Difference between top load and front load washing machine

The fully automatic washing machines are of two types – front loading and top loading.

From the time of manual washing of clothes and using paddles or bats to beat the dirt out of them, moving to a soft-bristled brush and scrub for stain removal, we have reached a point when a fully automatic washing machine can do it all.

As a society, we have evolved into using appliances that are digitally controlled and they take less time and labor from us so we may focus on other areas of our lives. That being said, the high-end washing machines may not suit everyone’s budget. Although the increasing demand for them may well bring them to a more competitive pricing level. 

Understanding how both types of fully automatic machines operate may bring us closer to the final purchase. Reading about the distinct features in each and the various brands can also help you find the best washing machine your money can buy.

How a top load washing machine differs from a front load washing machine?

Types Of Washing machine

Many questions will likely come up when you begin your search for the right washing machine. For instance, you may prefer using the washing machine only for your normal lightly soiled clothes. Or, you may want to use it regularly to wash bed linen, including the thick comforters. With garments coming in a variety of fabrics you may find that you need a machine that can handle all types of fabric.

You may also prefer drying the clothes on a clothesline if you have space and live in a drier climate. Or, you may want to put the clothes in and forget about them until the spin cycle is compelled and your clothes are almost dry. It will help if you could create a checklist of the things you need from a washing machine. Then, understand the differences between the front loaders and top loaders.

There are eight key differences and we will address them one by one in this article.

Ease of use:

Top loading washing machines are by far easier on your back as they don’t require you to bend to start the cycle. These machines are at an ideal height for you to stand straight and operate. You can also add clothes in the middle of a wash cycle by lifting the lid without any spillage. Top load machines are more capable of collecting the lint and distributing fabric softener more evenly.

Front loading washing machines will require bending down to push the clothes inside the drum. Of course, you can place it on a stand or pedestal for better reach. But, you will not be able to add clothes in mid-cycle because you won’t be able to open the door in the front without either the water gushing out or the clothes falling out. In fact, opening the door itself will be difficult in some of these machines unless you switch the machine off.

Amount of Time:

Top-loading washers come with an agitator that washes the clothes faster. Although not all top-loading washing machines have an agitator. Some top loaders, the high-efficiency ones with an impeller, do better cleaning without an agitator. In either case, the hardware in top-loading machines has to work harder.

The front-load washers, on the other hand, take longer to wash clothes and move to the spin cycle. They also rely on gravity to tumble the clothes around resulting in a gentler impact on the clothes.

Cleaning ability:

Front loading washing machines are found to be gentler on clothes and clean better leaving less than 1% of detergent, if at all. 

Top loading washing machines can be tougher on clothes. It is also easier to overload a top loader and washing heavy-duty items like thick comforters are more difficult. 

Water consumption:

Front-loading washers use less water and electricity. This makes them more sustainable. 

Top-loading washers draw a lot more water continuously and run longer cycles using more electricity. 

Spin speed to extract water:

Washing machines have a spin cycle that extracts the water from the clothes. Some extract more and others less. The front-loading washing machine is capable of extracting more because they spin around 33% faster than the average top-loading washing machine. There may be some vibration even in the fully automatic washing machines during the spin cycle. 

The top-loading washing machines have a lower spin quality and therefore, extract a little less water from the washed clothes.

Bad odor/ mildew:

Top-loading washers do not have a problem with mold or mildew as there are no rubber gaskets to seal the water inside the machine. They count on gravity doing the work of pulling the water down.

The front-loading washers require more maintenance because, over time, the area around the rubber gaskets can develop mold. It is particularly important to keep the door open after each wash cycle to air dry the machine. Also, regular checking of the gaskets will be required to prevent mold growth. This growth brings out a bad smell that can linger on even the newly washed clothes. 

Space for the machine:

Most of us use the kitchen or the balcony to install the washing machine and connect it to the water supply. A top-loading washing machine will occupy less space as the design is narrower than the front-loading washing machine. In some homes, there is only standing room around the machine. Opening the door into the room will reduce the standing room even more. 


We come to a crucial difference that will affect the decision to buy a washing machine. Your budget will play a large part here. 

Front-load machines are more expensive as they clean better and consume less energy and water. Most front loaders also have more wash features and are found to be quieter machines during operation. So, the upfront cost may return more savings over the long term.

Comparing front load and top load washing machines

Which is better front load or top load

Which cleans better?

The front-loading washers clean better.  They use less water, but the tumbling motion helps the clothes move freely with better water flow. The clothes get lifted upwards at the turn of the drum and they drop back into the water. This movement ensures that the clothes get uniformly washed.

Which is gentle on clothes?

Front-loaders are gentler on clothes than the top loaders because of the tumbling motion. They don’t have an agitator to rub against the fabric causing more wear and tear.

Which one is quick?

Top loading washing machines are quicker at washing clothes. The models may either have an agitator or an impeller and in both, the washing is quicker than front loading machines. 

Which is easier to use?

Top-loading washers are easier to use because they are at the right height. You can operate them without straining your back. You can also add clothes mid-cycle.

Other important factors to consider before buying top load or front load washing machine

When describing the key differences between a front load washing machine and a top load washing machine, we have factored in the cleaning capabilities, price difference, installation and space issues, and amount of water each consumes, water extraction, user-friendliness, and maintenance.

Our Verdict: 

Which washing machine is better for home use?

Loading clothes in front loader

After analysing the various aspects, the front load washing machine seems to be better for home use. It is not only gentler on clothes, but also offers better cleaning, and saves water and electricity. The upfront cost may be higher than top load washing machine, but since it will save on your electricity bills, you are bound to make up the investment over time. The need to air dry and keep the machine and its parts clean and dry may require a little more effort from you. Still, that is true of any appliance if you want to use them optimally. 

1. How to load a front load washing machine?

A front-loading washing machine comes with extra wash features. So, there are a few more settings to adjust. You need to add the right detergent and the right quantity of detergent. More soap will not give you cleaner clothes. 

Load the clothes into the wash drum leaving enough space for the clothes to move about. Do not overload the machine. Add the fabric softener to the assigned compartment. Choose the desired temperature based on the instructions given in the garments. You will find them in the fabric care labels.

Choose the spin cycle that will serve the clothes best. For instance, it will be a slow cycle for delicate garments and faster for cotton and other fabrics. Close the door, making sure that it is shut properly. Finally, press the button to start the washing. 

2. How to load a top load washing machine?

A girl using top load washing machine

In top loading washing machines, you can just lift the lid up and load the clothes into the machine. Add the right amount of detergent to the dispenser. Add bleach or fabric softener to the assigned dispenser. Ensure that you do not overload the machine. There should be a gap between the clothes and the top of the wash drum. Close the lid and power it on. Select the desired washing mode and press the start button to start the wash cycle. Once the machine has completed the cycle, take the clothes out. 

3. Which is the best way to clean front load washing machine?

The best way to clean front load washing machines is to leave the door open after each wash so that fresh air can enter the drum and remove all dampness. You can also use a microfiber cloth and wipe it dry after each wash. Ensure that you wipe in and around the rubber gaskets that seal the water inside the machine.

Once a fortnight or month, you can do a deep clean by running the machine at its hottest and longest cycle so that the insides get rinsed out thoroughly. Brushing the soap residue from the dispensers and wiping the sides of the machine will keep it looking new and clean. 

4. How to calculate washing machine load?

To calculate the washing load, you need to know the capacity of your washing machine. For instance, there are three types of loads.

Normal/ medium load: Your wash drum must be around half full if you plan to run a regular wash. 

Large load: If you have enough clothes to constitute a large load, your machine should be filled three-quarters.

Extra-large load: This is when you have to be careful not to overload the machine unless you have a larger capacity washing machine. In a front loading machine, you can do the palm test. There should be at least a palm’s gap between the clothes and the door. On a top loader, there should be a gap between the top of the clothes pile and the top edge of the wash drum. 

Wrapping Up

Buying a washing machine that will put a dent in your savings requires deep analysis and consideration of various relevant factors. We have attempted to give you in-depth information on each of the factors by comparing the top loading machines against the front loading machines.

Both types serve the primary function of doing the laundry for you and relieve you of this household chore. However, there are distinct elements that will be specific to your needs and budget.

A word to the wise:

Don’t be put off by the upfront cost of a front-load washer. Being a sustainable product, it can make up for the expense by being more durable and reducing your electricity bills. What’s more, you get cleaner clothes saving you time and labor.

About the Author

Neha Pik

Neha Tiwari, Member at Homezilla.in

Neha is the one who is aware of current trends and best practices in our desi community. She also helps and educates people looking for a solution to their problems via online. Her work has been published on countless blogs and notable magazines.