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Front load vs. top load: What to know?

When you’re in the market for a new washing machine, the number of choices is staggering. Between brands, sizes, eco certifications and more, there’s an array of options for every home and budget. But where to start?

Choosing a washer
Woman loading the washer
The first thing you need to decide before you start shopping is whether you need a front-loading or top-loading washing machine. Here is what you need to know to make that decision.


The first thing you’ll notice when comparing front- and top-loading machines is the price difference: Front-loading machines are more expensive than their top-loading counterparts. While the prices of front-loading machines have come down, you will still pay more for this option.

Water efficiency

A front-loading washing machine requires far less water than a top-loading machine. A top-loader has to fill all the way up to get all the clothes wet, while a front-loader uses a fraction of the water because gravity keeps the clothes in the bottom of the drum. This simple difference results in less water usage and less energy consumption to heat that water, which saves you money in the long run.


Your laundry room may dictate which type of washing machine fits best. Top-loading washing machines typically live next to the dryer, consuming a lot of vertical space. In ground-floor laundry rooms, front-loading machines can be stacked with the dryer to save space. (They can stack on upper-level laundry rooms, too, but it requires additional equipment and installation.)

Clothes care

Top-loading washing machines have an agitator that churns the water, soap and clothes. This mechanism causes your clothing to wear out faster. A front-loading machine relies on gravity, not an agitator, to wash your clothing, which extends the life of your clothes.


If leaning forward or bending are challenges for you, a front-loading machine might be too difficult unless you purchase an additional pedestal extension that lifts the machine off the ground. Top-loading washing machines are more ergonomically friendly for most users.

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