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Top Loader vs Front Loader

Top loader and front loader washing machines are two common types of washing machines, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Here’s Canstar Blue’s comparison of top loader and front loader washing machines.

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What is a top loader washing machine?

A top loader washing machine has a drum that is vertically positioned; you lift a lid at the top of the machine to access the drum and to load or unload your laundry. Such machines typically have an agitator in the center of the drum, which moves clothes around to facilitate the washing process.

Top loader pros

1. Cheaper to purchase

Top loader washing machines are often less expensive than front loaders.

2. Easy to maintain

Top loaders are usually easier to access for maintenance and repairs. They are less prone to issues such as mould and odours, which can be more common in front loaders.

3. Easy access

Clothes are loaded from the top of the machine, making it convenient for users who find it difficult to bend down.

Top loader cons

1. Slower spin speeds

Top loaders generally have lower maximum spin speeds compared to front loaders. This may result in clothes being less dry at the end of the wash cycle, requiring more time in the dryer.

2. Higher water usage

Top loaders tend to use more water compared to front loaders, as they typically fill the entire drum with water for each wash cycle.

3. Less energy-efficient

Top loaders are generally considered less energy efficient than front loaders, especially in terms of heating water.

→Related article: How Much Are You Paying For Power? Average Electricity Costs in NZ

What is a front loader washing machine?

A front loader washing machine has a drum that is positioned horizontally. The door is located on the front panel, and you load or unload your laundry by opening the door and placing clothes into the drum. Such machines use a drum that rotates horizontally, and the washing action is facilitated by gravity as the drum rotates.

Front loader pros

1. Faster spin speeds

Front loaders typically have higher maximum spin speeds compared to top loaders. This results in clothes being drier at the end of the wash cycle, potentially reducing drying time.

→Related article: Washing Machine Cycles Explained

2. Energy-efficient

Front loaders are generally more energy-efficient than top loaders, especially when it comes to heating water. The horizontal drum design allows for better water extraction during the spin cycle, reducing the time and energy required for drying.

→Related article: How Much Electricity Does a Clothes Dryer Use?

3. Lower water usage

Front loaders use less water than top loaders, and are known for their water efficiency.

Front loader cons

1. Harder to maintain

Front loaders can require more maintenance to prevent issues such as mould. The front-loading sealed door design can trap moisture, leading to the development of unpleasant odours in the machine.

2. More expensive upfront

Front loader washing machines are often more expensive than top loaders. However, they can save on operating costs over time due to their energy efficiency.

3. Harder to load

Clothes are loaded from the front of the machine, requiring users to bend down to load and unload laundry. This can be difficult for those with back or knee problems.

Which is best?

While top loader washing machines are still popular, front loaders have gained popularity due to their energy efficiency and better cleaning performance. The choice between a top loader and a front loader often depends on individual preferences, space constraints, and budget considerations.

However, in New Zealand at least, there is a far wider selection of front loaders over top loaders. So while your choice comes down to personal preference, accessibility may also prove an important factor.

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Each year Canstar Blue rates NZ power companies for customer satisfaction and value for money. You can see the table below for some of the results, or you can click on the button below for the full results of our survey.

Canstar Blue’s latest review of NZ power companies compares them on customer satisfaction. The table below is an abridged version of our full results, available here.

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About the author of this page

This page was written by Canstar Content Producer, Caitlin Bingham. Caitlin is an experienced writer whose passion for creativity led her to study communication and journalism. She began her career freelancing as a content writer, before joining the Canstar team.

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