Top Load Versus Front Load Washers: Which One is Better?

by Maria Sherman

A common question we hear daily is should I buy a top loading washer or a front loading washer? While often times, this becomes a personal decision, consumers are often swayed by many avenues of information. These could come from friends, consumer websites, or manufacturers’ websites. In years past, front loading machines have gotten many negative reviews for a variety of reasons. From the smell to the standing water in the door gasket, there were many issues that occurred within the first few years. Manufacturers have addressed all of these issues adding clean washer cycles and drains in the door gasket to eliminate standing water in the door to eliminate mold and odor. So, why are front loading machines better? The reasons are listed in the paragraphs below.

Front loading machines boast more efficiency, less water usage, and less detergent usage when we compare them with top loading machines. Initially, the cost on the front loading machines can be higher. But, the energy savings every month will definitely make up for that. Front loading machines can use less water to run a full load at a shorter length of time. This will ultimately save not only water but electricity. Because these units spin most of the water out of the clothes during the spin cycle, you will not have to run your dryer as long. Front loading machines as a category have decreased in price in the past several years. Most of these units will start at only $699, (WF42H5000) making them a better investment as well as an energy saver. Not only are the front loaders energy efficient, but the initial cost savings is another great reason to purchase one.

The front loading units have multiple installation options making them ideal for smaller laundry rooms, closets and for consumers with back issues. The units are most often preferred for small spaces, such as a closet or on a second floor, as they can be stacked to accommodate tight spaces. Consumers who have limited width but not height may opt for the pedestals for the front loading machines. These average about fifteen inches and will provide storage for frequently used items. By bringing the units up higher, the transfer between washer and dryer will be much easier at will be at waist height for most consumers.

Front loading units are more efficient at cleaning clothes and have a larger capacity. The wear and tear on clothing is lower and the clean ability is higher. Without an agitator, which is likely to have large rubber fins to move the clothes around in a circular motion, the clothes are less likely to get caught or tied together. The quick spinning of the agitator and the pattern that it goes through of starting and stopping during the cycle is a perfect way to break down clothes much more quickly. Front loading units do not have agitators, but rather use gravity and the side paddles on the drum to lift the clothes in and out of a small amount of water. As for the capacity, a front loading machine can handle about twenty pounds of clothing. In the majority of front loading units, you can launder a king size comforter with ease. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, using a front loading machine will cut water usage by about forty percent. A full size front loader uses only twenty to twenty-five gallons of water versus about forty gallons for top loading units.

There are generally fewer repairs on front loading units. Front loaders use fewer parts, and that makes them have a lower repair rate. By using gravity to move the items in the drum, they have less mechanics that can fail. This is great news for consumers, as repair rates will continue to sky rocket. In most areas one service call can be over one hundred dollars. And typically that is just to diagnose a unit. It does not include parts or any additional labor.

There is less noise during the spin cycle of a front loading machine, making it ideal for installation on a main floor or in a bedroom. For example, Samsung has a model (WF45N5300AW ) that can reduce vibration up to forty percent more than regular units. You can feel confident running your laundry without it making noise. There are a wide variety of units that use a vibration control, which is a stabilizer of the internal drum. By using this, there is less chance of the unit rattling your floors while in operation. These units are designed to function in a closet or in a laundry room on a main floor. Some units are so quiet; you won’t even know they are running.

There are most often upgraded features with front loading machines that can make the consumers life easier. One amazing feature is steam. Steam in the washer will help with stain removal, and lessen the wrinkles when the clothing comes out of the unit. Steam in the dryer can be used a few different ways. One great way is for removing wrinkles. The steam will infuse into the clothing and relax the fabric. Another great way to use steam is the steam refresh. This will de-wrinkle a garment that you may have been wearing all day and want to wear it out to dinner or a movie. Another great feature of front loading machines is the load and go option. Maytag (MHW8200) and Whirlpool (WFW92HEF) in particular have this feature. To make the consumers life a little easier, these brands in particular have incorporated a feature that you would fill the detergent dispenser to the top and close the lid. The unit will pull only what amount of detergent it needs to based on the weight of the load. This eliminates a step in the washing process making it easier for the consumer.

When trying to decide between a top loading machine and a front loader, there are many criteria to consider. Front load machines are truly a great option.