While the way you load and unload clothes is the main difference between these two options, front load washers generally use less water and take a little longer than top load washers. They also tumble clothes to clean them rather than using an impeller or agitator to move clothes in a wash basket. 

Read on to see how top load and front load stack up.

Benefits of front load washers vs. benefits of top load washers

Both front and top load washers come with advantages. Here are some top qualities to consider when shopping.

Front load washers

  • Uses less water per load
  • High spin speeds for shorter dry times
  • Save space by stacking
  • Often provides greater capacity

Top load washers

  • Deep water settings available
  • Shorter wash times generally
  • Load and unload comfortably without bending over
  • Choose from agitator or impeller wash action

How does it clean?

Washing in a front vs. top load washer

Front load washer:
Cleans with specialized tumbling that's designed to use less water overall.

Top load washer:
Fills the basket with water and cleans with an agitator or impeller (central post vs a low-profile disc).

What style do you like?

Controls on a front vs. top load washer

Front load washing machine:
Sleek and contemporary look with easy-to-reach front controls.

Top load washing machine:
Also available in sleek and contemporary designs. Loads from the top with the controls at the back.

How much do you wash?

Whirlpool® front load washing machines:
Up to 5.0 cu. ft. capacity that can handle up to 3 baskets of laundry in a single load1.

Whirlpool® top load washing machines:
Impeller models have up to 5.3 cu. ft. capacity for bulky comforters and agitator models top out at around 4.7 cu. ft.

Learn more about large capacity washers

Which is more comfortable to use?

Comfort levels when using top vs. front load washers

Front load washer:
Clothes are easy to reach and transfer to the dryer. Consider adding a laundry pedestal for more height or extra storage.

Top load washer:
Comfortable loading, but the ease of reaching the bottom of the wash basket depends on your height.

How efficient is it?

Whirlpool® front load washing machines: 
Designed to save on detergent AND water. Always high efficiency (HE).

Whirlpool® top load washing machines: 
All impeller and many agitator top load washers are highly efficient.

How long does it take to wash?

Wash time in front vs. top load washers

Front load:
Has higher spin speeds and uses less water per load than top load washers. This results in reduced end of cycle wetness, enabling faster dry times.

Top load:
Generally takes less time in wash cycles than a front load. Typically uses more water per load than a front load washer.

Are you ready to decide?

Ready? Check out our top picks below or shop top load and front load washers to pair with a matching dryer.

Not sure? The appliance finder can recommend the best washer for you.  

Get help making more laundry decisions

What capacity is right to keep up with your laundry?

Find the right Whirlpool® large capacity washer for your home

The daily mountain of laundry is daunting. We’ll help you find a big washer to take on the big loads — and empty the hamper.

Find the top load washing machine style that’s right for you.

Agitator washers vs. impeller washers: What’s the difference?

Agitators and impellers are both found in top-loading washing machines, but they move, and clean clothes, in two distinct ways.

Find the right washer and dryer fit for your home.

The long and short of it: laundry pair measuring guide

You’ve found your laundry dream team. Here’s how to make sure your new washer and dryer will fit.

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1. Based on 7-lb per basket.