Top-Loading Versus Front-Loading Washers

front load washerOur washer died while I was in Newfoundland last week. Water was leaking from it. I had it repaired twice in the past three years, so I told my wife to buy a new one: I didn’t want to invest anymore money into the 15 year old machine that was on its last leg.

So what did she do? She bought a front-loading washer.

Front-loading washers have the reputation of requiring less water and energy to wash clothes, although they tend to be twice as expensive (at least in my neck of the woods). My only incentive for getting that kind was their good energy use; but even so, I wasn’t willing to pay twice as much as a top-loading washer. I also read that they’re less reliable than top-loading.

We’ve always been a top-loading washer family. The appearance of front-loading washers in the past five years appears to be a fad, yet they’ve always out-sold top-loading washers in Europe, according to Wikipedia. And you never see laundromats with top-loading machines, which must be an indication of the reliability of front-loading washers.

I read they also require a special kind of soap, which will probably cost twice as much as regular clothes washing soap. It requires soap that generates less bubbles, I think, I’ll just try using less soap.

The front-loading washer is being delivered to our house today. I know you’re all anxious for my opinion about it, so I’ll post my opinion after I use the washer a few times.

Update (Aug. 20, 2008): No problems with either machine. The washer is quiet and efficient; you can shove a LOT more cloths in the front-loading machine than top-loading ones – at least twice as much. The cycles take a lot longer to complete, but it still uses less water. The dryer takes a lot less time to complete than our old dryer. We’re happy with both!

11 Replies to “Top-Loading Versus Front-Loading Washers”

  1. meile meile meile or however you spell it…expensive but great machines…of course all of my bikes are eastern European so why not my washer….we have just a washing machine and I have installed drying racks on pulleys into the ceiling of the Market….we have not had a dryer now for about 5 years….do not miss it…if I could figure out how to put a clothes line out side here next to city hall I would..actually we will be getting rid of our washer and will begin washing our clothes with rocks in the river next to the market…

  2. Like you, I’m a penny-pinching fool who’s using any trick I can to keep my 14 yr old washer & dryer set going. The dryer has been kinda iffy for a coupla years, but I’d rather spend $50 on repairs than hafta replace the thing.

    But I’ve been looking at the front-loading sets and have really been leaning in that direction. So, I’m eager to hear of your experiences with this…

  3. My wife phoned and told me it’s been delivered; I just have to hook it up. The delivery guy said we HAVE to use the special soap for it, which I think is a fucking scam. We’ll see.

  4. just use cold fx instead of the high efficiency soap…that should work

    I think the regular soap gums up some sensor thingy….

  5. When we lived in Europe, we had a front loader. I think a big reason there is energy is very expensive. Has been for years. Another reason is probably limited space in the condos where a majority of the people reside. I use cold water for most of my wash cycles. Unless I have rolled around in mud that day, this usually does the trick.

  6. I got a front-loader ‘for Christmas’. Not much of a Christmas present, if you ask me, but we needed a washer.

    Got a bottom-of-the-line General Electric. Not much to look at, plain white, minimal dials and buttons. But also not as expensive as the whiz-bang, high dollar bells-and-whistle models.

    We went front-loader because we live in a pretty low area with relatively poor drainage. The low water usage is a big factor for us.

    I’ve been happy with the washer. I’m not real picky about my clothes – if it’s been through a wash, I declare it clean. If your white socks still have dirt stains on them, then you shouldn’t have been walking in the yard in your socks to begin with. :) I use th HE soap, but used up the regular detergent I had on hand first. I can’t say I’ve noticed a difference. But I also don’t sit there watching the clothes go round and see the suds level.

    My only complaint is I really need to get the pedestal base. My bones will eventually be too creaky to bend over to lift the wet clothes out. They always show the washers on the base, but use really tiny writting to tell you that’s an additional $200.

  7. I too bought a washer and dryer this week. My goal was to not buy
    a front loader washer because of the extra cost of not only the unit but the required pedestal.

    Found a winner in a Fisher and Paykel Ecosmart washer, but the clincher was the Aerosmart top-loading dryer that someone had returned to the store – maybe because it was too weird? The marked-down price made too good to pass up.

  8. It took me an hour to hook up the new washer and about 15 minutes for the dryer.

    The washer is very quiet, even when you’re standing next to it. It takes in a little water at a time, spinning clockwise and counter-clockwise for a couple minutes, stops, then takes in more water, and starts spinning again.

    The washer’s opening is deceptively small: you wouldn’t think you can shove so much clothes in the washer, but you can and it still works great.

    We’ve only used the special soap it calls for: HE (High Efficiency) soap. It’s price isn’t much different from the regular kind, plus it requires very little. For a large load you use about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of soap.

    The rinse cycle spins very quickly; you have to ensure the washer is level or you’ll get a lot of rocking, which will increase the noise level as well. Even with the machine leveled, it still rocks a little.

    The dryer works much better than our old one, too. It detects the moisture level, turning off when the clothes are done.

    The only problem I had was when I first turned the water on to the washer after installing the hoses: you could hear the water rushing into the washer and it wasn’t stopping; after 20 seconds I saw the water starting to fill the tub, even though I didn’t have the washer on. I started to worry: was the washer broke? Would the washer stop the water from flowing in? I turned the water off and turned on a rinse cycle, which got rid of the water, but when I turned the water on again, it did the same thing: the washer didn’t stop the flow of water coming into its tub. I feared the water would overflow the tub and leak from the washer.

    It worked in the end, though: I put it on a complete self-wash cycle, which eventually shut the water off on its own.

    We’re happy with it so far.

  9. You might like new high efficiency top loaders. These look like your regular top loader but you will notice a few differences. It is not more energy and water efficient (eco-friendlier too) and the agitator is gone. Instead of the agitator, it has bottom wash plates that creates centrifugal action in the machine to wash your clothes efficiently. These are good alternatives to front load washers if you don’t have enough budget to burn for such washers.

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