Do you need a heavy duty washing machine?
Are you a new parent whose life is a constant hot cycle to wash out whatever Hell-goo just escaped from your angel child? Or do you have ‘adventurous’ kids that seem to find the most inventive, unidentified stains and bring them home?
Do you yourself have a sporty lifestyle, tramping home covered in mud and grins and watching your current washing machine quake in fear?
Heavy duty washing machines are divisible into three kinds.
There are those that can cope with huge loads at a time, so they cut down on the amount of time you spend doing laundry.
There are those that can cope with the most stubborn, “What fresh hell have you rolled in?” stains and get you and your family back to their presentable best.
And of course, there are the Holy Grail heavy duty washing machines that have fallen straight from Heaven and manage to do both. At the same time.
You want to know which models they are, don’t you?
You know you do.
Settle in. We’ve found you the best heavy duty washing machines on the market.
In a hurry? Here’s our top pick.
Top 5 Best Heavy Duty Washing Machine
OUR TOP PICK
The make-up of a “heavy duty” washing machine is not a precise equation between drum size and clever cleaning power. We’ve drawn a line. No washing machine on our list has a drum capacity under 5 cubic feet.
The GE 5 cubic feet front loader does all the basics you want it to do. In tests, the GE was both speedy and stunningly effective, getting even set-in stains out of laundry, in a standard quick wash, in just 20 minutes. It delivers great cleaning power in both hot and cold water.
So – the large drum means you can do a lot of laundry at once, and the powerful cleaning action of its cycles means the GE can deliver you fully clean clothes more or less every time. That in itself is a powerful combination. But doing the job and doing it well is only the bedrock from which the GE operates.
In terms of technology, this is the washing machine the Jetsons would have had. It comes with a whole host of features, not the least of which is a thing called SmartDispense. No more manual adding of detergent, like a 20th century savage!
Just load up to 50 ounces of liquid detergent in the easy, ‘all filler, no spiller’ compartment once in a while, like refuelling your car. Then select the SmartDispense cycle, and the machine does the rest, automatically adding the right amount of detergent at the right point in the cycle for heavy duty cleaning power.
What a time to be alive and…have heavily soiled laundry.
It also has a steam cycle to pre-smooth some of the washday wrinkles out of your laundry, and a 1-step wash and dry cycle, that can wash and dry a small load overnight.
Oh yes, this washer, which isn’t a dryer outright (there’s a matching dedicated heavy duty dryer you can pick up), can dry your laundry too.
Like a little wifi in your washing machine?
We love the 21st century. The GE washer is wifi-enabled so it can sync with popular smart technology systems, meaning you can operate it remotely. See? Jetsons tech, today. All we need now are the flying cars.
But the GE machine adds not just one techno-gimmick to its offering, but layers of technological forward thinking that put it ahead of the game.
You know how with many washers, once the cycle’s done, there’s water residue left in the machine, and the combination of standing water and rubber seals gets a little…funky?
That sense of a bacterial undertone to the pleasure that is fresh laundry-smell?
The GE washer’s venting system automatically dries the inside of the machine and the door seal when your laundry is done. It pulls in outside air to dry the interior, while the drum spins intermittently, so as to not let water stand. What’s more, the door gasket, dispenser drawer and other internal parts are treated with an additive called Microban, which discourages mold-growth.
So while the name of the ‘UltraFresh Vent System with OdorBlock’ sounds like Fifties advertising on steroids, what you get is a washing machine that minimizes mildew and mold, for a fresher smelling laundry load every time you open the door.
Large loads? Check. Impressive cleaning of even tough stains, up and down the temperature range? Check. Ridiculously impressive range of programs? Check. Sophisticated detergent-management system? Check. Wifi connectivity to smart systems? Check. Engineering out that washing machine funk? Check.
That’s a whole lot of check marks. Sure, there’s no disguising the fact that heavy duty laundry management with a 21st century apptastic twist is going to cost you. But if you absolutely, positively must have the best heavy duty washing machine on the market, you’d struggle to out-do the GE 5 cubic feet machine.
- Large capacity drum
- Sophisticated range of programs, including steam programs
- Dries small loads
- Wifi-enabled for connectivity to smart tech systems
- UltraFresh Vent System With OdorBlock to prevent mold and mildew build-up
- Drum actually on the lower side of heavy duty capacity
- Price – unashamedly expensive, which may deter some buyers
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the laundry room, along comes LG with its 5.2 cubic feet capacity drum. In addition to which, it comes with the option of an extra 1 cubic foot capacity pedestal washer, giving you two for the price of…well, about one and a quarter, one and a half, depending on price fluctuations and potential deals.
Importantly though, the split option, if you go for it, can either increase your maximum washing capacity to 6.2 cubic feet working in harmony, or you can run the two entirely separately, so a bulk hot wash can be churning in the main drum, while the delicates you need on a fast wash can do their thing in the pedestal.
If your definition of heavy duty is all about the drum size, the LG’s gonna make you very happy indeed. You can fit a king size comforter, and all the accompanying bedding, into this machine in a single load with no questions asked and no names taken.
The range of programs available in the LG machine too is almost as impressive as you’ll find in our list-leader, and it also includes the option of a steam program.
It also brings a TurboWash program to its washday game. Select TurboWash and you get…well, clean laundry in less time. In fact, the TurboWash setting can cut up to a half-hour off your regular wash time. So if you have huge loads of laundry to do but are also in a heck of a hurry, go LG, choose TurboWash, and now your life is better.
If you suffer with allergies or asthma, your life could be better with an LG too - the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America have certified the machine for its ability to sanitize fabrics and remove allergens from your laundry. Something something huddled masses, yearning to breathe free with an LG.
Like most of the heavy duty machines on our list, the LG offering is not so much wifi-ready as wifi-ready, willing and able. It’s also pleasingly gregarious – as well as its own dedicated app, it’ll work happily with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
Huge drum capacity, with the option of adding a separate pedestal drum for load-splitting. Programs all day long, including the almost literal panic button of TurboWash. Allergen killing washing, and wifi-connectivity with all the systems. That spells ‘Plenty Heavy Duty’ in our book, and it probably does in yours too.
- Large drum capacity
- Extra pedestal drum available to add extra capacity and open up two-program option
- TurboWash system for high-speed laundry
- Filters out allergens for those with allergies and asthma
- Wifi-compatible with smart tech systems and remote
- Some users will wonder if the price is justified
If you’re so over the front loading thing, but you still have mountains of laundry to do on a regular basis…you’re going to need a Maytag.
Six cubic feet of space, one drum, no waiting. That’s going to do you some heavy duty laundry – though it’s worth noting that, unlike the front loaders we’ve seen, the top loading Maytag has a central agitator, so you don’t get a true, full 6 cubic feet of space.
The thing about a 6 cubic feet drum top loader is that it turns people into skeptics. Some believe you can’t get clothes truly clean in that kind of machine. Others believe you can, but that it will take half an ocean of water and half a sun of energy to get it done.
The Maytag sets out to confound both claims, with a ‘Deep Fill’ setting to ensure your big loads are properly saturated for cleaning, while also coming out as a fairly energy-efficient machine. There’s technology afoot in that big drum.
An internal water heater ensures you don’t need vast reservoirs of power to make it work, and an option to steam your laundry clean adds to the efficiency. There’s also a PowerSpray system, to make sure that laundry’s not just sitting in water, but that the water’s circulated throughout the drum.
There are even some ultra-cute features to give the Maytag some personality, like an LED to help you locate the Lost Sock of the Sierra Madre at the bottom of the drum.
Step stool so you can actually reach it…sold separately.
- Huge drum
- Deep Fill program for bulkier loads
- PowerSpray to ensure everything gets hit with soapy water
- Power-efficient, given its size
- Central agitator cuts actual drum space down
- Can be tricky to get clothes from bottom of drum
Sticking with top loaders and going back to GE, the GE GTW840CPNDG is a top loading washer which builds in some of that high-tech we know and love from its front loading versions.
Yes, the drum is smaller than the Maytag’s at just 5.2 cubic feet, but for a top loader, it’s still distinctly roomy.
Life the Maytag, the GE top loader has a Deep Fill function. It also brings dynamic balancing to the party for a quieter washing experience, a trio of rinse options (Warm Rinse, Extra Rinse and the ultimate Deep Rinse), and even a ‘Sanitize With Oxi’ option which removes 99.9% of bacteria.
But this is also a switched-on Wifi-smart top loader that works with smart home platforms, including Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Voice command for your washing machine? Make it so.
With the GE app though, you can get smartphone notifications that a load is finished, you can remotely start a load, and you can get a bing when your detergent tank needs topping up.
GE has married a heavy duty top loader with all the high-tech add-ons you expect of a modern front loader. The results are something special.
- Big drum capacity
- Deep Fill function
- Multiple rinse options
- Dynamic balancing for a quieter wash
- Anti-bacterial Sanitize With Oxi function
- Smart-tech connected, including a remote control app
- Drum is smaller than the Maytag
When is a front loader not a front loader?
When it’s a top loader too.
The Samsung double-duty Flexwash has a 5 cubic feet front loaded drum capacity, with a 1 cubic foot top loader built in, so as with the LG machine, you can split the load, run separate programs simultaneously and conquer the world of laundry.
The top loader is designed mostly with delicates in mind, so if you need a clean camisole in a hurry while the comforter’s cleaning, you can just drop and douse and get on with your day.
Samsung rarely does anything based on just one gimmick though. There are super-cleaning cycle options here, include sanitizing and steam settings. Need to be absolutely sure your king size comforter’s free of detergent?
You can run up to five rinses on it in the Flexwash. Need the comforter clean extra fast to match the camisole in the top washer? Speed wash will get you done 45% faster than the standard wash time.
Heavy duty dual washing potential with a Samsung edge – what’s going to be wrong with that?
- Large drum capacity
- Additional top loader for delicates or fast washes
- Up to five rinses per wash cycle
- Speed wash – wash a load in 45% of the time of a standard wash
- App gives alerts, but seems to lack a remote control function
Best Heavy Duty Washing Machine Buying Guide
When buying a heavy duty washing machine, there are some things to consider.
Front Or Top?
There’s no right answer to this, but choose whether you see yourself with a front loader or a top loader. Each has their advantages and the dividing lines that used to make choosing easier are blurring as high-tech conquers some of the issues with top loaders.
Look at the space you have available and make a commitment one way or the other. Or choose the Samsung and have both!
What Does Heavy Duty Mean To You?
If you’re all about the drum size for more raw washing capacity, there are easy answers here – go Maytag with its colossal 6 cubic feet of space.
If heavy duty washing means size and supreme cleaning, it might be worth going slightly smaller in the drum and bulking up with the high-tech programs, functions and built-in features that can actually give you faster washing turnaround, like speed washes and wash-and-dry modes.
The Geek Factor
These heavy duty machines aren’t washing machines like your mama knew. These are not only big-drummed behemoths, these are high-tech wifi, smart-connected, voice-controlled highly programmable laundry processors, probably each with more smart tech than the Apollo 11.
Check the geeky fine-print – only pay for a machine that has programs and tech solutions that will make your life better or easier.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do I gain from a heavy duty washing machine?
Size, first and foremost. Bigger drums mean more laundry processing power per load. But also, the more washing machine you buy, the more likely it is to be stacked with all kinds of technical – and laundry-specific advantages over smaller machines.
Speed washes, wifi-connectivity, remote control etc all come as relatively standard in a heavy duty washing machine.
Should I go for a top loader or front loader heavy duty washing machine?
Ultimately, this will depend on factors of your home and life. If you’re on the shorter side, have back issues or have especially low ceilings, go front loader all the time, because retrieving a large drum full of laundry from a deep top loader can be an issue.
Also, look at the space you have available in your laundry room, basement or even kitchen, and use that data to dictate which type is best for you.
Are double-drum washers worth the money?
Again, this depends on the patterns of your life and the use you’ll make of them. They can be a great addition if you have a lot of delicates to wash alongside a main wash. If you don’t, less so.
The LG gives you the option to buy the main machine first and add the pedestal unit later, which would be a way of deciding whether it would be useful to you.