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Laundry Debate: Should I Buy a Top Load or Front Load Washer & Dryer?

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gray colored front loading washing machine and dryer with blue lights

In the market for some shiny new laundry room appliances? Chances are your head is spinning with all the options out there on the market. With so many cool features, high-efficiency ratings, good reviews, bad reviews, and everything in between, it can be tough to choose just what to buy.

With this straightforward list of pros and cons for front load and top load washers and dryers, we hope to help you explore the options and narrow down what’s going to work best in your home!


Top load washer and dryer

white top loading washing machine and matching white dryer appliances

Pros:

  • Tried and true design.
  • People don’t complain about bad smells or mold.
  • You have the option of an agitator or no agitator.
  • Generally the most affordable option.
  • There are more brands and options to choose from.
  • Option for a gas or electric dryer.
  • You can use many types of laundry detergent.
  • They can handle smaller loads if needed.
  • Less vibration through your floor.
  • High-Efficiency is an option.

Cons:

  • No useable countertop space on top of units.
  • Shorter people might struggle to get the last of their wet clothes.
  • Clothes might get tangled frequently.
  • Requires more energy to complete a cycle.
  • Tougher on fabrics.
  • Washers with an agitator tend to be the loudest.

Some of our favorite top-rated, top-loading washing machines:

I searched different types of popular appliance features with strictly high ratings across the board. For Best Overall, I found a mid-price, highly-rated option with some bells and whistles. Budget-Friendly is the high-rated, least expensive option. Large Family Approved is the largest capacity highly-rated washer. 

⭐Best Overall – Samsung 5.0 Cu. Ft. 11-Cycle High-Efficiency Top-Loading Washer

⭐Budget-FriendlyAmana 3.5 Cu. Ft. Top Load Washer

⭐Large Family Approved LG 5.2 Cu. ft. High-Efficiency Top Load Washer with Steam and Turbo Wash


Front load washer and dryer

side by side front loading washer and dryer machines in laundry room

Pros:

  • Useable countertop space on top of them.
  • Stackable to free up extra floor space.
  • Adding pedestals makes laundry easier to grab.
  • Pause button for throwing in stray clothing found after starting a load of wash.
  • The most gentle on clothes.
  • Uses the least amount of water.
  • Cleans clothes the best due to its design.
  • High-efficiency helps cut back on utilities.
  • They can handle smaller loads if needed.
  • Option to have a gas or electric dryer.
  • Many colors to match your home decor.

Cons:

  • You’re likely to drop clothing when transferring from washer to dryer.
  • You might have to bend a lot to take clothes in and out.
  • Normal wash times can be longer than other washers.
  • They can tend to be the most expensive options.
  • Mold or bad odors are most common with front loaders if not cleaned properly.
  • Can be tough to clean.
  • Small garments can get stuck in the door.
  • You must use HE (High Efficiency) detergent.
  • Some have a strong vibration.

Some of our favorite top-rated, front-loading washing machines:

I searched different types of popular appliance features with strictly high ratings across the board. For Best Overall, I found a mid-price, highly-rated option with some bells and whistles. Budget-Friendly is the high-rated, least expensive option. Large Family Approved is the largest capacity highly-rated washer. 

⭐Best Overall Maytag 4.8 Cu. Ft. 12-Cycle High-Efficiency Front-Loading Washer with Steam

⭐Budget-Friendly Samsung 4.5 Cu. Ft. High-Efficiency Front Load Washer, ENERGY STAR

⭐Large Family Approved Electrolux 8.0 Cu. Ft. Front Load Perfect Steam Electric Dryer with LuxCare Dry and Instant Refresh in Titanium


So what’s the Hip2BeHome team verdict? Here’s what some of us had to say:

white red blue washers and dryers machines in store on the floor

✅ Top loaders  vs. 👎 Front loaders

“We bought a top load Samsung washer. It was great but went out within 5 years – they just don’t make them like they used to! When we were first married, someone gave us an old Maytag that had rusting paint and it lasted us forever!! A fresh coat of paint and it was like new.

We currently own an LG washer without an agitator, and I like it, but I have heard that the washers with agitators clean better, so I may be going back to that after this one dies. I never considered buying front loaders with all the bad reviews I’ve read in the past.” – Mary


“I hate my front loader! I can’t wait for it to quit working!” – Michelle


“I bought a front loader washing machine when they became popular years ago, and I hated it! The rubber lip would always get moldy and gross and stink! No matter how much I cleaned the thing, it would be gross. I finally went back to a top loader without an agitator in the middle, and I love it!” – Jennifer


“Top Loaders all the way. Everyone I know with a front loader complains about the cost, smell, leaks, and mold. No thanks!” – Jamie


“I love my top loader! I want to say I bought it used at least 8 years ago – no joke! It is super old but it never fails on me, so I am in love!” – Erica


“I love the top loading set that I bought and all of the cycles that it has. My mom used to have a front loader when I lived there. While it was nice for my 4’11” self, it did tend to smell, the rubber lip would get gross, and–considering I am the only short person in the family–it’s easier for me to use a stool to get into the top load. LOL!” – Alana


“We had a whirlpool (top loader) for 12 years until it sounded like a helicopter. Then we bought a Hotpoint set from Lowe’s – top loader made by GE. The first week the washer went bonkers and I about broke my tush falling down the steps to stop it. A repairman had to replace a piece that broke. Apparently, you need to load your washer evenly, i.e. one for one. Not just one pair of pants and a sweatshirt, but one of each so that they have equal spin power. I never washed that way before. But since taking his advice, I haven’t had any issues. I will go back to Whirlpool when we decide to buy new again.” – Amber S. 


“I absolutely hated my front loader! I have a cheapie top loader now and it does the job perfectly.” – Angela


“I love my Samsung top loader! I hate the front loader machines as I did not like that you had to always have the door open to avoid the mildew smell. And mine always had little bits of mold growing around the rubber ring! Yuck!” – Bryn


“I’ve had my current Maytag top loader since before 2000. No bells and whistles, but the thing is a workhorse. My only wish is that it would handle larger loads like comforters, but I do feel like the agitator really gets clothes clean.” – Stacy

 

👎Top loaders vs. ✅ Front loaders

“We have had our front loaders for about four years now, and I absolutely love them! We’ve never had an issue with bad smells or mold, but I do make sure to take care of it by leaving the door open to dry and clean it when needed. I also just really love the overall look and think the designs are so sharp looking!” – Sara


“Love our newer Maytag front loaders! I use vinegar on mine, and it’s fine! You can’t use too much detergent is all, and leave the door open after washing sometimes. I love the look and have never had an issue.” – Lina


The verdict? Top Loaders – 10 vs. Front Loaders – 2

So it’s pretty clear to see which our team prefers, but enough about us. What type of washer and dryer do you have at home? Let me know in the comments below!


Sara (sara@hip2behome.com) loves sharing decor that inspires people on a budget and finds joy in traveling to new places.  

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Comments 30

  1. GisMom

    We, too, went to a front loader washer after our top load washer died. Frustratingly, the front load lasted 4 years and then died. Of course, the price to repair it would have been almost the same as just replacing with a new washer 🙁 So, we are back to a front load and will continue to use that model over a front load in the future. My mom has had her Maytag and it is well over 25 years old! They just don’t make things like they used to!

    • GisMom

      I meant to say we are back to a top load washer now 🙂

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Wow! Awesome to hear how long her Maytag has held up! It sure seems appliances lasted a lot longer, years ago. Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

    • Lana

      Speed Queen is made like they used to make them. We bought one 5 years ago and would have already replaced any other brand. Worth every penny and it gets everything very clean.

      • Nicole S.

        I agree speed queen does get your clothes clean but the 2018 and newer models do not clean your clothes as well. I bought a 2017 model and dearly love it. I found a dealer who had them still in stock last year. If you look on you tube you will see the test between the 2017 and 2018.

        • Anonymous

          Not true. It’s different technology for water saving. The water sprays from the side of the top loader as opposed to filling the tub up entirely and spins the clothes. I would not hesitate one second to buy a newer model Speed Queen. They cannot make a bad model if they tried.

  2. Christine

    I bought a newly built home 3 years ago and the builder “gave” us a washer and dryer. It was a front loader. I never had one before and I was so excited for the space! Well, I cursed that thing after about two weeks. It was so small I was doing an average of 9 loads of laundry per week (a family of 5). It held so little and took so long to wash each load that I basically had to do a load of laundry per day otherwise I could never leave the house on the weekend while I managed laundry. Finally, I broke down sobbing one weekend and told my husband we needed a top loader. He asked what kind, what features, etc. I told him I didn’t care. Just something that held more than 2.3 cu ft of clothes and loaded from the top. He came home with the Samsung one mentioned as the Best above. I LOVE IT. I LOVE IT. I LOVE IT. I am down to two, maybe 3 loads a week, it’s quiet, it’s quick, it’s perfect!!!! I never thought I’d love a washer so much. Now I just need a dryer that can also dry a larger load…LOL

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      Aww, SO glad you have been loving the Samsung, Christine! Thanks a bunch for taking the time to comment!

    • Bellabot

      Samsung is junk. Give it a few years and it will need to be replaced.

  3. Amanda

    In the last few weeks our 10 year old Kenmore front loading dryer finally died. We knew what was wrong with it and decided to purchase a new set instead of fixing. We purchased the newest model Maytag front loaders, washer and dryer. The doors are square instead of the classic round. So far I really like them. I HATE there is no light in the dryer. I wrote Maytag and they had nothing to say. I was pretty shocked to know dryers didn’t come “standard” with a light inside, not to mention these are $1k a piece machines. lol…

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks for sharing, Amanda! You’re right! It would great if all dryers had that feature!

  4. Linda

    We had a top load and purchased a front loader. I hated it. The clothes smelled even after I used the cleaner products and wiped down everything that I could. After several years I couldn’t take it anymore and we went back to a top load machine. Never again will I buy a front load washer.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Oh bummer! SO sorry to hear about that, Linda. I haven’t yet taken the leap to try a front loader. Thanks a ton for the honest review!

  5. Suz in OH

    I have only ever had top loaders, but was glad to see you have as a Con the potential difficulty of reaching down to the bottom. I am 5’7″ and have long arms and have to go to tip toes to get the final small items out. That never occurred to me in the buying process. Honestly, I would have gotten a different model if I had been forewarned .
    I do not miss the use of the top as we have always put in a shelf over the machines. I would probably have gotten a different pair though, because the top of the dryer is not flat and again, something I did not notice at the time.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      I know! Its crazy all of the features you realize you would need to check for when purchasing a washer and dryer. Thanks so much for sharing with us!

  6. Snpy496

    I went with the hype a few years back and got a whirlpool front load washer. My gut feeling told me to get the lowes warranty and I did thank God. Not even a year old and I kept getting the same error code and the door wouldn’t open. My clothes had to stay in there until the repair man came to fix it. After the 3rd time I called lowes and got my money back and got a top loader. And I’ll stick with the top loader.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Oh bummer! SO glad you were able to return it! That sure sounds frustrating! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! We sure appreciate it!

  7. Alison

    I had a Kenmore front loader and I did have trouble with the seal/gasket so I replaced it with the Maytag Bravos HE top loader when it was time for a new set. My Maytag top loader was awful. The wash cycles took forever and I’d pull clothes out of the washer that had completely dry spots on them. (At least with the front loaders the clothes did go through the water.) The top loader did not use enough water to clean the clothes and without an agitator the clothes just didn’t move around enough to get clean and get the detergent completely rinsed out of them. (And yes, I read the manual and I know how HE washers work.) After a year of that and some research, I replaced the HE top loader with a Speed Queen. I LOVE my Speed Queen washer. You can’t get them at the big box stores; you have to go to an authorized dealer. Do yourself a favor and check out the Speed Queens if you’re in the market for a new washer! I kept my Maytag dryer and it has had to be repaired twice since I got my Speed Queen washer. Both of the appliance repair men complimented me on my Speed Queen washer.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      How cool! Thanks so much for your recommendation, Alison! I’ll have to remember that!

    • Lana

      We love our Speed Queen too!

  8. Carrie O.

    Speed Queen top loader all the way! No fancy gadgets that will break and they’re built solid as a rock with a steel drum. Made in America and great warranty. They’re a little pricier than most other top loaders but have great reviews and are built to last.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      SWEET! Thanks a ton for the feedback on the Speed Queen! Good to know what a great appliance it is!

  9. Steph

    After getting a front loader ge model back in 2009 that lasted until last year I went back to a top loader (whirlpool) with an agitator. I absolutely love it. For the most part things do not get overly tangled. But occasionally sheets do. But not to the point where nothing washes clean. I also do not feel like the agitator is ruining everything . I also got the matching dryer that has the hamper door that I LOVE because nothing drops on the floor.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Oh awesome! I have LOVED the Whirlpool brand! Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us, Steph! I’m loving that hamper door feature! I’ll have to check for that when purchasing my next dryer!

  10. Sara

    I despise agitators. I had to put up with the standard small attached stacked apartment washer and dryer when I moved into a complex-owned apartment in October 2014. That agitator ate holes in several of my shirts. The dryer always took two cycles to dry my clothes if I had anything more than underwear and socks in there.

    In Octobee 2015, I moved into a privately owned unit in my building. They had replaced that crappy machine with a Whirlpool front load washer and Whirlpool front load dryer that they stacked. I looked them up, and I believe they are 2008 models. I LOVE THEM. I don’t remember the capacity of either machine, but I can fit 8 bath sheets, 1 bath towel, 2 hand towels, 2 wash cloths, 2 dish towels, and 1 dish cloth in the washer at the same time. The dryer has a higher capacity than the washer. I always leave the washer door open for a few hours after emptying it. The washer has a clean cycle. I only have to add bleach. The dryer has a light in it. I have left the dryer door open for several days in a row many times since October 2015, and that bulb still hasn’t burned out.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Wow! SO cool! Good to know how well they have been working for you! Thanks for sharing with us, Sara!

  11. Nicole

    I love my Speed Queen Washer and I watched a video on You Tube how to be able to open it and have it fill up and was a simple fix you put a heavy duty clamp on the brake in the back of the machine and presto you can then open and it will still fill instead of shutting off as I love to have it like the old school washers.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Oh cool! Thanks for the helpful tip, Nicole!

  12. Jen

    When front loaders first came out, we spent mega $$$ to buy a set. It worked so poorly for us that we GAVE IT AWAY in less than 6 mos because I couldn’t deal with the guilt of selling it to someone. It could have been our country well water, but NOTHING came clean. All my baby’s clothes remained stained after washing no matter what detergent or pretreating. Returned to a top loader with agitator with LOOONG cycles. When that died after about 10 years, we just got a Maytag “Commercial” top loader. OMG – I am in LOVE!! The cycles are about 30 minutes – less than half the time of the previous washer. The load capacity is small, I admit, but it’s all done so fast. And the clothes are clean. That’s all I wanted. Nothing fancy, just clean clothes. If you look it up online, you’ll see it’s not the most beautiful thing, but it’s definitely won my heart.

  13. Anonymous

    Speed Queen is the VERY best! There is no competitor that even comes close in quality. I have a top loader set and I absolutely love it. The brand is commercial quality and you cannot purchase them from a chain store. Not cheap but they last 20+ years. Prior to this set we had an LG front loader set that lasted just under 3 years. Washer was more expensive to fix than buying a new one. Had to leave the door open and wipe down the gasket after every.single.wash. Now our SQ top loader does not have to be wiped down after every.single.wash, no mold ever, no door that has to be open. Any engineer or washer/dryer repair man will tell you Speed Queen is built the very best and made to last years.

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