Reliability should be measured by the percentages of actual service calls versus sales.
Unfortunately, there is a ton of misinformation you may have read already because most review blogs or websites do not service a single appliance.
At a Glance
So you are truly reading marketing pieces. It can lead to some very unfortunate buying decisions.
In this article, you will learn the reliability of every major brand based on 30,761 service calls logged last year by our service department.
Then you will also learn how and when to buy a front load washer, as well as, if you should buy an extended warranty - you probably shouldn't).
This article will contradict much of what you have read.
How Front Load Laundry Reliability is Measured
We have 30 service techs on 8-10 service calls per day, 5 days a week with 110 on the weekend. To be exact, we had 30,761 appliance service calls booked in 2017.
In the chart below, you will see sales in the right column and service calls within the first year on the left. The percentage is calculated by service calls divided by sales.
Yale Appliance Service Team
It is the fairest measure of initial quality. However, we do not distinguish between a major or minor call. If you need us to send a technician, it counts.
The numbers are a good estimate because some people probably do not know to call us within the first year. Most do because we fix the unit for free in warranty.Short on time? Get our free Washing Machine Buying Guide
Most Reliable Front Load Laundry
The average repair rate for front load washers is 11.73% within the first year.
We looked at full-size washers from Whirlpool, Maytag, Samsung, LG, Electrolux, Speed Queen, and Frigidaire.
Many people asked for previous year's reliability numbers. Below you will find 2016's and 2017's repair report statistics for comparison.
2016 Reliability Statistics
|Units Sold||Units Serviced||Service Rate|
2017 Reliability Statistics
|Units Sold||Units Serviced||Service Rate|
|Speed Queen Commercial||13||3||23.08%|
Maytag and Whirlpool look to be the most reliable again at least through 2017. Whirlpool and Maytag is the same machine with a different feature package. Maytag also has a better warranty.
They also have the fastest turnaround time with parts, so you (and we) should not wait very long for a repair.
The Korean brands, LG and Samsung, are decent as well, especially for the technology. However, the turnarounds are slower.
The best 4 brands are all better for reliability than 2016.
Electrolux and Frigidaire had new machines in 2017. With newer machines, there are initial service issues.
They have great technology but need to improve their reliability. Their dryers also have a well-documented lint screen issue as well.
Speed Queen had issues with their front load washers. You can have your machine fixed for free within the first 5 years if it’s under warranty.
However, from a numbers standpoint, their front load machine may be well built, but it is not as reliable as the other major brands.
Many review sites love Speed Queen and for that matter Electrolux. They have great marketing and features, but the numbers do not dictate reliability in the past two years.
How to Buy a Front Load Washer
When I started at Yale in 1986, you bought a 1 or 2-speed top load washer. Nobody complained (or knew too).
Now every machine has 5 speeds, 5 rinse combinations, and more cycles for every possible fabric type with almost twice the capacity.
You should always look for good reliability first and then the features. The capacity and cycle options you now have in front load laundry are probably more than you will ever need or use.
Let's dive into those options.
Front Load Capacity
A top load washer with an agitator has a usable capacity of about 2.4-2.5 cubic feet. Front load washers average about 4.5 cubic feet or almost twice as large.
The largest front load washer is 5.8 cubic feet. However, at 34 inches deep, you may have a tough time fitting this huge machine into your space.
Prices are most competitive around the 4.5 cubic foot size at $599 during promotions. The 5.8 cubic is roughly $1,800-2,000, so you pay dearly for added capacity.
Cycles & Features
Cycles are hard to understand, but its based on a timer. This machine has 16 cycles to cover the accurate wash, rinse and soak duration for each fabric.
Maytag Washer Controls
Wash/Rinse: Most people use "Hot" for whites and "Cold" to not shrink anything. You have 5 combinations in most machines for different fabrics.
Spin Speed: Measured in revolutions per minute (RPM) of the barrel. Faster spins dry the clothes faster.
Higher-priced models typically include:
Smart Dispense: In the Whirlpool/Maytag, there is a smart dispense holding loads of detergent, so you do not have to fill the dispenser for every wash.
Turbo: LG washes 30 minutes faster than a normal LG cycle.
Wi-Fi: LG and Samsung both have Wi-Fi compatibility. This will be a great feature in the future. You can see the time remaining as well as turn on/off the machine. However, it is too unreliable presently.
Heat Boost: Better models offer an internal heater for added cleaning power on whites.
Steam: Steam lifts the tough stains like grass, wine, and blood. This is a worthwhile upgrade depending on how you stain your clothes.
SmartBoost: Electrolux mixes the detergent and water and then applies the mix on your clothes.
2 Washer: Samsung offers a double washer in the same chassis. It's a good feature, but you can buy 2 full-sizes for less.
Overnight Cycle: Maytag offers a way to wash and dry an outfit or small load using the wash and spin cycle.
LG Sidekick: Kind of the opposite of the Samsung two washer, but the second washer is under the main washer. It's a good idea, but there are numerous water connections to install, so be careful.
How to Prevent Mold in your Front Load Washer
A lot of reviews talk about mold in their front load washers. Mold is caused by standing water over a prolonged period of time. To prevent mold in your washer, you should always make sure the washer barrel is dry as possible, especially the gasket in the front.
You can do this by running a towel over the gasket and leaving the door open to air dry after you are done using your washer.
A few companies specifically address mold. LG has the TubClean cycle, which is a 149-degree wash. Maytag has a separate fan.
If you do have mold, wash under a high temperature and use Affresh tablets to clean any mold and/or mildew.
When is the Best Time to Buy a Front Load Washer?
Although you probably will not wait if you have a broken washer, there are better times to buy major appliances.
Ranking from the best: Black Friday, Tax weekend, Labor Day, President's Day, Memorial Day, and Independence Day.
Around these holidays, prices could be 10-30% off. LG and Samsung employed this strategy in conquering the electronics business. Every commodity manufacturer has followed.
Use it to your advantage.
Should you buy an extended warranty?
You will be asked and pushed by your store to buy an extended warranty.
First, you should never buy a warranty from a company who does not offer their own service. These warranties are outsourced and not designed to fix anything promptly or even correctly.
If you are buying this for a peace of mind, then you will get exactly the opposite of repair or lack thereof.
For washers, the numbers suggest not buying a warranty. At 3-8%, these machines work better than almost every other appliance.
Unfortunately, the repair itself is incredibly expensive because they have a direct drive motor.
We find it better for you to simply replace the machine than the parts and time to properly repair a bad direct drive system.
So it’s insurance of a low repair versus a very high cost.
Reliability is better than the average on a front load washer and almost the same as a simple, less efficient top load washer.
We have changed the brands we sell at Yale because of the 300% spread between reliable and less reliable machines.
There is a flip side to reliability as well.
Most of the horror stories about appliances are the inability to find qualified technicians to fix the washers on a timely basis, especially on more complicated front load models.
Above all, you need to figure out who will be fixing your new washer before you buy it.
Why Should You Trust Us?
Quite simply, we are not paid the true cost for fixing appliances in warranty. It is a huge loss for us.
We can narrow the loss by selling more reliable products. We look at reliability as a metric to our overall business and your satisfaction with our company.
Over the years, we have eliminated the least reliable brands. We cannot afford to sell some brands just to fix expensive issues in repair.
Neither can you. You want your appliances to work.
Above all, you need to figure out who will be fixing your new washer before you buy.
Most Reliable Appliances Series
- Most Reliable Top Load Washers
- Most Reliable Compact Washers
- Most Reliable Electric Ranges
- Most Reliable Freestanding Gas Ranges
- Most Reliable Dual Fuel Professional Ranges
- Most Reliable Professional Gas Ranges
- Most Reliable Wall Ovens
- Most Reliable Dishwashers
Download our Yale Washer Buying Guide with all the features, terms and brands of laundry. Over 350,000 people have already found answers in a Yale guide.
My goal has always been simple: I want Yale to be the best retail experience anywhere. I have tried to create a compelling environment for customers and employees alike.
A Note About Pricing