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What Are the Advantages of a Front Loading Washing Machine?

Michael Pollick
By
Updated May 16, 2024
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In a country like the United States, where top loading washing machines are popular, most people only encounter a front loading washing machine at the local commercial laundromat. In many other countries, the style is much more likely to found inside private homes. There are a number of advantages inherent in this type of washing machine.

The main difference between a top loading and front loading washing machine is how the clothes are placed inside. A top loading machine has a hinged lid on top, allowing the clothes to be placed inside a horizontally-oriented watertight tub. In the center of this tub is a device called an agitator. The agitator's job is to swirl the clothes through the soapy water. A front loader has no central agitator, but uses gravity and side-mounted paddles to agitate clothes. Once the front door is closed, it remains locked mechanically until the washing cycle is complete.

One advantage of a front loading washing machine is an increased capacity. Since there is no central agitator, the horizontally-oriented drum can hold at least 20 to 30% more clothing per load. For a large family, this could mean running only three loads compared to five in a top loader. Fewer loads often translates to savings in utility bills and water usage.

A front loading washing machine is also gentler on clothes and generally quieter to operate. Instead of a centralized agitator literally grabbing clothes and thrashing them, the blades gently pick up the clothes and allow them to drop into the soapy water. The soil is still removed by an agitating action, but gravity does most of the work. Gentler agitation can extend the lifespan of clothes significantly. As top loading washing machines age, they tend to become noisier and more likely to become unbalanced. A front loading washing machine rarely becomes unbalanced from the weight of heavy items.

Another advantage of a front loader is less water and detergent usage. A top loading washer must use enough water to cover the highest level of the clothes. A front loading machine, on the other hand, only uses enough water to cover approximately the lower third of the tub at most. The clothes are drawn through the water, not the water through the clothes. Detergents designed for this type of machine use a lower sudsing formula, and are meant to release different cleansing agents at different water temperatures. In fact, the machine often contains its own heating element to keep the water at an ideal temperature for washing.

Many consumers also find that a front loading washing machine removes more water during the final spin cycle. This often translates into shorter drying times, which equals savings on electricity. In addition, it can work in conjunction with a stackable dryer to save space in the laundry room. A standard top loading washing machine cannot be stacked with a standard electric dryer. Manufacturers' attempts at a stacked top loading combination often limit the washer lid's range of motion. No such design problem exists with a front loader.

An additional advantage of a front loading washing machine is that it pairs perfectly with the best detergent sheets, including eco-friendly and plant-based options. These detergent sheets offer effective cleaning power while being gentle on both your clothes and the environment. They also contribute to the overall health of your washing machine by preventing the accumulation of harmful chemicals often found in traditional liquid detergents. By opting for plant-based detergent sheets, you not only ensure the cleanliness and longevity of your clothes but also safeguard the well-being of your washing machine and the planet.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Pollick
By Michael Pollick , Writer
As a frequent contributor to HomeQuestionsAnswered, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range of topics. His curiosity drives him to study subjects in-depth, resulting in informative and engaging articles. Prior to becoming a professional writer, Michael honed his skills as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.

Discussion Comments

By anon336571 — On May 29, 2013

Front loaders waste your time because they take about two hours to complete a wash, plus more time to give your cloths an extra rinse if you don't like excess soap left on your clothes.

By anon281048 — On Jul 21, 2012

I have found the front loader does not clean as well as the top loader. If you don't get your clothes dirty, then they are fine. If you happen to sweat, get dirt on your clothes, or have a husband with more oil on his skin and hair than most, then stay far away from the front loaders.

I am sad that I got rid of our top loading washer and purchased a front loader. You also have to clean it and make sure that it airs out or it gets mold and mildew. It looks beautiful, but it is a disappointment.

By anon263215 — On Apr 23, 2012

Our apartment complex has front loading washing machines, and they never do a good job. There is always excess soap left in the clothes (even if you use very little) and many times,if washing towels or a blanket, it doesn't spin dry at all, the items are still soaking wet. Never had that problem with a top loader. They come out to 'fix' the machines, but they are never fixed. Same old problem over and over again.

By anon161846 — On Mar 21, 2011

Major downside of the front loader for me is the door locking mechanism. There is always an errant sock or wash cloth found right after the wash cycle starts. So I'm really thankful I have a forgiving top loader that allows me to open the lid and add more laundry anytime during the cycle.

By anon152514 — On Feb 14, 2011

In India, LG Front Loader Machine is the best option, it has direct drive technology which saves electricity, versus to belt driven. Saves lot of water versus to top loader machine. If cuffs and collars are too dirty just put in hot water with little scrub then rinse it and then wash for excellent result. Otherwise it washes the best.

By anon141635 — On Jan 11, 2011

thanks for the information. --Vinay

By anon135279 — On Dec 17, 2010

Thanks for the article, pointing out the differences in detail. I've always had top load machines, but I'm going to try to a front load now, looks like the front load will pay for itself after a few years of energy/detergent etc., savings.

By anon120073 — On Oct 20, 2010

Main difference for washing shirts in front loaders, is that front loaders tie all the arms into knots. not bad if you are a sailor and know how to untie difficult knots.

By anon101059 — On Aug 01, 2010

I really like my front loader. I sweat a lot and sometimes on a hot day of working outside or being in an office all day, my clothes get really smelly. Plus my front loader is very gentle and it cleans my clothes really well rather than a top loader just using so much water just to wash a couple of shirts and pants. A front loader saves me a lot more money too.

By anon3635 — On Sep 09, 2007

In response to what is the difference between top and front load washers; is either better if neither has an agitator?

By anon1806 — On Jun 16, 2007

For Indian conditions, where there is lot of Sweat, dust, dirt, muddy cuffs and collars and edges of clothes, Front Loading OR Top loading buy is advised?

Michael Pollick

Michael Pollick

Writer

As a frequent contributor to HomeQuestionsAnswered, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a...
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