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Across The Atlantic

Top-loading washers are a staple of American life, kind of like a grill in the backyard. If you visit a country in Europe, on the other hand, you may be hard-pressed to find a top-loading washer.

There are a few reasons why this is the case, one being that European households and apartments tend to be a bit tighter in space. Making front load washer and dryer stacks very popular.

Also, water and energy costs are far higher in European countries than in most American homes. Front-load washers, being more energy-efficient, tend to be the more popular option there.

Top-Loading Washer Breakdown

Top-loading washers can be divided into two separate types: agitator and high efficiency. We compare the two in-depth in our blog post: >Best Top-Loading Washers 2021.

Top-loading washers tend to clean clothes a bit better, but can be less energy efficient. One con is that they can’t be stacked like most front-load washer and dryer pairs can. So if you’re short on space, a top load washer may not be right for you.

Ergonomics is another important topic of consideration. With front-load washers, you’re going to have to bend over every time you load and unload it.

Agitator Vs. HE Washer

When you think of top-load washers you’re probably thinking of the style with the agitator sticking up in the middle. Keep in mind that there is a wild-card option that can be a compromise between the front-load washers and the traditional agitator-style top-load washers.

High-Efficiency washers will look very similar on the inside to a front-loading washer when you open it up. Instead of an agitator, it has what’s called an impeller on the bottom.

An impeller looks like a small inconspicuous cone whose job is to circulate water during the washing cycle. HE washers move water around the clothes, while agitator washers move clothes around the water.

One other thing to keep in mind between these two options is that regular agitator style top-load washers tend to be the most forgiving out of these three options in regards to over-loading them.

Front-Loading Washer Breakdown

One thing to know about front-loading washers is that they tend to begin at a higher price point. With that being said, you can still easily find affordable options.

There are a few other differences to keep in mind when trying to decide which style to go with.

For one, front-load washers are prone to mold and mildew. So what you’re going to have to think about is how much maintenance are you going to want to do?

Just to give you an idea, you are going to want to wipe down the door and the gasket after each use of the washer. Make sure that you leave the door open to dry after each use. You will also want to perform a deeper clean at least once a month. Your washer should have instructions on how and how often this deeper clean should be done.

If the regular cleaning and maintenance don’t put you off, then read on, there are a lot of benefits that front-load washers possess.

As with the HE Top-Load washer, you are going to want to make sure that you don’t overload the machine.

Front-load washers also tend to be gentler on clothing than the top-load agitator style washer. If you have family members that tend to get dirtier clothes (think blue-collar jobs or kids in sports), a top load washer with an agitator may be the right choice for you. On the other hand, if your family owns mostly delicate dresses and button-up shirts, a front-load washer may be your best option.

Keep in mind that many of the best front-load washers have been tested to clean even more thoroughly than the best top-load washers. So don’t write them off if you’re family is a bit of both of the above examples.

Other Differences

A few more differences that should be thought of revolve around the ease of use. Top-load washers, in general (though not always), come with fewer bells and whistles than front-load washers.

For some people, that is a relief, for others though the extra controls and features may be the front-load washer's greatest selling point.

Keep in mind that with top-load washers you can open them up and add clothes mid-cycle. With most front-load washers this option isn’t available, though some models do allow the door to open slightly at the top for you to drop clothing in.

Lastly, a talk about appliances isn’t complete without mentioning that you may find out that when it comes time to sell your home, something about front-load washers tends to say “updated appliances”, compared to top-load washers.

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