Front Loader vs Side Loader Washers

Front Loader vs Side Loader Washers

A washing machine purchase is a long-term investment. Even a unit with a low price tag should provide several years of service, making it important to pick a machine you like. Part of the decision-making process will involve choosing between a front-load or top-load machine. Both units carry with them a series of pros and cons, making it important to consider your needs and develop a list of what works for you. Primary considerations should include the cost of the unit, the level of mobility you and your family members enjoy and the space you have available to store a washer. For some, the cosmetic appeal of the individual units is an important factor while others prioritize energy efficiency and reduced water consumption.

For the super traditional family with major washing needs, the Maytag MVWC465HW high-efficiency top-load washer is 3.8 cubic feet. According to the manufacturer, it can accommodate a hamper-size load, making it perfect for powering through the weekend laundry. At $629 through Lowe's, the washer is available for store pickup in select locations. If you prefer the simplicity of classic washing machine control panels and knobs and dials, this washer is a dream. A lack of digital controls minimizes your chances of an electronic malfunction in the control panel while simplifying the laundry process. Top loaders are preferred by many with failing joints as they do not require stooping into the unit, only bending. However, a larger top loader can present a challenge for shorter customers who find it difficult to reach the bottom of the machine safely.

Front-load machines can also present a challenge for the mobility challenged, but they can be modified with a manufacturer-approved pedestal that raises the elevation. With a side-open door, the mobility impaired can fully reach in at a comfortable height to remove clothes. However, the pedestal frequently presents an added cost. At Best Buy, a LG 4.5-cubic-foot front loading smart Wi-Fi washer is $809.99 in the color white. A coordinating white pedestal costs an additional $249.99 and includes a storage drawer for laundry supplies. For those without family-size laundry, a 1-cubic-foot option includes a pedestal for $629.99. While it doesn't include Wi-Fi capabilities, the unit still provides high-efficiency washing. When selecting a front-load washer, ensure the space available for the unit provides enough room for the door to swing freely while a person removes clothing.

For top-load units, you must plan for vertical lid swing. This is primarily a consideration in more compact apartments where hot water heaters or other appliances are stored above-the-head in the laundry room. Some modern top-loaders combine the ability to watch your clothes get washed with the classic styling. The Samsung WA50R5200AW high-efficiency top-loader is $628 in white at Home Depot and features a translucent lid. The unit also features a built-in faucet, known as an active water jet, to assist with pre-cleaning in apartments or homes without a dry sink. This feature is extremely handy for parents or the accident-prone who regularly rely on stain remover products to keep clothes pristine. A digital display provides many of the benefits of high-tech front-load models, and you retain the ability to add clothes during the initial stages of the wash - a feature not included in front-loading units for obvious spillage reasons. The machine will shut off for safety purposes as the clothes are added.

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