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Washing Machine Styles Compared

Top Loader & Front Loader style Washing machines Compared –
Which comes out on top?

While it is true that top load washing machines have been selling in greater numbers. Over the last ten years, front loader washers have been winning the economy argument.

If you need help deciding which model you’d like to purchase in the future. Let me compare these two types of washing machines for you.

Top Loader Washing Machines (water immersion).

Clothes are immersed in a bowl of water. Then they are agitated by a centre device that spins back and forth. This creates the cleaning action.

Water consumption

Water consumption here is high no matter how you look at it. Due to the amount of water required to cover the clothes. Manufacturers have attempted to produce machines that simulate the consumption of a front loader, but in my opinion this hasn’t been successful.

To prevent garments dragging against the bottom of the bowl, they need to be ‘floated’ in the water. This wash action uses more water, but is needed as the ‘dragging’ may cause damage and reduced garment life.

Easier to load

The main reason top load washers are purchased is because they are easier to load. The bowl is usually at waist height and so eliminates stooping down to manage loading.  Some folk see this as a strong reason to choose a top load model.

Also Because of their vertical axis, top load models are easier to balance when loading. Therefore, they are usually stability than front load machines.  However, the technology in front loaders has improved to virtually eliminate this old problem.

Commercial Use

Some of the more expensive and soundly constructed top loaders have longer life spans than front loaders. Often these are chosen for heavier use of a commercial nature. Some models are even described as ‘Commercial Home Style’ machines.

Front Loader Washing Machines (water “saturation).

Front loading washers have more fineness. The water “saturation” principle of Front Loading Washing machines requires much less water to operate. Their water “saturation” principle works out much more economical when compared to the water ‘immersion’ principle of a top loader.

The garments are tumbled in a polished stainless steel bowl.  As the garments are lifted then dropped back down onto the bottom of the bowl. This ‘drop action’ is important as it simulates a squeezing of the detergent and water solution. This action is a very gentle one and is great for washing delicate garments.

Cycle times

The cycles of a front loader mostly direct the user to a temperature cycle. A common recommended temperature for everyday washing is 40 degrees.

The settings suggested by the washer makers is vital for getting the best out of the appliance and caring for your valued garments.

Cycle times of a front load washer are generally longer. This is to allow the proper chemical action from the detergent solution to best deal with stains. Enzyme action, for instance takes about fifteen minutes at forty degrees, so the heating process from cold needs time to cause enzyme activation. Thorough rinsing is also important. Some models do offer very short cycles, however patience allows the best result.


Washing one load a week at 60 degrees will ensure the life span of a front load wash is extended. Towelling can be washed at this temperature, which is good for the garment and the machine.

Modern front load washers have advanced monitoring technology. Temperatures can be selected accurately and balancing systems to be automated.

These days with newer machines, loading can usually be done after the cycle has started. Some new models now allow the door to be opened at certain cycle points if the water is below the door line.

Water consumption

The much lower water consumption of a front load washer allows for a lot less detergent to be used. The concentrated solution only just saturates the load instead of covering it. This sloppy wet solution is an efficient enough chemical action when combined with the gentle friction caused by the tumbling to clean the washing.

The one disadvantage that remains is the stooping down needed to load these machines. Some models can be installed on a raised platform to overcome this. Makers of some quality products don’t recommend the use of platforms. This can void warranties should an associated problem occur.

If possible set up the front load machine on a solid floor. Stacking systems with a matching dryer makes a nice compact installation in any laundry. This stacked pair should certainly be more efficient than a top load model with a dryer that goes ‘somewhere’.

In Summary

Modern garments ‘like’ front load washers because of the gentle wash action. The lower water consumption and detergent use is a very attractive reason to choose a front load model. It must be said that understanding how to choose temperatures and the reasons for the temperatures that not only support efficient and clean washing but also support something that most folk don’t consider, and that is the life span of the machine. .

Hopefully, this article has helped teach you a little more about the types of washing machines. Also, how to support an expected life span from your machine, given that the average life span of a front load washer in the world is 13.5 years*.

Do you need your washing machine repaired? Please contact us if you’re in the Adelaide area for great service.

(* according to a study undertaken by the Bonn University in Germany.)