Difference Between a Front Load and Top Load Washing Machine

Difference Between a Front Load and Top Load Washing Machine

If convenience and comfort are two things you want to enjoy, you need the best appliances in your space because they’ll get you just that. Let’s face it; we live in a modern world where many things steal us away from our domestic obligations with each day that passes by, and the best way to make up for it is by having appliances that make our day-to-day activities very easy. We’re even lucky to have tech-inspired machines, like smart refrigerators, that can do so much with little or no manual input, and that’s to show how far technology has evolved over the years.

The washing machine is one of the essential appliances in every modern household because it eases the burden of washing manually, which can be very stressful, especially when you have kids around. The first residential washer was introduced in the ‘30s, and things have gone over the top since then as washing machines are now getting the attention they deserve on the appliance market. The attention washing machines are getting right now is only proof of how much top manufacturers have invested in these efficient machines in terms of resources and effort.

Front and top-loading washing machines are the two significant types of washing machines money can get you on the market right now. You can decide to opt for any of them as they’re both efficient and mostly get the job done, but the difference between front and top-loading washing machines has caused people to ponder what type of washing machine is best. Top and front load washing machines serve the same purpose: to wash clothes, but when you begin to get into details about the types of washing machines, things can get a little complicated as you’ll be stuck between the available options.

People pay a lot of attention to washing machine differences because paying attention to the minor details can make the difference when purchasing the ideal washer for your laundry room. We understand that choosing between a top load and front load washing machine can be daunting, and 8 out of 10 times, it’s often down to a very personal choice, which means that people purchase based on recommendation or residual knowledge of the product. However, as a buyer, you need to be able to explore the difference between front load and top load washing machines to make the best purchase decision and which product to settle for.

According to Liam McCabe of the New York Times, the best factor to consider when comparing front load and top load washers is which one you think will best fit your home. Getting stuck between two machine types is never the easiest thing to go through, especially when these machines offer almost the same features and fall within the same price range. The difference between front load and top load washing machines lies in many things that range from look to efficiency, among many others.

In terms of longevity, top load washers have the advantage because manufacturers introduced them long before their front-loading counterparts. For a long time, top load washing machines were the ones people turned to because they were the only option available. Today, top appliance manufacturers have taken advantage of the popularity of washing machines to create a surge of fantastic top load and front load washers so people can have enough options to choose from.

The comparison of washing machines has drawn a lot of attention. People have constantly compared different washing machines in various categories, such as agitator vs. impeller washers. The truth is that both top load and front load washers have their pros and cons, which are to be seriously considered before you decide on which one of them you should go for. Before we get into that, let’s look at some of the performance factors you need to consider when in the middle of choosing between a front load or top load washing machine.

Important Performance Factors To Consider

The comparison of front and top load washers has caused quite a stir in the washing machine industry as people have been forced to make the top loading washing machines vs. front loading washing machines debate a popular one. The truth is that it’s never easy when you’re forced to choose between a top loader or front loader washing machine, so when people are forced to choose between the two, they always look for what can help them make the best decision. Below are some vital performance factors to consider when you’re stuck between these two washing machine types.

Cleaning Efficiency

One of the many factors – perhaps the most important of them all – you need to consider when purchasing either a top load or front load washing machine is cleaning efficiency. You need to do your homework correctly to know which of the two washing machine types has the best cleaning efficiency, so you can put your money where you think efficiency is best guaranteed. When it comes to cleaning efficiency, top-loading washing machines can be very rough on clothes because of the presence of the agitator that brings aggressive operation.

Top-loading washers may seem ideal because they’re easier on your back. However, you’ll see that front-loading washers are easier on your clothes, especially when you overload your top-loading washer. You can’t always wash large items with your top-load washers because they’re not built to handle things like comforters and pillows.

Ease of Use

Ease of use is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing the perfect washer for your laundry room. Nobody would like to get their hands on a machine that will prove very difficult to use, although this is what most people end up getting due to a lack of proper preparation. If you’re thinking of a washer that is easiest to operate, people love to choose top-loading washers over their front-loading counterparts because you don’t have to bend over to load and unload your clothes from a top-loading washer.

If you’re an older adult and looking to buy a washer ideal for your age, you will love a top-loading washer because it’ll save you from the stress of bending down while loading and unloading clothes. We recommend getting laundry pedestals to help raise your washer about 12 to 15 inches if you want to buy a front-loading washer regardless. Top-loading washers also have more convenient qualities like a see-through lid and a pause button that allows you to add more clothes mid-cycle.

How Quickly They Wash

While most people choose speed over every other performance factor, it’s essential to consider how quickly a washer can get your clothes ready. If you’re big on quick cleaning, your best would be a top-loading washer, which has a reputation for its fast cleaning. However, not all top-loading washing machines are the same.

Top-loading washers are available in two types; agitator-type washers and impeller-type washers. The agitator is a unique component that comes with top-loading washers, and its responsibility is to bring the handwashing effect into the modern way of doing laundry. It creates motion by forcing water through the machine, vibrating the washer, and providing clean laundry.

If you’re big on speed, you should opt for an agitator-type washing machine because it operates faster. However, if you’re looking for speed without compromising quality cleaning, impeller-type washers, also known as high-efficiency washers, are your best bet.


The thing about getting a quality washer or finding the best option between front load and top load washing machine is that you can’t afford to leave a stone unturned, which means you have to consider every factor available to be considered seriously. If you’re purchasing any appliance, not only a washing machine now, you have to work with a clear budget. You can dream of having all the features you want in a washing machine; if you don’t have the financial prowess to pull it off, you might be forced to settle for a less-quality washer.

People always wonder why front load washers are better, but if you try to pay attention to the little details, you won’t always find it hard to believe. You get more quality clean from a front load washer, and the fact that it’s more energy and water efficient makes it understandably more expensive than its top-loading counterpart. According to an article on the front load vs. top load washer debate on Samsung’s official website, front load washers have more features to deal with different fabric types and soil levels than top load washers.

If you are not on a budget, we recommend a front load washer, although it may seem very expensive when you consider the upfront cost. However, when you put the total expenses over the long run together, you’ll realize it’s a great investment. If you’re investing in a front load washer, you should know you’re getting the quieter of the two washing machine types, thanks to its suspension systems and advanced motors.


Another important thing you need to put into consideration is installation flexibility because it also plays a great part in helping you decide on which washer type you need to settle for. Most people, when buying a washer, always want to get a stackable option, which means the washer can later be stacked with a dryer and that’s what most front-loading washing machines can do. When you combine a washer and a dryer, you’ll be left with enough space to do other things.

Check out our review of the best washer and dryer bundles under $1000 here.

People opt for this stacked washer-dryer layout because it’s either they have no choice as a result of the small closets available to them, or because they’re trying to save some space for additional storage. If space is a major issue for you, then you need to consider the installation flexibility of the washer you’re looking to buy before you decide to finally put your money on it.

Water Efficiency

This is not the most essential factor on this list, but people should still pay attention to it because it also matters. As much as it’s not something most folks pay attention to, you can’t overlook water efficiency in a washer when purchasing except you are very confident it won’t be an issue, which mostly depends on where your laundry room is located in the house and how easy it is to get water across. In this case, you might just want to opt for a front-loading machine because it uses less electricity and water than an average top load washing machine.

There’s no denying that we need efficient washers in our homes today, not just because they’ll save us from paying hefty utility bills, but also because they’ll reduce the burden on us. Generally, having an efficient washer in your corner will sustain your environment better than when you have an inefficient washer in your laundry room.

Spin Speed

Lastly, one of the most important factors to consider when stuck between a front load and top load machine is the spin speed. It is very important that you correctly look at the spin speed of a washer because it will save you a lot of time when it’s time to dry your laundry as it would have removed more water from your clothes even before you transfer them to your dryer. Yet again, you may be forced to opt for a front-loading washing machine if you’re big on this performance factor because it spins 33% faster than an average top-loading washer during the final spin cycle.

The more spin speed a washer has, the more noise and vibration will be produced when it’s spinning, and that’s a huge drawback for a front loader. Although you will dry your clothes faster, you have to be prepared to deal with a lot of vibration and noise when the machine is spinning. However, to ensure this doesn’t happen too often, many manufacturers have included noise reduction and anti-vibration technologies in their washers, leaving you with some smooth operations even when the machine is spinning very quickly.

What is a Front Load Washer?

Front-load washers may only have been around recently (at least not as rich as top-loading washers in history). However, the success these washers have enjoyed in recent years is only a testament to how much people love and appreciate the core concept and how these machines function. As the name implies, a front load washer is simply a washing machine that is loaded and unloaded through the front rather than the traditional top-loading washer we’re all used to.

According to Albert Lee, front-load washers offer consumers more capacity levels and cleaning functions than their top-loading counterparts, despite having only been introduced recently. They evidently have larger drums and can take up to 20 pounds of laundry at a time, which is why many people often opt for them. Another thing about front-loading washers is that they do not have performance boosters such as impellers or agitators that can be found in the washer tub, so rather than fully submerging your fabrics in water, they rotate the clothes in different directions in a very small amount of water.

What people love most about front-loading washing machines is how gentle they are on clothes because they do not have the agitator, whose operation is always very aggressive. Each clothes is dropped into the water repeatedly as the drum rotates, creating a gentler wash on clothes when you compare to what you get when you use an agitator-type washing machine. You can also stack a front-laundry washer to an external dryer to save more space in your laundry room, and that’s another good reason to invest in this washer type, especially if you don’t have a large laundry room.

On the flip side, if you opt for a front-loading machine, you should be prepared to go through a lot with maintenance, especially with the rubber gasket rings because they will need to be constantly cleaned or replaced on some particular washer models. These rubber gasket rings are known to trap water droplets in, and as a result, full drying can be prevented, which means mold or mildew can begin to form in the washing machine if the water droplets are not wiped out regularly. If you leave mold to build up in your washer, you’ll start getting messy clothes and some unpleasant smells, which won’t be nice at all, so you should only opt for a front-load washer if you’re either certain you won’t have to deal with this or you’re prepared to deal with it.

What is a Top Load Washing Machine?

Top load washing machines have been in existence long before front-loading washers, so we’re not surprised they’re more popular today because they were all people had when they were in dire need of efficient washing machines. It’s human psychology to always stick to what works, and that explains why people have not fully trusted front-loading washers despite boasting better features and cleaning performance than top-loading washing machines. These washers have been put to test so many times, and they’ve proven to be very reliable over the years – the fact that they’re still competing with front-loading washers after all these years is enough proof.

One of the many benefits you’ll enjoy from investing in a top-loading washer is the helpful range of wash cycles it has. The height of a top-loading washing makes it very easy for you to load and unload the machine because, unlike a front loader, you don’t have to bend your back before loading and unloading your washer. Additionally, most top-loading washing machines come with helpful features like mid-cycle access, a see-through lid, and a built-in dispenser, some of which cannot be found in a top-loading washing machine.

Of all the benefits that come with using a top-loading washer, perhaps the most fantastic one is the fact that it is available in two types – with an agitator and with an impeller. An agitator-type washer usually has a large cylindrical agitator located at the center of the washtub and its job is to rotate against your clothes to aid the cleaning process. However, if you use an agitator-type washer too often, it may result in early wear and tear as its aggressive operation will soon damage your clothes.

With a top-loading washer, you also have an option of the impeller, which is a gentler component to have in a machine compared to an agitator. An impeller-type washer is just the opposite of the one with an agitator because its low-profile nature gives people a gentler cleaning process. It comes with a bottom-mounted disc that spins gently to rub clothes against each other for a great clean.

Pros and Cons of Front Load Washers

Regardless of how you think it or where you try to think it from, front-loading washers will always be people’s favorites when they consider the important performance factors, some of which are highlighted in this article. Even though people are familiar with how front load washers work, it’s still very important to know in detail the pros and cons of front load washers because they’ll help you make the best decision when it’s time to purchase a washer. Without further ado, some of the benefits of front load washers, as well as the disadvantages of front load washing machines, include;

Advantages of Front Load Washers

Perfect for bulky items

Front-load washers are everything top load washing machines are not because they’re designed and built to do things their top-loading counterparts can’t dare try. If you’re looking for the best washing machines for comforters such as blankets and pillows, the best option you have available to you would be to consider a front load washer because it’s built for any type of materials from bulky items to delicates. According to Good Housekeeping in a review of the best 10 washing machines of 2022, you can always trust your front loaders to easily handle bulky and big items like sleeping bags and comforters.

This is because most front loaders are available in large capacities ranging from 4 to over 5 cubic feet. However, before you opt for a large-capacity machine, you need to ensure that your laundry room is big enough to accommodate the machine you’re purchasing, because the bigger the machine, the larger the capacity. If you purchase a large-capacity washer without having a laundry room that is large enough to accommodate it, you may be forced to return the machine.

Very efficient

Another thing you’ll love about a front-loading washer is that it is very energy and water-efficient compared to a top loader. A front loader comes with many features that help clean faster, making the machine consume less water in the process. Without the presence of an agitator or an impeller, a front load washing machine uses a bottom-mounted disc to rub clothes against each other while also using less water, making it the best in this sense.

When a washer is energy-efficient, you don’t have to worry about spending a lot of money on utility bills at the end of every month or every year because it doesn’t use as much energy as its counterparts and it also doesn’t need more water to wash clothes efficiently. That’s not to say top load washers are not energy-efficient. Some of them even come with Energy Star ratings because they’re energy-efficient, but most of them are not as energy-efficient as most front-loading washers.


Lastly, if you don’t have the luxury of space in your laundry room, it is always perfect if you opt for a front-loading washer because it’s mostly stackable. Most front load washing machines can be installed side-by-side with a dryer or stacked with a dryer so you don’t have to create another space for a dryer in your laundry room as that will take up a lot of useful space there. However, this might mean that you may have to settle for a washer that is not so large in capacity if you don’t have a laundry room that is large enough.

Problems with Front Loader Washing Machines

Can’t add extra items mid-cycle

Every machine comes with some drawbacks and front-loading washers are not an exception. One of the biggest problems with front loader washing machines is that you can’t add some extra clothes or items mid-cycle just like you can do with a top-loading washing machine. So, if you ever forget to add some items before the wash cycle begins, you might have to wait till the end of the cycle before you can add some extra clothes to the washer again.

Bending and hunching

We can’t think of a bigger downside of a front-loading washer than having to bend your back or hunch when you’re loading and unloading your clothes in and out of the washer. This is not something you have to go through with a top load washing machine, but due to how a front-loading washer is designed, you have to constantly go through it. However, if you can invest in a pedestal to increase the height of the washer, you may not have to go through it, but having to spend some extra bucks on pedestals just to keep things leveled is discouraging.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which is the best washing machine: top load or front load?

When comparing both washing machine types, it’s always very hard to determine which one is better without being sentimental. If you’ve always used a front-loading washing machine, your argument will most likely be in favor of a front-loading washing machine. However, going by some of the performance factors we’ve discussed earlier in this article, we believe the front load washer will edge its top-load counterpart if they go toe-to-toe.

2. Is front load washing machine better?

Although top load washing machines have been around for much longer, it is still widely believed that front load washing machines are better because they’re more energy-efficient, have more features, and use less water.

3. Are all front load washers high-efficiency?

Impeller-type washers are also known as high-efficiency washers, but if the question is about being efficient performance-wise, we believe front load washers are highly regarded. However, just as it is with other washers, it’s hard to say all front load washers are high-efficiency washers.

4. What type of washer cleans clothes the best?

Both front load and top load washing machines are very efficient with cleaning, so it’s hard to choose which one does it best. Nevertheless, some people will argue that front load washers come with more features that make cleaning easier and more convenient.


Many people think it’s not fair to compare front load and top load washers because they are both efficient in cleaning, which is the basic responsibility of any washing anyway. Despite that, comparisons have grown so much over the years as people also love to know which of the different types of washing machine performs better than the other, sometimes, just out of curiosity. It’s important to know the differences between the two washing machine types, which have been highlighted in this article.





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