Front load washing machines
Front-load washing machines adjust the amount of water to the size of the load you’re washing. They clean by lifting clothes up as the drum turns, then dropping the clothes into the water. So the size of a load of laundry really doesn’t matter as long as the dirty clothes have enough room to move around.
Front-loaders are declining amid market changes and persistent issues. They are priced higher compared with top-load washers and top-load agitators. They’re also prone to mold, mildew and odor, according to a CR survey of 111,491 members who purchased a new machine between 2010 and 2020.
To compete more with lower-priced top-loaders, some manufacturers have introduced lower-priced front-loaders. If all things are equal, there’s no denying the front-load washer efficiency advantage. They’ll save you more money long term, even if they don’t always pass the smell test.
Our tests have found that front-loaders use the least water and extract more of it, cutting dryer time and energy use. And they’re often gentler on fabrics and quieter than top-loaders.
1. Wash Times Are Long
At 70 to 120 minutes per load in our tests, front-loaders are the slowest type of washer when it comes to doing a load of laundry. High-efficiency (HE) top-loaders, the type without a center-post agitator, usually take 55 to 75 minutes, and most agitator top-loaders clock in between 35 and 65 minutes.
We use the normal-wash/heavy-soil setting in our tests, but you can shorten your wash time by choosing a normal-soil setting. Some front-loaders have time-saving settings as well. In our tests, LG’s TurboWash, Kenmore’s Accela Wash, and Samsung’s Super Speed options got the job done faster without sacrificing cleaning.
And keep in mind that the time lost in washing may be saved in drying—which can mean you save on your energy bills, too. “The front-loader’s spin cycle is faster than other washer types,” says Rich Handel, the CR tester who oversees our laundry lab. “That means more water is extracted from your laundry, and dryer time is shorter.”
What are the differences between top load and front load washing machines?
The main difference between these two washing machines is where you’ll find the door. Top load machines are loaded from the top, whereas front load machines have the door at the side of the machine. Apart from the location of the door, there are some differences between the models.
The main differences are:
Structure. Apart from the location of the door, a front load machine has no agitator and uses paddles on the side of the drum. These washing machine features mean that front load washing machines are generally gentler on your clothes than top load ones.
Capacity. If you have a top load machine with an agitator, then this takes up more space, so front load often can take larger loads.
Electricity. Since you can do a larger load in a front load washing machine, this means you will need to do less washes and you can save more money in the long term, especially if you use an economical washing machine.
Water. Front load machines usually use less water to wash the clothes than a top load washing machine.
Space. Some top load machines are narrower, so it may be easier to fit a top load machine into a smaller space.
Price. You’ll find top load machines come at lower prices on the market than front load ones.
Whether you choose a top or a front load machine, in the end it really depends on your needs.
What is the difference between a fully-automatic and semi-automatic washing machine?
The main difference between semi-automatic and fully-automatic washing machines is that the latter does everything you need at the touch of a button. The semi-automatic washing machine may require you to move the wet clothes from one tub to another for spin drying, for example. You can see more about fully-automatic washing machines and semi-automatic washing machines in our other articles. But the main pros and cons between the two machines are: