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Front load vs top load washing machines: 11 key differences

Care | 6 minute read |

Once it’s time to buy a new washing machine, the big challenge is to decide whether you go for a front loading or a top loading washer. Both front loading and top loading washers come with their advantages and disadvantages, but which one is better?

Here, Electrolux Malaysia will discuss 11 key distinguishing factors between top load vs front load washing machines to help you decide which one fits your needs and style.

Front load and top load washing machines: Brief definition

Before going into the detailed comparison, let’s walk through the brief definition of front loaders and top loaders.

Top load washing machines

Top load washing machine is designed with a door on the top of the machine. With this layout, you don’t necessarily need to bend over while doing laundry since you load from above. And especially, you are free to add or remove items in the middle of the cycle.

Front load washing machines

Unlike top loading washing machines, front loaders come with a door at the front which opens one side of the drum into which washing is placed.

In most regions of the world, high-end washers are often of this type. Most commercial and industrial clothes washing machines worldwide are of the horizontal-axis design as well.

11 key differences between top load and front load washing machines

1. Appearance

As their names suggest, the overarching difference between these two types of washers is where the door is located on the machine. A front washer features a thick glass door on its front, whereas top loaders are opened from the top of the machine.

Without the large door on the front, top washers may have a smoother and sleeker look, but front loader allows users to see the clothes churning in the suds and water.

2. Size & Capacity

The agitator or impeller in most top loaders tends to take up extra space and reduce the washing capacity. Thus, front-load washing machines can usually handle bigger loads.

Top-load washers, on the other hand, have smaller dimensions and are easier to fit into smaller areas and laundries.

3. Water & Energy efficiency

Generally speaking, front loaders tend to be more water and energy-efficient than top loaders. Thanks to their design, front load washing machines can wash larger loads and consume around one-third the amount of water. Besides, a high-advanced technology setting also allows users to reduce energy consumption.

4. Cleaning performance

For a washer, cleaning performance is crucial. It’s widely accepted that front load washing machines offer excellent washing performance, compared to their top-load counterparts.

Front-load washers remove more dirt and grime and are better at removing stains than their top-load counterparts. The reason is that a front loader’s tumbling washing motions are more effective than a top loader’ twisting wash motions.

With top-load washers, clothing tends to clump together during circular wash motions, making it ineffective when washing larger items such as winter coats and pillows.

>>> Read more: How to use a washing machine - step-by-step guide

5. Cycle time

If you prefer fast laundry, front loading washers might not be the best choice. It takes a longer time for a wash cycle than top loaders because it combines the rotation of the drum with a shallow pool of water and detergent to wash your clothes.

The average washing cycle of a front load washing machine is about an hour, while that of a top loader is roughly 20 - 35 minutes.

Front load vs top load washing machines: 11 key differences

6. Spin speed

Another factor we should examine when comparing top load vs front load washing machines is spin speed. Front loaders have a higher spin speed, around 1500 RPM (revolutions per minute). On the contrary, top loaders produce only around 600 RPM.

In brief, front loaders can extract more water from the clothes, making clothes dry faster.

7. Noise

Front loaders are quieter and cause less vibration when washing.

8. Smell & Mold issue

Designed with a rubber, front load washers may build up mold around its doors. It requires users to clean your front-loading washing machine more often than you do with a top loader.

Top load washing machines, by contrast, don’t have mold problems since they rely on gravity to pull water down. There aren't any seals or gaskets for water to get trapped in. Check out more tips on how to clean washing machine!

9. Maintenance & Repair

Talking about maintenance, top load washers are less expensive to repair and easier to maintain than front load washing machines. While users can make basic do-it-yourself repairs on their top loaders, front-load washers are best checked by trained technicians.

10. Convenience

Top-load washers are more convenient since you can freely add or remove clothes to and from the washer. Moreover, if you have back or knee problems, you will find it more difficult to unload your clothes from a front loader. In addition, kids may get inside your front-load washer since the door is lower.

The abovementioned facts are true for most front loaders. However, Electrolux washing machines are equipped with helpful features that can address most of the inconveniences that front loaders are popularly known for. For example, our Electrolux front load washer EWF9042Q7WB comes with Child Lock feature, keeping both your beloved kids and washer safe from any possible damages. 

11. Price

Commonly, front loaders may cost you more at the checkout, but that initial outlay should be quickly offset by savings in the long term because they are more energy and water efficient.

Washing machine front load vs top load: Which is better?

Comparing a top load vs front load washing machine may not reveal which type is best. Our comparison table below will summarize both pros and cons of these two types and how each model can make your laundry day easier.

  Top loaders Front loaders
  • Lower price
  • Safer for elders and kids
  • Easy to use & maintenance
  • Compatible with most detergents
  • Easy to add or remove items mid-cycle
  • Water and energy efficient
  • More features and functions
  • Better cleaning performance
  • Less noise and vibration during cycle
  • Higher spin speed and shorter drying time
  • Consume more water and energy
  • Make more noise and vibration
  • Less function
  • Damage clothes more
  • Shorter lifespan
  • More costly
  • Compatible with specific detergents only
  • Hardly can add or remove items mid-cycle

FAQs about front load and top load washing machines

Our recommended washing machines

Choosing the right washing machine can be time-consuming. Electrolux is well-known for our high-quality and durable washing machines which were designed to fit your budget without compromising the cleaning performance.

To streamline your search for the best washing machines, browse our wide range of Electrolux washing machines in Malaysia.

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