automatic washing machine

Difference Between Semi-Automatic and Fully Automatic Washing Machine

Choosing the best washing machine to use depending on your unique circumstances can sometimes be tricky. With so many brands in the market, you may be wondering which one would be better between a semi automatic and a fully automatic washing machine.

There are a number of factors that differentiate semi automatic and a fully automatic washing machines. These are:-

  1. The Cleaning Process
  2. Design Aspect
  3. Type of Washing Machines in the Market
  4. Water Consumption
  5. Installation
  6. Cost of Purchase

Getting the most out of the machine you purchase means you have to consider many issues such as the machine’s consumption of resources like electricity and water. Beyond thinking about the price, the brand and the design, you will you also have to consider the main features you will get depending on model you will buy.

In this blog post, as the title suggests, we will be differentiate between a semi-automatic from a fully automatic machine so that you can make an informed decision. Lets start…

The Cleaning Process

Washing machines are supposed to make the laundry process easier than hand washing. It should take less time and human effort. A fully automatic machine does that because you load it and then press a button.

The cleaning process takes place with the least human effort. However, a semi-automatic machine requires some manual input when doing laundry because it has several tasks before the laundry is done.

To use a semi-automatic machine, you need to:

  1. Add water into the tub. Fill the tub to an appropriate level that will soak your load. As you add water, you need to know the amount of detergent you can add to that amount.
  2. Put your laundry in. Do not overload it to get the best cleaning results and for your machine to serve you longer.
  3. Drain the water once the laundry is done.
  4. Move the laundry from the washing tub to the drying tub.

Hence, my take is that a semi-automatic machine is not ideal for senior citizens or anyone who has no energy for such menial tasks. It also takes a lot of time to load and move the laundry.

If you have several rounds of laundry to do, a semi-automatic will require more hours at this task than it would take when everything is automatic. A fully automatic machine is more efficient because it is faster.

You only need to check once the washing is done because there are no manual tasks in between.

Design Aspect

A fully automatic machine consists of one tub where you add your load and take it out. It does not require a distinction so that anyone doing laundry doesn’t confuse what tub does the washing and which one does the drying. With everything happening in one tub, maintenance is also easier.

On the other hand, a semi-automatic machine has two tubs. One tub cleans your laundry, and the other one dries it. Each tub is designed to support a specific task. The semi-automatic takes less time to clean one cycle.

But on the other hand it spends more time overall between cleaning and moving the load into the dryer. Compare this to a fully automatic machine that takes a shorter duration to wash and dry but with longer cycle durations.

Type of Washing Machines in the Market

There are two types of fully automatic machines. It can either be a top loading or a front loading machine. The aesthetic difference between these two types of machines is location of the door.

A. Top Loading Washing Machine

As the name suggests, the top loading machines loads laundry into a drum from the top as its sits vertically. A top loader has either an agitator or an impeller. An agitator spins the laundry using fins fixed to a pole in the middle of the drum. On the other hand, an impeller thrusts water from the bottom of the drum.

automatic washing machine
Top Loading Washing Machine in Laundry Room

A top loading washing machine is great for people with back problems because they do not bend while doing laundry. It also takes up less space because it opens at the top.

This design also has the advantage of mold control as the moisture escapes from the top instead of being trapped inside. A top loader allows you to add other laundry items as it is running. You don’t have to pause it.

Despite these advantages, the load loader has a smaller space in the drum because of the agitator in the middle of the barrel. This means you have to do several rounds of washes if you have a large load.

B. Front Loading Washing Machine

The barrel or drum is placed horizontally. It cleans laundry by turning it around in the barrel. This also helps in preserving the original feel of the fabric because friction only happens when the clothes rub against each other.

automatic front loading washing machine
Front Loading Washing Machine

A front loader is heavier than a top loader. Instead of an agitator, this machine has paddles on the walls of the barrel. This feature also leaves more space inside for clothes unlike a top loader with an agitator because the middle of its barrel is occupied.

The front loader saves water because the drum depends on gravity to submerge clothes in the water. This is unlike a top loader that requires a sufficient amount of water to execute a spin. This machine also squeezes water out of clothes so that they take less time in the dryer. This makes it energy efficient.

Additionally, a front loader needs more space for the door to open and close easily. If the door doesn’t close properly, it leaks. It would also be tiring to load it while the door is half open because the machine is stuffed in a tight corner.

For semi-automatic machines there are many designs in the market, but the basic concept of the design is the same because they have two tubs. Different brands have sleek looking modern designs but the basic two-tub design remains.

semi automatic washing machine. Credit:

A fully automatic gives a clean wash and even removes stains. The front loader is particularly efficient in stain removal without damaging the fabric. As the clothes spin in the drum, the water activates the detergent and the friction between the clothes starts the stain removal process.

In a top loader, the agitator rubs against the clothes to cause friction that removes stains on garments though this may damage the fabric if it is a gentle material. However, a semi-automatic is not as efficient in stain removal and you may do so manually.

As you can see, there are a number of differences and advantages of both the front loading and top loading washing machine so my suggestion is you re-read this section to see which features are better suited for you

Water Consumption

I read somewhere that laundry uses the most amount of water anywhere in the world. I’m sure many home owner are looking for a way to spend less water because this also reduces the expenditure of the household.

For a semi-automatic machine, you have to fill the water manually. This gives you control over how much water you spend in each load. This machine is also ideal for regions with water shortage. When you have control over the amount of water in each load, you also have control over the number of washes to have each day or week.

In addition, a semi-automatic uses less water than an automatic machine. Automatic machines spend more water when you get a top loader. The water has to rise to a good level where the clothes are submerged and they can spin freely. If you don’t do that, you get unpleasant cleaning results.

Water is also essential because it activates the detergent. If you have less water than the amount needed, your clothes will come out smelling of detergent. Therefore, you cannot compromise the results of a fully automatic machine because you want to save water.

So if your major concern is saving on water, I would suggest a semi-automatic washing machine


Semi-automatic machines are bulky. The presence of double tubs makes it larger than an average fully automatic machine. Hence, they take up a lot of space. If you don’t have a large laundry area, you might end up having just space to stand and load your machine.

Fully automatic machines give you an option of a top loader if you have space constraints. It takes less space, and it loads from the top like a semi-automatic. For a front loader, you can place it over a dryer to save space.

With semi-automatic machines, they are all loaded from the top. There is no option to load from the front like in the fully automatic machines. Hence, you won’t enjoy benefits like less water consumption due to the force of gravity.

However, a top loader can also count as an advantage if you don’t like bending when doing laundry. Furthermore, a top loader has better control of mildew and mold because the moisture is not trapped inside like in a front loader.

Cost of Purchase

A semi -automatic machine is cheaper than a fully automatic machine. If you are not concerned about the manual input needed to do laundry every day, you will make a great saving when you buy a semi-automatic.

This saving also goes to the amount you will spend monthly to run and manage the machine. Since the semi-automatic consumes less water, your water bill will not be as high as if you were using a fully automatic top loader.

In conclusion, the difference between these two machines goes the design because there are savings on water and space depending with the machine you choose. If you need to save space, go for a fully automatic. If you want to save on water, choose a semi -automatic. If you are only worried about the purchase price, choose a semi-automatic.

Hope the above information helps. I would suggest bookmarking this page to reread it as I know that there is a lot to digest..

Best Washing Machines

In summary, below are the most popular washing machines. For me, there is no better expert to tell us which is the best other than the person who has already purchased one and used it.

A. Best Front Loading Washing Machine (Automatic Washing Machine)

A.1 Kenmore 41392 4.5 cu. ft. Front-Load Washer with Accela Wash in White

front loading washing machine

Comes in white color. Purchase includes delivery and hookup (Available in select cities only). Price is mid range, not too cheap not too expensive.

Its large 4.5cu.ft. capacity easily handles everything from towels and trousers to sweaters and socks.

A.2 Kenmore Elite 41073 5.2 cu. ft Washing Machine

Front-Load Washer with Steam Treat in Metallic Silver, includes delivery and hookup

Item includes room of choice delivery, unboxing, item hook-up and free optional haul-away at checkout. This front-load washer designed to handle loads of towels, hampers of laundry and huge comforters with ease.

Its Smart Motion Technology blends up to 6 different wash motions using a quiet Direct Drive motor for customized care for every type of fabric. You’ll always be able to give your clothes some customized love with 9 custom cycles, 5 soil levels, 5 water temperatures and 5 spin speed options.

B. Best Top Loading Washing Machine (Automatic Washing Machine)

B.1 Panda Portable Compact Top Load Washer, 1.6cu.ft

B.2 Kenmore 26132 4.8 cu.ft. Top Load Washer with Triple Action Impeller in White

Best of the top 3 top loading washing machines. Not entirely cheap .


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