Washing Machines - Top vs. Front Load

  • Feb 10, 2014

When it comes to washing clothes, is the top or front load better? Naturally there are pros and cons to using either type of washing machine, but let's take a look at their main features to help you make a decision. Washing-Machines-–-Top-vs.-Front-Load  

Top Loader Front Loader

Can be interrupted mid-cycle to throw in clothes you forgot

Cannot be interrupted mid-cycle

Needs enough water to cover all the clothes in its drum

Needs less water (about ⅓ of the water the top loader uses) since the clothes are dropped back into the water as the drum spins

Cannot be stacked with another dryer

Can be stacked with a front loading dryer, so it helps to save space

Uses an agitator for rinse cycles

Has no agitators so there is less wear and tear on your clothes, thus extending their shelf life

Less room for dirty clothes so more loads are required

Without an agitator, there is more room for dirty clothes so fewer loads are needed (about 20% to 30% more)

Less expensive than the front loader

More energy efficient, but is more expensive upfront than the top loader

Doesn't have a door lock

Has a door lock

Any brand of laundry detergent is fine

Recommended to use low-suds laundry detergents as front loading washing machines require less water, so traditional detergents may have difficulty dissolving and leave soapy residue on your clothes

The spin speed is slower than the front loader, but has a shorter wash time cycle

Spins up to 2 times faster than the top loader, but has a longer wash time cycle

Common problems: its mechanical gearboxes are more prone to wear and tear over time than the motor drives in front loaders

Common problems: faulty door seals or door-locking mechanisms, leakage

Not as maintenance-intensive as the front loader

Requires regular maintenance to clean the door seals, bellows, and drum

Tend to be noisier

Front loaders tend to be quieter as the door seal helps to contain the sound.

May have difficulty washing large items like pillows or large soft toys as they tend to float in the water

Has enough space for large items, but is gentler on delicate fabrics



  • If you're using a High Efficiency (HE) model, be sure to make the switch to HE laundry detergents as such washing machines typically use only 20% to 60% of detergent and water that a standard model uses.
  • If you have back or knee problems, it may be better to get a top loader instead of a front loader.
  • The amount of lint accumulated is a good guage of how rough the washing machine is on your clothes since lint is primarily composed of stray fibers that come from your clothes during the wash.
  • Front loaders are more convenient for people on the short side or have to move around on wheelchairs.
Some people are die-hard fans of top-loaders while others swear by the front-loaders. But like all appliances, your choice of washing machine is ultimately dependent on your lifestyle, available floor space, and allocated budget. Even for each type of washing machine, there are numerous models with different functions to choose from. For example, you might want to consider a model that has a hand wash mode if you have lots of delicate fabrics at home. Others have the anti-crease function that uses steam to replace ironing. Sounds complicated, right? An easy way will be to choose a few brands that you trust and shortlist the top 5 features that you require of a washing machine. After which, your allocated budget should be able to help you narrow down the list considerably. Have fun shopping for a washer!
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