Most Efficient Small Clothes Washers

If you are looking for a small washer, it can be hard to find what you need. Most clothes washers have around five cubic feet of capacity. That’s great for a family of four in a suburban house. But what if you live alone or in a home that doesn’t have space to devote a whole room to laundry? We’ve found the most efficient small clothes washers for people who know that bigger is not always better.

Right-Sized Laundry

If you live small, whether by choice or necessity, your home may not have room for a standard-sized washer. If you live alone, “standard” may be more washer than you need. You could run out of clean clothes while waiting to fill it. Even if you have space for a full-sized washer, it’s worth taking the time to find one that fits your needs. Running half-empty loads uses just as much energy and water as running full ones. If you’re not filling your washer to capacity, you’re wasting resources and throwing money away.

Even though the very most efficient washers are bigger, a smaller washer will use less water and energy in total. And among small washers, there are a few that perform at very high levels of efficiency.

Most Efficient Small Washers

Samsung Compact Washer, 2.2 cu. ft., Models: WW22N685*Q*

Samsung makes some of the most efficient washers available at any size. The Samsung WW22N685*Q* Compact Front-Load Washer with QuickDrive™ is one of only two compact washers that make Energy Star’s Most Efficient list in 2021. A front load washer with 2.2 cubic feet of capacity, it still achieves an IMEF of 2.25 and IWF of 3.7. The QuickDrive™ feature reduces washing time by up to 35%, without compromising the cleaning performance relative to similar Samsung models.

SHOP: Samsung on Amazon (your purchase helps support Earth911’s recycling database)

WW22N6850Q Compact Front-Load Washer with QuickDriveTM, 2.4 cu.ft.

Bosch 500 Series 24” Washer, 2.2 cu. ft., Model: WAW285H1UC

The only other compact washer on Energy Star’s Most Efficient list in 2021 is the Bosch WAW285H1UC. This Bosch 500 Series 24” stackable washer is one half of a rare matched set [pending matched set link] achieving Energy Star’s Most Efficient rating. The 2.2 cubic-foot capacity washer is the only Bosch on the Most Efficient washers list with an IMEF of 2.2 and IWF of 3.7. The matching dryer, with a CEF of 6.8, is the second most-efficient dryer certified by Energy Star regardless of size.

Bosch WAW285H1UC 500 Series Compact Washer24'' 1400 rpm

Asko Clothes Washer, 2.0 cu. ft., Model: W2084W

Even smaller than the other two compact washers at 2.0 cubic feet of capacity, the Asko W2084W does not show up on the current Most Efficient list. But it should qualify based on the numbers Energy Star reports for it; its IMEF of 2.31 and IWF of 2.9 for the base model (additional features can reduce efficiency by using hotter water, longer runtimes, or more water) are the best of the three washers. It may be a website error, or Asko may be discontinuing this model in 2021. But even if they stop making them this year, it is not too late to find the W2084W at retail.

Asko W2084W Compact Washing Machine


Washer Efficiency Ratings

The U.S. EPA Energy Star program certifies clothes washers for energy and water efficiency. The performance metric for clothes washers’ energy use is the Integrated Modified Energy Factor. The higher the IMEF, the more energy-efficient the washer is. The metric for water use is the Integrated Water Factor. The lower the IWF, the more water-efficient the clothes washer. Since 2018, Energy Star has required an IMEF of 2.76 or higher and an IWF of 3.2 or lower for a washer to be certified. Each year, they update their Most Efficient list with about 50 models that significantly exceed the standard. The very best washers achieve an IMEF of 3.1 and an IWF of 2.7.

Rather than total energy and water use, the metrics consider efficiency per cubic foot of capacity, which allows consumers to find the most efficient washing machine at the size that works best for their household. That’s fortunate, because the two most efficient washers Earth911 has found are large-volume models, and most of the rest of Energy Star’s Most Efficient list is made up of standard 4.5 cubic foot washers.

By Gemma Alexander

Gemma Alexander has an M.S. in urban horticulture and a backyard filled with native plants. After working in a genetics laboratory and at a landfill, she now writes about the environment, the arts and family. See more of her writing here.