Recently, with growing popularity of the more advanced Front-load washing machines (and Top-load washing machines) buyers are being confused whether to buy a top-load machine or a front-load one?
Washing machines are a necessity and it is highly recommended that users should do a little research in finding out which washer is actually a better choice for them among the various options available in terms of performance, functionality and features.
As these models are expensive a dozen of other question arises like:
- Which one is worth the price?
- Which cleans better?
- Which is easier to use?
- Which saves water?
- Which saves elasticity?
And a few other relevant questions as well.
So, before you shell out your hard-earned money on a machine simply because the shop assistant ”suggested it” or your neighbour has one, check it’s worth depending on what is more important to YOU. We will do a face to face “top-load washing machines vs. front load washing machines” comparison in full detail here so that you can get an overall idea.
13 Comparisons between a Top-loader and a Front-loader washing machine
1. Better at Cleaning
Winner: Front-loader washing machine
Every test performed under control has a clear winner–front loader washers. They are best at removing soils and stains from clothes. In fact, most technologists and manufacturers say the same thing: a top loader can never match the cleaning performance of a front loader.
The front-loader does the job better because they have more effective washing motions. Around their drum you will find blades or grooves that create a tumbling motion, this motion uses gravitational power. As the drum spins in both ways, the clothes are knocked against each other, scrubbed against the drum vents and all the dirt comes out.
Note: Remember that cleaning largely depends on your cleaning method. If you use the suitable detergent, load the right amount of laundry and select the ideal wash cycle for each wash you will definitely get better results with any washing machine.
2. Saving Water
Front-loaders also outperform the top-loaders in saving water. A basic level top-loader with an agitator uses 40% more water than standard a front-loader. For instance, a standard front-loader of Samsung uses 49 litres of water and a basic top-loader uses more than 114 litres of water per wash cycle.
This huge difference in their water usage is again related to their different washing methods. While a top-loader fills the drum to let the clothes float in a deeper pool of water a top-loader rotates the drum lifting and bathing the clothes into a shallower pool of water and detergent.
3. Comfort in Loading and Unloading
Top-loaders are generally more convenient considering you don’t have to bend while loading and unloading your clothes. For the elderly crowd who struggle with back pain or joint issues, a top-loader which stands almost 3 feet tall helps to avoid the trouble of bending down.
People using a front-loader washing machine can consider mounting it over a 12-15” tall pedestal to somewhat avoid the difficulty of bending down. Every manufacturer makes pedestals for their front-loaders but you have to pay extra for that.
4. Faster Wash Cycles
The time required for each wash cycle largely depends on the laundry load, soil level, and other customizable features. In general, a top-loader with an agitator tends to wash the clothes faster since the clothes are constantly bathed in a big pool of water.
A standard front-loader takes around 50 minutes and sometimes over an hour to complete a cycle where a top-loader does the same job within 30 minutes or so.
However, there are two exceptions to this.
- Some front-loaders have quick wash cycles that can wash clothes in 15-30 minutes but they can be only used to wash daily wears.
- There are two types of top-loaders in India; one with agitator and one without agitator which uses pulsators or impellers. An agitator is a funnel-like central disk which twists back and forth rubbing the clothes. Where an impeller is a low profile disk that rubs the clothes against each other. Top-loaders with agitators clean faster but top-loaders with impellers clean better.
5. Wear-and-tear on Clothes
A Top-loader washing machine cleans using the agitator or the pulsator. An agitator is a funnel with discs; these rubs the clothes as it goes back and forth. The impellers, on the other hand, have a disc at the bottom of the drum which has vanes at the sides. These discs or paddles clean faster but at the same time it stretches, clutches and twists the clothes and is pretty harsh on the fabrics.
On the contrary, a front-loader use tumbling motions lifting the clothes up and down, similar to hand-washing causing less wear and tear on the fabrics. So if you want your clothes to last longer a front-loader is always a better choice.
6. Energy Savings
The energy rating of your washer is decided by power need to run the machine, underlining, that personal energy consumption will vary depending on your washing habits as to how often you use it, how much load you put and what temperature water you choose.
But on average, it is said that a top-loader simply can’t compete with the energy efficiency of most front-loaders in the market. A test result showed us that using a front-loader instead of a top-loader can save the amount of energy required to power a 50-inch LED TV 5 hrs/ day for up to 81 days.
The main reason behind this energy deviation is spin speed. A front-loader has a faster spin speed which wrings out more water from the clothes than a top-loader, so you run the drier for lesser time; i.e. the drier is one of the most energy-consuming electrical appliances used in a household.
7. Adding Items Mid-cycle
The door of a front-loader is to prevent water leakage in any case and you can’t open them in the middle of a cycle; which was possible with a top-loader. So forget about adding the one sock that you always drop on the floor by chance. However, clothes can be added afterwards if your front-loader has the pause cycle button. It stops the cycle in the middle and then restarts it from where it had stopped. Top brands like Bosch, L.G, Samsung, IFB have added a mid-cycle loading option to their high-end front-loaders.
8. Smell and Mildew Formation
The watertight door of a front-loader is sealed using a rubber gasket. This traps moistures in between the gaps and harbors molds and mildews which leaves a musty smell in the clothes even after the wash. The laundry detergent and fabric softener you use serves as food for the mold spores.
Every technician and washing machine developer agrees to the fact that mold and smell is the biggest issue with the front-loader but fortunately, these are preventable. For that, you need to take out wet clothes right away, clean the detergent/softener dispensers, clean the rubber gasket frequently and once in a month run a self-cleaning wash program with bleach or use a drum cleaner.
9. Saving Detergent
As Front-loader washers use less water they also require less amount of detergent, typically one tablespoon or two depending on your load size; where a top-load machine needs more water and thereby more detergent.
Ideally speaking front-loader should use the special detergent made for them. These “front- load” detergents have a special formula which produces fewer suds. Otherwise, the tumbling movement of the drum will make way too many suds creating a mess and ultimately damaging the machine.
You may think you will get the job done by adding less amount of your regular detergent in your front-loader. Yes, you can, but that may not get you the best cleaning results.
10. Life Expectancy
This is where a front-loader will always win without a competition. You can place them under a countertop, or kitchen platform where a top-loader’s lid becomes a problem. Along with this, you have an option to stack your drier on the top of the washer.
However, there can be problems with front-loader in some cases- reaching to the control panel can be hard if you are about 5 feet tall. Another downside is that you have to be sure you have space for opening the front door. You don’t want to be obstructed by the door to reach up to other interiors.
11. No Noise Interfere
If the buzzing sound of a washing machine is a big concern to you, a front-loader is for you. All front-loaders are generally quieter than top-loaders. A top-loader makes sound and also vibrates with rattling noises. The best you can do is using rubber feet stand.
It will be wrong if I say all front-loaders work in complete silence but there are washing machines with anti-vibrating drums or silent motors. They work with making zero to little noise and you can probably sleep while your clothes get all clean and dry.
12. Affordable Price
Front-loaders cost way more than a top-loader because of their efficiency in cleaning, advanced features, and less power consumption. Starting price of a standard size (6 kg) front-loader is around 25k where the same size top-loader starts from 13k.
Capacity of WasherTop-loader Washer Price Range (Approx)Front-loader Washer Price Range (Approx)6KgRs 13k to18kRs 22k to 30k7 KgRs 21k to 28kRs 28k to 35k8 KgRs 26k to 35kRs 35k to 56k
13. Lifetime and Repairing Cost
The lifetime of a washing machine will depend on how much you follow the manufacturer guide, how much load you put and a bit on your luck, sad but true! So there cannot be any absolute washer that wins the race here. But in general the average lifetime of a top-loader is 14 years and a front-loader is 11 years. For very obvious reasons like additional features, more wash program the repairing cost of a front-loader will always be higher than a top-loader.
Let’s take a look back at the comparison. Here is a table with the ultimate results.
Selection FactorFront LoadingTop LoadingBetter cleaning✓XWater-saving✓XComfort in Loading and UnloadingX✓Energy Efficiency✓XFaster Wash CyclesX✓No smell and MildewX✓Wear and Tear on Clothes✓XAdding Items mid Cycle✓Xsaving Space✓✓Detergent Savings✓XLife Expectancy & Repair CostsX✓No Noise Interference✓XAffordable PriceX✓
Was it helpful? Or, are you still confused about your new purchase?
Okay then, let’s make the choice easier for you.
There can be three main restrictions -space, budget and both space and budget.
We give you three conditions. You decide it according to what is more important to you.
Condition 1: Budget is restricted; not space-
Best choice: Semi-automatic top-loader
Go for a semi-automatic top loading washing machine if you have a really tight budget. They are the cheapest among all other types but are bigger in size with separate washer and drier. Semi-automatic means you have to put the heavy wet laundry into the drier after each wash cycle by yourself. Think it as an exercise for your arms unless you have pain in joints. Also, they can work under low water pressure and don’t necessarily need a tap connection.
However, the cheap price is only their face value. If you sum up the yearly electric bill and water wastage it will exceed a front-loader. Also, all front loaders are fully automatic so no lifting heavy wet clothes each time to the drier which is tiring and waste of time and energy.
Condition 2: Both budget and Space are restricted
Best choice: Fully automatic Top-loader
Only a fully automated top-loader can perfectly balance these two constraints. They are costlier than the semi-automatic front loaders but take almost half of the space because they use a single compartment for both washing and drying off clothes. They are great options for bachelors because they save your time from changing compartments between washing and drying.
For those who live alone or don’t want to spend that much on a fully automatic top-loader can go for just a washer without a drier. But that will be too much work to be done.
Condition 3: Only space is restricted
Best Choice: Front-loader
Front loading washing machines are the best choice if you don’t mind spending a bit more on a washing machine. They are the most advanced washing machines and take the least space for the same size compared to any other washer type. Most people prefer to keep them under the kitchen platform. You can also stack a washer and drier in your bathroom cupboard, one at the top of other to save floor space.
So, what is the final thought?
Now that we have taken a thorough survey, it is clear that the front-loader washing machines are better in terms of washing, capacity, power & water saving. They are also gentle to the fabrics and use a minimal amount of detergent. Additionally, they also save space and can be fitted into small rooms with space crunches.
But then again loading and unloading of clothes become a bit uncomfortable for people with back pains, unlike the top load machines, where you can just fling your clothes in. If you aren’t a fan of the loading style of the front-loader a top-loader is probably a better choice. But, a front-load washing machine is an overall better choice.
The difference in their price range may seem a lot and in the end, you are going to choose something that fits your budget. But as mentioned earlier top-loaders have a cheaper upfront cost. With a front loader, you will probably save the money in the future that you are going to spend on it now.
Difference between Top Loader and Front Loader Detergent Washing-powder?
You have heard that there are different detergents types meant for top-loading machines and the ones for front-loading. Now as we know, all washing powder’s job is to take out the soil, then what makes the difference?
Well, there is a significant difference between both the washing powders, that is with the amount of lather and suds they produce. Again with this, another question comes: how does the amount of suds matter?
This may surprise you but it matters a lot in actual. There are mainly three reasons why manufacturers advice to use different detergents made for top and front-loaders.
- Different Design: As we all know, foam or lather floats on water. While the top load machines have the space for this excess lather on top, the more compact front-loader having almost no space for the excess foam. Hence, a low-foaming detergent formula is always better while using front load washing machine.
- Water Usage: A top-loader uses more water for washing, and has longer washing cycles. So a regular detergent which produces more lather is easily rinsed away. But a front-loader which uses less of water for washing cannot rinse this huge amount of lather thereby detergent residues can be left on clothing. This residual soap makes them look dull and can give rise to skin allergies.
- Smell and mold formation: There is another small but very important difference is left; the mold problem with front-loaders. If you use a highly-foaming detergent formula with a front-loader, the foam gets easily stuck into the machine’s inner parts leading unpleasant odor and mold formation. Less amount of foam means no foam leftovers and lesser chances of mold and bacterial formations.
NOTE: No matter what detergent you are using, be sure not to use it in excess amount. It will not only be damaging for your fabrics but also result in longer washing cycles and more power consumption.
Frequently Asked Questions?
1. Top loader or a front loader washing machine which is better?
Overall performance-wise, the front-load washing machine is better. It has a shorter washing cycle and can accommodate more clothes. Additionally, it consumes up to 40% less water while washing clothes. The top-load washers consume more water, more power and have a longer washing cycle, which isn’t ideal in this era where there is a scarcity of natural resources and time.
2. What is the best brand for front-load and top-load washing machine?
Some of the popular brands with reliable customer service and warranty coverage are Bosch, L.G, Samsung, IFB, Haier, Whirlpool, Godrej etc.
3. Which brand makes affordable front-load or top load washing machine?
Keep in mind almost all front-loaders from a reputable brand are more or less expensive than top-loading ones. When it comes to front loaders, if you find something that is not expensive like the rest, it may have issues like no warranty, poor plastic quality, harsh washing and rust-prone steel drums. So it’s always recommended to go for a reputable brand when you purchase a product like a washing machine be it a top load or front load one. But there are some brands that make less expensive front-loaders but offers good performance and overall quality and they are typically from IFB, Haier, and Godrej. You might find some features missing though!
4. What to consider when buying a front-loader washing machine?
If you have made your mind with a front-loader washing machine consider these points
- Laundry load capacity
- Energy ratings
- Spin speed
- Quick wash cycle
- Noise level
- Delay wash
- Auto start option
5. Which type of washing machine requires more maintenance?
Molds and smell are two of the major issues that concern users of the front-loading washing machines. Water might get tapped in seals, and so this type of washer requires frequent cleaning and more maintenance as opposed to the top-loaders which are low-maintenance.
6. Can I use top-loading detergent in a front-loading washing machine?
The detergent for top loading washing machine typically produces more lather. As the front loader uses less water, this might not be a good idea. It will result in a longer washing cycle and might leave white detergent stains on your clothes. However, if you have already bought a top-loader detergent, use half the required amount in your front-loader machine.
7. Can I use front-load detergent in a top-loading washing machine?
Front-load detergents are specially formulated to produce less suds. They are generally used in the front-load machines only. If you have bought a front-load detergent, you can use it in your top-loading washer. If you have a ‘water-saving’ mode in your machine, turn that on to have clean and fresh smelling clothes.
8. What is the life span of a washing machine?
On average, a washing machine lasts between 6 to 10 years. However, studies show that a machine can last 14 years or more if we limit our washing to one load per day, which amounts to 7 loads per week.
9. Is an agitator top-load machine better or one with an impeller?
Top-load machine with an agitator takes more water to clean than one with the impeller. Additionally, giving pillows and light blankets for a wash in a machine with an agitator can be risky as it is harsher on clothes. Hence, if you must buy a top-loader washing machine, the one with an impeller is better, but they tend to cost a little more as compared to the ones with the agitator.
10. Can I soak clothes in a front-loader?
Most of the front-loaders do not have a soak option because they don’t require it as they are already better in cleaning. But if you really want to soak clothes before washing goes for a top-loader washing machine.