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Front-loading vs. top-loading washer: which is best?

Illustration of Front loading and top loading washer

Looking to upgrade your laundry game but not sure whether to go with a front-load or a top-load washer? You’re not alone. At Asurion, we understand the importance of choosing the right appliance for your home—and keeping it protected from unexpected breakdowns—and we’re here to answer your appliance questions. 

When it comes to which type of washer is best for you, there are a few main things to consider before diving in: 

  • Your space
  • Laundry habits
  • Your budget
  • How much maintenance you want to do
  • How long you’d like to keep your washer
  • Whether or not you want to reduce your energy bills

Now let’s walk through the pros and cons of front-loading and top-loading washers to help you determine which one is the best fit for your lifestyle and laundry preferences.

What are the differences between front and top-loading washers?

The names give it away: The main difference between front- and top-loading washers is how you load and unload them—from the front or the top. But there are other contrasts besides where you put the clothes into the machine.  The front- vs. top-loading design of your washer determines, among other things, where you set up your machine, how much water it uses, and how long clothes spend in the dryer. Here’s a comparison of front-loading vs. top-loading washing machines: 


  • Are stackable with a dryer
  • Use gravity to move clothes through a small pool of water
  • Are loaded from the front, which means you’ll need to bend down to do so


  • Are usually placed side-by-side next to a dryer 
  • Use an agitator or a rotating device called an impeller to move clothes through water
  • Are loaded from the top, which is easier on your back

Water and energy efficiency in front and top-loaders 

When it comes to washers and the water and energy they use, there’s a clear difference depending on the type of machine. Here are some specifics.


Front-loading washers use less water per cycle than top-loaders because they only need enough water for clothes to tumble in, not to be fully submerged. Because they use less water, they require less energy to heat the water. Plus, the high-spin speeds on front-loaders mean clothes come out less damp and require less time in the dryer. All this saves energy. 


Traditional top-load machines with agitators use more water than front-load machines because they need to fill up enough to cover the clothes before the cycle starts. High-efficiency top-loading machines are an improvement over older models, but in comparison, front-loaders use the least water and energy. 

Washing capacity and load size of top vs. front-loaders 

If you’ve always got a mountain of laundry to do, the size of your machine definitely matters. Without an agitator or impeller taking up space, you can fit more items in a front-load machine than in a top-load model. 

Maintenance and durability of a top-load vs. a front-load machine

They’re energy efficient and typically fit more clothes, but are there any disadvantages of a front-loading washing machine? We’d have to say yes: Front-loaders need a bit more TLC. Because of their seal and door design, front-loaders can be prone to mold and mildew, especially if they’re not maintained properly. It’s crucial to leave the door ajar after a wash cycle and clean your front load washer every 40 cycles or once a month. 

Top-loaders, which are less prone to trapping moisture, tend to have fewer maintenance issues and last a bit longer than front-load machines. 

Got a noisy washing machine? Check out our guide on how to fix a washer making loud banging noises

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