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Top Load vs. Front Load Washing Machines: Which is Better?

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Washers Front vs. Top LoadingIntroduction

When it comes to buying a new washing machine, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether to choose a top load or front load model.  Both types have their advantages and disadvantages, and the best choice for you will depend on your specific needs, preferences, and circumstances.  In this blog post, we’ll compare top load and front load washing machines in terms of their efficiency, performance, convenience, cost, and more to help you make an informed decision.


Water and Energy Use

Front load washing machines are generally more energy-efficient and use less water than top load models.  They work by tumbling clothes through a small amount of water, whereas top load machines need enough water to submerge all the clothes in their drum.  This difference in design means that front loaders can save significant amounts of water and energy over time.

Detergent Use

Front load washers also tend to be more efficient in their use of laundry detergent.  Because they use less water, the detergent is more concentrated and can clean your clothes more effectively.  This means you can use less detergent per load, saving you money over time.


Cleaning Performance

In terms of cleaning performance, front load washers generally outperform top loaders.  Their tumbling action is more effective at removing dirt and stains, and they’re also better at handling delicate items.  However, some high-efficiency top load models can match front loaders in terms of cleaning performance.

Spin Speed

Front load washers typically have faster spin speeds than top load models.  This means they can extract more water from your clothes during the spin cycle, reducing drying time and saving energy.


Loading and Unloading

Top load washers are generally easier to load and unload because you don’t have to bend over.  This can be a significant advantage if you have back problems or difficulty bending.  However, front loaders can be placed on pedestals to raise them to a more comfortable height.

Cycle Time

Top load washers usually have shorter cycle times than front loaders.  So if you often need to do laundry in a hurry, a top loader might be a better choice.


Purchase Price

Top load washing machines are typically cheaper to buy than front loaders.  However, the initial cost difference can be offset over time by the higher efficiency of front loaders.

Maintenance and Repair Costs

Front loaders can be more expensive to repair than top loaders.  They also require regular maintenance to prevent issues like mold and mildew growth.


Both top load and front load washing machines have their pros and cons.  Front loaders are more efficient, perform better, and can save you money in the long run.  However, they’re also more expensive upfront and require more maintenance.  Top loaders are cheaper, faster, and easier to use but use more water and energy.

The best choice for you will depend on your budget, lifestyle, and personal preferences.  Consider all these factors carefully before making your decision.

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Washing Machines

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Looking for the best washing machine to buy or the best washer and dryer combination?  Here are some important considerations first.

Washing MachinesMake Sure You Have Enough Room

When purchasing a washing machine and dryer, the first step is measuring the space where you want to place your washer and dryer.  Measure width, height, and depth.  Contemplate whether stackable units are a consideration.  Leave minimum half a foot behind for water inflow and outflow connections.  Also, for side-by-side configuration, leave at least an inch between washer and dryer as well as on each side for air circulation.  If you are buying front-loading washers and dryers, make sure you have enough room to navigate when the doors are opened.

Also, measure your doorways and entrances to ensure the washer or dryer can be transported into your home and the particular room.  Make sure your floor is not sloped.  Buy a drain pan, especially if your washing machine is above the ground floor.

What Kind of Plug-Outlet Connection is Required?

Make sure electrical outlets support the proper amp and voltage requirements.  Washers need a 20 amp, 120 volt electrical outlet.  Electric dryers need a 240 volt outlet.  Gas dryers need a 120 volt outlet and a gas line.  Dryers also need to attach to a vent duct to expel moist air outside or you will find an inadvertent steam room which will be a breeding ground for mold and mildew.

Standard Width

The standard width of washing machines is 27 inches.  That is the starting benchmark.


In terms of tub capacity, on the larger end is 5 cubic feet or more, handling more than 25 pounds of laundry load, while on the smaller end is 3 cubic feet or less, handling less than 12 pounds of laundry load.  When considering capacity, not only contemplate household size, but also whether you plan to wash large items regularly such as king size comforters or large blankets.

Top Loading or Front Loading

Traditional home washers are top loading and have agitators in the tub which wring clothes to clean them.  Today, there are top loading washers deemed high efficiency or HE washers which do not have agitators.  They are generally the most cost effective washer.  They typically perform better than the traditional agitator models, are more efficient and use less water, and spin clothes dryer.

Today, there are also front-loading washers for the home.  They used to be found mostly in laundromats.  They typically perform the best, have more capacity, run quieter, and spin the most water out of clothes.  All front loading washers are considered high efficiency (HE), too.  HE washers require HE detergents which generate less suds and require less water.  Laundry detergents will state on their labels if they are HE suitable.

Traditional agitator models are the least expensive.  Front loading are the most expensive.  Agitator models clean better due to the wringing action, but tumbling front-loaders are gentlest on clothes.  It is a tradeoff.  Although front loading manufacturers would like to tout they are just as effective in cleaning as agitators, anyone who has tried to wash a stain out of clothing knows flipping and flopping the clothing around many times will do little compared to wringing by hand.

Compact Models

Finally, there are compact models which are really designed to fit into limited space.


There are many new features today as manufacturers are thinking more creatively in differentiating their products.  Some models include a smaller built-in unit for washing one or two items.  Some have a built-in sink for hand-washing items.  And some are two-in-one washers with two smaller tubs but the ability to wash two loads simultaneously, for example, one cold gentle load and one warm.  Some features are definitely useful, for example, extra rinse cycles.

However, really contemplate how much return you are receiving for paying for extra features.  Does it really matter if your washing machine has digital display that counts down until completion?  Doesn’t a dial give the same feedback by its position?  Do you really need a phone-enabled app?  You have to be there in-person to load the laundry and detergent anyway, so when do you really need to start your washer remotely?

Last Word of Advice

Leave the doors of washing machines open after use.  This air dries the tub preventing mold and mildew buildup.


If you are looking for a top rated, reliable washing machine to buy, visit  Find the best brands.  Get exactly what you want based on meaningful, functional filters.  All products have been unbiasedly researched and recommended.  The only choice you need to make is where from the select reputable online retailers do you want to make the purchase.

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