When you are buying a washing machine, you are generally presented with 3 questions,

  • Do you want a semi-automatic or fully automatic machine?
  • Do you want a top load and front load?
  • What is the capacity of the washing machine you need?

In this article, we are going to help you answer the first and most important question on the list, whether to go for a semi-automatic or fully automatic washing machine? In India, semi-automatic machines are preferred over fully automatic machines. It is estimated that semi-automatic have 30% higher sales than fully automatic machines. Is there any justified reason for this preference? Let’s find out;

Before moving towards the comparison between semi-automatic and fully automatic, let us briefly know what each of them means and how they are different from one another;

What is a Semi-Automatic Washing Machine?

Semi-Automatic Washing Machine

Semi-automatic washing machines are older and more popular models of washers in India. They have a separate washer and dryer tub in the single machine. Both the washer and dryer can work independently. However, you need to physically move the clothes from the rinse tub to the dryer during the cleaning process.


  • The best part about a semi-automatic machine is that it can adapt to your needs and washing style. If you want to wash clothes with less water, or more water, semi-automatic allows you to do either. They are also compatible with a large number of detergents.
  • Since you add water according to your need, they are great for dry regions or if you want to save water.
  • They are quite affordable and are the lowest priced washing machine amongst all types available in India
  • You can add more clothes even when the rinse cycle is continuing. They are also flexible enough to be stopped and started anytime you want.
  • Since the washer and dryer drum are independent of each other you can easily dry clothes separately or you can even wash the clothes without drying if you want to. It gives you more flexibility.


  • Consumes a lot of time and you cannot leave it unattended while it is working. You need to put in the effort to shift clothes from washer to dryer and add water. They are not easy to use.
  • It is rough on the clothes due to its uneven movement. Your clothes also get viciously tangled during washing and it becomes very difficult to move from washer to dryer. They put a significant arm strain.
  • They do not come with new and innovative features like the automatic washing machine.

What is a Fully Automatic Washing Machine?

Fully Automatic Washing Machine

Fully Automatic machines on the other hand are designed for convenience. They do not require any effort from your end. They have a single drum that acts as both the dryer and the washer. The dryer operates after the washer so you don’t need to move the clothes from washer to dryer. All you need to do is choose the water level, add detergent and start the machine. Your machine will do the rest of the work and you will get the dry clothes at the end.


  • The main advantage of an automatic machine is that it requires no manual intervention which makes it convenient to use. You can save time and energy with a fully automatic machine.
  • They have all built-in features and settings which allows you to clean your clothes in different settings.
  • Since they are new in the market, they come with multiple unique and innovative features to appeal to a modern household
  • They have advanced technology that is gentle on the clothes and are suitable for delicate clothing. They also give better washing performance
  • Since the machine have a single tub instead of two, they occupy less space in your home
  • They come in two different variants such as the top load and front load washers to choose from


  • Because they are new in the market, they are more pricey than semi-automatic machines.
  • Since they are fully automatic, they do not allow you the same flexibility as a semi-automatic machine. You cannot wash or dry clothes separately. This will become a hassle if there is any power cut or your machine shuts down in the middle of a wash. You cannot just dry the clothes when the power comes back, you have to repeat the entire process of washing in order for your clothes to dry at the end. This will waste significant water & energy as well.
  • They require a significant amount of continuous water flow and also consume more energy than semi-automatic machines.

Semi Automatic VS. Fully Automatic Washing Machine

Are rough on the clothes and
tangle clothes
Have a high cleaning efficiency
and are gentle on clothes
Water consumption can be decided
by you; you can either want more or
less water
Automatic machines require a
continuous water supply and
consume more water
The power consumption in
semi-automatic can be controlled
according to your need.
Fully automatic machines
consume a significant amount
of electricity.
Ease of useThey require manual intervention
which makes them difficult to use
They are easy and convenient
to use
SizeSince the washer and dryer come
separately, they are bigger and
require more space.
The automatic machines are
compact and do not require
much space for storage
Loading They only come in top load variantThey come in both top load
and front load variants
Water flowThey are flexible regarding the water
supply. You can also manually add
water if water supply is disrupted.
They need continuous water flow
to operate.
PricingThey are cheaperThey are expensive

Now that we know the basic difference between the top load washing machine and front load washing machine, let us go through each one of the above factors in detail and understand them better;

1. Cleaning Efficiency:

Both semi-automatics, as well as fully automatic machines, can clean the clothes well but there are minor differences that might impact your washing experience. The semi-automatic machines are rough on your clothes and will damage delicate clothes and softer fabrics. This is because when the clothes are tangled during washing, you need to shift them to the dryer tub, in order to do this you need to pull the clothes part which will damage delicate fabrics.

The automatic machines are much gentler on the clothes. They also have a new and innovative design which are generally better at effectively washing the clothes.

2. Water Consumption:

Water consumption is much higher in fully automatic machines than semi-automatic machines. This is because in automatic machines you cannot decide the amount of water to fill the machine. There are settings to decide the water level but you cannot decide the exact amount of water to be used in the machine.

On the other hand, you get to decide how much water you need to wash the clothes. This makes it flexible to use less or more water according to the size of your load which prevents water loss.

3. Power Consumption:

Fully automatic washing machines operate completely on their own and hence consume more energy. Whereas in a semi-automatic machine since you are adding water and moving the clothes from one tub to another, this energy is conserved.

4. Ease of Use:

When it comes to ease of use, the best machine will depend on your needs. If you prefer the machine to do all the work and do not want to waste your time looking after the laundry then a fully automatic machine is best for you. But, if you like having control of how much water to add or wash and dry clothes separately then a semi-automatic machine is best for you. Automatic machines make washing clothes easy while semi-automatic ones give you more control and flexibility.

5. Size:

Semi-automatic are generally bigger than fully automatic because of the presence of double tubs, one for washing and another for drying. Fully automatic on the other hand are smaller because of a single tub. They are also ergonomically designed to be lighter and compact for modern households.

6. Loading:

The semi-automatic machine is the relatively older design of the two machines. This is why it only comes with the top load variant. Both the washer and the dryer in a semi-automatic machine have the top loading feature.

Fully automatic machines on the other hand are newer models and come with both the top load and the front load variant. You can choose according to your convenience. Front loads are highly energy-efficient whereas top loads are convenient to use.

7. Water Flow:

In an automatic washing machine, there needs to be a continuous water flow. This is because the machine can only be filled from a direct water source. You cannot manually add water for washing. In a semi-automatic machine you add water manually and also automatically, this is why it doesn’t need a continuous water flow in order to operate. This is convenient if you live in a water scarcity area or you reuse water from other activities for washing clothes etc., semi-automatic machines are a perfect fit for that.

8. Cost of Purchase:

In a semi-automatic machine, the initial cost is lower because it does not have the additional features and is older in the market. Whereas the automatic machine has a higher initial cost because it is new in the market and comes with many features. In terms of cost of operation, semi-automatic is cheaper as it consumes less water and less energy than fully automatic machines.

Both semi-automatic and fully automatic have their pros and cons. You should choose one depending on your needs and requirements. Broadly, if flexibility is your main priority then you should choose a semi-automatic machine where if comfort is your main priority then automatic should be your go-to choice.