Jun 15, 2013

WWYD - Front or Top Loader?

My washer and dryer have arthritis so I'm looking for a new set.  The old washer is a front loader and I've been happy with it.  Front sips less water and holds more junk per batch than a high efficiency top loader.

Several of the Facebook folks are rooting for a top loader.  Other than a higher upfront cost and musty smells if you don't keep the door open to dry out, I don't see any negatives to a fronter.

Discuss.

-Beard

24 comments:

  1. I have used both, and aside from the obvious savings of water and detergent, it has always made more sense to me to let gravity do the cleaning. Front loaders seem clean more efficiently b/c of the obvious agitation of the clothes falling on top of each other, rather than gently rubbing aside each other in the top loader (a plus for smelly running clothes). Plus, you have the option to stack them if you need the space.

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    1. "...falling on top of each other, rather than gently rubbing..."

      No heavy petting allowed in the comments.

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  2. Our W/D are in our kitchen (I think you mentioned your childhood home had this fine feature), so having front-loading means we threw down some fancy plywood and gained ourselves more counter space.

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    1. Yep, I think the dryer vent must have exhausted directly into the kitchen in my childhood home. Lint everywhere, even on my (wheat) buns.

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  3. I've always had a top loader. I think until recently (10yrs or so) it used to be the only (or traditional) offering in Australia. Mine seems to have more control and variable options than the front loaders I looked at. They come in some decent water saving options now too, so comparable in the ECO area with front loaders. Next time I would consider getting the washer/dryer combo in one to save on space, (which is front loading) although when I run my dryer I do usually run both at the same time doing loads, so maybe not a great idea. Ultimately what pushed over the line back to the top loader was; being able to open up mid-cycle, after starting. I don't know why, but I do this alot. Pop something else in, find a stray sock I've dropped on the route to the laundry. I like the idea of some washer & dryers I've seen which stack on top of each other, so a front loader is good if this configuration suits your laundry space.

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    1. My front loader (Bosch Axxis) kinda allows me to do the same - but naturally during certain cycles only. Rising is not one of them. :P I only have to hit "pause" and wait for 60secs (security lock) if I want to open it.

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    2. I looked at the new machines that are a washer/dryer in one. Sounds good on paper, but in reality may not work well since you can't dry a load while the next load is washing. Also, the washing capacity is usually smaller on the combo machines.

      I've opened my front loader mid-cycle. Just wait a few seconds for the water to settle below the door, then pop that mother open and throw in the skid-mark undies.

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  4. Front loaders also spin clothes more efficently than top loaders. Therefore clothes dry quicker.

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    1. More RPMs on the front loader, baby. Mine does 900 spins per minute when wringing the load dry, the new ones go even faster. Clothes come out barely damp from the washer.

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  5. I have had both and like both. If buying one though I usually go for a front loader because I think they clean the clothes better, are gentler on clothes plus you gain counter space above. All big pluses for me.

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    1. Agree, front uses gallons less water than high efficiency top loaders. A tablespoon of soap is plenty, unsure if a top loader is similar in the soap department.

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  6. When our 18 year old top load washer gave up on us two years ago I spent quite a bit of time researching washers hoping our next purchase would last as long as the first one did. We chose to go with a front load LG that had a drum that was motor driven as opposed to belt driven. Everything we had read said this was the best option for maintenance and longevity. I have no complaints and prefer the front load over the top load mainly for the simple fact that the dry time and wash time are about the same length so I can get through several loads in an afternoon without waiting for the dryer to finish.

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    1. Dang 18 years, was it a Maytag? Newer machines often give up after 10 or 12 years.

      Direct drive = bee's knees I hear, no belts to blow and longer lasting. I'll take a look at Maytag, LG and Samsung front loader direct drives.

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    2. The old top load was a Kenmore from Sears bought for us when I was expecting our first son and planned on cloth diapering. The washer lasted 18 years, thank goodness the cloth diapering didn't!

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  7. Just got back from the laundry forums, the consensus is Speed Queen is best. Same brand as the commercial units in laundromats, simple controls and no whistles but built like a tank.

    http://www.speedqueen.com/

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  8. Judith6/17/2013

    I see you're leaning towards a front-loader already, I got one as well. Here in Germany they are the most popular option. We do have top loaders as well, but they are usually built to have a smaller footprint, so they can make use of slim spaces the front-loaders can't. My sister has one for exactly that reason.

    I have a front loader I inherited from someone's aunt… it's a Siemens, and it's a year older than I am. I am 34 :)
    It runs like a charm, and from what I see there'd still be parts available should I need them. And I would probably have it repaired, because buying a new machine might mean replacing it a few years down the road. Not even Siemens builds them to last for 35 years anymore these days.

    I never had problems with it becoming smelly, and neither had my parents. Just my neighbours apparently have an odd problem: when they wash whites, they have to remove them from the machine within 2 minutes after they are done, otherwise the laundry becomes incredibly musty smelling and has to be washed again. Never happens with dark laundry, and is independent from cycle and washing temperature. The machine doesn't smell when empty either… it remains a mystery.

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    1. I've checked out the German brands, they look really well built and are obviously smaller than porky American appliances in order to fit the tidy Euro spaces. Siemens and Bosch clean like a boss.

      The only time I have smelly laundry issues is after tossing in a pair of running shorts after a hot 15 miler.

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  9. Have had both, and for awhile used to do laundry for a living (klingon costumes and scooby doo outfits at a local theme park). Like the front loader best, only thing is depending on the type you must have a full load to run. Was the only advantage to having a top loader--if something spilled or I needed one or two things done immediately, I could put them in with a low water setting. With front loaders you can't always do that--need to have a full load so that when the drum spins the weight is distributed evenly and it doesn't get off kilter. Never a problem for darks or colors, just bleach loads. So my solution was to buy a pair of white towels that go into the washer whenever I need bulk--cleanest, whitest towels I own and they've never been used for their intended purchase!

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  10. We've had our front loaders for about 3 years now and, aside from the smell from a closed door washer, I like mine just fine. And, as was mentioned, we stacked ours to gain room for more storage, since our "laundry room" is not one that dreams are made of.

    Your reply to the first comment nearly had coffee coming out my nose. Hilarious.

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    1. Open that door, too moist!

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  11. Recently switched from top to front. Works good, just doesn't take as much, so with two boys and a training,, Mine-consulting husband, I pretty much wash continuously.
    Vinegar in the rinse (and even in wash) works a treat for the smelly bits :-)

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  12. I had my front loader for 1 1/2 years and LOVED it....HUGE....mother to seven with a husband who has a dirty/stinky job (veterinarian). We were struck by lightening and it was fried... and that was after 3 service calls in that short time of ownership. Still loved it. Never shut the door and wiped off the rubber each time I took a load out. Bottom line - I think we bought a lemon and I'd be fine trying it again.

    However, we got a great deal on a huge top loader with no center agitator (acts as a front loader/HE, etc.) Even bigger than my last one and works like a beast but a bit loud however it doesn't bother me. Only downside in comparing those two machines is that my latest one's shortest cycle is 42 minutes while on the front loader I had a 16 minute quick wash which was great for those forgotten pieces absolutely needed.

    Current is a Maytag and previous was a Whirlpool. Dryer still is Whirlpool of the original pair. Huge and love it. My repair man said to choose a dryer with the lint screen on top of the machine as opposed to in the door. He said he rarely works on those machines. Too late for me, but when this one dies I will try to find one like that.

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    1. Here's what I've gathered from my sad research on W&Ds. What an exotic life this is, hanging in laundry forums to get the scoop on top and front:

      - Front loaders use the least amount of water, even less than high efficiency top
      - Top loaders sometimes have a larger tub, but generally hold less underpants than a smaller sized front since the water level only comes part way up to the top.
      - Front usually won't stink like whale colon unless you keep the door closed between batches.
      - Fronts spin at a higher RPM in wring mode, so the clothes come out less drippy and a shorter dry time.
      - Direct drive means no belts to break, so a wise move for both front and top.

      I'll take note on the top lint trap vs. door thingy, didn't know about that one.

      Stuck by lightening, did it make your hair curly?

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Thanks for the note, check back for my response!