Front-loading vs. Top-loading Washers

Appliance consumers seem to have clearly drawn battle lines in the debate between front- and top-loading washing machines, with little middle ground. Front-load washers have been available for years, and prices have steadily become more affordable. Meanwhile, top-load washer models have begun to fall off, as the benefits of front-loading models become more well-known. You still have a choice today, so let’s take a look at some facts related to each type of washer, and consider the pros and cons of each type.

Front Loading Washer Facts

These machines are more energy efficient and use less water (about 1/3 the amount used by Housework: young woman doing laundry (shallow DOF; color toned itraditional, top-load washers). Front-load models will bear larger loads, place less wear on clothing, and have a faster spin speed, which reduces drying time. At this time, they are often more expensive than traditional, top-loading models. Front load washers require the use of HE (high efficiency) laundry detergent. Wash cycle times may be longer due to lower water use and extra care is required to prevent mold and odors. These washers are more reliable and do not become unbalanced while running, but have a shorter overall life expectancy than top-loaders. Some models have a steam feature available for extra cleaning power. Finally, front-load washer dryer units can be stacked, saving space.

Top Loading Washer Facts

Although top-loading machines are less expensive than front-loaders, they are less efficient, carry smaller load sizes, and place more wear and tear on clothing thanks to the agitating action that cleans the clothes. Steam is not available in top-load washers but any type of laundry detergent may be used. Wash cycle time is shorter and life expectancy is longer for top-loaders than for front-load models. Top-loaders are much noisier than front-loading models, especially if the load becomes unbalanced. These washers need maintenance and have many parts (hoses, belts, sensors, etc.) that may often break, requiring professional service. The good news is that they are not prone to mold or odors.

Should I Buy a Front Loader or Top Loader

The answer to this question depends on you, your budget, your lifestyle, and the demands you place on your washing machine. A high efficiency front load washer offers many advantages over a traditional model, but at a higher cost. Your local appliance repair service can be a helpful resource. Appliance repair techs have a wealth of experience in working on both types of machines, and will have insight as to which may be more appropriate for you. Make an appointment to have your current machine serviced and ask the technician which might be right for you.