Let’s talk laundry. It’s dull, but you do it, and this information can save you money.
First: washing machines. Do you buy a top loader or front loader? Top loaders typically cost less and wash the fastest but don’t always do a great job. Front loaders generally use the least amount of water and spin the fastest saving you money. The best front loaders, CR says, are models from LG (there are four of them) but they also rated highly the Kenmore S900 (made by LG). They average between $720 and $1100. One of the LG models and the Kenmore model, while having a unique feature that lets you use your phone to diagnose a problem, are a bit noisier—something to consider if the unit will be near a bedroom. The best top loaders were from LG, Samsung, Maytag, Kenmore and Whirlpool and are all around $800. CR says buy your washer first; then find the least expensive dryer with a moisture sensor.
What about detergents? Among conventional choices (higher sudsing), Wisk Deep Clean scored the best averaging 17 cents a load. But believe or not, CR says the best detergent is a store brand! “Up & Up” Ultra Concentrated comes from Target. It cleaned everything (but grass stains) well and averaged 10 cents per load!
Among high efficiency detergents, CR chose Tide Ultra HE (powder) which cleaned the best overall with the exception of Tide Ultra Plus Bleach (powder) which did a little better but also costs more (23 cents per load vs. 16 cents for the Ultra HE). Also doing well: Tide Pods, Wisk Deep Clean, Tide Plus Febreeze, All, Up & Up Fresh Breeze, and Sears Ultra Plus Concentrated (these are all HE detergents).
You’ll find more information at www.consumerreports.org