Best high-efficiency laundry detergent

Laundering & Fabric Care

When using any high-efficiency laundry detergent, it’s important that you only add exactly as much detergent as is recommended, as using more can shorten the lifespan of your washing machine.

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Which high-efficiency laundry detergent is best?

High-efficiency laundry machines and their matching high-efficiency laundry detergents go a huge distance in providing as much value as possible, thanks to the decreased need for large amounts of detergent and the inherent energy savings of the machine. Don’t worry, you don’t need a high-efficiency laundry machine to take advantage of a high-efficiency laundry detergent.

The best high-efficiency laundry detergent is the Tide 3-in-1 HE Turbo Laundry Detergent Pacs. These super convenient pods eliminate all need for measuring, as well as any chances of spilling. Plus, they come in plenty of lovely scent options so you can find the perfect scent for you.

What to know before you buy a high-efficiency laundry detergent 

What is high-efficiency laundry detergent?

The two key factors that make laundry detergent high-efficiency are the decreased generation of suds and less need for water.

Less suds: High-efficiency laundry detergents generate less suds and soap residue, which makes less of a mess and is better for the environment. It’s also why high-efficiency laundry detergent can be used in a standard washing machine and why high-efficiency washing machines require a high-efficiency laundry detergent. 

Less water: Since high-efficiency laundry detergent generates less suds, they also require less water, as little as .25 the standard amount, to clean your clothes. This means a lower water bill for your home and less gray water that enters into the environment. You’ll need a high-efficiency washing machine to properly take advantage of the decreased water need, though.

High-efficiency laundry detergent forms

High-efficiency laundry detergents generally come in either pod, liquid or powder forms.

Pods are the simplest form of high-efficiency laundry detergent. Simply throw the pod into your washing machine before your clothes and you’re done. There’s no need to worry about measuring or spills. They might not work as well with some front-loading washing machines.

The most common form of high-efficiency laundry detergent is liquid detergent. You can precisely measure the amount of detergent to match the size of your load of laundry, but you risk getting that liquid all over your laundry room in the case of an accident. Front-loading washing machines generally recommend you use liquid detergents.

Powder is one of the of the least used forms of high-efficiency laundry detergent, even though it’s easier to add to your laundry and less risky to spill than liquid detergent.

What to look for in a quality high-efficiency laundry detergent 


Like most laundry detergents, high-efficiency laundry detergent can come in a huge variety of scents, with many brands having multiple scents to choose from for each type of high-efficiency laundry detergent they produce. The scent rarely affects the cleaning power of the detergent.


Everyone has a different level of sensitivity to various chemicals. As such, most brands of high-efficiency laundry detergent will have scent-free and/or “gentle” formula versions of their high-efficiency laundry detergent.

How much you can expect to spend on a high-efficiency laundry detergent 

Luckily enough, high-efficiency laundry detergents are just as high in cost efficiency as they are in working efficiency. You can find high-efficiency laundry detergents in amounts large enough to handle up to 50 loads for less than $10. Once you start looking at pod forms of laundry detergent, you’ll begin to see prices around the $10 mark, while huge bulk amounts or premium branded high-efficiency laundry detergents can rapidly spike, reaching $25 or more.

High-efficiency laundry detergent FAQ

Do all high-efficiency laundry detergents clean all stains with equal effectiveness? 

A. Not quite. Most brands of high-efficiency laundry detergent will use different formulas that clean certain stains better or worse than their competitors. Certain brands will also have different lines of high-efficiency laundry detergent that can better handle different types of stains. Nearly all high-efficiency laundry detergents will openly state which types of stains they’re better handled to clean, so if you have a specific need, it shouldn’t be too hard to find a matching detergent.

My high-efficiency laundry detergent pods aren’t fully dissolving in my washing machine, what can I do about it?

A. Firstly, make sure you’re adding your high-efficiency laundry detergent pod before you add your laundry; the excess contact with the water at the bottom of your machine will kickstart the pod’s dissolution. If that hasn’t solved the problem you’ll need to dissolve the pod in warm water before adding the water-and-dissolved pod mixture to your washing machine.

What’s the best high-efficiency laundry detergent to buy?

Top high-efficiency laundry detergent

Tide 3-in-1 HE Turbo Laundry Detergent Pacs

Tide 3-in-1 HE Turbo Laundry Detergent Pacs

What you need to know: These ultra-convenient high-efficiency laundry detergent pods give a high strength clean with plenty of value.

What you’ll love: There’s no need to measure, thanks to the pod form, and there’s no risk of spilling either. The pods dissolve in both cold and hot water.

What you should consider: The pods can occasionally fail to fully dissolve during the washing period.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top high-efficiency laundry detergent for the money

Arm & Hammer Laundry Detergent HE

Arm & Hammer Laundry Detergent HE

What you need to know: This high-efficiency laundry detergent is focused on providing as much detergent as possible for the lowest possible cost.

What you’ll love: Despite not being designed for sensitive skin, this high-efficiency laundry detergent has almost no reports of causing skin irritation.

What you should consider: The packaging has a few rare reports of leaking.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Gain Laundry Detergent Liquid Plus Aroma Boost

Gain Laundry Detergent Liquid Plus Aroma Boost

What you need to know: Another excellent value package of high-efficiency laundry detergent from another top tier brand.

What you’ll love: The two containers in this dual pack combine to clean up to 96 loads of laundry.

What you should consider: This product doesn’t have the strongest stain and odor removing performance, compared to similar detergents.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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