In the market for a new high efficiency washing machine? Maybe the Obama cash-for-appliances credit to encourage energy efficiency is tempting you into the store, especially if your current clothes washer is broken or not working properly.
If so, you obviously want to look for an Energy Star rated machine (if you live in the US). But there’s lots of energy efficient washers on the market, so which one should you choose?
The two things the Energy Star program looks at for washing machine efficiency involve complex formulas that are called a “modified energy factor” (MEF) and “water factor” (WF) which measure energy and water efficiency respectively.
I know this all sounds complicated and you can find more details on the Energystar.gov website, but suffice to say that these are objective measures of energy and water usage. You want a high MEF and a low WF.
The Energy Star standard is MEF greater than or equal to 1.8, and WF less than or equal to 7.5. In January 2011 the standards get stricter, with MEF greater than or equal to 2, and WF less than or equal to 6.
Going purely based off of the MEF and WF scores as listed on the Energy Star website, here are the top five for washing machine efficiency (first three are a tie):
1) LG LSWF388H**, with a MEF of 3 and WF of 3.24, is the top-rated high efficiency washing machine. It is 4.17 cubic feet, making it a larger clothes washer, and consumes just 108 kilowatt hours per year.
2) LG WM3875H***, MEF 3, WF 3.24, 4.17 cubic feet, 108 KwH/year.
3) LG WM3885H***, MEF 3, WF 3.24, 4.17 cubic feet, 108 KwH/year.
4) Samsung WF330***, MEF 2.91, WF 3.1, 3.69 cubic feet, 107 KwH/year.
5) Samsung WF350***, MEF 2.9, WF 3.1, 3.69 cubic feet, 107 KwH/year.
(Two runners up for 5th place were the Kenmore 410**90* and 421**90*, which had the same MEF but consumed slightly more water, 3.43 WF. On the other hand they were also larger, being 3.87 cubic feet.)
The * symbol stands for minor model variations.
You may notice the most efficient clothes washers tend to be front-loading varieties instead of top-loading. That’s on purpose, since front-loading washers use gravity to help move the clothes around.
I couldn’t find some of these models on the manufacturers’ web pages, but did find them on the list of several states’ cash-for-appliances programs. So they should be available, perhaps at your local store.
Are you in the market for a high efficiency washing machine? If so, what model did you choose and why?