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Laundry Debate: Should I Buy a Top Load or Front Load Washer & Dryer?

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dark gray white and silver front load washing machine stacked next to each other in store aisle

In the market for some shiny new laundry room appliances?

Chances are your head is spinning with all the options out there on the market! And with so many cool features, high-efficiency ratings, good reviews, bad reviews, and everything in between, it can be tough to choose just what to buy.

With this straightforward list of pros and cons for front load and top load washers and dryers, we hope to help you explore the options and narrow down what’s going to work best in your home and get your whites cleaner than ever before!

Hip Tip: You’ll notice that throughout this post we link to Best Buy for a lot of our appliance recommendations. This is because we love their price matching AND they also haul away your old appliances for just $19.99 (a lot of places won’t)!


Top load washer and dryer

white top load washing machine with price tag in store

Pros:

    • Tried and true design.
    • People don’t complain about bad smells or mold.
    • You have the option of an agitator or no agitator.
    • Generally the most affordable option.
    • There are more brands and options to choose from.
    • Option for a gas or electric dryer.
    • You can use many types of laundry detergent.
    • They can handle smaller loads if needed.
    • Less vibration through your floor.
    • High-Efficiency is an option.

Cons:

    • No useable countertop space on top of units.
    • Shorter people (or pregnant mothers during their last month of pregnancy 😉) might struggle to get the last of their wet clothes.
    • Clothes might get tangled frequently.
    • Requires more energy to complete a cycle.
    • Tougher on fabrics.
    • Washers with an agitator tend to be the loudest.

Some of our favorite top-rated, top-loading washing machines:

I searched different types of popular appliance features with strictly high ratings across the board. For Best Overall, I found a mid-price, highly-rated option with some bells and whistles. Budget-Friendly is the high-rated, least expensive option. Large Family-Approved is the largest capacity highly-rated washer. 

⭐Best OverallLG – 5.0 Cu. Ft. 8-Cycle Top-Loading Washer with 6Motion Technology

⭐Budget-FriendlyAmana 3.5 Cu. Ft. Top Load Washer

⭐Large Family-Approved LG – 5.5 Cu. Ft. 12-Cycle Top-Loading Washer


Front-load washer and dryer

dark gray white and silver front load washing machine stacked next to each other in store aisle

Pros:

    • Useable countertop space on top of them.
    • Stackable to free up extra floor space.
    • Adding pedestals makes laundry easier to grab.
    • Pause button for throwing in stray clothing found after starting a load of wash.
    • The most gentle on clothes.
    • Uses the least amount of water.
    • Cleans clothes the best due to its design.
    • High-efficiency helps cut back on utilities.
    • They can handle smaller loads if needed.
    • Option to have a gas or electric dryer.
    • Many colors to match your home decor.

Cons:

    • You’re likely to drop clothing when transferring from washer to dryer.
    • You might have to bend a lot to take clothes in and out.
    • Normal wash times can be longer than other washers.
    • They can tend to be the most expensive options.
    • Mold or bad odors are most common with front loaders if not cleaned properly.
    • It can be tough to clean.
    • Small garments can get stuck in the door.
    • You must use HE (High Efficiency) detergent.
    • Some have a strong vibration.

Some of our favorite top-rated, front-loading washing machines:

I searched different types of popular appliance features with strictly high ratings across the board. For Best Overall, I found a mid-price, highly-rated option with some bells and whistles. Budget-Friendly is the high-rated, least expensive option. Large Family-Approved is the largest capacity highly-rated washer. 

⭐Best Overall Maytag – 4.5 Cu. Ft. 10-Cycle High-Efficiency Front-Loading Washer with Steam

⭐Budget-Friendly Samsung – 4.2 Cu. Ft. 8-Cycle High-Efficiency Front-Loading Washer

⭐Large Family-Approved Samsung – FlexWash 6.0 Cu. Ft. Washer with Steam


So what’s the Hip2Save team verdict? Here’s what our team had to say:

colorful clothes in washing machine agitator

✅ Top loaders  vs. 👎 Front loaders

“We bought a top-load Samsung washer. It was great but went out within 5 years – they just don’t make them like they used to! When we were first married, someone gave us an old Maytag that had rusting paint and it lasted us forever!! A fresh coat of paint and it was like new.

We currently own an LG washer without an agitator, and I like it, but I have heard that the washers with agitators clean better, so I may be going back to that after this one dies. I never considered buying front loaders with all the bad reviews I’ve read in the past.” – Mary


“I hate my front loader! I can’t wait for it to quit working!” – Michelle


“I bought a front loader washing machine when they became popular years ago, and I hated it! The rubber lip would always get moldy and gross and stink! No matter how much I cleaned the thing, it would be gross. I finally went back to a top loader without an agitator in the middle, and I love it!” – Jennifer


“Top Loaders all the way. Everyone I know with a front loader complains about the cost, smell, leaks, and mold. No thanks!” – Jamie


“I love my top loader! I want to say I bought it used at least 8 years ago – no joke! It is super old but it never fails on me, so I am in love!” – Erica


“I love the top loading set that I bought and all of the cycles that it has. My mom used to have a front loader when I lived there. While it was nice for my 4’11” self, it did tend to smell, the rubber lip would get gross, and–considering I am the only short person in the family–it’s easier for me to use a stool to get into the top load. LOL!” – Alana


“We had a whirlpool (top loader) for 12 years until it sounded like a helicopter. Then we bought a Hotpoint set from Lowe’s – top loader made by GE. The first week the washer went bonkers and I about broke my tush falling down the steps to stop it. A repairman had to replace a piece that broke. Apparently, you need to load your washer evenly, i.e. one for one. Not just one pair of pants and a sweatshirt, but one of each so that they have equal spin power. I never washed that way before. But since taking his advice, I haven’t had any issues. I will go back to Whirlpool when we decide to buy new again.” – Amber S. 


“I absolutely hated my front loader! I have a cheapie top loader now and it does the job perfectly.” – Angela


“I love my Samsung top loader! I hate the front loader machines as I did not like that you had to always have the door open to avoid the mildew smell. And mine always had little bits of mold growing around the rubber ring! Yuck!” – Bryn


“I am a huge fan of my top load washer! It’s so easy to clean and so easy to use without all of the bells and whistles of some machines. I’m all about the basics. When I previously owned a front load washer, I felt like all I did was constantly clean it, and my clothes still smelled like mildew. I also always left the washer door open, which didn’t seem to help either!”  – Collin


“I’ve had my current Maytag top loader since before 2000. No bells and whistles, but the thing is a workhorse. My only wish is that it would handle larger loads like comforters, but I do feel like the agitator really gets clothes clean.” – Stacy


👎Top loaders vs. ✅ Front loaders

“We have had our front loaders for about four years now, and I absolutely love them! We’ve never had an issue with bad smells or mold, but I do make sure to take care of it by leaving the door open to dry and clean it when needed. I also just really love the overall look and think the designs are so sharp looking!” – Sara


“Love our newer Maytag front loaders! I use vinegar on mine, and it’s fine! You can’t use too much detergent is all, and leave the door open after washing sometimes. I love the look and have never had an issue.” – Lina


The verdict? Top Loaders: 10 vs. Front Loaders: 2

So it’s pretty clear to see which our team prefers, but enough about us. What type of washer and dryer do you have at home? Let us know in the comments below!


Ditch the expensive Tide bottle and try this instead!

Join The Discussion

Comments 107

  1. Melissa

    I love my top loader Speed Queen! It’s a basic, no frills washer and it’s amazing. Made in the USA too and has a great warranty.

  2. Susan

    Have an LG top-load washing machine and hate it. Cannot reach laundry even though when I tested this in-store when on the raised machine I could? And, my clothes are dingy and grey. They come out with the same dirt on them as when I put the clothes in to wash them! Sometimes I wash them twice—inside and right-side out!
    Matching dryer—clothes fall out the front door and onto the floor when stopped. Who wants clean clothes on the floor? So bad.

  3. Pat

    I have a Whirlpool Duet front loader, have had it for 19 years with no major problems. I ‘ve never had a mold problem, I always leave the door and detergent dispenser ajar. I love being able to wash quilts and quilt tops without them being harmed by an agitator. There is really only one thing I don’t like about it – you can’t soak anything in it because it will only put in enough water to swish the item in the minimum amount of water. I like to soak stained vintage linens in Oxiclean and cannot do that in this machine. I figured next time I might go for a top loading without an agitator, not sure now.

  4. KATHLEEN

    I have a front loader and I dislike it because it considers it “energy saving” because it uses less water. But it uses a ton of electricity by running the machine forever. Also, I like to be able to stop my machine so I can do a soak cycle and my machine doesn’t allow this. I have an LG machine, maybe it is just my brand. I immediately broke and it took two visits to fix the problem, I mentioned that the buzzer was too low on the dryer and he “fixed it”, it is still too low – You wind up getting clothes that are wrinkled. I want my old fashioned machine back!

  5. Terry

    I’m looking at getting a new washing machine. I checked a $600 one on Best Buy’s page and they charge $30 for delivery and installation. Another model had free delivery. I’m leaning towards Lowes. Their prices are the same as Home Depot and they charge $20 haul away/recycle fee (HD is $25). No delivery charges. When my friend bought her washer and dryer, a couple years ago, the store would also haul away for free. Those days seem to be gone 🙁

  6. Susie

    I bought a Fridgidaire front loader and dryer sent in 2008. I thought I was making a green choice since front loaders were touted to be more efficient with low water usage. Loved it for the first couple years, but then started noticing black mildew and pink gunk in the gasket around the front. I started running a bleach load of whites for the last load of the week. Finally – both washer and dryer were going out this past fall. I figured it was time to go back to a traditional top loader and ended up with a Whirlpool pair. LOVE LOVE LOVE the top loader. I can do an occasional load between my regular wash day and not have to worry about running a bleach load.

  7. Jenny E.

    For you Costco memebers, check out their appliances. Just bought a top load Whirlpool Cabrio washer for about $40 cheaper than I could find at any box store. This price included installation and removal of our old washer for free, a 2 year warranty, and if i didn’t like, which I do, I could have returned it within the first 90 days of owning it 😊

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