Front Load vs. Top Load Washers

Front Load Washer
Top Load Washer

Front load washers are more energy efficient than top load washers. However, their initial purchase price is significantly higher, and they have a shorter life expectancy than top load washers. Front load washers also have much longer wash cycles than topc load washers, as they use less water.

Top load washers are relatively more popular in the U.S. while front load washers have become more popular in Europe as they're stackable and can save space.

Comparison chart

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Front Load Washer

User Rating (36):

Top Load Washer

User Rating (44):
Energy efficiency More efficient Less efficient
Load size Larger Smaller
Spin Up to 1000rpm 650 rpm
Clothing life Less wear and tear More wear and tear
Cost More expensive Less expensive
Door lock Yes No
Detergent Usually only HE low-sudsing detergent Any
Add steam In some models No
Wash time cycle Can be 30 minutes longer Shorter
Reliability Less problems Broken belts, leaky hoses, sensor problems.
Life expectancy 11 years 14 years

Contents: Front Load vs Top Load Washers

 "Take'em for a spin, baby"
"Take'em for a spin, baby"

edit Energy efficiency

Front load washers use about 1/3rd of the amount of water used by top load washers. Front load machines can also spin up to 1000rpm, compared to a top load washer’s 650 rpm. This means less water is left in the laundry, leading to shorter drying times.

edit Space

Front load washers can be stacked, while top load washers cannot.

edit Wash cycle

Top load washers have significantly shorter wash cycles (25 minutes) than front loaders (45-90 minutes, depending on the size of the load). This is because front load washers use less detergent and water and to clean more effectively, they usually take somewhat longer to wash a load. Front loaders are also equipped with computer controlled sensors which if set correctly can easily adapt the wash cycle to the needs of each load.

edit Care for front load washers

Some front load washers can have mold and odor problems if not taken care of properly. To avoid this, it is recommended that the door of the washer as well as the detergent dispenser be left ajar for some time after every wash cycle. The drum should be turned manually to get rid of any excess water and to air out the washer. Clean your washer periodically as per the instruction manual.

edit Spin-dry effectiveness

Front-load washers offer much higher maximum spin speeds (up to 2000 RPM, although home machines tend to be in the 1000-1400 RPM range), while top-loaders with agitators do not exceed 1140 RPM. High-efficiency top-loaders with a wash plate instead of an agitator can spin up to 1100 RPM, as their center of gravity is lower.

Higher spin speeds remove much more residual water, making clothes dry faster. This also reduces time and energy if clothes are dried in a clothes dryer.

edit Clothing Life

The agitator in a top load washer can add wear and tear to clothes. A front load washer does not have this problem. Some delicate items can be washed in a front load washer on the hand wash setting.

edit Cost

For a given brand, a front load washer costs several hundred dollars more than a top load washer.

Some of the top brands in the US are LG, Samsung, Maytag, Kenmore and GE.

edit Reliability

Front load machines can cause a musty smell. They can also vibrate against the floor. They have an average life expectancy of 11 years.

Top load machines can have problems with their belts, hoses and sensors. They have an average life expectancy of 14 years.

edit Popularity

Top load washers are more popular in US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Latin America. Front load washers are more popular in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and much of the rest of the world.

The market share for these washers is roughly:

Market Front Load Washers Top Load Washers
US Market Share35% 65%
European Market Share90%10%

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Comments: Front Load Washer vs Top Load Washer

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Anonymous comments (2)

March 13, 2014, 4:31am

Great discussion and thank you for clearing my doubts ...

— 122.✗.✗.163
-1

January 30, 2014, 8:13am

I have a front loader washer & dryer and I love them!

— 107.✗.✗.160
-1

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