We called our resident appliance expert to get some advice on which models were the best. We then went to Best Buy, PC Richards and Sears Home Appliance. When we arrived at the first store, I opened the lid on the washer and was surprised to see no agitator. I thought, WOW - washers have changed a lot since we last bought one. Many of the washers are now front loaders. A front loader would not fit in our laundry closet, so we went with a top loader.
We chose an LG washer. I was told to be sure to read the manual before washing clothes. It seems that laundry is no longer a simple process of add soap, add clothes and press start. The LG is unbelievably quiet when in it is running. Much less water is used, but the washing time is much longer (1+ hour).