Front loader or top loader? The washing machine types in comparison

Front loader or top loader? The washing machine types in comparison

Your old washing machine is broken or you want to get a new one for another reason. Now you are wondering whether a front loader or a top loader is the better choice? In the following guide we will explain to you exactly the advantages and disadvantages of both types of washing machine.

Front loader or top loader? (Also) a question of space

One of the biggest and most obvious differences between front loading and top loading washing machines is the size of the devices. While front loaders are classically more square, practical and good, top loaders are usually relatively narrow and therefore built high. Dimensions of 85 x 60 x 60 centimeters or 90 x 40 x 60 centimeters are mostly standard.


A front loading washing machine can also be positioned under the worktop. Image: © Elnur / AdobeStock 2018

That has its own advantages and disadvantages. While top loaders also fit into narrower gaps, front loaders can be set up relatively easily under worktops as built-in devices. Front loaders can also be easily integrated into shelving systems. Alternatively, you can use the top as an additional storage area for (light) objects. For this you have to plan enough space in front of the machine in front-loading washing machines in order to be able to open the "porthole" correctly.

This space issue does not arise with top loaders, as you fill the laundry through a hatch in the top of the washing machine and take it out again. Another advantage: While the washing program is running, you can add individual items of laundry to the top loader later or remove them early – even without the reload function. There is no additional storage space for top loaders.

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Stable variant: front loaders don't skid so quickly

When it comes to stability, top loaders often cannot compete with front loaders. Due to their narrow design, the washing machines have a much smaller footprint – and like to wander around in the spin program. This is especially a problem with older models. In general, however, you can expect a top-loading washing machine to run less smoothly than a front-loading machine.

To keep this problem as small as possible, it is advisable to pay close attention to the correct alignment of the washing machine. Is the machine standing up straight? Are all four feet equally loaded? These aspects are also important for the smooth running of a front-loading washing machine.

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Which washing machine suits me (and my size)?

Another factor when it comes to the question of front loaders or top loaders is your own height. Because the top loader loads the laundry from above, it must of course also be fished out this way. With a device height of on average 90 centimeters, it can be a bit cumbersome for slightly shorter people when the last sock has to be fished from the bottom of the drum.

With a front-loading washing machine, on the other hand, the laundry basket can simply be placed in front of the machine and the laundry pulled out. However, squatting in front of the household appliance can put strain on your knees and back if you are not careful.


Top loaders are filled and emptied from above, which can be easy on your back. Image: © Y 2018

Not to be underestimated: so much laundry fits in the front loader and top loader

The personal amount of laundry is just as individual as the body size. And you should answer the question "front loader or top loader?" necessarily include. Due to the narrower design, top loaders have a significantly smaller drum volume than their front-loading counterparts.

A load of around 5 kilograms is standard on most top-loading washing machines, in a few cases the machines can weigh up to 7 kilograms. Front loaders, on the other hand, shine with loads between 7 and 12 kilograms and are therefore particularly suitable for families and people who have a lot of laundry to wash for other reasons.

Of course, you can also effectively tackle large piles of laundry with a top loading washing machine. However, you have to wash much more often, which not only means more effort, but also tends to increase water and electricity costs.

Why are top loaders actually more expensive than front loaders?

When it comes to buying a new large household appliance, the price is also an important decision criterion. Although there are of course cheaper and more expensive models in both cases, top loaders are generally more expensive to purchase and maintain than front loaders.

Why? Because all the technology has to be compressed into a much smaller space due to the narrow design. This not only makes the production more expensive, but also makes repairs necessary if something breaks in your washing machine.

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  • Top loaders are built much narrower than front loaders, but they are higher.
  • Front loaders need enough space in front of the machine so that you can open the door.
  • Top loaders cannot be positioned under worktops.
  • Top loaders run less smoothly and are less stable than front loaders.
  • On average, 5 to 7 kilograms of laundry fit into a top loader and 7 to 12 kilograms into a front loader.
  • Front loaders are particularly suitable for families and people who have a lot of laundry to do.
  • Top loaders are more expensive than front loaders because the technology has to be compressed into a smaller space.

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