front loader vs top loader washing machines pros and cons

Front-Loader Vs. Top-Loader Washing Machines

January 26, 2023

(source)

I don’t think we have ever received as many opinions on a topic than front loader vs. top loader washing machines! I am going to share the list of pros and cons after reading through hundreds of responses of first hand experiences.

We purchased our used Whirlpool and Maytag washer and dryer used when we first got married over 14 yrs. ago and the dryer finally bit the dust. They served us well over the years, and I am hoping our next set will do the same! Considering our laundry room is somewhat small, we were considering front loader machines. Since the main complaint was mold I also looked into cleaning and care.

(Laundry room by The Makerista)

Front Loaders

Pros:

  • Front-loaders often outperform top-loaders in cleaning tests.
  • Gentler on clothes because there’s no agitator.
  • Spin cycles are faster.
  • Great for small spaces – some are stackable or allow for folding counter over the top.
  • Easier to access if you are a shorter height or in a wheelchair.
  • More water and power efficient.
  • Larger cu. ft. capacity which means you can more laundry done at a faster rate.

Cons:

  • Prone to mold and mildew – this is usually the biggest complaint. (Many of you said with proper cleaning and keeping the door ajar you can prevent this.)
  • Cannot open after cycle is started if you want to add another item.
  • Although front loaders are gentler on clothes, some models may not remove stains as well.
  • Cost is generally higher than top loaders.

(Laundry room by Tidbits)

pros and cons front loader washing machine

(Design by Jean Stoffer)

Top Loaders

Pros:

  • Mold growth is rare in a top-loading washer since the lid isn’t airtight.
  • You have the ability to toss in last minute items after a cycle starts. (My personal favorite feature.)
  • Very user friendly and easy to use due to less buttons and options.
  • The average purchase price is lower for a top-load machine.


Cons:

  • Top-loading models with an agitator can be tough on clothes. (Many of you said they wore out your clothes faster.)
  • Models without an agitator can be picky about how you load them, rinsing clothes over and over to balance things out.
  • Top-loaders tend to be less energy and water efficient.
  • Shorter individuals cannot reach the bottom of the washer.

Since our space is very limited to work with, we ultimately decided on a front loader washer to give us more room for linen storage and counter space. I also am very drawn to the faster and more efficient cycles as well as larger load capacity. After hearing a lot of feedback on top recs for brands we opted for Maytag. Our last Maytag was a workhorse, and I am hopeful the one on the way will be the same!

Would you add anything to these pros/cons list?

Leave a Comment

  • Laura Panfil

    I have a Kenmore front-loading washer, and I actually CAN add items after the cycle has started. There is a 1-minute limit to hit the stop button before the point of no return. So I think that “con” might be specific to certain models?

    • Ours is a Frigidaire and we have a button to pause the cycle and add items near the beginning of the wash cycle. Maybe 5 minutes or so. So check the specs when purchasing as it is an option on some machines.

  • My sister had a new Maytag and the motherboard zonked out after just a year with no replacement option, other than a whole new washer. Things used to be made to last and it’s just not the case any more. I like a top loader with no agitator – we have a set of GE’s that does an entire load in 35 minutes as a standard cycle and dryer runs for less than 40 minutes.

  • I too have been debating. Our top loader is 25 years old! My two main concerns about front loaders is the smell (mild) that my friends told me they had issues with. (And I don’t like the idea of having to clean a cleaning machine..LOL). But mainly you cannot fill up the tub to bleach or dye garments in a front loader. Example :I bleach cotton drop cloths for slip covers, etc. (using a bathtub would be a nightmare) but a front loader would definitely give me the ability for a counter to fold. Can a front loader handle a king sized quilt? This house used to have the laundry in the basement so maybe if the hook ups are still there I can put my top loader down there for special projects…. Been debating for a few years as my washer won’t die! 😂. Love what you did to your laundry room!

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