dependant)
Speed Queen washing machines are simple, rugged, and very likely to outlive you. One of the big benefits of Speed Queens is that they are, very repairable and made in the USA so parts are easily sourced. Speed Queens aren’t cheap, but they have a very durable reputation. The top-of-the-line TR7003 also comes with a 7-year warranty.
When it comes to durability, the TR series washing machine tops Consumer Reports for top loading agitator style washers, likewise independent Redditors absolutely swear by them.
“I have a Speed Queen washer and dryer going on 10 years old without any issues. My parents still have the ones we used back in the 80s and are more than 35 years old. My dad has had to fix both at different times, but parts are readily available and they are easy to repair.” edblardo on r/buyitforlife
LG WT7150CW High Efficiency (HE)
- Price: ~$750
- Available at: Home Depot and Appliance Connection
- Matching Dryer: DLE7150W
- Capacity: 5 cu. ft.
- Warranty: 1 Year parts/labor
The LG WT7150CW is a simple, large-capacity, top-loader. It is Consumer Report’s top pick HE Top-loader, the largest capacity washer on this list, and the lowest price too! It will faithfully wash your family’s clothes for many years to come if you treat it right. Being a high-efficiency washer, it has no center agitator.
Maytag 575 Commercial Grade Residential Washing Machines(Agitator style)
- Price: ~$900
- Matching Dryer: MEDP575GW
- Available at: Appliances Connection
- Made in the USA
- Capacity: 3.5 ft3
It’s a basic, no-frills top loader with a life span measured in decades.
A non-profit colleague of mine loved his Maytag Commercial Grade washer so much that he had it shipped all the way out to him in Africa. An army of Reddit contributors would also applaud his decision. This washer is a tank.
While Maytag’s reputation for durability has suffered in recent years, their Commercial Grade Residential washer retains the same tough, old-school DNA that the brand was once famous for.
Durable Washing Machines 101
1. DON’T Be a Washing Machine Serial Killer!
My mother-in-law eats washing machines for breakfast. She has gone through three in 12 years. I can’t be certain but I have a hunch a lot of the issue lies in user errors like overloading and trying to wash plastic-lined covers etc.
Just like a car, the lifespan of your washer can depend largely on you.
Most folks who murder washing machines go on to become serial killers of washing machines while being completely oblivious to it. They tend to forever blame the manufacturers without considering that they, in fact, may be the guilty party.
- Too much detergent can seriously mess up a washing machine.
- Neglecting self-clean cycles leads to mold issues.
- Overloading wears out bearings
- Imbalanced loads cause serious damage.
Hate to say it, but if you’ve gone through two new washing machines in less than 10 years part of the problem may actually be you. Sure, it could just be bad luck, but why repeat history if you can help it. Right?
Can I offer some advice?
Start by saying, “Hi my name is ” Your Name Here ” and I struggle with serial washing machine abuse”
Before replacing your washer I challenge you to dig out your old washer’s manual or look it up online. Read the usage and care instructions and honestly ask yourself if you actually followed the routines and maintenance as prescribed. Who knows? Maybe by changing just one bad habit your next washing machine may last years longer.
2. Complexity is your Enemy
This is cave-man-level logic from an engineering standpoint. The more complex a system is the more possible failure points. Keep that in mind.
While it’s tempting to get all kinds of fancy functions on your washer, ask yourself how often you’ll really use those functions on any regular basis.
3. Myth: Electronic Controls Modules Are Bad
Fact: All modern washing machines use computer control modules-Yes, even the turn dial ones. That has been the case for well over a decade now. Good luck finding a single washer on the showroom floor with the old-school clickety turn-dials.
High-quality electronic control modules can easily last decades– the car industry is an excellent example of this. The problem isn’t the use of computers it is that many appliance manufacturers are using junky components. Samsung, in particular, has developed a bad reputation for doing this.
Since most of us aren’t engineers. The best way to know if a washer has quality computer components is to consult real world owners via independant forums, appliance repair services, and paid memberships like Consumer reports.
4. Higher Prices Don’t Equal More Durability
Good news! You can get a very reliable washing machine for under $1000. In the consumer washing machine market, you generally pay more for higher capacity washers and those with more smart “features”- most of which are gimmics.
5. Keep Reparability in Mind
Nine times out of ten, computer control modules and direct drives on front load washers are not worth the cost of repair. If they conk out get ready to open your wallet.
Agitator-style top load washers will need pulleys and belts replaced over the long haul while front loaders are more likely to need bearings and door seals replaced.
Once you have a model in mind it may be worth researching what common parts and repairs would cost.
The reason I say this is that some manufacturers actually fuse the bearing with the barrel assembly together thereby forcing the owner to buy the entire barrel. Obviously, the cost of such a repair is usually not worth it.
5. Front Loaders are Generally Less Reliable than Top Loaders
Top load washing machines received around 50% less service calls compared to front loaders according to the above-mentioned 2021 Yale Appliances study. That’s significant!
This goes along with my first point that complexity is your enemy.
Front loading washing machines can be prone to seal failure and mold problems. While they may use less water, in all likelihood, your “environmentally friendly” washer will be clogging up a landfill sooner than a quality top loader.
6. Don’t Chase Pretty Faces!
Stop thinking of washing machines as fashion accessories for your house. Washing machines are essentially backroom workhorses whose only job is to tirelessly clean your clothes, and do it over and over again for decades without complaining. I know it’s tempting to get a “whizz-bang” smart washer, but 90% of it is gimmicks you will never use.
Each new washing machine model year comes with the risk that a manufacturer might have suddenly decided to cut corners. Because of this, I’ll do my very best to keep this list updated regularly.
I hope my research has at least given you some decent washers for your short list. Don’t just take my word for it though. Go out and do your own research too.
If you have any suggestions for this list feel free to use this contact form.