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Front vs top-load washing machines: what’s best for you?

The first decision anyone has to make while buying a new washing machine is the choice between a front-load model and a top-load model. In a sea of washing machines full of snazzy new features, this difference in design is still the most important consideration as it fundamentally changes how laundry is done at home. 

In a front-load model, you place laundry through a door that opens outwards from the front of the washing machine. In contrast, a top-load washing machine opens up from the top. Each design has their pros and cons, with the top three key considerations being water use, convenience, and fabric care. 

Water Efficiency

Front-load washing machines are more water-efficient than top-load washers by virtue of their design. A front-load washer uses, on average, about half the water used by a top-load washing machine of the same size as the drum does not have to be full in order to get a complete rinse. As such, most front-load washing machines have a rating of either three or four ticks by the PUB, while top-load washing machines generally have two or three ticks. 

The Samsung WA90F5S5QWA/SP Top Load Washer (9kg), for instance, uses about 7.5 litres of water per kg of laundry. That makes it a three-tick washing machine, which is on par with some cheaper, lower-end front-load washing machines. At 610 x 983 x 670 mm, it is a good size for any home, and the large 9kg laundry drum compartment is ideal for a family of four.

Samsung WA90F5S5QWA/SP Top Load Washer (9kg)Samsung WA90F5S5QWA/SP Top Load Washer (9kg)
The Samsung WA90F5S5QWA/SP Top Load Washer (9kg) is a three-tick washing machine that is a good size and fit for any modern home.

Space and Convenience 

Front-load washing machines are great for maximising space as the area on top of it can be used to place a dryer, for instance. A front-load machine like LG’s FC1408R4W Front Load Washer & Dryer combo (8kg/5kg), for instance, already contains a built-in dryer, but those who might want a dedicated dryer can still place one on top. 

The FC1408R4W also comes with a companion app and the ability to go smart by connecting to Wi-Fi. The smart connectivity lets you monitor your wash cycle on your smartphone, ensuring that you are updated at every point in the cycle. You can also download specific cycles for particular fabric or laundry combinations - a good way to maximise and save water!

LG FC1408R4W Front Load Washer & Dryer comboLG FC1408R4W Front Load Washer & Dryer combo
Those looking for a nifty washer-dryer combo can do no wrong with the LG FC1408R4W Front Load Washer & Dryer combo (8kg/5kg). The three-tick washing machine is highly water efficient and quiet to boot.

However, top-load washing machines are easier to load laundry into as you do not have to bend to do so, which is an important factor/consideration for the elderly or those with back or knee injuries. 

Top-load washing machines also tend to be cheaper upfront, with entry-level models like the Samsung WA75H4400SS/SP going for $479 (RRP) / $359 (Now). Despite its low price, the WA75H4400SS/SP comes feature-packed with Samsung’s Wobble technology, which lets it protect delicate fabrics from friction while also minimising tangles and twists and knots. This washing machine also has a an air turbo drying system to air laundry out faster, which is a much-appreciated feature for me to quicken the drying process.

Samsung WA75H4400SS/SP Top Load WasherSamsung WA75H4400SS/SP Top Load Washer
The Samsung WA75H4400SS/SP is an affordable, entry-level top-load washing machine which comes packed with features like Samsung’s Wobble technology.

Top-load washing machines also have the advantage of being able to be opened anytime during the cycle, which is useful when you want to throw in an item of clothing you might have forgotten midway through a wash. Because of the way front-load washing machines are designed, you cannot open the hatch while the wash cycle is underway unless you want water gushing out all over the place. Modern front-load washers, however, like Samsung’s WD90K6410OX/SP Front Load Washer & Dryer (9kg/6kg) AddWash ($1,799 RRP / $1,249 Now), have addressed this issue of adding in more laundry during a cycle by including a smaller door opening on the main hatch that can be opened anytime it is safe to do so.

Samsung WD90K6410OX/SP Front Load Washer & Dryer (9kg/6kg) AddWashSamsung WD90K6410OX/SP Front Load Washer & Dryer (9kg/6kg) AddWash
The Samsung WD90K6410OX/SP Front Load Washer & Dryer (9kg/6kg) AddWash contains the award-winning AddWash feature, which lets you add clothing anytime it is safe to do so during a wash cycle.

Fabric care 

Experts say front-load washing machines are gentler on fabrics, as the way the drum rotates gives more freedom to adjust how vigorous the wash cycle can be. Because of the way the drums rotate in a top-load washing machine, laundry and clothing tend to clump together in a circular manner, leading to a spirally or twisty result to laundry. LG’s FC1408R4W front-load washing machine, for example, is able to drive motion in 6 different directions thanks to its 6 Motion Direct Drive technology, which mimics the effect of handwashing clothing and thus is adaptable to whatever fabric is being washed. This means tougher laundry, like jeans or heavy cotton attire, can be set to one standard, while gentler fabrics like silk and linen can be switched to another. 

Which type should I get? 

Ultimately, personal preference and your household lifestyle will dictate your choice of washing machine. If you want space on top of your washing machine, go for a front-load. If you don’t like to bend too much, get a top-load washing machine. Advances in technology mean that either selection will result in feature-packed machines, and there’s a suitable one for anyone at any price point!

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