Battle Of The Washing Machines

Washing machines have dropped in price this year-some by as much as 33%. Consumer Reports has entered the "Spin Zone" to help you find a good deal on a washer.

There are top-loaders. And there are front loaders. When you're considering what type to buy, which wins out in the "Spin Zone"?

Consumer Reports' Bob Markovich says, "You need to consider how energy efficient the washer is, how much it costs, and most importantly, how well it cleans your clothes."

Consumer Reports tested more than 70 washing machines, doing *8 TONS* of laundry in the process.

Front-loaders can take an hour, even an hour-and-a-half to run-far longer than a typical top-loader. Yet your energy bills are likely to go down with a front-loader.

Consumer Reports' Bob Markovich says, "Front-loaders tend to leave a lot less water in your clothes. The wetter your clothes, the longer they take to dry, and that's where you really run up your utility bills."

For example, compare these two machines. Testers washed an identical eight-pound load and weighed it afterward.

The laundry in the top-loader weighed almost 16 pounds.

The front-loader laundry weighed less-around 13 pounds, requiring a lot less drying time.

Markovich says, "That'll save you $130 a year or more on utility bills. And front-loaders use a lot less water, too."

Front-loaders do tend to cost more. They can retail for more than a thousand dollars.

But Consumer Reports found good, less expensive ones, including the LG WM2301H for $850.

If you prefer a top-loader, Consumer Reports recommends the Whirlpool Cabrio WTW 6200V. It costs $630 and did very good at cleaning.

Consumer Reports says you will see top-loaders priced under $500, but its tests show most don't clean very well.

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