If you don’t have a problem with bending over to load or unload the clothes, we suggest you go for a front load washing machine. This is because they are newer in the market and are designed to be highly energy efficient and can wash clothes better than the top load washing machines.
But, top load washing machines also have their own benefits such as low cost and simple usage which might be suitable for your needs. They also offer more flexibility and control on how you want to wash your clothes than the front load washing machine.
If you are unsure about what would be perfect for you, then read along to find out all the pros and cons of top load as well as front load washing machines.
Let us compare the efficiency of top load and front load washing machine on the basis of various factors:
CLEANING EFFICIENCY: Due to placement of the clothing material, the clothes move in a tumbling motion while being washed in a front load while in a top load the clothes move in a sideway motion. This is why front loads are better at removing dirt, sand etc as the gravity works in its favour. They have also shown to be better at removing stains than top load.
WATER CONSERVATION: Front loads have shown to be better at utilizing less water to clean the clothes. Front load saves about 19 litres of water per wash. Unlike top loaders, the clothes do not need to be submerged in water for them to be washed efficiently. The front load can gently tumble the clothes in less water and can clean them efficiently.
EASE OF USE: Top load performs better when it comes to ease of use. This is because of two main factors,
On top load you don’t have to bend to put and remove clothes in the machine. This is an essential factor for people with health conditions or seniors who have to bend over to wash clothes in a front load.
Another factor is that on top load you can easily add clothes when the machine is working. This is because you can easily open the door and add clothes in the middle of a wash cycle. This is not possible for front load, once you start the machine, it can only be opened when the war cycle is completed. This is due to the design of the tub in front load.
WASH DURATION: Most top load machines use an agitator to move the clothes while the front load use an impeller to move the clothes. An agitator cleans the clothes faster as the clothes are submerged in water for the entire duration of the wash. A top load cleans an average load in 15-30 minutes whereas a front will need 50 to 60 minutes to clean the same load.
However, this is only when the top load comes with an agitator, these days in order to make the washing machine more energy efficient many top loads come with an impeller as well. In this regard, both the front load and top load will use the same amount of time to clean the clothes.
CLOTHES FRIENDLY: Front loads are gentler on the clothes than the top loads. Front loads are also better for heavier pieces like blankets and pillows as it will gently clean the material without tangling them too much.
Top load has aggressive movement that is harsh on the clothes and also tangles the clothes. This can damage the clothes. They are also not suitable for larger clothing pieces as these pieces do not get submerged completely in the water to give effective cleaning.
ENERGY EFFICIENCY: Front load machines are highly energy efficient and are known to save up to 50% more energy than the top load. Front loads are the newer technology between the two and hence has been designed to be energy efficient.
SPIN SPEED: The spin cycle is represented in RPM(revolution per minute) and it refers to the speed in which the drum spins at the end of the rinse cycle to dry the clothes. The faster the drum spins the dryer your clothes will be.
Front loads have 30% higher RPM than top load machines which ensures that your clothes will be dryer when they come out of the washer.
EASE OF INSTALLATION: If you are planning on getting a two separate unit for washing and drying then a front load washer will be more convenient for you as you can easily stack these on top of one another. This saves space and allows you to use two machines in a small space.
This is also beneficial if you plan on having more than one washing machine.
Capacity of load: A top load with an agitator will have smaller space as the agitator is bulky and will occupy some space. But if the top load has an impeller then it can handle the same amount of load as a front load. However, the top load can handle being overloaded but the front load cannot handle being overloaded and can get damaged.
Saving Detergent: Because front loaders use a tumbling motion and use less water, they can wash clothes with less detergent. This is because the clothes do not need to be submerged in water, when the water requirement is not high, then less detergent is needed to foam up and wash the clothes. Front load also distributes the detergent water evenly on all the clothes and minimises the chances of getting patchy detergent streaks on clothes.
The smell/mold issue: Most of us have faced the issue of smelly or unexplainable stains on freshly washed clothes. This is because the mould and bacteria overgrowth in the damp and dark environment inside the machine.
Top load machines get more ventilation and sunlight through the large top door, therefore the chances of mold and bacteria formation is lesser as compared to front load which does not get any ventilation. There is also no vacuum seal in the top load to prevent water spillage from the machine. Front load has a rubber seal which is prone to frequent mold and bacteria growth.
Life Expectancy: For top load the average life expectancy is 14 years whereas for most front load the average life expectancy is 11 years. This is because front loads come with extra features that have a higher risk of becoming obsolete sooner.
Even though the life expectancy of top load is higher, it has been seen to break down frequently. But this is not an accurate assessment as both front and top load requires servicing and can break down.
No Noise Interfere: Most front loads these days come with vibration control and silent mode. They are also inherently quieter than traditional top load machines. This is because they are designed for compact and modern homes. The rotating drums also create less noise than the agitator movement.
Affordable Price: Top loads are generally cheaper than front loads. In India, top load washing machines range from Rs.11,000 to Rs.30,000 whereas front load can range from Rs.20,000 to Rs.80,000. This is because front loads come with multiple settings and additional features than top loads. Also, front loads are newer in the market and offer better performance and efficiency.
What Should You Buy?
Budget is restricted: If you are looking for a cost-effective washing machine and don’t have a problem with occasionally washing tough stains beforehand, then top load is perfect for you. Top load is also great for senior citizens and people with back and joint pains as it does not require you to bend while loading the machine. They are also easier and simpler to use.
Space is restricted: If you have a smaller area to place your washing machine, then you should opt for front load as this is generally smaller than top load. Front load can also handle more clothes as the drum is bigger than the top load. They take smaller space and wash more clothes in a single go. They are also energy and water efficient which makes them cheaper in the long run.
Both budget and space is restricted: If you want to save money and space, then you should look at a few options, one of them is HE or High Efficiency top load machines, these are top load machines that do not have agitators and are energy efficient. They also have similar features like front loads and are relatively cheaper than them.
However, they are not as energy efficient as a normal front load machine. If you don’t need a high capacity machine and have a smaller family of 2 to 3 people then a 5 to 6 Kg front door will be affordable. And the water, energy and detergent efficiency will make the machine cost almost similar to a top load in the long run.
Do You Need Different Detergent For Top Load Front Load?
The simple answer is yes. As the front load uses less water, it does not require much suds. So a normal detergent that produces a lot of suds is not going to be effective and leave the clothes feeling soapy. So, a front load requires a detergent that is effective but does not produce too much suds. On the other hand since the top load uses a lot more water, it can easily wash away the suds during cleaning and will not leave soap residue on your clothes.