Washing machine buying guide: Front loading vs. top loading automatic washing machines

Getting a new washing machine is a more daunting task than you can ever imagine, especially if you’re not well versed with the terminologies and their types. On top of that, there are so many models to choose from in any budget that you’d wish you had not decided to buy a washing machine in the first place. To help you in your decision, we’ve compiled a simple buying guide that helps you understand the two main types of washing machines and their features better. Keep in mind we’re only covering fully automatics and won’t talk about the semi-automatics.

Front-load vs. top-load

Of course, this is the first question that comes to mind when going for a fully automatic washing machine. The most obvious difference between the two is in the way you load the clothes in the machine. Top loading machines have a vertical tub where you put your laundry from the top door. On the other hand, front-loading washing machines come with a front door and a horizontally aligned drum.

Mode of washing

Front loading machines use a technique called tumble washing to clean your clothes. It involves the drum inside the machine rotating back and forth to remove dirt, with gravity helping in the process. Since the wash action doesn’t require the clothing be freely suspended in water, only enough water is needed to moisten the fabric.

Top loading machines on the other hand require clothes to be fully immersed under water in the tub. During the wash, the agitator movement  pushes water outward between the paddles towards the edge of the tub and back and cleans the clothes in the process.

Water consumption

Since top loading washing machines require clothes to be completely immersed in water, they tend to consume more water than front loading machines. Whereas, front loading machines require clothes to be moist for cleaning and thus result in lower water consumption.

Efficiency and wash time

Front loading machines usually take longer time to wash clothes compared to their top loading counterparts. This also results in better wash quality. Also, front loading machines come with in-built water heater, not seen often in top loaders.

Size and weight

You’ll find that not only do front loaders occupy more space than top loaders, they can weigh as much as 20kg more than top loaders.

Power consumption

Top loaders win here since not only do they draw less power, but also take shorter amount of time to wash clothes, thus saving considerable energy.

Lastly, in case you decide to add another dirty cloth to the machine, it is possible in top loading machines. However, that is out of question in front loading washing machines, since once the operation starts, the front door gets locked from the inside.

To conclude then, here’s a quick summary:

  • Water consumption: Front-loaders consume less water
  • Wash quality: Front loading machines again win this one
  • Space: Top loading machines usually are smaller and much lighter
  • Power consumption: Top loading machines consume lower power
  • Price: Top loading machines are cheaper than front-loading ones for the same capacity

Also, check the best front loading washing machines under Rs 20,000.

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