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How Do I Choose the Quietest Washing Machine?

Jennifer Voight
Jennifer Voight

Manufacturers are developing more ways to make washing machines run quieter at prices that are competitive with traditional, noisier models. In general, front-loading machines tend to be quieter than top-loading machines, and newer washing machine models generally also have a variety of parts that minimize noise. The quietest washing machine combines the use of a direct drive motor with noise-reducing insulating pads to reduce vibration.

When choosing a washing machine, top-loading models tend to be noisier, both during general use and because the wash barrel can become unbalanced during a cycle. This causes the machine to make a very loud clunking or banging noise that needs to be corrected by manually readjusting the contents before the washer can be started again. Because of the way they are designed, front-loaders don't have this problem.

Due to the design, front-loading machines are more quiet.
Due to the design, front-loading machines are more quiet.

The quietest washing machine uses a direct drive motor. Washing machines in the past used a belt and pulley system to operate the machine, but newer models have replaced the noisier system with a coupling. In addition to being quieter, the coupling system has fewer parts, which means less chance of a part breaking down. The direct drive machine uses less water and is more energy efficient, and lacks an agitator so it causes less damage to clothing than traditional washing machines.

Top-loading washers are noisier but also are typically less expensive.
Top-loading washers are noisier but also are typically less expensive.

Consumers should be cautioned that just because a washing machine is quieter than a competing model, there are other factors to consider when deciding what type to buy. Although the quietest machine is usually more energy efficient, it may sacrifice washing or rinsing ability in the process. The spin cycle may move more slowly, causing the cycle to be less noisy, but clothing may need an extra rinse cycle to remove the soap completely. Front loading machines have more parts and seals to prevent leakage during use, so there are more parts that can possibly need repair. Although there are exceptions, front loaders and other quiet washing machines tend to cost significantly more than top-loading, belt-and-pulley models.

Front-loading washers are designed to be quieter.
Front-loading washers are designed to be quieter.

Buyers should evaluate whether or not noise control is the deciding factor in purchasing a particular washing machine model. If the machine is located near a sleeping area or home office, a quieter model may be necessary. Otherwise, cost, options, or energy-efficiency may be more important than noise control when buying a washing machine. When deciding which features are most important, consumers should always read reviews of other buyers to determine possible advantages and disadvantages of one model over others.

Discussion Comments


Best appliance ever! Bosch w/d combo. 52 decibels. Spins at 1200 rpm. Purchased in '05 ( 600 bucks apiece) and still going strong. They're quiet quiet as can be. I would purchase them all over again. if I could.

I love the the quick wash options. With 25 wash cycles, my clothes come out very clean and the xxx sanitary cycle. I can stop the cycle and add clothes, and evidently that is a big amenity to these new washers.

I have several properties where the w/d are in the living areas and would like to have purchase these bosch appliances for all of them.


So what washing machine top load type is most quiet for apartments?


We bought a set of front load GE washer and dryer, at the price tag of $2400. I would never buy another GE product again. The wash machine did the jig in the spin cycle, and get a load of this: the store we purchased the machines from would not take them on a trade in for another set P.S. please don"t waste your hard earned money on GE.


@tolleranza - I have used those sites as well and have always found a pretty good deal! But nothing is better than a new washer as you can look for the quietest and most energy efficient (because washers use a lot of energy)!

My husband is frugal to the extreme. Therefore, he likes to shop around and compare and know exactly what he is buying. With that being said, he loves to use Consumer Reports to see what they think because they put everyday household items to the test and they even take into account price. For example, it might be a great washing machine, but if it performs the same as a lesser priced washer then they will not rate it as a best buy.

Also some of the big home goods stores that have lots of washers sometimes have scratch and dent models that they sell for less because they have a minor imperfection but these imperfections typically do not affect the quality of the washer.

Good luck in finding your next washer!


I have always looked for washing machines on sale on websites where you can buy used washing machines, because a washing machine seems to be an electronic device that keeps on working for a decade or more.

Because I always buy used washing machines I have found that I need to ask a lot of questions. Such as: Does it have rust yet? Do all of the cycles work? Why are you getting rid of the washer?

The one question I found was an important one that I forgot was: Is it noisy?

My husband and I brought our latest washer home and it was a relatively new front loading washer and felt we had received the best price on a washing machine since the couple was getting rid of it because they were tired of bending over to put the clothes in.

While the washer works very well so I still feel we received a good price, we have found we have an loud washing machine and since it is in the room next to our TV room there has been some trouble with it being so loud.

Now we are looking to buy a new washing machine, does anybody have any more tips for finding a good washing machine?


My very first apartment was very small, but it did have a place for a washer and dryer. Because the space was so small, all that would fit was a mini washing machine, but that was better than using a coin operated machine somewhere else.

This machine was not very quiet, and seemed to make a lot of noise in my tiny apartment. I was willing to put up with this noise for the convenience of being able to do my laundry at home.

I also liked not worrying about saving my quarters for the laundromat and saving time by being able to wash my clothes at home. It has been several years since I have had to use that little washing machine, but it was one of the first steps towards my own independence!


I have owned a few different washing machines over the years. When I was younger, my first one was a used model, but the rest of them I have bought new.

I have also had several different brands, but the best washing machine I have found is a Maytag front loading machine. I bought this shortly after the new front loading machines came out and have been very pleased with it.

Not only is it very quiet, but is large enough to handle big loads and I feel much better about using more delicate fabrics with it. I have not had any problems with it for many years, and would definitely would buy another one if I needed to.


We moved to a new home a few years ago, and it was time to buy a new washing machine. My old machine had lasted for 17 years, and I was more than ready for a new one.

I wanted to compare washing machines before deciding on a new one, and narrowed down my first choice to a new front loading machine. I knew they did not have the same agitation as the top loading machines and were much more gentle on your clothes.

An added bonus was how quiet the machine was. I hardly even knew it was running. My laundry is hooked up right next to my kitchen, and since I spend a lot of time in my kitchen, I really enjoyed not hearing the washing machine run all the time.


You know, I’ve been pining over a front-loading washing machine for a few years now. My husband and I took a hand-me–down washer and dryer set when we first got married.

Sadly, we still haven't replaced them.

We were very grateful for them. The only thing is that the washer is from like the seventies or something; it’s even that retro gold color.

At least, I think its called gold, but it looks pretty dingy and worn these days.Regardless, it functions, but it sounds like someone is tearing the house down while it does.

My husband works nightshift, and I can’t even do the laundry during the day because he really needs to rest. The thing keeps him up because it’s so loud!

So, I wait until he leaves (and I’m exhausted) to do laundry! I cannot wait until the day comes when I’ve saved the money to buy one of those wonderful, quiet machines!

I'm positive they are not made in America or China, but are actually constructed in Heaven.


@Eviemae - I was thinking the exact same thing! I really am not concerned with the noisiness of my washing machine! I thought that the front-loading kind cost more because they were higher quality somehow.

I suppose for people who have money to burn because something is quiet and comes in a variety of colors, front-loading machines are great.

Really, for the price tag on even the least expensive front-loading washer I was expecting those babies to round the laundry up, throw in the detergent and softener, dry and fold the clothes for me! Now, if they did that, I’d have two!

But for people like me who are on a budget, I’m thinking I would rather have cleaner clothes and more efficiency than quiet. My house is never quiet with two kids under five anyway!

I’ll be sticking with my regular old top-loader, I guess! When I’m old and my kids are rich, they can buy mommy the other kind!


So, do I understand this correctly? The whole reason that a front-loading washing machine costs so much more than the standard model is because of the noise it makes?

I recently went shopping for a new washer and dryer set, and loved the front-loading washers until I saw the price tag.

I could never find anyone to sufficiently explain the huge difference in prices to me other than they were newer models.

I really didn’t give a flip about that; I just wanted a washing machine that was going to be able to handle my considerable laundry for a few years without major problems.

Truthfully, the noise factor never even occurred to me. As far as the thing getting out of balance, I just go move the clothes around until it quits jumping straight up and down. No big deal to me, right.

Well, now I’m glad that I went with a less expensive, yet louder top loading machine. It’s worked great so far, and when it does come time to repair it maybe it will be less expensive than the other kind, too.


@Valencia - Your idea to choose a model and then look for a good bargain on it is great. I did something similar recently.

In my case I looked at the ratings for the best washing machines of 2010, then went searching in large stores. It's not so difficult to find a huge price reduction on a previous year's hot brand or style.

I'm really happy that I got a quiet but efficient discount washing machine - brand new but just a little out of date!


@yumdelish - I think you're making a wise choice. It's quite a major purchase and worth getting something you want right from the start.

Having said that, cheap washing machines can be had if you are prepared to buy something used. My sister tends to replace all her white goods every couple of years. She sells them on through a local Internet site's small ads.

If you haven't decided on the exact model yet you could look at some washing machine ratings on a consumer site. Once you find something that suits you keep an eye out for one being sold at a discount.


I've been comparing washing machine prices and wondered why there was quite a sizeable difference between models. Now I see this can be based on the noise they make.

As I'm contemplating my first ever purchase I'm keen to make a good choice.I'm going to be living in an apartment, so I think it's better to go for something at the higher end of the price range.

I don't want my new neighbors to be getting mad at me for making unnecessary noise!

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    • Due to the design, front-loading machines are more quiet.
      By: g215
      Due to the design, front-loading machines are more quiet.
    • Top-loading washers are noisier but also are typically less expensive.
      By: tab62
      Top-loading washers are noisier but also are typically less expensive.
    • Front-loading washers are designed to be quieter.
      By: Olaru Radian
      Front-loading washers are designed to be quieter.
    • Although the quietest machines are usually more energy efficient, they may sacrifice washing or rinsing ability in the process.
      By: Rasulov
      Although the quietest machines are usually more energy efficient, they may sacrifice washing or rinsing ability in the process.
    • Front-loading washing machines tend to be quieter, but more expensive, than other types.
      By: George Dolgikh
      Front-loading washing machines tend to be quieter, but more expensive, than other types.