Do you prefer a top-load or front-load washer?

Consider the pros and cons to determine which one is best for you.

An average American family is responsible for nearly 400 loads per year of laundry. That’s quite a few dirty socks.

Although most households still use top-loading washers for all their laundry, front-loading models have made significant inroads on the market.

Which type is best? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each.

Top-Loaders Pros

  1. Familiarity
    It can be overwhelming to purchase new appliances, especially when you consider all the technical aspects. It can sometimes feel like you are in a spaceship, just to wash your laundry. Top-loaders are different. They are all familiar: the central agitator and the wash cycles. These are the ones most people remember from growing up. Some estimates suggest that 75% of households still use them.
  2. Mid-cycle addition of clothes
    It happens every time: You load your laundry and notice a sock lying on the floor. A top-loader is the answer. Pop it open, put the sock in the wrong place and start the wash cycle again. Most front-loaders won’t allow you to open the door after the cycle has begun.
  3. Price
    The top-loaders tend to be cheaper than their front-loading counterparts. A base model can be purchased for about $300. Prices will go up depending on how much you want to add.
  4. Comfort
    Some people find it easier to load the washer from the top, especially for those with back problems. No bending required.
  5. Detergent
    Top-loaders allow you to use the same detergent that you have used all your life. Special suds are required for front-loaders.


  1. Energy costs
    It’s the one that matters most: Top-loaders use on average 7,000 gallons more water per year than front-loaders. The tub of a top load washer fills up with water while a front-loader’s does not. Top loads use more water and require more heat to heat.

Pros – Front-Loaders

  1. Energy costs
    Front loaders use less water per load and require less energy, which makes them more cost-effective and better for the environment.
  2. Speed
    Front-loaders spin at a faster speed than top-loaders. This means that your clothes dry faster, which results in less drying time. This will allow you to save time and money.
  3. There is plenty of space inside the washer
    Front-loaders aren’t equipped with agitators as top-loaders. Agitators take up much space. You have more space for heavier loads because the basket is empty. Larger loads equals less.
  4. Bells and whistles
    Front-loaders are better for techies who want the latest and greatest features. There are many front-loaders that have steam cycles for heavier stains, smart features to allow you start and monitor laundry even when you’re away and electronic keypads.


  1. Smell
    Some front-loaders may develop an unpleasant odor, according to some people. This is because water can get trapped around the doors and cause mold growth. Although there are ways to avoid this, buyers should be aware of the issue.
  2. Comfort
    Think about how much bending you will have to do in order to get your clothes out of the washer 400x a year. A top-loader is a better option if you have a bad back.
  3. Price
    You’ll save money over time but your front-loading machine is more expensive up-front.
  4. Detergent
    For your front-loader, you will need to use a specially formulated detergent

The Best of Both Worlds

A high-efficiency top load washing machine is a good choice. There are many models and makes to choose from. They are more expensive than front-loaders but offer the same innovations as front-loaders. There are some that have fancy keypads with computerized keypads. These can save as much energy as front loaders, do more in a shorter time and include cool features such as steam.

Quick Answers: Should you get a top-load washer or a front-load washer?

  • Top-Loader Advantages: price, convenience, familiarity, ability to add clothes mid-cycle, price and detergent
  • Top-Loader Cons: energy costs
  • The pros of front-loader include energy costs, speed and space within the washer.
  • Front-Loader Cons: smell, comfort, price, detergent

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