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Front-load washer and dryer

The Great Debate: Front-Load vs. Top-Load Washing Machine

Are front-load washers better than top-load? These days, either machine type will serve you well. But if you ask around, you may find people with strong opinions trying to steer you in one direction or the other.

Let’s go through the reasons people choose front-load or top-load washing machines so you can decide for yourself which type is best.

History and Market Share

A few decades ago, top-load machines ruled the roost, but by the turn of the century, front-loading washing machines took center stage. Top-loaders took the lead again in the 2020s, with just over half of the market share. This is mostly due to homeowners who know about the issues that riddled earlier-generation front-loaders (such as mold). Thankfully, many of those issues have been addressed in newer models.

Next, we’ll break down the pros and cons to help you make the best decision for your laundry room.

Pros and Cons of Front-Load Washing Machines

Pros

  • Front-loaders often outperform top-loaders in cleaning tests.
  • Front-loaders are gentler on clothes because there’s no agitator.
  • Front-loader spin cycles are faster and leave clothes 10% drier. (That gives your dryer a nice little efficiency boost!)
  • Front-loaders are apartment- and condo-friendly, as many brands are stackable.
  • Front-loaders can be installed under a countertop or low shelf because there is no top lid to get in the way.
  • Front-loaders are more accessible, especially for shorter people or those in wheelchairs.
  • When it comes to front-load vs. top-load washing machine power consumption, the front-load wins.
  • This washer type is also more water-efficient.

Cons

  • Front-loaders are often more expensive than top-loaders.
  • You have to bend down to unload the machine.
  • The air-tight door invites mold growth. Keeping the door ajar between loads helps to prevent this problem.
  • The control panel on the front invites kids to press buttons and change settings. Control lock-outs on some models counteract this potential issue.

Pros and Cons of Top-Load Washing Machines

Pros

  • The average purchase price is lower for a top-load machine.
  • Top-loaders are easier to use if you grew up with this washing machine style.
  • Mold growth is rarer in a top-loading washer drum because the lid isn’t airtight.

Cons

  • Top-loading models with an agitator can be tough on clothes.
  • 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 efficient and water efficient.
  • It can be challenging for shorter people to unload the last couple of clothing items from the bottom of a top-load washer.

Making Your Final Choice

The great fight between front- and top-load washing machines likely isn’t ending anytime soon.

The right washer for you is determined by the space in your home where these appliances are installed, your budget, and what types of clothes you generally wear. Lots of delicates? You’ll probably prefer a front-loader. Mostly blue jeans and outdoor clothing? You can probably get away with using a top-loader.

Both washer styles have seen excellent innovations in recent years, with smart-appliance changes that reflect what consumers demand.

Remember—you might need to update your laundry room’s electrical setup when installing a new washer. GFCI protection is required as of 2014, whether a sink is present or not, and you need a dedicated circuit. Mr. Electric®, our fellow Neighborly® brand, can tell you everything you need to know about circuits for your laundry room.

Schedule Washing Machine Repair

Mr. Appliance® services both top-loading and front-loading washing machines. When your laundry appliances act up, count on our repair experts to mitigate the risk of water damage and further complications. Schedule an appointment online, or call the nearest Mr. Appliance location.