It might just be the most heated debate in the entire appliance world: should you choose a top-loading or a front-loading washing machine? Asking around can create some strong opinions, even though both options have their pros and cons.
What you choose comes down to your upfront budget, your energy preferences, home and family size, and how gentle you want the machine to work on your clothes.
The Pros And Cons Of Top-Loading Washing Machines
- The purchase price is typically lower than front-loading machines, providing better value for homeowners on a budget.
- Mold growth is rare in the tub because the lid isn’t airtight.
- A larger machine can be a bigger advantage for larger families or households.
- Most models are simple to use, and you probably grew up with this type of washer!
- Most top-loading machines have an agitator, which can be tough on clothes.
- On the flip side, if the machine doesn’t have an agitator, it can be “picky” about how you load the clothes. You might find the machine rinsing your items over and over in an attempt to balance out.
- Even when it runs as it should, cycles are longer and require more water and energy to run than a front-load model.
- It can be difficult for shorter people to unload the last couple of clothing items at the bottom of the washer.
The Pros And Cons Of Front-Loading Washing Machines
- Front-load washers don’t have an agitator, making them gentler on clothes than top-loading models.
- Faster spin cycles get clothing an average of 10 percent drier, adding efficiency to your dryer, too.
- Many brands are stackable, making them ideal for smaller spaces like apartments or small basements.
- Many newer models are much better at cleaning themselves.
- They’re pricier than top-loading machines.
- You have to bend down to load and unload the machine, which can lead to dropping clothes while transferring the items to the dryer.
- Even with better self-cleaning, the air-tight door on these models invites mould growth. The door must be kept ajar between loads to prevent this problem.
- The control panel on the front can be very inviting to children, who like to press buttons. Control lock-outs on some models counteract this drawback.
How Do I Choose The Right Model?
The choice between top-loading and front-loading machines comes down to price, preference, and your home. You might find that the layout of your home welcomes one model better than the other. Top-loading machines are typically larger than front-loading machines, which can mean there’s less space in which to fit them; however, the door doesn’t create an obstacle in doorways or the laundry room.
The main benefits of front-load washers are how much more water and energy they save. More of the newer washing machines are front-load to meet efficiency standards, and as such are smaller. This also means that most front-load machines need you to do some bending, but many models are stackable with their matching dryer. For apartments and smaller homes, this makes them easier to use.