What is a smart washing machine, and do I actually need one?

Smart washing machines are cropping up everywhere, but are they all they're cracked up to be?

GE smart washing machine
(Image credit: GE)

Just about every appliance in your home can be smart these days, including your washer. But what does it mean to own a smart washing machine? 

Essentially, a smart washing machine gives you the ability to control the appliance through your phone. It hooks up to your wifi so you can plan wash cycles to work with your schedule, intercept forgotten loads of laundry before they start to stink, and even troubleshoot your machine with tech support. 

Thinking this sounds better than your current setups? Read ahead to learn more about the innovative features of today's smartest washing machines.

Not sure what you want from a washer? Check out our guide to buying the best washing machine.

Push notifications

Have you ever had to re-run your washer because you forgot to move your clothes from your washer to your dryer, only to wake up the next morning to a musty-smelling load? Gross, we know, but it happens to all of us. A smart washer's push notifications stop this from happening by alerting you when the cycle is completed. 

Virtual assistant friendly

For those of us that own an Alexa or Google Home, voice activation is an essential component in our lives. Smart machines can connect to these virtual devices - if you are in the house but not near the machine or your phone, your virtual assistant can alert you that the laundry is done. 

You can also use various voice commands with your assistant during the wash cycle. If you own a Samsung appliance, for example, you can say things like:

  • Alexa, tell Samsung to start my washer 
  • Alexa, tell Samsung to pause the washing machine 
  • Alexa, ask Samsung what mode is running on the dryer 
  • Alexa, ask Samsung what is the remaining time on my dryer 

Cycle customization 

App- and voice-control aren't the only benefits of owning a smart washer. Taking proper care of your clothes is essential for durability and longevity, and today's high-tech machines can help.

Most washers have the standard cold or hot water settings, and go from delicate to whites only to hand wash. Smart washing machines take it up a notch. For example, LG uses AI to verify the shape and fabric type and then adjusts the washer movement for optimal cleaning performance. New smart dryers can also select the dryer setting based on the previous washer cycle. 

Troubleshooting made easy

If you've ever had a washing machine break (or are in the lucky possession of one that seems to break once a year) you know getting it fixed goes something like this:  call customer service to make an appointment knowing scheduling might take a couple days. Secure your four hour window of time for the appliance tech to be at your house, and spend the entire day waiting around for him or her to show up. It's not exactly seamless. 

Smart machines allow you to request maintenance at the touch of a button, in real time. The immediate support handles quick easy fixes that don’t require service appointments. 

Live a wrinkle-free life

Smart washers notify your device when the load is done and will lightly tumble every couple of minutes to ensure air flow till you have the opportunity to take clothes out. This keeps clothes wrinkle-and-mildew free if you happen to be on the go.

Load and go dispenser

Many smart washing machines today feature detergent reservoirs that can hold enough laundry soap for 30+ loads. We love this, one, because the washer automatically puts in the right amount of detergent for your load and cycle; and two, because it alerts you when you're running low. No more getting home from the store only to realize you ran out of laundry soap a day later (especially handy while we're all trying to limit our trips out of the house).

So do you need one?

Smart washers typically cost more than their counterparts without wifi, so it's important to make sure the price is worth it for your lifestyle. We say a smart washer is for you if:

  • You’re someone that is always on the go
  • You're a busy parent that often forgets about the laundry sitting in the machine
  • You're working on setting up a larger smart home network
  • You're tech savvy and will easily adapt to this new way of doing the wash

Looking for a washing machine? Check out: