Front loader or Top Loader? Some Points to Consider

Published in Buying Guide, Green Information on 19th January 2013

Getting a top loader or front loader washing machine can be a decision that one has to take into consideration if you are planning to get a new unit for your household. Below are some general points that one should consider before purchasing a washing machine be it a top loader or front loader.

Size of Your Household

If you have space constraint, it will be better for you to either choose a washing machine that has a lower capacity or get one of those washer/dryer combos that will be more suitable and space efficient.

Capacity of the Washing Machine

The capacity of the washing machine  is generally certified by the authorities like Department of Energy (DOE), IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission).

Capacity of the washer is an important point to consider and is dependent on your household. For those with a large household, consider those washing machines that have a large or ultra large (3.7 to 4.0 cu. ft) capacity that will mean lesser washing frequencies and backpains on laundry days that will equate to savings in water and power in the long run.

Maximising Capacity

Front loaders can fit more laundry into them as compared to a top loader which will allow the maximising of capacity usage. This is due to their mechanism of function; top loader incorporates the function of an agitator to generate its “twisting and pulling” action for washing clothes while a front loader carries out the washing via a “tumbling” action.

The presence of a agitator will also take up space that will limit the amount of laundry that can be fitted into a top loader wash bucket while this will not happen for a front loader.

Water Level Detection

The washing machine should possess electronic sensors that can detect the amount of water automatically and decide on the appropriate amount to be used per wash cycle. This criterion is important and applicable more to top loaders.

Zero Standby Power FunctionZero Standby Power Function

Get a top loader or front loader that have zero standby power usage just in case you forget to switch it off at the main power point.

One example shown on the left is a top loader washing machine Toshiba AW-8970S.


Image friom Wikipedia

Image friom Wikipedia

Energy Star Certification

A washing machine with this certification means that it has met the set of criteria as set by the EPA under the Energy Star program in terms of power usage and saving water capability. This certification applies to both top loader and  front loader washing machines. Here is direct link to the US EPA website where you can search for all Energy Star certified washing machines.  

At this point in time, though studies have shown that front loaders generally use lesser water and electricity but recent top loaders have also shown to be energy efficient and water saving as well. Therefore feel free to consider a top loader as well but make sure it is Energy Star certified.

There is a section on Green Energy Helps that provide information on why and the advantages when you purchase an Energy Star certified washing machine.

Energy Efficiency logo for SingaporeFor other countries, do take note of the symbols utilised by your respective equivalent of the DOE or Energy Star logo. An example of such a logo from Singapore is displayed here.  

Cold Wash Option

Having this capability of the cold wash option allows you to save on your utilities, with no loss in washing performance, as using heated water in your wash cycles every time uses up a lot of energy.

Effective and Complete Cleaning Process

For consumers with allergies, choose washing machines with wash functions that remove household allergens like dust mites and pet dander like the Allergiene™ wash function offered by LG, and the Sanitise option offered by Electrolux.

Wash Cycles Available

There are a couple of wash cycles widely available on all washing machines types to cater for the types of clothing like delicates, white clothing on conventional washing machines. Some washing machines like the LG WM3470HVA has up to 12 different wash cycles for you to choose from. At this point in time you should also consider the ease in programming to set up a wash cycle.

Ease of Programming

This is a criterion that should be considered as it will make setting up of your wash cycle an easy task. Currently there are functions like LG Dial-A-Cycle™ that allow users to programme their wash cycles with just a touch of the button. You will not want a washing machine that is very difficult to set up.

Budget Constraints

This a universal problem that is faced by consumers. A good solution will be to choose Energy Star certified washing machines that will allow you to use 35% and 20% lesser water and energy allowing you savings in utilities. For consumers who are going to buy a front loader, it might be better if high efficiency detergent is used due to the lesser amount of water used in a front loader and its working mechanism in cleaning up the laundry. 

A point will be that high efficiency detergent will be more expensive and is more suitable for front loaders though they can also be used for top loaders but with lesser cleaning efficiency. A front loader will also be more expensive with a higher inital pricing than a top loader but the energy conservation and utilities savings, and choosing a suitable model for your household will erase out these deficits in costs.