So we’ve evaluated the pros and cons of regular top-loaders and today we’re going over the positives and negatives of front-loading washers.
Remember in this analysis, we are only evaluating traditional top-loaders and high-efficiency front-loading washers.
Pros of High-Efficiency Front Loading Washing Machines
- No agitator! Arguably the best selling point of HE front-loaders. There are so many advantages to not having an agitator: clothes take less of a beating-literally, bulky items can be easily washed and retain their shape, large items can be washed, clothes come out cleaner due to the rotating action of the drum, and more space is available for clothes not housing an agitator.
- Use a small amount of water. My front-loader uses 13.5 gallons of water per wash cycle. That’s a huge difference compared to the 40-44 gallons used by a top-loader. Whether you’re into being a little more green, or just want to keep your water bill low…you just can’t beat 13.5 gallons.
- They are enormously energy-efficient. When doing our taxes this year, we found out that our washer can no longer be marketed as ‘energy-efficient’ come September 2010. Since there are newer and better machines on the market, ours is considered older technology – and we just got it in 2007! But compared to a traditional top-loader, it is hugely energy-efficient. The energy to heat 13.5 gallons of water compared to 40 gallons of water is substantial. Just that measurement alone makes them a huge money-saver in the utility department.
- They practically dry your clothes. It always shocks me to pull out practically dry clothes from my washer. The amount of water the machine can extract is unbelievable. This always helps decrease the power bill since the dryer runs for a lesser amount of time.
- Large washing capacity. Most top-loaders can only hold up to 13-14 pounds of clothes. Most front-loaders on the market today can hold up to 18 and even 20 pounds of clothes. A larger capacity equals fewer loads. And fewer loads equal less money spent on energy, water, and laundry supplies.
- Many washing options. Front-loaders come with tons of cycle options. It’s so nice to have choices.
- Laundry just seems easier. I don’t know what it is – maybe the nice control panel with numerous options. Or the pretty look to the machine. Or the technology. But it seems it is just ‘easier’ to wash laundry with a nice, high-efficiency front loader. Maybe it’s just me.
Cons of High-Efficiency Front-Loading Washing Machines
- Price! Possibly the hardest issue to swallow with the front-loaders is price. It is easy to drop $2000-3000 on a nice washer/dryer set when you’re looking to buy a front-loader. They are 2-3 times more pricey than a traditional top-loading set. Even when on sale, they are out of range of many people’s budgets.
- Not for people with back problems. Unless you splurged on the pedestals, one really has to bend down low to reach into the front-loaders. I’m only 5’3” and I am so thankfully every time I open that washer door that we purchased the pedestals too.
- Wet clothes fall on the floor. It seems practically impossible to move clothes from the washer to the dryer without some of them dropping on the floor. They just seem to tumble out. I don’t like clean, wet clothes on my laundry room floor. Bleh.
- Poor soak option. Most front-loaders only have a limited soak option. My washer only gives the option to soak for 30 minutes, which is ridiculous to me! Most items need a couple of hours to soak.
- Long wash cycles. Front-loaders have notoriously long wash cycles. If selecting all of the options, my machine offers a wash cycle of almost 3 hours (Heavy Duty cycle, Steam Sanitize, Steam Treat, extra rinse)! Who has that kind of time?!
- Require High-Efficiency Detergent. It’s expensive and hopefully you can find laundry detergent on sale. I know the controversy over using regular detergent in your high-efficiency machine. But I’m a scaredy-cat. And I don’t want to ruin the warranty.
- Expensive to repair. Because it is so electronic-heavy, repairs are more complex and definitely cost more money. I speak from experience. <sigh>
What is the Best Choice for My Family?
Carefully evaluate the pros and cons from each type. Which of the listed features are must-haves? Which features can you live without?
The choice is going to be different for everyone. And I guarantee for every person you find who loves their top-loader is another person who adores their front-loader. Go to the home improvement store and inspect each type. Envision washing your family’s clothes in each type and ponder whether you think it would be a good fit.
You’ll be much happier with your purchase if it is thoroughly researched and thought out.
Okay, so I’m dying to know: Do you have a top-loader or front-loader? Do you love it or…not so much? Tell me all about it, but please remember to be kind. Not everyone may share your opinion!