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Top-Load Washers vs. High-Efficiency Top-Load Washers vs. Front-Load Washers

When you're looking for a new washer, the first and most basic question to answer is what type of washer makes the most sense for your home. No one type of washer is best; each has its own pros and cons that you will want to consider. Different types of washers vary in how efficient and expensive they are. Some take up less space, while others can hold more laundry. Think about what's most important to you in a washer, and read on to get a big-picture idea of the general differences between top-load washers, high-efficiency (HE) top-load washers and front-load washers.

  Top-Load Washers HE Top-Load Washers Front-Load Washers
Ease of access Easier

Easier

More difficult
Capacity* Holds less Holds more Holds more
Energy efficiency
Less efficient More efficient Most efficient
Stackable Non-stackable Non-stackable Stackable
Cost* Least expensive Moderately expensive
Most expensive

*Refer to the Washers Buying Guide for more specific dimension, capacity and cost ranges.


Advantages of top-load washers

  • Easy Access – These models are easy to load and unload with no kneeling or bending required.
  • Least Expensive – Basic top-load washers are usually less expensive than comparable front-load models and HE top-load washers.

Limitations of top-load washers

  • Lower Capacity – The large agitator inside the tub may make it difficult to wash big items like comforters and sleeping bags.
  • Not Stackable – Since they aren't stackable with a dryer, top-load washers take up more floor space.
  • Less Efficient – Top-load washers use more water and electricity than front-load and HE top-load washers, increasing both your utility bills and your carbon footprint.

Advantages of HE top-load washers

  • Easy Access – Like traditional top-load washers, HE top-load washers provide easy access to the wash basket.
  • More Efficient – HE top-load washers save you money on utility bills by using less water and electricity than traditional top-load washers, although front-load models are even more efficient.
  • Larger Capacity – With no agitator taking up space inside the wash basket, these washers are better for washing blankets, coats and other large items.

Limitations of HE top-load washers

  • Not Stackable – Since they aren't stackable with a dryer, top-load washers take up more floor space.
  • Moderately Expensive – These washers may cost slightly more than traditional top-load washers, but are typically less expensive than comparable front-load washers.

Advantages of front-load washers

  • Stackable – Front-load washers can often be stacked with a dryer, freeing up floor space.
  • Most Efficient – These are the most water- and energy-efficient washers out there, making them friendly for the environment and your wallet.
  • Larger Capacity – Front-load washers also lack an agitator, leaving more space in the wash basket for laundry.

Limitations of front-load washers

  • Most Expensive Front-load washers typically cost more than their top-load counterparts.
  • Harder to Access – Because the door is on the front, you have to kneel down a bit to load and unload these models; placing the washer on a pedestal can raise it by a foot or more for easier access.

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