July 22, 2020
Why We Switched to a Top Load Washing Machine
I recently switched to a top load washing machine after having two different front load washing machines for 11+ years. When readers noticed this change, I received many requests for why I chose to go back to a top load machine and the pros and cons of these two machines. So today I bring you my tell-all on the pros and cons of front versus top loaders and subsequent tale of what I learned doing thousands of loads of laundry over the years in these machines. Ready?
First of all, we have owned three different sets of washers and dryers in this house – the Maytag Duet front load (2009-2016), the Samsung AddWash front load (2016-2020) and now, the LG TurboWash 3D Top Load. I can honestly say that I enjoyed each set, have recommended them wholeheartedly, and they have served our laundry needs well over the years. But….each one has some pros and cons and that’s what I want to share with you today and I don’t think I’ll ever go back to a front load again.
As far as ‘shelf-life’ of washers and dryers, the Maytag Duet was replaced by the Samsung set that I tested here for the site. That set was donated to a family that needed it. The Samsung set washer was donated but the dryer was broken and had already been repaired two times and this last repair would have been more expensive to repair than replace which is why we decided to look for a new set. In case you’re wondering, we chose and purchased this set, nothing about this post is sponsored. Hopefully that answers any questions regarding why we have had three sets of washers and dryers in 11 years. In speaking with repair people, the average lifespan of a washer and/or dryer is about 7 years. Most CAN be repaired, but it’s more cost effective to replace than repair in some cases, unfortunately.
FRONT LOAD VS. TOP LOAD WASHER
We’ve had 3 top load washers in other houses, so when we moved in to this house 11 years ago, I was SO excited to get a front load washing machine. I loved how easy it was to move the clothes from the washer to the dryer and how symmetrical it looked in the laundry room. Pretty quickly, I realized that we had to keep the door of the washing machine open anytime it wasn’t in use to keep the smell out of the washing machine and out of our clothes. I found this to be the case in both the Maytag and Samsung machines but not as bad in the Samsung as the Maytag. I also found that it was important to move the clothes from the washer to the dryer, no letting clothes sit overnight or for an afternoon before putting them in the dryer. Most front loaders have a filter on the front of the machine – this is another thing to monitor and keep an eye on as it should be cleaned monthly. I have always cleaned our washing machines routinely, but this seemed more pertinent with a front load machine as they smelled so much more quickly. This is and will always be my biggest annoyance/downfall with a front load machine. How did I remedy this? I clean the washing machine WEEKLY after washing cleaning cloths and use 1/4 cup white vinegar with each load as a fabric softener. These two things pretty much took care of the smell, but every once in a while I would need to ‘shock’ the washer with 6 cups of white vinegar (per Samsung’s recommendation) and use CLEAN WASHER option to kill any bacteria. This is a great feature on any machine – the downfall of the Samsung is that it takes almost 4 hours to complete.
Samsung AddWash and Samsung Dryer
Once I knew we needed to get a new washing machine, I started researching machines and asked my favorite repair company what they recommended. Armed with info, I started looking for a top load machine that was in our budget, had a large capacity, and had a few bells and whistles that I wanted. A deep fill option, quick cycle, a clean cycle and a matching dryer with features like a large capacity, several heat options, timers, and a duct clog indicator (this is especially important with a second floor laundry room).
LG 5.0 cubic foot washing machine with TurboWash and LG 7.3 cu foot dryer
We’ve had the new set for a few months and we LOVE them. Laundry is cleaner, we can fit more in both machines and NO smell! The only downfall to the top load washing machine is that I have to reach in to grab laundry at the bottom of the machine but I can reach to the bottom and so can our two older kids. This is minor 🙂
My favorite laundry products? I use Clean Mama Laundry Detergent Spray and/or Laundry Super Powder, Oxygen Whitener, Wool Dryer Balls, and 1/4 cup of white vinegar as a fabric softener.
Find Clean Mama Laundry products here.
Curious how I clean the washing machine? Head to this post for a free printable detailing how to clean a front AND a top load machine.
Head here for the paint colors in our home, including the laundry room.
Need some help with you laundry routine? Check out my new printable kit – Clean Mama’s Guide to Laundry. It’s 25 pages of laundry love, perfect for getting a handle on your laundry once and for all!
I would like to hear your thoughts after 6-12 months on your top loader. Ours didn’t have a smell and now we have to do a deep clean every three weeks because it smells so bad. I run our fan and keep the lid open, but it doesn’t seem to help. We never had a smell issue with our front loader and I miss it terribly. Good Luck!
Thanks for this. We know our washer and dryer are slowly dying. This helps!
Annaliza R Says
I am still on my first washing machine since getting married. Its a top loader and I will never get a front loader. I’ve used them on vacation and they doesn’t seem to effectively clean the laundry in the little puddle of water used. I did have to replace our dryer and went with a Speed Queen. Its not fancy but its supposed to be built like a tank. I’ve had it for a couple years and am very happy with it.
I’ve had a Miele front loader for 17 years that still functions the same as the first year we had it – through infant/toddler stage for 2 kids. One does need to leave the washer door open, but we’ve never had to do more than run a hot wash once in a while to keep clean. Miele are more expensive upfront, but have not had any repair or replacement costs in that time. As part of a renovation, we moved the old ones to the basement last year and the new Miele units went on the second floor. Same performance so far, but new washer does prompt one to do a sanitize cycle about every other week. I throw in our microfiber cleaning cloths for that cycle so as not to waste water/electricity. Most washers are fine and depends what you like, but we like that we don’t have repair/replacement issues and the water savings of a front loader from a company that has been manufacturing these for decades.
Becky F. Says
I was super excited to get a front-load machine when we moved to a new house 8 years ago. Shortly after, we had a baby and I wanted to cloth diaper and realized a top-loader would have been SO much better ????????♀️
Yes! So thankful for the validation. I was so excited for my bright, shiney, new red front loader and dryer at our previous home….only to find I hated it. ????
I like both types of machines, front and top. I now have a top loader that I searched for a while to find, it is one with an agitator. I had a top loader without an agitator and discovered that I prefer a top loader with one.
My preferences #1 top loader w/agitator, #2 Front loader, #3 top loader without agitator. I like your articles and use so many of your cleaning suggestions!
(Ms) Winston Hamilton, Esq Says
Oh, Dear Me…My mother had, and I grew up with, a Westinghouse (only “All” detergent:Low suds) Front loader, and have had both Westinghouse and Asco front loafers my whole life. Never, ever had a ‘smell’ and adored its ease of in-out, super sweet for small, or large loads, and, cleaned perfectly, without the fear of the agitator ripping items (which it has), and honestly (I am an attorney for the homeless, but trust me anyway;-), never had a repair.
When we go to our very best friends for a few days, or longer with illness, etc, and use their top loafer, I can not wait to get home to my Ms. Lady Front Loader…
But to each their own love and loyalty to tops and fronts, and blessings to all we fans and lovers of You.
(Ms.) Winston Hamilton, Esq
Jenn Jackson Says
There is only 1 way to keep the smell out and that’s with an internal fan. Sadly there has only been 1 brand, Whirlpool, that sells a washer with an internal fan. Now, GE has one too, which combines the best of Whirlpool and Maytag. I had had a Whirlpool for 10 years and never had the smell ONCE I realized I needed to use the FanFresh. It has never had a smell since, even with the door closed tight. You can purchase an aftermarket fan, but it’s really sad that other companies don’t provide it, unless it’s a patent thing. We have well water and I really appreciate the water saving and energy savings of a front loader, and frankly, they clean better, in all my comparisons. I’m a front loader fan, but, the fan is the only way I’d own one!
I’ve owned both kinds and like my front loader better—nice to not have an agitator blocking the larger, bulky items. Also, with a bad back, I don’t like having to reach down to the bottom to retrieve the uncooperative socks. The downside is that I have to keep the door partially open when done doing laundry so that the water build-up in the front gasket doesn’t start smelling….and hope the cats don’t crawl in 🙂
SHANNA SHOUT Says
I have this same washer and I love it. I’m short so reaching in to remove clean laundry is a challenge but its worth it.
Thank you for this! We are still using our 2003 Whirlpool Duet set. I’ve long wanted to replace the washer due to the mildew issue. I’ve never liked the low water feature that has been mandated these days. Reviews led me to the top loading Speed Queen. Unfortunately, in 2018 they changed their design to also be HE (low water) and reviews reflected that it reduce it’s high rating for cleaning effectiveness. With so many reviews about problems with new machines breaking, I figure now that Becky has taught me how to clean my washer (Plus we put a fan on the back to help dry it), we will wait until it actually breaks down. Can’t beat this LONG life! Next machine will be top loader for sure. Thank you for sharing YOUR choice!!!! That really helps!
I too returned to a top load washer. I have loved not leaving the door open each wash cycle. Also with 2 dogs I was forever pulling back the seal of the old front open washer and using tweezers to pull dog hair out of the tiny drain hole. Dog hair would get caught in the seal around the door and clog the drain and water would leak from the door. Never a problem with top loader. My sister in law also found with three active boys she needed more water in the load to washout the funky teenage smells and she too returned to a top loader.
I can’t imagine having to wash my washer. Seems like a waste of water to me. Then again I have only owned a top loader from the days before we ever heard of washing a washing machine. We have had the same washer and dryer for 30+ years. Both have been repaired a few times. It’s nice to own products that were made to last. I can not imagine what our landfills will look like given how things are made to be thrown away after 7 years. Also wonder how many have matching washers and dryers. Our washer and dryer are in the garage so I wouldn’t think to replace both if one died.
I went from a top-loader to a front loader washing machine about 4 years ago. I have a GE front loader and to me, it’s been the worst machine I have ever bought. I will be going back to a front loader as soon as I am able to afford it. Mine has leaked ever since I first bought it and it shakes something awful, I will definitely not buy a front loading washing machine ever again. And I can’t even fit queen size blankets in it. Thank you for the info.
Erica Morris Says
I agree completely with the top loader winning out. I have a well-built Speed Queen washer and dryer. Love them! Can’t imagine a machine without an agitator. After washing something particularly nasty, I went right to your site to get the (easy!) instructions for giving that hard-working washer a bath. Thanks for all you do!
Our top loader is so deep that we have to use a pair of tongs to get stuff out! 🙂
I agree with you. I struggled with our front loader smelling too. It was a lot of work to keep the door open, and clean it to keep the smell away. Finally my kids accidentally washed a load with a piece of clothing stuck between the door and the gasket and the gasket got all twisted around the opening. I was not sad to see it go. We switched to a Samsung top loader, and have been very happy with it.
I have a top loader without an agitator, and the machine is aggressive, the entire machine moves in a cycle. It bangs into the dryer (there is paint off the washer and dryer and we have only had them a few years) and anything around it and we are constantly pushing it back into place. Did you experience this with a top loader without an agitator?
Clean Mama SaysPost author
I’ve never experienced that – I would have a repair person check into it, it sounds like it’s off balance.
Alica Bischoff Says
Yayyy! I was waiting on this post. I do have a question about how much of your Clean Mama detergent you use. I know I am supposed to use much less, but would like some guidance. I actually bought the LG 7300 models that look just like yours in the pic. I am 5ft, and can’t reach to the bottom, but I can rotate the tub to get the clothes from the opposite side. Short people problems! HA! Anyway, thank you again for your review!!!
Clean Mama SaysPost author
I use 1 scoop for a regular load and 2 scoops for a large or dirtier than usual load.
JUli h Says
I would be interested in knowing how much water each uses. I have electrolux front loaders and they use very little water with each cycle……our water bill is outrageous even so. did that figure into the choice of the top loaders?
Thanks for your insights. I agree that top load machines seems to wash clothes better. I also appreciate the lower maintenance and not worrying about mold and mildew in the door. I was so disappointed when our last washing machine broke, and I learned that, as you mentioned, it was more cost effective to replace than repair and that washing machines are only expected to last around 6 years. After considering many models, I opted for a Speed Queen – like Annaliza. I agree that it’s nothing fancy, but it came with a 10 year parts and labor warranty, which I don’t know that I’ll even need, as it’s so well built.
I’ve followed you for a couple of years now and always washed my washing machine with vinegar and used vinegar as fabric softener. We purchased a new machine a couple of months ago and was told that vinegar is harmful to the machine. The manufacturers will say it is alright but the repair people know that vinegar actually can ruin certain parts of the machine. Have you had any problems with that? I miss using vinegar but don’t want to take the chance on my new machine now. Any advice would be much appreciated ????
Clean Mama SaysPost author
I’ve had several repair people say just the opposite – I use it!
I definitely have to keep my front loader door open. I think I learned this from you! I have an LG set and I love them! This is my second set and I stayed with LG both times. My washer has a steam function called Allergiene that I use for my white sheets and you talk about clean & white!!!! The dryer also has a steam function I use from time to time to freshen up things between dry cleaning and things that you can’t wash or dry clean really and also to get bad wrinkles out. I think I would stick with a front loader set even though leaving the door to the washer open is annoying. However, I do have a wash room. If I had the washer in a livng space or kitchen, etc like I would not tolerate this Im sure.
Claudia Souschek Says
I have 2 front loaders from Miele (washer and dryer) and never have problems with smelly machines. I always leave the doors open A bit and the detergent drawer to dry. I have a laundry room so that doesn’t bother me. And they both are 14 years old ????.
I have the same LG set and i LOVE them!! We have 9 kids and so we bought the biggest set we could find. It is actually pretty easy for ke to keep up on my laundry now! Also my physical therapist reccomended that i get a top loader as it is easier on your back (especially when you do as much laundry as me) ????
We’ve owned 2 sets of front load w/d and I LOVE them. I’ve read articles and seen blogs about a “smell” but neither of our units had issues. I regularly clean the inside gasket with white vinegar and run the “Clean with Affresh” cycle once a month. I do leave the door open a crack until the inside of the machine is dry after laundry day. I don’t know about leaving clothes in the washing machine though – I would think in either type of machine wet clothes would begin to smell no matter which type you used. I like that our water consumption went down with a front load – I like the ease of filling and unloading it – and I love the look of my white units in my laundry room. Guess it’s a personal preference – I won’t go back to a top loader at all.
Interesting analysis of the brands that have been on the market for the past few years. We bought a full size, stacking front loading washer & dryer in the late 70’s by White/Westinghouse. The main reason for buying a front loader was the lower water usage vs a top loader; here in California, even in the 70’s, that is an important factor. We moved them six times, my husband fixed the drum bearings twice before the washer died. We replaced the washer with a Miele front loader about ten years ago; the gas dryer died about four years ago. When we moved five years ago the Frigidaire washer in the house stopped working on the third wash so we use our amazing Miele in the garage & the house dryer. In the future when we need another dryer we’ll buy a Miele. Our appliance repairman extraordinaire told us to avoid all Samsung and LG appliances & that mid priced brands are hit & miss.
Thank you , very helpful info on how to care for the front loader. I love mine and prefer it.
I’ve been praying for my front loader to die for the past 17 years (and just because I want it to, it probably never will!) so I can get another top Ioader . I miss my old top loader, am still kicking myself for getting rid of it. It was working fine, but I sold it and its companion dryer because I drank the front loader kool aid back in ’03 and just HAAAAAD to have one. Dumbest thing I ever did (next to drinking the french door refrigerator kool-aid–I miss my side-by-side too). I hate having to leave the door open when it’s not in use, but mostly I hate that the timer lies to me. I can’t ever trust how much time it says is left in the cycle until it’s down to the last minute.
Welcome back to the top loader side! I had a front loader for a few months since it came with the house we bought. And yes – that smell! I replaced it with a top loader as soon as I could. I really resented having to clean an appliance that spends it’s life being swirled with soapy water! It seemed so silly to have to clean….a cleaner.
Pingback: How to Safely Launder Face Masks – Clean Mama
I wonder if I hit the jackpot with my Samsung front load washer and dryer. I’ve had the set for about 13+ years and not a single problem including a mildew smell. It’s unfortunate that machines don’t last longer than valuable paper retention guildlines.????Hopefully you’ll enjoy the new set for many years.
I also have an LG top loading washing machine. I absolutely love it. I can’t recall it smelling, and if it does, we just set it on the clean cycle. I can wash clothes at night and go to bed, and wake up with them still smelling fresh. But you’re right about the downside–my short 5’2″ height makes it a good reach to get to the bottom, but nothing to really complain about. Also, it doesn’t have an agitator, which means I can wash big items like comforters and sleeping bags easiest. And that’s a major plus. Glad to see you’re happy with yours!
Hi! I have a front load washer and it’s smelly and my clothes are to! As soon as I read this I started looking for this washer and dryer. I’m about to buy them. Are you still loving them?
Clean Mama SaysPost author
YES! I love the set and cannot recommend it enough!
I have had 3 front loads in the past 15 years. I simply cannot reach all the way into the newer modeled top loaders. I am an empty nester and din’t need large tub. I have to use a yardstick at my daughter’s house to get the clothes from the washer.
I, too, was thrilled to have the front load Duet set when we moved into our current home. The dryer is still running, but we had to replace the washer and chose the top load Cabrio by Whirlpool. Now, that washer has reached the point of no return. Replacing is a better option than repairing. I was glad to see this post! My question is: Does your new LG Washer have an agitator in the center of the drum, and is it a HE washer? I’m stuck with not knowing what to choose at this point. Large capacity is a must! Please share opinions & experiences. Thanks!
Clean Mama SaysPost author
No agitator and it’s HE – love it!
We love our front load washer. This is the 2nd one we have had for the last 20 year’s. I think it cleans just as well as a top load machine. We leave the door of the washer open just an inch or so with no problems. I have put in a load in the morning and forgotten to take it out for several hours with no problem. It uses less water. We have a private well and I like that it uses less water and less detergent. I will stay with a front loading washer.
Lauren Aguilar Says
My top loader is terrible. Water doesn’t cover all the clothes so not everything gets cleaned. I do not overfill.
Ashe Lee Says
One of the reasons I have never gotten a front-loading washer is because I’ve heard so many complaints about the smell. When my wife and I moved into this house we replaced the 20 year old washer and dryer with a new Samsung set with a top-loading washer with the deep fill option. I almost need a step stool to reach everything when we wash socks.
One of the best features on our new washer is the self-clean option. No need for vinegar or additional chemicals, just run the self clean when the washer indicates it’s needed and boom, clean washer. Takes about 30 minutes or so. We’ve had the washer and dryer for a couple of years now, and haven’t had any funky smells. We do leave the lid open to air out the washer when it’s not in use, though.
I read ALL the comments and concluded this is like Ford vs Chevy. We’ve had good luck with longevity with laundry equipment. Currently we have a Kenmore set and the washer is made by Bosch. It doesn’t seem to hold as much as my old top loader did, but that was 20 yrs ago so maybe my memories are not so sharp. I am a do laundry daily except Sunday person. Some days there are three loads. Some days only one. It just depends. One week my hubby might go through 6 white v neck undershirts and the next he will wear collected dark printed tees from sports teams. So each week is a bit different. Now these are the things I don’t like about mine in particular. The pull out drawer where you put your traditional products has some huge design flaws. If you put liquid bleach in the dispenser and open the door it runs on the floor. If you put traditional softener in that dispenser it gets flushed into the wash water and is gone during rinse. If you try to use super concentrated powders like Clean Mama or Molly’s you have to bend way over to get it into the drum because it won’t dissolve in the powdered detergent dispenser- it turns to a lump. No soaking is available either. I used to fill my top loader with soap and water and soak dirty white socks overnight and occasionally add a bit of bleach or perborate. This washer barely gets stuff wet and many things don’t get clean so it’s truly a water waster! My SIL had a Maytag with the odor issue. This Kenmore Elite never in 20 yrs had a smell or mildew issue. But that said we have weird weather. It’s either very hot or very cold. We get maybe 2 weeks of normally acceptable mild weather. So my washer, in the garage is in a 45° environment or a 90° environment. The only good thing I can say about summer laundry in my garage is air dry works!
We just bought a Speed Queen washer (TC5) and matching dryer, after having 2 front load washers. I will never go back to front load. The clothes come out of the Speed Queen clean and NO smell. I ALWAYS left the door of my front load open, but still … The Speed Queen fills up with water – no tiny about of water. Run, don’t walk and get a Speed Queen.
Offsetting the reaching in to retrieve the clothes from the washer is the Ease of Loading! Just dump them in!
I searched your website having vaguely recalled you wrote about top vs front loading. We will be moving soon and leaving our 20 year old kenmore set behind. One reason for getting a top loader is soaking. My husband wears white socks and no shoes. I need to soak them in a dishpan in the tub overnight or they just don’t get clean. Its a huge hassle dumping the water and wringing them out to tote them to the garage. But that is just one problem. This front loader tangles everything, doesn’t rinse well with the supposed water saving feature, does not spin well, damages edges of clothes and towels, and the savings were minimal since most anyrhing needs a second round of washing. The only good thing is it never has had any odor in 25 yrs. Its still going strong but we have replaced a few parts, mostly cheap ones. The companion dryer is poorly designed as well. The fins are very short and it mostly rotates the clothes to the top of the drum and they fall straight down in a wadded mess. There is literally no getting around ironing because all our cotton sheets, tee shirts, pants come out looking like a piece of aluminum foil that has been crumpled and unfolded. When we bought this set there were no reviews, there was no Best Buy or even internet. So we went to Sears. Now that’s gone. I am not inclined to support any foreign company so probably will spring for Speed Queen. They are made in USA.