Front-Load vs Top-Load Washers

By Todd Fratzel on Appliances, Energy Conservation

Front Vs Top Load Washer Debate

Kenmore Elite Front Load Washer and Dryer Front Load vs Top Load WashersIt wasn’t all that many years ago when the only place you saw front-load washers was the laundromat. Today front-load washers are showing up at every store and many homes. This has caused quite the debate among home owners and sales associates about which is better? Front-Load or Top-Load?

I think the debate is about over these days now that the benefits of energy savings and performance are known. Almost every front-load washer on the market today qualifies for the Energy Star certification. With an emphasis on the environment and energy savings these new front-load washers are making a big impact.

Big Energy Savings

ES Logo Front Load vs Top Load WashersBy far the biggest advantage to buying a front-loading washing machine is the big energy savings. According to Energy Star the average American family does over 400 loads of laundry each year. Traditional top-load washers use as much as 40 gallons per load while newer front-load washers only use 20 to 25 gallons per load. This results in a 40% or more savings in water use. The result is a savings of over 8,000 gallons of water yearly.

Front-load washers spin at a much higher speed than the older top-loading machines. Today’s front-load washers can spin as fast as 1,500 rpm compared to 600 rpm or less with the older top-loading machines which removes significantly more water during the spin cycle. As a result the energy (electricity or gas) needed to dry clothes is drastically reduced. Estimates from different sources estimate the reduced energy use by as much as 56%.

Less Clothing Abuse

Another benefit to front-load washers is the lack of an agitator. Older top-loading washers have an agitator that rubs, pulls and stretches clothing in order to clean it. Front-load washers have no agitator and which results in less abuse (damage) to your clothing. The bottom line is your clothing will last longer and look nicer.

Size Matters

Front-load washers can washer larger loads of clothing because there is no agitator. Front-load machines are much better for washing large items like blankets, comforters, jackets and other unusual items. Front-load washers are also built today so you can stack them on top of the dryer. This results in a significant space savings if your home needs the extra floor space.

Cost

Until recently the front-loading washing machines were significantly more expensive than the older top loading models. However, now that the demand for front-load machines has increased so much the gap between them is shrinking. In fact, we just purchased our first front-load washer and dryer set because the prices have come down so much. Today it’s not hard to find a complete set for under $1,500 where the used to cost $2,000 and up. The difference in price will certainly pay off in a short time period with the energy and water savings.

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the author of Tool Box Buzz and Today's Green Construction. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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2 Comments

  1. Marcy Tate says:

    I have always heard that front load washers cause so many problems from leaks to trouble repairing them. I have a feeling that nowadays the machines have improved since front loaders are way more common now.

  2. Yosef says:

    I spent so much on repairs for a top loader – it’s six of one and half a dozen of the other these days, you’re right, washing machines have come a long way.

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