In defence of the top loader

September 30th, 2015

Appliance Talk Buying Guide Laundry Washers & Dryers

in defence of the top loader

The debate over the best appliances to use in the laundry tend to end up favouring front-loading washing machines, due to their energy and water efficiency, gentle washing action, and better use of often limited laundry space.

Haier HWMP55-918 5.5kg Top Load Washing MachineHaier HWMP55-918 5.5kg Top Load Washing Machine

So are there any reasons to still opt for a top-loader?  Or have front-loaders entirely overtaken them?

Here are a few areas where top-loaders excel, leaving front-loaders behind:

Higher capacity at lower prices

Traditionally, one area where top-loaders used to beat front-loaders was in capacity, with top loaders being the only machines able to handle the larger laundry loads required by bigger households.

Panasonic NA-140VG4WAU 10kg Front Load Washing MachinePanasonic NA-140VG4WAU 10kg Front Load Washing Machine

But in recent years, advances in technology have allowed front-loaders to catch up, with a variety of 9+kg capacity front-loaders being currently available.

10kg Top Load Euromaid Washing Machine TL10KG10kg Top Load Euromaid Washing Machine TL10KG

However, these high-tech front-loaders tend to come in at a noticeably higher price point than similarly-sized top-loaders, meaning you may need to pony up more cash up-front to enjoy their long-term benefits.

Faster wash cycles

While the rolling action of a front loader may be energy and water efficient and also gentle on delicate clothes, all that washing, rinsing and spinning takes time, even with gravity doing half of the work.

SamsungSamsung WA70F5G4DJW 7kg Top Load Washing MachineSamsung WA70F5G4DJW 7kg Top Load Washing Machine

In contrast, top-loaders tend to complete their washing cycles much faster on average than front-loaders.  Instead of using a front-loader to do multiple smaller loads of laundry that take longer to complete, you can use a top-loader to get a single larger load done faster – ideal for time-poor families.

Add a sock you missed

Most of us have made the rookie error of accidentally leaving one important item out of our laundry load, not realising our mistake until the cycle has started.

Contrariwise, just as many of us have realised with horror after pressing the last button that we left our bright red, non-colourfast t-shirt in with all those whites…

Dyeing_British_Library_Royal_MS_15.E.iii,_f._269_1482“My good man, was this MEANT to come out red?” “Ummm…”

One problem with many (but not all) front loaders is that once the cycle has begun, it can’t be stopped, meaning you have to either wait for the cycle’s completion, mess about with the settings to accelerate the cycle to its final stage, or do some serious appliance damage to get access to your load.

Fisher & Paykel WA70T60GW1 7kg Top Load Washing MachineFisher & Paykel WA70T60GW1 7kg Top Load Washing Machine

Top loaders generally don’t have this problem, with top-loading lids typically being able to open at any point of the cycle, allowing you to drop in that errant sock or pull out the dangerous shirt.  This flexibility comes in handy more often than you might expect.

No bending

Most front-loading washing machines are designed to be positioned on the ground, whether they’re freestanding, underbench, or use a stacking kit to house a dryer on top.

Cat_investigates_washing_machine_2003-07-03 source:“This can’t be good for my back…” (source: mwri on Wikimedia Commons)

This means that loading and unloading a front loader requires a lot of crouching or bending over in front of the machine, unless you go to the trouble of setting it up on a secure pedestal.

front load vs top load washing machines

With the lid of a top-loader right at waist height or higher, much less bending is required to get your laundry into and out of the machine.  Your back will thank you for your choice!

It’s up to you

If you’re picking a washing machine for your laundry, don’t automatically dismiss top-loaders entirely – they still have a lot to offer busy families wanting to get big loads done quickly, and without paying too much money up-front.

Check out our buying guides to pick a top-loader or front-loader that best suits your own unique needs.

Mark joined Appliances Online in November 2011 and has since learned more than he ever expected to know about appliances. He enjoys looking for new and unusual ways for to solve everyday problems using typical household appliances. When he’s not toiling at the desks of Appliances Online and Big Brown Box, he tries to find time to write the next big bestseller and draw satirical cartoons, but is too easily distracted by TV, music and video games. Mark’s favourite appliance is the Dyson Groom Tool, as he loves the concept of vacuuming your dog. Google+

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *