Step by Step ProjectsTips from the ProsAffordable Remodel
I am someone who prescribes to the idea that less is more, meaning, the fewer electronic do-dads and gizmos the machine has, the less there is to go wrong with it, also, the cheaper it is to fix it. The fewer options and gizmos, the cheaper the machine will be as well.
We went from a top loading machine to a front loader, which is supposed to be more gentle on clothing and wash better. Our experience is that our clothing isn't getting any cleaner and they are more knotted and wadded up when they come out (more wrinkles if you're not careful). Downside to a front loader is that there really isn't any "soak", and you can't add more to the load once you've pressed start, as the machine locks down and prevents the door from being opened.
Front loaders are more susceptible to vibration, so avoid those drawer units that go under them. In reality, these drawers are expensive, a poor use of space, and they are not sturdy enough to resist vibration when the machines go into their spin cycles.
As for advice on a specific machine, I would recommend doing your research at various on-line retailers and read through the consumer reviews of each machine you're interested in. You will not find any good source of "professional" reviews, as most of these are simple regurgitating the standard manufacturer's description of the machine.
What spruce said, plus:
Inexpensive (but still doing the job right) washing machines are those machines that have been around for decades, except that nowadays, all brands are owned by GE or Whirlpool.
You asked about Admiral - it's a Whirlpool brand. When my washer gave, I bought a Roper (again a Whirlpool brand) and let me tell you, it does the job, which is all I care about. BTW, you can buy 5 Ropers for the price of 1 Bosch.