The pros and cons of front-load vs. top-load washing machines

The pros and cons of front-load vs. top-load washing machines

Which is better: your basic top-loading washing machine, or the higher-end front-loading washing machines? Read on to find out which will get you more bang for your buck.

The pros and cons of front-load vs. top-load washing machines

Choosing a washing machine can be make your head spin faster than the water-removal cycle. Should you buy a traditional top-loader? One of the newer, highly customizable front-loaders? Which is better? What are the pros and cons of each?

Top-loader machine pros:

  • They cost significantly less than front-loaders
  • They have fewer special features that could potentially malfunction
  • They do a great job cleaning clothes
  • They allow you to toss items in after the load has started
  • They don’t require you to bend or kneel to fill up

Top-loader machine cons:

  • They sit upright with an agitator sticking up in the middle
  • They offer significantly less capacity than front-loading washers
  • They also require enough water to cover the clothes in the tub, not just once, but through at least 2 refills
  • They agitate at 1000 to 1400 RPM during the water removal cycle

Front-loader machine pros:

  • They are spacious and gentle
  • They “agitate” by turning the drum, like a clothes dryer does – meaning that the drum only needs to 1/3 full
  • With no agitator to obstruct, items are cleaned more gently
  • They are energy-efficient
  • Tests show they clean more thoroughly and remove stains better
  • Some have special cycles, like eco-friendly cycles, stain removal cycles, sanitizing cycles, quick wash and wool cycle settings
  • They agitate at 650 RPM during water removal
  • They can be stacked on top of dryers to save space

Front-loader machine cons:

  • Most front-loading washers cost hundreds of dollars more than their traditional counterparts
  • Some of the special wash features can take up to 30 minutes longer to complete per cycle than the standard top-loader wash cycle
  • More bells and whistles inevitably mean more parts to wear out or break
  • Some owners of front-loading washing machines complain water trapped inside the wash drum and/or detergent dispenser can cause in a foul odour

The final word on washing machines

So it all boils down to this: if you just want a basic, inexpensive clothes washer without any extra fuss, the top-loader is probably the best choice for you. If you have more cash to spend initially, are picky about the condition of your clothes, tend to have large loads and are concerned about the environment, a good front-loading machine may be your best option.


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