Front Load vs. Top Load Washers: 7 Important Differences |
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Front Load vs. Top Load Washers: 7 Important Differences

Man placing laundry in a washer It’s time to buy a new washing machine, but which do you choose: the traditional top-load washer, or the stylish front-load washer?  Both have their advantages and choosing between the two usually comes down to personal preference. The top-load washer, referred to as the traditional washer, is believed by some to be the more well-known and reliable choice, while front-load washers are known for their stylish design, convenient features, and energy efficiency. To help you decide which washer is right for you, we’ve outlined some of the biggest differences between top vs. front load washers.

Here are the top seven points to keep in mind when choosing a front-load or top-load washer.

Size and Space

The first thing you should consider when choosing a washer, just like any other major appliance you purchase, is the size. You don’t want to purchase a washer that is too big for the space you plan to install it in. Both styles, top-loader or front-loader, are pretty similar in width but can be quite different in height and depth.  Top-load washers tend to be taller than front-load washers, unless you plan to put your front-load washer on a pedestal. If you are concerned with space, keep in mind many front-loading washers can be stacked with a companion dryer, which is great option for tight quarters. A top-load washer can never be stacked for obvious reasons.

Woman turning on front load washing machine The Door

When comparing a front load washer vs top load washer, door placement can be an important consideration when it comes to loading a washing machine. The front-load washer design, if elevated on a pedestal, can be easily loaded and unloaded. If you do not choose to put your front-load washer on a pedestal, you may find yourself doing a lot more kneeling and bending. The top-load washer design is very easy to load, but may not be as easy to unload since you will have to reach down into the tub to pull out your wet laundry.


One of the major reasons front-load washers have become more popular in the last few years is because they are more energy efficient than the traditional top-loading machine, but new high efficiency top-loading washing machines are quickly closing that gap. The debate of high-efficiency top load washer vs front load washer really boils down to the individual models being compared.

The Agitator

Traditional top-load washers include an agitator, but front-load and newer top-load models do not. There are pros and cons to having an agitator: on one hand, many consumers argue that washing machines with agitators clean clothes better and help to lift dirt out of tough stains. However, the agitation can be rough on clothes. Things like drawstrings can get tangled around the agitator, and it also lowers washtub capacity.

Last-Minute Laundry Adding

When choosing between a front load or top load washing machine, the ability to make late laundry additions is a feature that many people overlook! Have you started up a load of wash only to realize after you forgot to add a sock or t-shirt? With a top-load washer, it’s easy to just flip the lid and throw in the forgotten laundry. Front-load washers, depending on the manufacturer, may not have the option to pause your wash and allow you to add laundry after the cycle has already begun.


With a top-load washer, you can use any kind of detergent, but with many front-load washers, you may be bit limited on what detergent you can use.  Most manufacturers of front-loading washers will recommend using a high efficiency, low-sudsing detergent.

Money Saver

When directly comparing a front-load vs top-load washing machine, the front-load is the big winner in this regard. Although initially more expensive than a traditional top-load washer, the front-load washer uses less water and energy, saving you lots of money over time. These days, however, high efficiency washers are now available in both front-load and top-load designs.


If you are looking to purchase a new washer stop into your nearest P.C. Richard & Son Superstore and one of our expert sales representatives can help you find the washer that's right for you!

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