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Drying clothes after washing machine load

The Green Debate: Front Loaders vs Top Loaders

Your current washing machine has probably lasted at least 10 years, so if you’re looking for a replacement, a lot has changed since your last purchase.

The average Australian household does 4-5 loads of washing per week. We rely on our washing machine almost as much as our refrigerator. So it's no surprise that performance rather than price is what most people care about when making their decision on which type to buy.

To help you make the right decision, the Two Hoots team has compared the modern day front loaders and top loaders on price, performance and longevity. Our results will surprise you.

With market share between front loaders and top loaders neck and neck, it usually comes down to personal preference on how you load and unload your washing machine and which you think gives the best clean, as to which type you should buy.

Families tend to prefer top loaders because of their easy in loading and unloading, larger tubs, shorter wash cycles and generally lower price points. Couples and singles often opt for front loaders because they’re more space efficient and more efficient to run.

High Efficiency top loaders hit the market a few years ago. The technology in these new breed of top loaders means these machines can be as kind to your clothes and can be as efficient to run as a front loader. How has this become possible?

High Efficiency top loaders are now designed using similar technology to front loaders. The old fashioned agitator has been replace with a wash plate on the bottom of the drum. These machines now flip or spin clothes through water in a similar way to a front loader. Be mindful to place items around the wash plate, not just in a pile, to ensure the machine performs at its best.

This new design also means the space consuming agitator has been removed. Which means there is now more room for clothes, and newer top loaders boast some of the highest capacities currently available. These modern top loaders also have sensors that monitor incoming water levels and temperature which has improved their water and energy efficiency.

If your preference is for and want to save water, purchase a model with at least 3 water efficiency stars and an adjustable water level. This allows you to  reduce the water used with smaller loads.

The downside - as these High Efficiency top loaders are relatively new to the market, there's not much data available on potential mechanical issues. This is an important factor to keep in mind when deciding on a new machine.

So more bad news - the average life expectancy of a washing machine use to be in the order of 10 – 15 years, however new technology means the expectancy on either High Efficiency top loader or a front loader is now around 8 years.

As for front loaders, the water efficiency benefits are widely know. However, front loaders do tend to have a longer wash cycle. This is because they heat the water in the machine, not from your hot water system. This in itself can be an advantage for households with smaller hot water systems.

Another concern with front loaders is they can attract mould. The main culprit is the humidity that can say in the washer. It important to keep to keep all rubber seals dry and leave the door open to air the drum if possible.

Top loading washers are catching up with their front loading counterparts. To help you ensure you purchase the right machine for your needs, some of the factors you should consider are:

    • Energy rating
    • Delay Start Option (to run the machine during off peak hours)
    • Internal Water Heater
    • Large Capacity
    • High Spin Speed, 1000 rpm or higher
    • Stainless Steel Drum
    • Self-Clean Cycle
    • Cold Wash Option
    • Quick Wash Option
    • Automatic Water Level Adjustment
    • No Central Agitator

Are you a front-loading fanatic or a top-loading lover, tell us your recommendation below.