Top Loader vs Front Loading Washing Machine

Which is better between a front loading washing machine vs a front loading one? Well, “better” is relative based on different circumstances that will determine which you washer you will need.

In this blog post, I go through different factors that you need to consider before you decide which washing machine is best for you..these factors are:-

  1. Ease of Use
  2. Water Consumption
  3. Wash Speed
  4. Power Usage
  5. Cleanest Wash
  6. Spin Cycle
  7. Cost
  8. Germs & Other Hazards

Having a washing machine at home is better than sharing one with thousands of other people in a laundromat. When sharing a machine, you have to think about the best time to do your laundry when the place is less crowded, and the cleanliness of the laundromat. Getting a machine at home will take all that stress away from you.

Washing machines are different in design as well as in efficiency. Some people only look at the price while others are concerned about the features.

Two of the most popular washing machines are the top loader and the front loader washing machines. They are both fully automatic designs that you load, touch a button, and your laundry gets cleaned.

There are a few ways to tell the difference between a top loader and a front loading washing machine.

1. Ease of Use

To use the front loader, you need to bend slightly as you push your laundry into the drum. For a user with a back problem, the front loader is a menace. You have to bend to load it and again once your laundry is done.

If you have several washes in a week, it might become very tiresome.  Hence, the front loader is not ideal for senior citizens and anyone else who finds it hard to bend in every wash. If you want to mount this machine on a platform to eliminate continuous bending, you need to spend more for the pedestal.

Though there are machines that you can stack together, in most homes, the front loader sits on the floor.  For the top loader, you load it easily without bending and the buttons are also within reach.

For a front loader, you also need to give it more space because of the door. As you install it in your home, it has to be in a spot with space for the door to swing easily.

If you don’t have room to maneuver, you have to close the door of the room when loading or taking out laundry. If you have limited space, you can place your dryer on top of a front loader washer.

For a top loader, the space available is not a major problem because it sits upright.

2. Water Consumption

The top loader needs more water than a front loader because the drum needs enough water to float the clothes as they spin. For top loaders with impellers, getting the pressure or current to spin the clothes requires sufficient water so that clothes are cleaned as they spin.

Remember, these machines are automatic and there is no manual activity need to make then run. Therefore, the water must rise to a good level if you want to get the best results.

In a front loader, the drum lifts the clothes and drops them into the water. Essentially, when you compare the water consumption of a front loader with the average top loader, a front loader uses about 5 gallons less in each cycle.

Even the largest laundry item will submerge easily in the water and detergent because the drum depends on gravity not electrical current to drop clothes in the water.

3. Wash Speed

Top loaders have either an agitator or an impeller. An agitator is a pipe stuck in the middle of the drum from the bottom. This agitator can be a single or a dual action agitator. As it spins, the fins attached to this agitator move the laundry around the drum. This is the cleaning process.

On the other hand, top loaders with impellers have more space because they are installed at the bottom to create a current that makes clothes spin. Due to this difference, a top loader with an agitator is rough on clothes and it can damage some fabrics after a few washes.

On the other hand, the front loader uses a gravity to spin the drum and as the speed increases, clothes rub on each other and loosen the dirt. This has no effect on the fabric.

Front loading machine has a smaller capacity compared to a top loader. If you have a large household, the top loader will require several rounds to complete the task.  It means more hours of doing laundry when you can just finish the task in less washes when using a front loader.

4. Power Usage

Front loading machines use energy efficiently than top loaders. One reason for this difference is because the horizontal position of the drum in a front loader tumbles clothes using the force of gravity. For top loaders, the agitators and impellers need energy to spin.

When using warm water, the front loader has lower electricity costs compared to a top loader. In addition, front loaders are better at stain removal, and they do so with less water.

As the drum spins, the clothes fall into the water where the detergent activates the chemical action. The clothes rub against each other and this gentle friction starts the stain removal process. Within a few spins, the stain is loosened from the fabric as the detergent penetrates further.

The front loader wrings most of the water out of clothes so that they take less time in the dryer, which means lesser consumption of power. This reduces the consumption of electricity in the dryer making this machine a great energy saver.

5. Cleanest Wash

Instead of agitators and impellers, front loaders have a vane that tumbles clothes around. The clothes do not rub against any rough surface. This washing method is best for delicate fabrics like silk that can show the effects of friction even after one wash.

The front loading machine produces great results. When the detergent mixes with water at the right temperature, the machine’s drum tumbles rhythmically to cause the right friction between the clothes.

This scrubs any dirt on the surface of clothes without compromising the quality of the fabric. However, to enjoy this ability of the machine, you must put in enough detergent throw in clothes in sizeable loads.

6. Spin Cycle

Top loaders are also efficient because you can laundry items you forgot as the cycle spins. If you find some dirty items in the house, you can throw them in whenever you want.

For a front loader, the door locks so if you forget something, you cannot throw it in mid-wash. If you have an advanced front loader with a pause button, it stops the wash process and restarts it again.

Top loaders have faster cycles that are between 15 minutes to half an hour. However, this can be a downside because the frequent immersion of clothes into the water increases lint. The front loader has a higher spin speed, which makes the clothes dry better.

As far as sound is concerned, the front loaders are quieter than top loaders. If your laundry area is within the house such as close to the bedrooms, this feature is important for you.

However, if your laundry area is in the garage or in the basement, you don’t have to worry so much about the sound the washing machine produces.

7. Cost

Price is one of the differences most people use to compare these two machines before they look at the features or resource usage. The front loader is more expensive to buy whether compared to a top loader of that is of a similar or lower capacity.

If you spend more to buy a machine, just to enjoy lower energy and water costs, the financial benefits of your purchase will not make any significant changes to your monthly expenditure. It will take longer to see you actually saved on your purchase.

8. Germs & Other Hazards

A top loader is easier to maintain than a front loader. Mold accumulates inside front loaders because the door is always closed to prevent leakages. Even though some users leave the door open regularly for the inside to dry out, the mold is inevitable.

Mildew grows from using the wrong detergent, a lot of it or from keeping the drum moist often. To maintain a front loader, you have to clean it with a drum cleaner monthly.

If you overload the front loader because you want to do fewer loads, the drum becomes inefficient and it does not tumble freely. The top loader is different because moisture escapes through the top.

In Summary

As you can see, to get the best when you invest in a washing machine, look beyond the price and see the benefits and savings the machine will bring. Also, consider the amount of laundry you do in every round and the space you have in your laundry area. You might fall for the aesthetic value of a machine but you have no space to run it.

For instance, if your laundry area is already stuffed, a front loader might force you to take out some items for you to open and close its door. Overall, whether you go for a top loader or a front loader, the “best” machine really depends on different unique circumstance and the features you expect in a washing machine.

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