Ongoing advancements in washing machine technology have brought better, more efficient machines that are capable of cleaning in the most specific and tailored of ways. In 2012, the most highly rated washing machines are coming from Samsung, LG and Summit, the latter brand being the leading manufacturer of smaller, portable washers. All prices quoted in this article are accurate as of January 2012.
One of the highest rated front loading washing machines for the new year is the Samsung WF330ANW, a large capacity washer which uses surprisingly little energy and water for a machine of this size. The WF330ANW has a capacity of 4.3 cubic feet, an automatic dispenser, and a drum which is specially designed to prevent fabrics from snagging and tearing during washing. Other impressive features included in this top-of-the-line front load washer include nine preset wash cycles, programmable timer, drum self-cleaning cycle, and a noise reducing anti-vibration design. The EnergyGuide rating for this machine indicates that the cost of running it amounts to roughly $12 annually, if run in conjunction with an electric water heater, and $7 annually if used in conjunction with a natural gas heater.
The Samsung WF330ANW retails for between $800 and $900.
Currently, it's difficult to get a better top load washer than the LG WT5101HW for the same price. The WT5101HW has an impressive 5.2 cubic feet of capacity, making it a great choice for larger families that regularly wash larger loads. Interesting features of the WT5101HW include a built-in water heater which is capable of heating water to a temperature of 158ºF, a feature which makes proper sanitizing of germ-laden fabrics possible. A thorough clean is also made possible with this machine by way of the multiple, angled water jets which spray clothes in every which way to dislodge tough dirt, grime and stains. As with the Samsung WF330ANW, the LG WT5101HW also features automatic dispensers for worry-free detergent, bleach and softener usage, and direct-driven motors to prevent the machine from moving around in the midst of a spin cycle.
The LG WT5101HW retails for between $950 and $1000.
For apartment dwellers who lack access to a proper washing machine hookup, neither a front loading or top loading washing machine is a possibility. If you fall in this category, the Summit SPW1200 is the best portable washer for 2012. To be certain, the level of design quality and the plethora of features not normally associated with portable washers means a higher price tag. In this case, a higher-than-average price tag means somewhere in the vicinity of $350 to $400, with much less impressive and thorough portable washing machines often costing about half that.
So what specifically makes the Summit SPW1200 the current king of portable washers? This little 37 inch high, rollable washer with a drum capacity of 1.7 cubic feet features a durable and long-lasting polypropylene drum, four automatic washing cycles (instead of the usual two offered with most portable washers), and four more customizable washing options within those cycles. The SPW1200 also spins clothes fast enough to leave them just damp to the touch, negating the need for a dryer and making hanging and air drying clothes a faster process. Cheaper portable washers may use dials or knobs, but the SPW 1200 utilizes a simple, intuitive digital control panel. Additional features include: a programmable timer, detergent dispensers, and automatic water leveling to prevent the floor damage that can come with overflow.