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What is an High Efficiency Washing Machine?

Holly Collins
Holly Collins

A high efficiency washing machine is one that washes clothes using significantly reduced levels of water and energy. Most high efficiency washing machines utilize a tumbling action instead of the agitation motion traditionally used.

The majority of high efficiency washers are front loading. Their doors open to the front like a traditional dryer rather than on top. Their drums rotate on a horizontal axis spinning during the washing cycle with the clothes tumbling within.

High efficiency washing machines are typically loaded from the front instead of through the top.
High efficiency washing machines are typically loaded from the front instead of through the top.

About 40% less water is used in a high efficiency washing cycle as clothes do not soak or sit in a tub of water. The level of water in the drum remains below the plane of the door. A low level of water is introduced during the beginning of a wash cycle and as the clothes absorb that water, more is added until clothes are saturated and the specified low level of water in the drum is detected by the machine.

High efficiency washing machines use less water and are most commonly found in front-loading form.
High efficiency washing machines use less water and are most commonly found in front-loading form.

A traditional washer will use 40 to 47 gallons (151 to 178 liters) of water per cycle. High efficiency washers use 11 to 32 gallons (42 to 121 liters) of water per cycle. Energy savings with high efficiency washers are estimated at 50% to 60% each load. Much of the energy savings afforded by high efficiency washing machines are a result of the significant reduction in hot water they require.

A traditional washing machine uses 40 to 47 gallons of water per cycle.
A traditional washing machine uses 40 to 47 gallons of water per cycle.

The horizontal drums utilized in a high efficiency washer spin at a much faster rate than other machines. This allows more water to be extracted from the clothes during the spin cycle. Consequently, clothes contain less moisture at the end of the wash and require less time and energy to dry.

A high efficiency washer will use two to four clean rinses per cycle, reducing levels of detergent residue left on clothing as well as improving cleaning efficiency by not having clothes sitting in dirty water.

Front-loading washing machines tend to be quieter, but more expensive, than other types.
Front-loading washing machines tend to be quieter, but more expensive, than other types.

The tumbling motion causes clothes to circulate freely in a high efficiency washing machine resulting in a more effective cleaning process as well as less wear and tear on garments. The tumble motion is gentler with less stress and pulling on fabric than the agitation motion. Tumbling and increased circulation of items in the drum requires that a high efficiency detergent be used in these machines. High efficiency detergents have fewer suds, requiring less water to them rinse away.

High-efficiency detergents use less water than conventional detergents because they produce few suds.
High-efficiency detergents use less water than conventional detergents because they produce few suds.

The U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Protection Agency have joined with appliance manufacturers to institute the “Energy Star” program. Appliances displaying a yellow, white and blue energy star have been certified to significantly exceed the federal efficiency standards. They are deemed high efficiency appliances because of their reduced energy requirements.

Discussion Comments


Folks that are struggling to find a good high efficiency washer need to read this and expect to pay a bit more for their appliance than all of the familiar brand names.

I've had a Staber washer for over 15+ years for a family of four washing 8 loads a week. They are not a 'major' brand but their equipment works very well. Oh, and they are made in Ohio and arrange to have your machine shipped to you.

The base model is not cheap at $1,700, but it addresses most if not all of the issues described throughout these comments and on other blogs. Also, if you don't care about operating costs then you cannot get over the purchase price. Think about the cost to buy your water, heat it, pay for detergent, pay for the dryer to do its thing and longevity, service the unit (nothing goes forever), at a total cost of ownership I'm willing to bet that the Staber is the least expensive, by far.

No reviews talk about life cycle costs as it would take too much time and effort to properly test the units. Don't expect longevity from a machine that has 85 settings and an extremely complex circuit board -- stuff that is all prone to failure. Theirs have simple controls, is a top loader but is unique in that the tub rotates like a front loader. It uses very little detergent -- two tablespoons of Tide in ours works great. Water use is similar to other high efficiency machines, however the wash cycle is only about 30 minutes and the spin cycle effectively removes water to further save energy when clothes are transferred to the dryer.

If your machine takes 60-90 minutes to wash a load of laundry, what is the value of your time? Maybe you like to wash clothes and wait for the machine to do its thing. Not me. Also, these machines are so simple that with basic tools and skills and their online support (yes you can email or call them for support that is friendly and effective), you can repair the machine yourself when it has an issue. I've replaced the water pump, timer and tub bearings myself and the work is really simple.

Over the years I cannot believe that this machine has not seen more popularity. I have no affiliation with them, just very good results, and I will purchase my next machine (when I cannot repair mine any longer) from them.


No Sense in the Sensing: Our household enjoyed totally trouble-free ownership of top of the line Sears Kenmore washer and dryer for 18 years. The washer had no "holiday lights" and no chimes and bells, no foolish "sensing" but it had every essential setting/feature to use water and water temperature responsibly and efficiently. And it didn't need 12+ settings. The clothes always came out clean, and we never saw wear/tear on our laundry caused by the operation of the agitator in the washer. The dryer was large; it could handle anything coming out of the matching washer. It saved electricity by detecting the degree of dryness (just like the more expensive newfangled dryers), and the settings were few and clear. PermaPress on both pieces of equipment worked beautifully: No-Iron garments never needed extra care. Then we got an LG HE Top loading washer and the matching LG dryer. What a disappointment!

And a note to those who remind users to read instructions: I am a teacher; I am compulsive about reading and following instructions. We have tried everything in the book and everything dictated by common sense. These new machines (LG and others) do not take into account the many different types of users, the variances in their preference for materials, the use and level of washing needed for their respective loads of laundry. We literally stare through the glass top at the "perfectly loaded" LG washer and notice how, at times, certain garments just float on top of the inadequate amount of water and NEVER move from that starting position. We are hypnotized by the gurgling, clanging, beep-beeps and swoosh-swoosh sounds of a beautiful steel drum--in an equally attractive machine--that does anything but adequately wash. And a regular load only takes... 142 minutes sometimes. The Kenmore with agitator used to take about 20-30 minutes for a regular/heavy duty cycle stat to finish. What savings are we talking about?!

If you are happy with your old-fashioned washer with agitator, and you can get it fixed for a reasonable cost, that might be a better investment. 'Glad some folks are happy with these new machines; we are certainly not.

By the way, we had to give away the matching LG dryer because it was designed too small for what comes out of the matching LG washer though we never load it with more than 8 pounds of laundry. We got a large 8-point something Maytag that can handle the same size loads as our former Kenmore. The cycles are still pretty long, though.


Yeah, I bought a Samsung top loading washer with the HE label. Consumer Reports led me the wrong way. The clothes do not come out clean!


I have a Frigidaire HE washer. I can't stand it. Clothes are wrinkled and there is mold on the ring. I leave the door open after each wash, I've bleached it, used affresh, and even a toothbrush with baking soda and vinegar. I can't wait to get rid of it. I'm going to buy a old school speed queen I can't wait for clean clothing again. Also, my Frigidaire dryer has never been right. They now have a lawsuit against them for the dryer.


We have top loading "smart" washer. We got rid of our perfectly working old fashioned water "waster" washer. Result? Dirty clothes but we save water! What a waste of money. Yeah they save water but they don't clean your clothes.

Sure, if you have lightly used clothes then it works, I suppose, e.g., you don't sweat in them or get dirt or stains on them. Even if you put the washer on the heavy duty setting, it will not clean them properly. It's a complete waste of money.


I have a Whirlpool Cabrio top loading HE washer. It is pricey and useless. If there were a hate rating, it would never go high enough for me. I literally darn near cry every time I do laundry thinking of the money we spent. Some male who has never done a stitch of laundry in his life must have invented these.


Buyer beware of front loaders. They are horrible! The people who love theirs should take their clothes, and wash them in a bath tub and see their "clean" clothes fill the tub with dirty brown water.

I hate mine! I care about clean clothes, not saving water, if it comes down to throwing clothes away because they do not get clean. I was the stain master before this water saving front loader. Now stains are set in and never come clean because there is no water to clean them!

I'm buying the old fashioned kind today with an agitator and that fills the tub to the top! I refuse to fall into another trap of "green" is best! It can be for some things, but not for washers! Dirty, stained, uncleaned clothes, get thrown away and do not help my bottom line, and I have to spend more money instead of saving money on clothes. Also, no matter how much I clean the darn thing, one or two times a week. It stinks! Phew!


Speed Queen rules! Get 'em while you can!


I have loved our HE top loader (samsung). No complaints and uses less water. Some people would just rather pollute more and use up natural resources. Go progress. Go green!


Speed Queen rules! I love mine. My clothes are finally clean. Front loaders stink and are Chinese made junk. Pretty, but junk. I learned from a $1600 dollar mistake. I was never so happy to get rid of a washing machine when it died three years after purchase.

One big plus is Speed Queen is still made in the US. So, you are supporting American industry when you buy one and getting the kind of washer your mom or granny had that lasts 20-plus years.


My wife bought an efficient water preserving washer to replace our old one. Sure this thing uses less water, but it leaves plenty of soap in the clothes. Several times I stopped the machine and see if everything was washing properly and I saw little water and clothes dry in several ends. So it's good on water efficiency, but it stinks in washing clothes. I'm going to replace this stupid Amana smart washer.


There is a fix if you like more water. You can put your load in the washer without detergent. Let them get wet (it's very little), then turn machine off, add detergent, and turn on. It then weighs the load (which is wet) and fills up a lot higher. Now, I have the Samsung, and it uses barely any water, but using the high efficiency detergent (Tide) they come out clean as a whistle.


They are all getting sued. After about two or three years, your front load will get mold behind the drum that you cannot clean and it stinks. Your clothes will stink and if you are allergic, your skin will itch. It's horrible. Check out the class action lawsuits all over the country.


I've seen a number of negative comments on high efficiency washers. I own one and find it works perfectly. I think that many of the negative comments come from people who do not read instructions.

A high efficiency washer requires special detergent that must be added before the clothing. The clothing then must be loaded around the sides of the tub, leaving the middle empty enough so that the bottom is visible. There are also instructions that relate the cycles and amounts of detergents. None of this is at all inconvenient and the result is great performance from the machine.


I am having the same problems with a Fridgedaire HE washer. All my clothes, including towels and socks are stinky and dirty after the wash. This is in a a house I have rented. Why would anyone want to design a washing machine to wash clothes without water? I am definitely going to move out as soon as I can from the place.


Reading these posts really cracked me up. I have not laughed so hard in a very long time. Thank you! I am inspired to share my experience as well. I thought I was so alone in my extreme hate for my HE front loaders from LG. My cheap, now-ex-husband never sprang for the pedestals so I have had to sit on a chair to get the "non cleaned" clothes in and out of these smelly things for seven years now! Pure torture!

Socks or any clothes never come clean unless you soaked them over night in a bucket before loading them. They leave lint on the clothes, some dry spots where water never even touched the item and they always -- and I mean always -- leave a hint of poo/musty smell on everything your wear! Horrible! Never buy them!

Yesterday I told my ex he could have his machines back for him and his new girlfriend. He was so thrilled to come and get them, but I will have the last laugh!!! I hope those smelly fart-like "HE's” are a lovely asset in their home and can provide them years of happiness. I am seeking old school agitators that fill up and have water is hot so my clothes can get clean, for Pete's sake -- and may even buy two of them for the hell of it!


These things stink. Never, ever buy one.


Our new apartment doesn't have a washer and dryer so I guess we have to use a coin operated washer. I've never used one before so thanks for the advice.


About 90 percent of the reviews from real people that I've read are negative towards HE washers.

I'm going to spend a little more and buy a made in the USA SpeedQueen 542. It's a no-nonsense old school washer that's built like a tank. --Uriah


Big government needs to get out of our laundry room. I have had the same issues with HE washers as people posting here. What you may not realize is the driving factor is government and progressivism which is just an excuse to use the environment to generate more money for government in fees.


I hate all HE washing machines. We also have a Samsung at home it uses practically no water -- so little! My underwear still had discharge in them! So if you're cleaning your family's clothes, the dirt is just being transferred from one person to another. Our HE machine takes so long to wash clothes and if you press extra rise it will add another 25 minutes to it!

I learned I don't care about the environment any longer. My health is more important than to save 3 cents a year. Also I realized that machine uses more energy. Think about it: it's spinning clothes for an hour and 20 minutes per load. The old fashioned machines are better and will always be.

So I learned a trick. I have a four-liter bottle. I fill it up in the sink and add the extra water to the the drum or the dispenser so it will have more water. I put about three filled four-liter bottles down in the drum/dispenser after the machine has filled with water first, so it does not confuse the machine! I have to do this to all the loads!


I have had a HE Whirlpool Cabrio for about two months. This is the worse piece of junk I have ever purchased. I tried to give it a chance, but my clothes came out extremely wrinkled; they did not get clean. I had several white items that actually came out dirty, dirty, dirty. We were lucky to be able to return it and we purchased a washer with a regular agitator.


My husband went to lowes to pick up my new washing machine. He did not get the one I picked. He bought an HE Maytag bravos XL. What a piece of junk. I hate it. It doesn't clean the laundry. I had to run his work clothes for four 90-minute cycles. They still were not clean to me. I could do a better job in the tub. --Regina G.


I bought a Samsung top loading HE washer last year. It's a piece of crap and I absolutely hate it. The only way I can get it to put enough water to get the clothes relatively clean is to put it on "bedding." My water bill has never been higher in my entire life. How is that high efficiency when I am using more water than ever? I feel like I have no other options but to take a sledgehammer to this piece of junk. I did a search on how to get used to the lack of water in these machines. I thought it was just me. I'm glad I'm not alone.


Just a quick calculation here for interest's sake:

If an old-school agitator washing machine uses 50 gallons (189 litres) of water per load, it costs me $0.53 per load of laundry, assuming I use the large load setting. (My water and wastewater rates are $2.80 per cubic meter, which is 1000 litres.)

So comparing that to my awful new Samsung top load HE washer where let's say it uses 17 gallons of water per cycle, but I need to either force it to use double (adding buckets full of water) or washing my clothes twice, because it doesn't work well enough on its own - I'm using 34 gallons of water and spending a lot more on electricity due to the extended cycles.

So 34/50 is a savings of 32 percent, or $0.17 per load of laundry.

Not counting electricity or detergent, and assuming my same 12 loads of laundry per week (four kids, dogs, etc) it would take me 248 weeks to save the $506 price difference versus just buying an old-fashioned agitator washer.

Let's not talk about the expensive repairs that I will be needing over the next four years, all of which will be on my dime because Samsung offers a lousy one year warranty.

Short answer is, if you think you will ever save any money using an HE washer, I think you really ought to perform some real electricity and water usage measurements, and then perform some basic arithmetic, and I'll eat my Tilley hat if you can prove that you actually saved anything versus using an old, reliable top loading agitator machine.


I just bought my first HE washer and dryer, Whirlpool Cabrio - and I hate them! The clothes don't look or smell cleaner when they come out, it takes forever to get clothes completely dry and they don't smell fresh or clean when they come out of the dryer. I'm contacting the place I bought them from to see if I can return them in favor of the good old-school non-HE washer and dryer! As usual with anything that's supposed to be "good for the environment," like those awful dim fluorescent light bulbs, these too are a total fail!


Water efficient washing machines do not use enough water to properly rinse and wash clothes! Just check all the class action lawsuits filed. These types of washing machines have put people in the hospital due to black mold. if you think they are better, you are mistaken.

Keeping the door open may help, but the clothes are not properly rinsed and therefore, over time, will stink. Having the washing machine run for an hour or longer and washing clothes twice does not save energy. Washing the washing machine with special tablets should give one a clue that this is ridiculous.

Plain and simple: they do not wash clothes properly. When I had my front loader replaced with a top loader that actually uses enough water, the delivery men told me that they have replaced countless front loaders with top loaders. 'Nuff said. They are awful!


We had a HE washer and dryer for a month and a half. That is how long they lasted before they both broke down on the same day. We got our money refunded and bought old school Speed Queens.


In January 2013, I just bought a old-fashioned, top-load, non-HE, fill 'er to the top Speed Queen. Doubtless the government will put a stop to this great American company soon. Get them while you can.


We just bought an HE front load LG, top of the line because I had heard so much negative crap about these machines. It is awful. I have a six year old who can get muddy knees. I have washed his school pants in two different cycles, (that go on for over an hour) and they are still not clean. Really? I'm going to try a third cycle. How is this energy efficient?

Oh, what I would give to get my old machine that uses water back again! Our electric bill will skyrocket with us washing clothes at least two times for over an hour. It is insane and I very disappointed. I hear some are getting machines from Canada.


I purchased a Whirlpool Cabrio top load HE with no agitator. We hate it. The best news in the world was when we sold our house, the buyers wanted it. Clothes come out wrinkled, if it starts to spin wobbly, it puts more water in, which wastes time and more water. It's a piece of junk. We're looking now for a high capacity top load with an agitator. We're not having much luck.


Is it true that the washers that continue to fill up with water are not as good as the ones that stop filling when the lid is up?


I have had problems with an LG top loader -- the usual HE problems, but their customer support is the worst I have ever encountered, aside from your local cable monopoly.

Bad answers, wrong answers, answers that contradict the manual, different answers from different reps to the same questions you pose, customer service that takes your number and never calls you back, reps that speak with such heavy accents you can hardly understand them, it just never ends. Oh, and the "take our survey on your call" option never results in you actually getting a survey callback. "Life's Good," indeed! These jerks need a different motto.


I also bought an HE machine (Kenmore) and I am not happy with it. The clothes smell like dirty socks when they come out of the washer. Thinking it was the soap, I changed numerous times with the same results. Give me back the old type.


Wow! Can't believe all the bad experiences with HE washers! I have a Samsung HE top loader (used to have a Kenmore regular top loader), and it gets the clothes a lot cleaner while using less resources. It is also significantly quieter (doesn't shake the house like the old agitator would) and has a bigger capacity.

The only problem I have is the long cycle time (about an hour), which is a pain if you like to separate your laundry into many different loads by color and material.


I hate the new washers. Less water use is OK, but after ironing three pairs of dress pants (which I never used to do), I had to re iron, sprayed with the wrinkle relaxer until they were wet and still they look bad. I also am not an electric dryer user. I mostly let my good clothes drip dry. At this rate the savings is all being eaten up by hours of ironing, which I hate and then that reduces the amount of time that the clothing will last or be wearable. These machines are hell on your clothes.


I have a Maytag top loader HE machine. I love it, but it seems to take forever to wash a couple of light weight blankets. I have to manually move the settings along or it seems to get stuck!


I am preparing to purchase a new washer and dryer. I was going with the high efficiency model but all these posts have scared me. I am looking for something that will clean clothes well. I have two children who can't go a day without landing some sort of drink or food stain on their clothing.

I have a dog and have to ensure his blankets remain fresh. I need something powerful enough to combat those stains and pet smells. Should I just stick to the old or step out on a limb and embrace the new? Decisions, decisions.


I have noticed recently that some detergent manufacturers are selling products to clean the high efficiency washers themselves. What a ripoff! I had started to notice an unpleasant odor coming from the laundry room. My sister suggested I leave the washer door open, and that is what I am going to do. --Toni A.


Like everyone else, I do not like the water level sensors, dry detergent spots and unclean clothes. It's not efficient when you have to rewash and waste time hassling with the laundry. I let the salesman convince me it was great --not!

I like to wash my caps after adding softener and soap, and also like to be able to pour bleach directly into the water so you have an idea of how much you use after the water level is high.

I have not yet been able to get the water level above the clothes or to totally cover the clothes. Government pencil pushers don't do laundry so they have no idea. Give our old machines back!


I have a GE front loader. Last week we went camping and I came home and washed my sweater and a couple of other items. It was basically a very small load. The useless GE front loader did not even wash the campfire smell out of the sweater.

My old top loader which was not HE could get all kinds of smells and stains out. I hate my HE machine. I am looking for a commercial washer that is not HE to replace it.


We purchased a GE top loader HE a few years ago. I don't hate anything, but boy do I hate this washer! Forget about anything with a stain on it. I just send it over to my mom's house where she has an old washer and it gets the stains out!

GE should be embarrassed to sell a machine like this, but I'm even more embarrassed that I got suckered into buying one! Boo GE!


I have an old maytag front loading HE machine, from 2001. It was very expensive at the time, like $1000 but has been a very good machine. The motor went on it in 2007 but the part was covered by warranty, though it cost me $250 for the labor. There have been problems with the door latch, and I ordered a new one, but found when I took the covers off the machine, a couple drops of oil solved the problem. With restocking fees and such, I ended up just eating the $65 for the part and have it "in case."

The machine does a good job of cleaning, though I make it a habit of skimping on the detergent. In addition, I always use the extra rinse option except for non-clothing items. We don't have a laundry room, and it's in the kitchen and it's a lot quieter than the old top loaders. When I moved, I took it with me. It's very heavy, and I didn't realize there is a huge block of concrete or something in it to balance the machine, so if you move one yourself, it might behoove you to take it apart and move that part separately. I like this machine and hopes it lasts much longer.


I had a Frigidaire front load HE for years and hated it! Sometimes the clothes came out with dry spots because there wasn't enough water. When I went shopping this time, I told my husband that I wanted a top loader where I could start filling it with water and add detergent, borax or whatever and let it dissolve before adding clothes.

Well, I saw this maytag that had a huge basket (and I like to wash blankets and rugs a lot). Little did I know that it was another HE that you have to arrange the clothing around the "sensor plate" in the center! Once you close the lid and push start the lid locks after about two seconds and that's it. The clothes come out so wrinkled it's pathetic. Luckily the dryer I bought with it has a "damp-dry" button that allows you to take out the clothing that you'd normally not dry at all while still hot and damp to hang up. I hate HE anything!


The government has forced all "non-commercial" washer manufacturers to go HE. There are only two manufacturers that sell non HE washers: Speed Queen and Staber. Dump your HE washer for a Speed Queen top loader. It's the only washer on the market that you can set the water level on. I just bought my set today. This government regulation is for HE is horrible and needs to be eradicated. Write your congressman today!


We bought a Whirlpool Cabrio HE washer in 2011 from Lowe's. This washer will add more water if you select the fabric softener option. It will also fill almost to the top when you select the bulky cycle setting. It takes a lot longer to fill and wash with the bulky cycle setting though. We always run the extra rinse cycle. Often we run a rinse only cycle as a third rinse on really dirty items.


I have a Samsung top loader and I absolutely hate it! Clothes don't come out clean. Sand and dirt still in clothes after washing twice and using extra rinse cycles!


I vote we stand together and file a class action lawsuit against these Einsteins. They have taken us all for a ride. I'm just plain sick of it. Forget GE and their junk machines. There is no savings in any of this crap.


My wife and I *hate* our GE Toploader "HE" washer. It was a very bad investment. Our clothes never come out clean the first time and often not the second time (washing again directly after the initial wash). How is washing the same load twice "High Efficiency"?

We have been cheated by GE and Sears who sold us the washer. I will *never* buy a GE product again and will always bypass the so-called "High Efficiency" feature. I want my money back!


I purchased a GE top-loading HE washer a few weeks ago. I hate it! Takes twice the time to wash, does half the amount of clothes that my old one cleaned, doesn't clean the clothes so you have to wash everything twice and cost twice the price of a regular washer. I'm now in the "hole" for a washer I wish I'd never bought. Give me a regular washer any day.


Wow I have had a frontloader for six months, a whirlpool duet. I am very happy with this machine -- not one complaint.

My husband is a diesel mechanic and his clothes come out as clean as from a top loader. I never have an issue with mold or mildew because 1) I leave my door and soap dispenser open between loads 2) I wipe out the rubber door stopper after I am done and 3) I use correct detergent at the correct amounts (which is actually less than the bottle says).

I have nothing but good things to say about my washer and dryer.


I purchased a GE top loading high efficiency washer two years ago and it was the worst investment I ever made. My clothes come out covered in gray lint and don't even look clean.

I have been in contact with GE customer service several times, complaining about these issues. They have tried replacing the motor, water level valve, and installed a new agitator with holes in it. The same problems remain! Now they have offered to replace my machine with a regular agitator type but they will charge me almost $400. At this point in time, I do not want to invest this amount after I purchased my present one for over $500 just two years ago. These are lemons!


I bought a GE HE washing machine and my wife hates it. She says it doesn't clean the clothes properly and she's right. After we put a garment in the washer that had gotten a little poop on it, it still smelled.

She been washing for 40 years and says the old style agitator washers would get the bad smells out. Who was the genius who designed this machine. Did he work for Solyndra?


There is absolutely nothing efficient nor water "saving" about my brand new GE Estate top loader less than two months old. I wish I have never given up my old model, which worked fine. I only replaced it because I needed a new dryer.

My clothes do not get rinsed! I use less and less HE soap with each load to try to acclimate myself to this water saver feature. If I use any less soap, there won't even be enough to clean the clothes. I simply have no choice but to run the washer for two complete cycles, as compared to one normal wash and rinse cycle in order to get the clothes rinsed. I am using twice as much electricity and much more water than necessary. If only the rinse cycle filled to the level of the clothes load. Truly amazing that anyone could label this "efficient."


I have the Samsung front loader and it didn't get my clothes clean at all until I found a video online that shows how to get more water. Now it does get my clothes clean.


I am having problems with the HE top loading washer fading my clothes onto each other. Clothes that have been washed many times in my previous washer and did not fade. Have ruined many clothes. It also leaves undissolved detergent spots all over my clothes and ruined a new pair of jeans with detergent spots on them. This is not what I bargained for!


I wish I had read these reviews before I bought my HE washing machine because I hate it! My clothes are not clean and I don't even get them very dirty. Would love to drop this thing off on Sears' doorstep but can't afford another.


Agreeing with all the negative comments about a lack of sufficient water to get my clothes clean. We bought a GE Profile top loader and I hate it. I've even had clothes come out after being washed where whole sections were still dry! Bad design, bad sell for the "green" pitch!


I am sick and tired of high efficiency equipment. I am sick and tired of going green. These ideas are now planted into everyone's mind now so can we now move back to quality and productivity.

High efficiency washing machines suck: bottom line!


I bought a Whirlpool Cabrio top loading HE washer. I hate the fact that it uses so little water. The preset cycles don't allow you to change water or the length of time of agitation or spin cycle(you can't be in a hurry with this baby!) The only way around the water level problem is to either stop the cycle and add water by the bucket or choose the Bulk items setting, which actually uses more water than I really need. There's no happy medium!

And I don't dare let even the low spin cycle go the full time or there are so many wrinkles in the clothes that the dryer can't steam them out. And to top it off (pun intended) the lid is slanted so I can't leave anything on it when it operates because it will be shaken off. I hate those know-it-all engineers at whirlpool!


I have had my GE top load HE washer three months now and I am not happy with it. Like most of the posters on here, my clothes are not getting clean - especially grass stains on pants from mowing. The same stains came out with my old agitator washer.

This model has automatic "load sensing" water fill and you cannot adjust it. It also will not start to fill unless the lid is closed so you can't rinse out the lid of your liquid detergent into the load. I have found that I can trick it into filling with more water by putting my detergent and fabric softener bottles into the washer as it fills so the machine thinks the load is bigger and heavier so it puts in more water. The down side to this is I have to stand there while the washer fills so I can get the bottles out before it starts the washing cycle.

At least it lets me open the lid. I know there are models that lock the lid and you can't re-open them until the machine is completely finished with all the cycles. I wish I had never bought this HE/LO water machine and I can't just go out and replace it as I don't have the money to replace it. It was already a hardship to have to replace my old washer when it broke.


I bought a Samsung front load machine that is the bottom of the line. The one above it does the steam cleaning.

I love this machine and most HE detergents make blankets which dogs have been sleeping on smell extremely fresh. None of the people who have complained here about their HE washers have used a Samsung.

I had a Fridgidaire front loader and it stopped working after three years. This Samsung works much quieter, does not leave any water behind like the Fridgidaire did and the spin cycle squeezes the water out of the clothes much better than my old washer.


Worst purchase ever. We bought a top loading HE washing machine and it stinks. My house smells musty from the machine, it's louder than hell, doesn't get clothes clean, and takes forever. Whatever you're saving in water you're spending on electricity!


Purchased a whirlpool he "cabrio" washer and am thoroughly disgusted. Blankets must be washed over and over again to get them clean and dirt just sits on top. There is not enough water in the load to get them clean! When the machine starts up it sounds like a car.

I envision some 23 year old male who liked to play with cars as the designer of this malfunctioning "washer". I now have to buy yet another washer to replace this one and with all the loads I've had to re-wash, it certainly is not efficient. Hope this helps someone. --Linda s.


just bought same washer and it doesn't fill up but a little bit and suds are still on the clothes. they stink. don't buy one. you are wasting your money. whoever thought of this is a real genius.


Pick your nose or pick your face, but don't ever buy any kind of "HE" front or top loader.

They're like "low flow" toilets that have to be flushed two or three times instead of just once. None of the "he" washers use enough water to get clothes clean and the dirt just accumulates inside the machine and stinks up the place.

"HE" washers were an idea cooked up by the washer manufactures (who rake in more money selling more expensive machines) and government officials who were bought off by the washer manufactures.

Send an email to the U.S. Congress and tell them to get out of our bathrooms and laundry rooms.


Three weeks ago we purchased a high efficiency washer from Home Depot. Just returned it last night. Hated it with a passion! My husband does landscaping and it would not, no matter what cycle I used, get the dirt out of his clothes. I actually had dirt in my dryers lint filter and his clothes turned my downy dryer sheet brown! Gross! Will try to find an old school washer today.


There are top loading HE washers that allow you to control the water lever and override the auto level. Fisher/Paykel is one of them. Great reviews too.

I have a front loader that is four years old. I've hated it since the first minute. It takes forever to wash a load, not enough water and adding anything with "blue" in it even detergent stains the clothes. It never gets mixed in.

You can also get regular agitator washers if you look around. The more technology "smart" they are, the worse they are.


Purchased a GE top load high efficiency washer and I hate it. With government energy saving features, there just is not enough water used to even get rid of pet hair or human hair, let alone dirt! I have tried tricking it by adding extra water, second rinse fabric softener setting and nothing is working. Hate it!


is there a way to bypass the water level to bring up the water in my GE profile machine? it just doesn't clean well with low water level.

I have even dumped added water with a bucket and this seems to make it wash better. not great but better.


Hate to say, I had a top load HE washer for a year and it was the worst machine I even had. I was not afraid to wash delicate clothing on the regular cycle. The agitation was that slow. The clothes always came out dirty.

My husband's clothes are extremely dirty because of his job. He installs agricultural field tile and also works around some crude oil wells. After washing his clothes twice, the dirt would lay in the creases after the spin cycles.

That HE washer ruined a lot of clothes. I tried all kinds of detergents, (HE and regular) and degreasers. I also like to make my detergent. (pinching pennies) Bought another top load washer. Great clothes and come out clean on just a single cycle and I'm able to use my own detergent.


can anyone tell me if there is a way to adjust the water level? i purchased a top loading HE washer a few weeks ago, and my clothes come out dirty. the water never covers the load so the things on the top (out of the water) never even touch the water, and come out just as dirty as they went in.


@doppler - I noticed that (no load selection size) when we first got our washer a few years ago. Many high efficiency washers that are front load also have convenient add-on features like storage drawers to make them more accessible and ergonomic. I like this feature because you wouldn't be able to have it on an older model.


@CarrotIsland - I love the front-loading washers, they look so chic. You say that most of these efficient washers are front-loading, but there are -some- top load washers like this. They mainly came about when high efficiency washers were first being developed.

As you say, the front-loading washers tend to be even more efficient because of the tumbling action described in the article above. Have you noticed there's no "Medium Load, Large Load, Super Load" option on most of these washers, either?


Washing clothes accounts for more than 20% of the water used inside the home. Conventional washing machines can use 50 gallons of water per cycle. High efficiency washing machines use 50% less water and energy.

Most high efficiency washers use about 19-25 gallons of water per load. Many of them are front-loading. That actually uses less water and detergent by tumbling clothes in a small pool of water.

They are a little more expensive but save you a lot of money in the long run.

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    • High efficiency washing machines are typically loaded from the front instead of through the top.
      By: eyewave
      High efficiency washing machines are typically loaded from the front instead of through the top.
    • High efficiency washing machines use less water and are most commonly found in front-loading form.
      By: g215
      High efficiency washing machines use less water and are most commonly found in front-loading form.
    • A traditional washing machine uses 40 to 47 gallons of water per cycle.
      By: Johanna Goodyear
      A traditional washing machine uses 40 to 47 gallons of water per cycle.
    • 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.
    • High-efficiency detergents use less water than conventional detergents because they produce few suds.
      By: Maksym Yemelyanov
      High-efficiency detergents use less water than conventional detergents because they produce few suds.