Front Loading Washing Machines or Top Loading Washing Machines?

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Well, my washing machine finally broke yesterday.  I was completely devastated.  It was a front loading washing machine that I loved like a family member.  With 3 small children in the house, it really earned its keep.  But being a Samsung, they haven’t had much of a good reputation of late so I wanted to try a different brand this time.  I also knew I wanted a bit bigger drum size.  Then I got totally lost when it came to comparing a front loader to a top loader.

front loading washing machines

Choosing the correct washing machine is a really important decision as it is something that gets a lot of use, and you will likely have it for a long time to come.  So if you get it wrong, it will make you or your partner very unhappy.

So here is the comparison made easy. 


Top loaders can usually fit more in.  The drum is a different shape and the new school ones now go without the agitator in the centre of the drum, which creates even more space.  You need to consider the size of your washing machinesfamily and the type of things you wash.  I have just disposed of a 7kg washer and upgraded to an 8.5kg because I know that as my family grows bigger, our washing needs are only going to increase.  Commercial washers can have capacities of around 10kg, and I even saw one today with a 15kg size, however this was a washer/dryer combo.

Front loading washing machines on the other hand are usually a consistent size on the outside despite the size of the drum inside so these are better for more compact laundries or under bench installation.  You can get anything from 5kg to up to 9kg.

Winner on size: Top Loader

Front loading washing machinesEnergy and Water Efficiency:

As the cost of living increases, we really want to avoid appliances that are using too much water or power.  Look closely at the energy rating.  You will notice that front loaders are frequently much more efficient than their top loading counterparts, this is because they can use up to 50% less water with the way they wash the clothes.  Front loaders are more efficient in a warm water wash, whereas top loaders perform better using a cold wash.

Winner on efficiency: Front Loader


You will find the cheapest washing machine in the top load section however front loaders will be cheaper in the long run due to the fact of using less power, water and detergent.  The horizontal drum on a front loader uses gravity with tumbling to wash the clothes.

Winner on price: It’s a Tie!


Depending where your laundry is located, noise may or may not be an issue.  For me, my laundry comes right off my kitchen so I definitely want a nice quiet machine.  Front loader machines are quiet.  Top loaders can be quite noisy, especially during the spin cycle.

Winner in noise: Front Loader

Speed of Cycle:

Front load washers have a much longer cycle time of 1.5 to 2 hours because of the way they get the clothes clean whereas top loaders easily do the job in 15-20minutes while the washing is continually immersed in water.

Winner in cycle speed: Top Loader

Cycle Options:front loading washing machines

Front loaders have way more options when choosing a cycle.  So if you like to wash your delicates and your blankets separately, then it’s good to have these different options.  They are more gentle on your clothes too.

Winner in options: Front Loader

Spin Speed:

Top loading machines generally spin at approximately 700rpms while a front loader spins at closer to 1200rpms generally.  This means that the wash gets spun drier on the spin cycle which translates to less drying time once it’s hung out.

Winner in spin: Front Loader


Top loaders cause significantly higher amounts of lint during a wash than their front loading counterparts.  This is due to the friction caused by the clothes in the wash.

Winner in lint: Front Loader

I ended up buying a Fisher and Paykel 8.5kg front loading washing machine because everything added up for my preferences.  I wanted that specific size, efficiency and no noise.  It was also reasonably priced from a brand you can trust.

Front loading washing machine

My advice is to do a bit of research on different brands before you buy, and make sure you get your budget agreed upon before making a purchase.  Go with your partner and have a look at a few machines together.  Talk about it together so you both have a clear idea of what options are the important ones for you and your family.  Usually one partner is more involved in the laundry than the other, so she (or he) should really have the final say.  Every household purchase you make will affect your relationship if it ends up being a bad decision so please choose wisely.

Good luck and happy washing!






Add Yours
  1. 1

    Hey Kris. This is really solid and useful research youve provided. I used to have a top loader many years ago but have been a front loader for the last 2 machines I bought. The only disadvantage is the time it takes to run a wash however I agree with you that pretty much everything else is better with a front loader.

    One other major advantage if you don’t have a lot of space is that with a front loader you can put another machine eg a dryer on top.

    • 2

      Hi Brian! I agree with you about the front loader making it easier of course to put the dryer on top. We often get away with a top loader if the dryer is sitting up on a bracket but I have always found that dodgy. The other disadvantage with a front loader is that unless you put it up on some kind of pedestal, some people might find it uncomfortable bending down to use it so you have to be a little bit flexible!

      Thanks, Kris

  2. 3

    Wow, there are some good points in this article. I have owned both top and front loaders and would have to favor my front. I’ve lived on tank water most times so it definately kept usage down. Only problem is you can’t open the door to add any extra washing once it has started 😉

    • 4

      Great point there Bettina, but on the Fisher and Paykel front loader I have just bought, you actually can open the door once it is mid cycle just by pressing the pause button! A definite feature that really got me over the line!
      Man I never thought I would get so excited over a washing machine!
      Thanks for commenting, Kris.

  3. 5
    Derek Marshall

    HI there,

    That is a very interesting comparison. For me, I’d say top loader wins the “battle” as maintenance costs are lower due to less possibility and probability of burn out of the motor that does all the work, which is due to less strain on the motor due to slower revolutions per minute (almost half of that of a front loader).

    In my humblest of opinions, maintenance costs have to be factor considered when making an expensive purchase that should last anumber of years.

    • 6

      It is true Derek, that maintenance costs need to be considered also. However I found that front loaders, despite being more expensive in the initial outlay end up saving you money on power and water bills over the life of the machine. And, if you are lucky will end up lasting you many many years without need for repair.

      The problem lays in the more computerised models, whether top or front loaders which end up being expensive to repair if you have problems with these components.

      Thanks for the comments, Kris

  4. 7

    Actually according Mr Electricity online I heard of the advantages of front loading washing machine.

    I used to have a top loading machine a long time ago. It is loud for sure. I wasn’t used to it when my family switched to front loading machine, but it was definitely more dry after spinning.

    I wonder how much more money I have been saving for water and electricity.

    • 8

      That would be an interesting study Blame to discover how much money you actually do save in the long run.

      Front loaders are often costlier in the beginning, but the long term cost end up saving you money I have found.

      Thanks for the comment, Kris

  5. 9

    We’ve got a front loader – and since it fits under the counter in our kitchen, I think that if/when it goes, we just replace it with another front loader.

    Nevertheless, I enjoyed your comparison of the two different types of machine. I didn’t actually realise that top loaders were so much faster per cycle. However, I think it’s a front loader for us again – but hopefully not too soon!

  6. 10
    Sharon Whyte

    What really good comparisons and it really is an important purchase like you said. I ended up going for a Kleenmaid commercial top loader washer which has been just brilliant for my family of five. Yes it is probably a bit noisier however I can do big loads so really happy with that as I pretty much use it daily. Good article!
    Cheers, Sharon

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