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The 10 Best Washing Machines for Hard Water (+Buyers Guide)

Hard water is the bane of many washing machines. The heavy minerals in the hard water not only offset the chemicals and cleaning agents in the laundry detergents but can also damage the clothes. 

Mineral build-up in the inner parts of the washer can also cause it to malfunction, which costs you a lot to maintain and fix the machine. Unless you have a washing machine built especially to handle the impact of hard water.

If hard water is a problem in your house, then you need a sturdy washing machine with a hard water filter to prevent the heavy minerals from getting into the machine and ruining the laundry. I shortlisted the 10 best washing machines for hard water for your convenience.

Read more to find out which washing machine for hard water works best for you. The buying guide below gives you a comprehensive idea about what to look for when you want to buy a hard water washing machine and how to protect both the laundry and washer against the damage of heavy minerals.

Best Washing Machines for Hard Water

Please note that all the product links in this article are paid and will take you to Amazon.

That means I’ll receive a small commission if you use any of the links in the article when purchasing your new washer. This is at no extra cost to you, of course.

1. Best Smart Care: SAMSUNG 2.2 Cu Ft Compact Front Load Washer

Samsung is a trusted name in the world of washers/dryers. But the power of the brand alone isn’t the only reason to choose this powerful, yet compact washer. The washer is easy to maintain, thanks to the accompanying app on your smartphone. 

This is a crucial feature since it alerts you to anything wrong with the washer due to heavy water damage well in advance. The app monitors the heavy water filter and the functionality of the machine. 

That way, you can fix any issue easily by cleaning up or replacing the heavy water filter to prevent any further complications. Besides its power, the machine is surprisingly quiet with reduced vibrations. 

The washer uses the power of steam to remove the toughest stains. That makes pre-treating stains or using heavy-duty detergents redundant. It cuts down the time to finish a regular cycle with a full load by about half, finishing in 40 minutes instead of one hour or more. 

Pros

  • Smart care with a phone app.
  • Fast speed.
  • Steam power to remove tough stains.
  • Less noise output and reduced vibrations.
  • Compact machine for smaller spaces.

Cons

  • Laundry takes longer to dry than average.
  • It uses a lot of energy considering its small size.

2. Best Steam Treatment: COMFEE’ 24″ Washer and Dryer Combo

Comfee is a washer and dryer combo with steam care that gets the laundry cleaned up with the power of steam in a self-contained environment that doesn’t put your health at risk. 

The front-load, fully automatic machine handles the washing and drying in one setting for time-saving and convenience. Additionally, the washer has a wool setting, an overnight automatic wash, and dry setting, and a reload feature that lets you redo the laundry if necessary. 

Comfee has a loading capacity of 26 pounds which is enough for a small household. The inverter motor in the machine saves energy and offers higher performance while keeping the noise output down and vibration at a minimum level.

Treating the laundry with steam not only removes tough stains easily and more efficiently but also reduces the water consumption of the washer, albeit at the cost of higher energy use. An added advantage is the fewer wrinkles and creases the laundry has when the washer cycle is done.

Pros

  • 26 pounds load capacity.
  • Wool and reload settings.
  • Steam stain treatment.
  • Inverter motor for better power conservation.
  • Reduced vibrations.

Cons

  • You need to remove the bolts at the back of the machine to keep it stationary during operations.
  • Longer washing and drying cycles than other machines.

3. Best Washer Dryer Combo: LG WM3488HW 24″ Washer/Dryer Combo 

When LG burst on the scene, its competitors barely noticed, and hardly anyone took it seriously. Years later, it’s one of the best-known names, thanks to its efficient and affordable washer/dryer combo machines. 

As far as hard water is concerned, the WM3488HW is a good candidate on your shortlist of hard water washing machines. For one thing, the washer has a stainless steel drum. It resists rust, erosion, and heavy mineral build-up. 

The front load washer conserves energy and has plenty of programs for all types of clothing and laundry. The dryer is ventless, which makes dryer sheets redundant. You can use fabric softeners during the washing cycle, but the softener needs to be diluted.

The LG is small and compact, taking only a small space. It’s suitable for small apartments. However, while operating it, it’s not unusual for the washer to start moving due to the vibrations of the machine.

Pros

  • Stainless steel drum to resist rusting, erosion, and heavy minerals build-up.
  • Front load washer to save on water consumption.
  • Conserves energy.
  • Small and compact to use in a closet or a small space.
  • Affordable price.

Cons

  • A ventless dryer doesn’t allow you to use dryer sheets.
  • The machine tends to move during operation.
  • High vibration and noise output.

4. Best Quiet Washer: Equator 2020 24″ Combo Washer Dryer Black Winterize+Quiet

People who prefer to take their laundry to the laundromat or use laundry delivery apps always point out the high amount of noise output washer/dryer combos tend to make. It’s a fact of life that we have to live with that the dryer makes the machine shake violently and loudly. 

Unless you have an Equator 2020.

If noise is a concern, then set the machine to Quiet Mode. This mode only emits 60 dB output which is the same as a refrigerator. The LED panel is color coded to help you select the different settings and programs with ease. 

The winterize feature lets you bring a frozen machine back to life with a few drops of antifreeze in the drum. After 2 minutes, the washer is ready to do the laundry. The stainless steel drum is another important feature of this hard water washer dryer combo. It protects the machine against erosion.  

Pros

  • Quiet Mode with 60 dB noise output. 
  • Stainless steel drum.
  • Winterize feature to unfreeze the machine in cold winters.
  • Delay feature to start the laundry at the time of your choice.
  • Color-coded control panel.

Cons

  • Low load capacity of just 13 pounds.
  • Laundry comes out of the dryer full of wrinkles.

5. Best Convertible Venting: Equator 18 lbs. All-In-One Washer Dryer

So far, the washer dryer combos I have reviewed were ventless dryers which made it impossible to use dryer sheets. But this All-in-one Equator addresses this shortcoming in other machines of the same caliber by using convertible venting. It also has sanitize, allergen, and quiet programs.

Convertible venting allows you to switch between ventless and vented drying as you see fit. With vented drying, dryer sheets are possible, and you won’t have to use fabric softeners. This Equator has a maximum laundry capacity of 18 pounds per load.

The control panel is color coded to facilitate the selection of the programs. Another good feature is the use of sensors to measure the water levels and temperature inside the drum. This helps conserve the consumption of both water and energy to keep your utility bills down.

Switching between the ventless and vented drying options is done with the touch of a button. Usually, you’d use the vented drying when the weather is dry. In humid conditions, use the ventless dryer setting to speed up this cycle.

Pros

  • Sanitize, allergen, and quiet programs.
  • 18 pounds maximum capacity.
  • Vented and ventless dryer options. 
  • Saves water and energy consumption with the use of sensors.

Cons

  • It operates on 110 volts and 1,500 watts, so the dryer cycle takes longer to finish.
  • It comes with shipping rods that need to be removed before installation.

6. Fastest Quick Cycle: KoolMore FLW-5CWH 27″ Front Load X-Large 4.5 Cu. Ft Machine

I like to think of the KoolMore FLW-5CWH as the Swiss army knife of washing machines. I’m not just talking about the large load capacity (almost double that of other washer dryers of this caliber) but also the huge amount of features this machine has.

KoolMore has a powerful inverter motor that is efficient with power consumption and uses less water. The machine uses both steam and water to treat tough stains. And it has 12 programs for all types of fabrics. 

The motor runs on 120 volts which speeds up the washing cycles in general. The Quick cycle, for example, only takes 20 minutes to finish. And when you add the low noise output of the machine, you can understand why it’s considered one of the best products of the company.

The one drawback about the KoolMore is its size. This is a bulky machine measuring 27 x 34.2 x 39.8 inches and weighs about 216.1 pounds after you unbox it. It takes more square feet in your place.

Pros

  • Powerful inverter motor with low noise output.
  • A quick cycle takes 20 minutes to finish.
  • 12 programs for all types of clothes.
  • Uses both steam and water to treat tough stains.
  • High laundry load capacity.

Cons

  • A bulky machine that weighs 216 pounds.

7. Best Energy Saver: Bosch WAW285H2UC 24 Compact Washer with 2.2 cubic feet

Speed is an important factor in a washing machine, whether you’re dealing with hard water or regular water. And Bosch got you covered with a robust and compact washer that can stand up to the erosion and ravages of the heavy minerals in hard water.

The energy-efficient Bosch runs on 240 volts which accelerates its washing cycles whether you’re using the Quick, Regular, or Heavy Duty cycles. The machine comes with 14 cycles to take care of all types of laundry you throw into its drum. 

With measurements around 24.25 length x 23.5 width x 33.25 inches in height, Bosch is a compact machine that can fit in a closet or a small bathroom without coming in the way.

The front-load and energy-efficient Bosch has a maximum spin speed of 1,600 rotations per minute. It gets the job done efficiently, with less power and water consumption, and in less time.

Pros

  • High spin speed of 1,600 RPM.
  • Compact machine weighing only 160 pounds.
  • 14 cycles for different types of clothes.
  • Runs on 240 volts.
  • Front-load machine with low energy and water consumption.

Cons

  • A low load capacity.
  • Only comes in one color.

8. Best Wi-Fi Enabled: LG WM3555HWA 24-Inch Smart All In One Washer/Dryer

Smart machines are all the rage these days. These machines track your usage and have the ability to learn and adjust their performances based on your preferences. However, the LG WM3555HWA seems to have a loose definition of the word “smart.” Since the “smart” in the name refers to energy consumption.

That said, this LG has some outstanding features that catch the eye. As a front load machine, it has tempered glass and is Wi-Fi enabled. 

The fabric sensor is a good feature that lets the machine identify the type of fabric in the drum and adjust the water agitation and spin speed based on that information. 

The LG has ventless condensing drying, which recycles the air inside of the drum and squeezes the moisture out of the fabric. This is often less effective than using vented drying that refreshes the air and lets steam and humidity out of the drum for more efficient drying.

Pros

  • Fabric sensor to identify the fabrics and adjust the spinning speed and water agitation.
  • Tempered glass door
  • 14 cycles
  • Wi-Fi enabled
  • Smart energy consumption
  • 1,400 RPM
  • Stainless steel drum
  • Anti-vibration system

Cons

  • Ventless dryer, which impacts the drying process.

9. Best Automatic Water Adjustment: Electrolux White Compact Front Load Laundry Pair

This Electrolux is the answer for people who want their washer and dryer in two separate machines instead of one. Does it take more space that way? Yes, it does. But it also separates the two processes, which gives you more efficient machines with just one job to do for each.

Both the washer and the dryer are similar in design and size, with the washer a little grayish compared to the bright white dryer. Maybe the color difference helps you identify which machine is which. But under the surface, the washer has some astounding features.

It uses both steam and water to clean. It has an ExpertCare cycle for delicate and sensitive fabrics. And if noise is an issue, the machine has an Extra-Quiet setting that reduces the noise output and vibrations. 

The washer has automatic water adjustment to save on water consumption. And both the washer and the dryer have stainless steel drums.

Pros

  • Two separate washer and dryer machines.
  • ExpertCare cycle for sensitive and delicate fabrics.
  • Extra-Quiet cycle that reduces noise and vibrations.
  • Automatic water adjustment.

Cons

  • The washer dryer takes up more space and square footage in the house.
  • The washer only has 7 cycles.

10. Best Budget: Samsung WF42H5000AW Front-Load Washer with Smart Care

Samsung offers this washer for people on a budget. There’s no dryer attached which would explain the low price tag. But other than that, this washer has some outstanding features that would deserve your consideration. 

The Samsung WF42H5000AW has 8 cycles, 9 options, and 4 temperature settings. Despite the limited number of cycles, the washer allows you full control over the underlying processes. You can choose between 4 temperature settings and even decide how fast the machine should spin.

Another key feature here is the proprietary Vibration Reduction Technology (VRT). The machine runs with low noise output and even fewer vibrations than other machines in the same category and load capacity. It also comes with three trays for bleach, laundry detergent, and fabric softeners.

There’s an app you can install on your phone that runs full diagnostics on the washer and alerts you if there are issues. The app even tries to fix the problems.

Pros

  • 4 temperature settings and 4 spin options.
  • Vibration Reduction Technology (VRT) to reduce the noise and vibration of the machine
  • Smart Care app that diagnoses the machine and tries to solve any issues it finds.
  • Low price.

Cons

  • A limited number of wash programs.

Buying Guide for Washing Machines for Hard Water

After reviewing the above 10 best washing machines for hard water, you might be wondering what exactly makes a washing machine stick out. And how to narrow your choices to the right washer or washer/dryer combo that suits your needs. 

This buying guide has got the answer to the most pressing questions on your mind. It tells you all about hard water and why it’s bad both for the washer and the laundry. I also list the key features that you should keep in mind when choosing a washer for hard water. 

What is Hard Water?

Hard water is packed with minerals that interfere with the laundry detergents and impact their effectiveness. Ideally, these minerals are removed during the processing and filtration of the water in your local water processing facility. That way, the water that comes out of the tap is clean and ready to use.

But that process doesn’t always work as expected. Maybe the source water is contaminated with too many minerals such as calcium, magnesium, chalk, and lime. In that case, the filtration isn’t very effective, and a large amount of these minerals pass through to the tap water.

Either way, hard water is not suitable for consumption. You shouldn’t drink it, and you can’t use it around the house for washing the dishes or doing the laundry. 

How does Hard Water Affect the Washing Machine?

When you use hard water to do the laundry, the washing machine is the first to raise the alarm. The minerals in the hard water, especially lime, build up on the heating unit in the washer, which causes it to malfunction. 

The mineral build-up also affects other parts of the washer, especially the drum. It can cause erosion and insulates the sensors with a thin layer of minerals that damages the sensors or impacts their ability to measure the different metrics inside of the washer, such as temperature, water level, and humidity. 

The problem with hard water is that the issues it creates are recurring. You can do a thorough clean-up of the internal parts of the washer and the drum, but soon, the build-up of minerals starts again, and you have to redo the clean-up over and over.

If you keep using hard water to do laundry, eventually, the damage to the washer becomes permanent, and fixing it can be quite costly. You need a permanent solution to the problem of hard water.

The Impact of Hard Water on the Laundry

But hard water doesn’t just impact the washer; it also has a negative effect on the laundry itself. Because the minerals in the hard water will also infiltrate the fabrics and stay there. When you pull out the clothes after the end of the washer cycle, they look dingy and dirtier than when you put them in.

These mineral deposits can have lasting damage on sensitive fabrics such as nylons and satins. Wool materials also can lose their color or texture, especially natural wool clothes. 

In short, doing the laundry becomes a gamble, and you always wonder what kind of damage the hard water will do to the clothes every time you drop them in the washer.

What does the Hard Water Filter Do?

It’s obvious that using hard water to do the laundry is not recommended. Considering the damage both to the washer and the laundry, you might think of investing in bottled water to wash your clothes. 

Unfortunately, that doesn’t work because of cost considerations and the fact that the washer needs running water. Even collecting rainwater is not an ideal solution if you don’t get enough annual rainfall to sustain your laundry requirements.

A more convenient and cost-effective solution would be to install a hard water filter. The hard water filter processes the water coming out of the tap runs it through a series of filters to extract the excess minerals then feeds the washer with clean water.

You can buy a fantastic hard water filter from 3M on Amazon.

It’s a simple process but quite effective. The only drawback is that you will have to replace the internal filters as they tend to get clogged up quite often. Depending on the amount of mineral content you have in the hard water, that process could be weekly or monthly.

Some hard water filters don’t require replacing the internal filters. But they require regular cleaning and maintenance to remove mineral build-up inside of the filters themselves. However, compared to the damage to the washer and laundry, maintaining the hard water filter is the lesser of two evils.

Benefits of Washing Machines for Hard Water

Washing machines for hard water have many advantages over regular washing machines. The first is the stainless steel drum. It resists erosion and rust due to the high content of minerals in the hard water. The stainless steel drum also repels the minerals, which minimizes the build-up of such minerals.

One point to keep in mind is that hard water filters are sold separately. Washing machines don’t have a built-in hard water filter. That said, once you have the hard water filter, you can install it onto the tap feeding the washer. That way, the filter cleans the water before it gets into the machine.

And while you’re at it, you might also invest in other hard water filters for the other taps in the house. You’ll notice that the dishwasher runs smoothly with the filtered water and even the shower water feels lighter and cleaner.

How to Protect the Washer against Hard Water

Besides having a hard water filter, there are other ways you can deal with hard water and minimize its damage both to the washer and the laundry. Some of these innovative solutions won’t cost you much as you will use materials and products already in your kitchen.

  • Softening Powders: These powders need to be mixed with the laundry and interact with the minerals in the hard water to render them neutral and minimize the damage limescale does to the heating unit. You can buy it on Amazon.
  • White Vinegar: You can use white vinegar as an alternative to softening powders. Pour a cup of white vinegar into the drum before you add the detergent. The white vinegar binds with the chemicals in the hard water.
  • Regular Maintenance: if you have hard water in the tap, then you need to clean the washer regularly. Unplug it and use a solution of white vinegar and warm water to clean the drum, the filters, the dispenser trays, and all areas where you find limescale.

Key Features to Look for in a Washing Machine for Hard Water

When choosing the best washing machine for hard water for you, you need to keep certain factors in mind. Here are these factors and why they’re important for the functionality of the washer.

  • Drum: Make sure the drum is made of stainless steel. It resists rust, erosion, and mineral build-up. Drums made of other metals are not as effective as those made of stainless steel.
  • Load Capacity: Much like regular washers, a washing machine for hard water should have a high load capacity above 15 pounds. This helps you get your laundry done in one load to save on power and water consumption.
  • Number of Programs: It goes without saying that a washer with more programs gives you more control over the washing process and helps you finesse it to suit the type of laundry you’re doing. Look for a washer with 12 or more programs on average.
  • Temperature Setting: Some washing machines for hard water give you 4 or more temperature settings to help you adjust the temperature of the water.

FAQs

How do I Remove Hard Water Build-up in my Washer?

The best way to remove mineral deposits and limescale build-up in the washer is with white vinegar. Unplug the machine and add a cup of white vinegar to one liter of warm water. Dip a clean scrub or a coarse brush in the cleaning solution and scrub the mineral build-up.

When you’re done, give the drum a once-over with a sponge or washcloth soaked in the vinegar-water solution.

Why do I Need a Hard Water Filter in my Washer?

A hard water filter for the washer is essential to keep the minerals out of the machine and prevent damage to the heating unit and the sensors. Washers don’t come with a built-in hard water filter, so you’ll need to purchase a filter separately and install it on the tap that feeds the machine.

Regularly clean the hard water filter and replace the internal filters to keep it working efficiently at purifying the water.

Conclusion

When you have to deal with hard water in your household, doing the laundry can be a gamble. The clothes come out of the washer dingy and covered with stains. You can find a good washing machine for hard water in this review. 

Before you start the washer, install a hard water filter on the tap attached to the washer. It will extract the minerals out of the water to protect the machine. 

Next, you can check out my list of the best laundry detergents for hard water.

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