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Top-Load Washers vs Front-Load Washers

Top-Load Washers vs. Front-Load Washers


When you're looking for a new laundry machines, the first question to answer is what type of washer makes the most sense for your home. No one type of washing machine is best; each has its own pros and cons that you will want to consider. Different types of options 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, and read on to get a big-picture idea of the general differences between standard top-load, high-efficiency (HE) top-load and front-load washers.

Standard Top-Load Washers HE Top-Load Washers Front-Load Washers

Ease of access

Easier Easier More difficult


Holds less Holds more Holds more

Energy efficiency

Less efficientMore efficient Most efficient


Non-stackableNon-stackable Stackable


Most affordableModerately affordableLeast affordable

*Refer to the Washer Buying Guide for more information.

Standard Top-Load Washers

Advantages of Standard Top-Load Washers 
  • Easy access - Top-load washers are easy to load and unload because the drum is at an ideal height, meaning you don't have to kneel or bend.
  • Affordable - Basic top-load washers are usually less expensive than comparable front-load models and HE top-load washers.

Limitations of Standard 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.

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Standard Top-Load Washer

High-Efficiency Top-Load Washers

High-Efficiency Top-Load Washer
Advantages of HE Top-Load Washers
  • Easy access - Like traditional top-load washers, HE top-load washersprovide 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.
  • 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.

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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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Front-Load Washer