Everyone has dirty laundry and when it comes to properly cleaning and preserving your wardrobe, choosing the best and most reliable washing machine for your needs is just as important as the detergent you put inside of it. Both top load washers and front load washers have pros and cons. So which washing machine is best for you? That will depend on a few factors.
That's why understanding the differences between top loading and front loading washing machines is crucial in selecting a machine that meets the needs of you, your family, and your lifestyle.
After working with just about every machine on the market, here's what we've found:
TOP LOADING MACHINES
When purchasing a top loading machine, one has the option of choosing a machine with an agitator or one sans agitator. Older machines with agitators typically hold less clothing making bulky items like down comforters more difficult to wash, however they are highly effective at heavy duty cleaning and stain removal. The best top loading washing machine depends on whether or not you'll have heavy duty cleaning needs, and how bulky your laundry loads will be.
Top loaders are convenient in that, if you discover that missing sock at the bottom of your hamper and want to throw it into the machine with the rest of your load, you can! You can also lengthen soaking sessions. Top loaders without an agitator, known as high-efficiency (HE) machines, spin faster removing more water and cutting dryer time. The increase spin speed can cause clothing to tangle, so it's best to use a Mesh Washing Bag in this case!
Because these machines are not able to be stacked on top of or beneath a dryer, they require greater floor space. While this may seem inconvenient, the top of the washer and dryer can serve as a nice work space for pretreating and folding laundry if placed side by side.
I prefer machines that allow the user to dictate the amount of water used rather than having water levels predetermined. Older machines allow you to control water levels via the load size dial, and now newer machines with computerized systems let you override the sensor system. Not only does this ensure the most effective clean, but it's also the most eco-conscious measure! This will help limit the number of instances where you have to wash and rewash a piece because it wasn't properly cleaned the first time around.
FRONT LOADING MACHINES
Front loading machines are generally able to hold more items and handle larger loads than top loaders. Don't be deceived – while the door opening is smaller, the interior is large. We love that newer front loaders have gentle wash cycles which make them more appropriate for washing delicates.
Front loaders are not as convenient functionality-wise. Clothing cannot be added during the wash cycle and they cannot be paused for longer soaking. Front loaders also have longer cycles than their HE counterparts, but spin faster, extracting more water and significantly decreasing dryer time. The machine itself is more difficult to clean and earlier models are prone to producing an unpleasant odor around the door seal over time.
*Tip: When not in use, leave the door open to avoid musty smells!
Front loaders are able to be stacked and require less floor space – just make sure you have a roomy workspace close by!
Drum size and gentle washing are priorities of mine so I prefer an LG front loader as its drum is notably larger than a Miele or Bosch. Their new steam and handwash functions as well as their ability to agitate without an actual agitator are all pluses for me. I wash pretty much everything on the delicate cycle!
What is the best washing machine brand? Deeming one brand "the best" is an impossible feat – it's completely up to your lifestyle, needs, space, and budget. If quality is priority, seek out European names that manufacture their goods in Europe. These machines tend to be constructed with heavier metals, rubber, and tubing. North American and Asian brands are commonly manufactured in Mexico and composed of less durable metals and plastics. Choosing a quality washing machine is similar to choosing a car – you can tell higher quality by the solidity of the machine. It is always best to purchase what is right for your lifestyle & laundering needs, however. If it were up to us – we would have 2 sets!