Top Load Washers
Most people are used to top load washers (or traditional washers), because they grew up with them and believe in their reliability. Traditional top load washers last between 10-12 years, so the need to update was really only because the ole' washer finally gave up. And it is this reliability that keeps people loyal to top load washers.
Top loaders use an agitator that sticks up through the middle of the wash basket. The agitator's job is to turn your clothes over, while the wash basket spins to help clean and extract water. Most people prefer a top loader because they feel that the clothes get cleaner as they sit in a tub full of water as the agitator and wash basket does its job. Newer models of top loaders are loaded with features and have a larger capacity for larger loads.
Front Load Washers
Front load washers are known for their energy efficiency and convenient features. Unlike the top loader, the front loader's wash basket is set horizontally, and uses gravity to pull water through clothes. And because the basket never has to fill completely with water you end up using only a third of the water a top loader uses, but your clothes get just as clean. You also use less detergent, which means more money savings and fewer chemicals.
With speeds in the front loader almost double the top loader, the wash basket spins faster leaving your clothes with less water once the cycle is done, which saves time on drying – less drying time equals more money savings for you. And don't worry about last minute items that need to be added to the wash cycle, because with a GE front loader you can pause the wash cycle to add anything in that you need to.
Front loaders do not have the agitator that sticks up through the middle of the wash basket like a top loader does; in fact, the wash basket is completely empty, leaving more room for dirty laundry. This increased space means fewer loads, which means you have less time to spend in the laundry room. But there are things you should keep in mind with front loaders that keep people loyal to a top loader. The biggest difference is cost. Although you'll save money over time because front loaders are more energy efficient, expect to pay more upfront for these machines. Front loaders are also low to the ground (think about your dryer), so if bending or kneeling is hard for you, you may want to consider getting the pedestal so the machines are at waist level. You can also decide to stack front loaders, which saves space (an option that isn't available with the top loaders).
High-Efficiency (HE) Top Load Washers
HE top load washers are similar to top loaders, but offer the energy efficiency that is closely related to what the front load washer offers. Because the spin mechanism is much faster than in the regular top loader, your clothes are left dryer in the end (much like the front loader). The HE top loader also doesn't use as much soap or water as the top loader does. Best of all, most HE top loader models come without the agitator in the middle of the wash basket, leaving more room for laundry.
When investing in a HE top load washer, you'll need to switch to HE detergent. If you previously enjoyed making your own detergent at home, you'll have to make the switch to store bought when you purchase an HE top load washer.
Although buying a new washer is a big investment and there are a lot of options to consider, ultimately it comes down to what's important to you – the size of the loads you are doing, if the wash basket capacity needs to be able to hold larger things (like blankets and pillows), cost, energy efficiency, water savings etc. We recommend talking to your friends and family and discovering what the new features are with each model to make sure you find the perfect fit for your home. You ultimately need to know that technologies on these machines are updated quite regularly. From steam action to washers that are smart enough to know how much water to use, washer options today work with you to get your laundry cleaner.