A Maytag® front load washer and dryer pair in a modern laundry room

FRONT LOAD VS. TOP LOAD WASHERS

Although you might have experience with both front load and top load washing machines, it can still be challenging to determine which type is right for your home. When shopping for a new washing machine, it’s a good idea to consider the general differences between these two models, including door access, console placement, installation flexibility, capacity, wash action and water levels. This guide will help you get started by comparing features between washer types, including elements of design, convenience, capacity, water levels and efficiency.

Learn more about the difference between front loader and top loader washing machines.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN TOP LOAD VS. FRONT LOAD WASHERS?

The biggest difference between front loading and top loading washing machines is in the way you load and unload clothes. On front load models, clothes are inserted through the door at the front of the washer. On top load washers, clothes are inserted by opening the lid on the top of the appliance.

Other differences between top load vs. front load washers include how much water is used, cycle length times and washing action.

Newer front and top load washer models have improved features and capabilities to increase efficiency and convenience, while ensuring the best care for your clothes. Compare the differences of front load vs. top load to help you decide which one’s right for you.

A Maytag® Front Load Washer and Dryer in a rustic laundry room A Maytag® Front Load Washer and Dryer in a rustic laundry room

1. DESIGN

While differences in the way you use top and front load washers may seem subtle, design differences between the two washer types have an impact on how your clothes are cleaned.

A front view of a Maytag® Top Load Washer
TOP LOAD WASHERS

Top load washers open from the top, a design that allows the machine to take up less horizontal space in your laundry room. Wash action is driven by an impeller or agitator, and matching dryers still open from the front.

A Maytag® Front Load Washer with the door open
FRONT LOAD WASHERS

On front load washers, the door swings open from the front and wash action is delivered via a tumbler, a mechanism similar to that of a traditional tumbling dryer. For added convenience, front load washer and dryer pairs are stackable for small or vertical spaces.

A washer and dryer pair by Maytag brand in a modern laundry room A washer and dryer pair by Maytag brand in a modern laundry room

2. COMFORT & CONVENIENCE

Washing machines play a major role in helping you manage everyday life by speeding up laundry chores, which is why it’s important to choose a washer that suits your busy lifestyle so you can get you started on the next task on your to-do list. Depending on your preferences, choose a top load or front load washer that suits the needs of your space.

 An angled view of a Maytag® Top Load Washer
TOP LOAD WASHERS

With top load washers, it might be harder to reach the bottom of the washer depending on your height or the height of the washer. Use a stool to help you reach the bottom of the washer when loading and unloading clothes if this is a problem for you. Unlike front load washers, top load washers aren’t stackable with dryer pairs.

An angled view of a Maytag® Front Load Washer
FRONT LOAD WASHERS

A great benefit of front load washers are their stacking ability, which allows you to take as much advantage of vertical space as possible. Front load washers may also require a bit of bending or reaching. A simple solution: laundry pedestals. Washer and dryer pedestals bring your appliances to a more convenient height and some offer storage for detergent and fabric softener.

Laundry pedestals like these by Maytag brand can help you maximize the comfort and convenience of your appliances to make laundry days more manageable.

A touch screen with wash controls on a washing machine A touch screen with wash controls on a washing machine

3. SETTINGS AND CONTROL LOCATIONS

While they may look similar at first glance, machine controls are different depending on whether you use a top load or front load washer. Control differences have a direct impact on how your clothes are cleaned, so it’s important to consider the features offered by each washer type carefully.

An angled view of a white Maytag® Top Load Washer
TOP LOAD WASHERS

Top load washers include a backguard featuring the controls used to operate the appliance. Depending on the brand and model, some top load washers may feature a Deep Water Wash setting.

An angled view of a gray Maytag® Front Load Washer
FRONT LOAD WASHERS

On front load washers, the controls are usually integrated into the front of the appliance, either above or beside the front-facing door. Front load washers often include more settings compared to their top loading counterparts, such as spin speeds.

A person placing a towel into a Maytag® Top Load Washer A person placing a towel into a Maytag® Top Load Washer

4. CAPACITY

Depending on your needs, you may require a washing machine that is able to accommodate larger or lighter loads. Before you commit to either a top load or front load washer, consider the size of your average laundry loads and how often you wash your clothes to make the best choice.

A top view of laundry in an open Maytag® Top Load Washer
TOP LOAD WASHERS

Top load models have a wide range of capacities but usually offer the largest capacities available. For instance, Maytag brand offers a large capacity 5.2 cu. ft. agitator washer to help you get the most out of every wash cycle and shorten the amount of time spent in the laundry room.

 A front view of laundry in an open Maytag® Front Load Washer
FRONT LOAD WASHERS

Front load washers are also available in larger capacities. Since there is no agitator in the middle, front load washers have more space for clothes compared to similar sized top load models with agitators. However, avoid overcrowding your front load washer to accommodate the door if necessary.

The agitator of a Maytag® Top Load Washer surrounded by wet laundry The agitator of a Maytag® Top Load Washer surrounded by wet laundry

5. EFFICIENCY & WATER LEVELS

Due to their operational differences, top load and front load washers use different levels of water to wash clothes. They also generally perform at different efficiency levels.

A front view of a gray washer and dryer pair by Maytag brand
TOP LOAD WASHERS

Many top load washers use lower water levels to meet efficiency standards and deliver more optimal cleaning results with a higher concentration of detergent. However, there are models that let you add more water to select cycles — like the Deep Fill option from Maytag brand.

A front view of a Maytag® Front Load Washer and Dryer with the doors open
FRONT LOAD WASHERS

Front load models that use HE (high-efficiency) detergent use lower water levels and concentrated cleaning. This means you probably don’t need to use as much detergent as you might be used to. 

By using a high-efficiency cleaning solution like Swash® laundry detergent1, you’ll be able to keep your clothes clean with less detergent through an ultra-concentrated formula.

SHOP SWASH® LAUNDRY DETERGENT

WHICH IS BETTER: FRONT LOADERS OR TOP LOADERS?

Front load and top load washers each have their own unique set of benefits. If you’re looking to buy a new washer, take into account the advantages of each machine type before choosing one over the other.

A Maytag® Front Load Washer and Dryer in a contemporary laundry room A Maytag® Front Load Washer and Dryer in a contemporary laundry room

BENEFITS OF FRONT LOAD WASHERS

Front load washers have become increasingly popular due to their performance and efficiency capabilities. Though using less water means longer wash times, the fast spinning drum helps extract water, making for smoother laundry days.

Additional efficiency advantages of front load washers include the following:

  • Leader in high-efficiency cleaning

  • Generally uses less water

  • Can result in shorter drying times
  • Gentle on clothes

SHOP MAYTAG® FRONT LOAD WASHERS

Explore front load washers from Maytag brand to see which one works for you, and learn how to install a front load washer in your home.

 Maytag® Top Load Washer and Front Load Dryer in a laundry room  Maytag® Top Load Washer and Front Load Dryer in a laundry room

BENEFITS OF TOP LOAD WASHERS

If you’re looking for a model with a more traditional design for your home, top load washers offer a familiar appliance set-up that utilizes washing action with an impeller or agitator to keep clothes clean. In addition, the lack of a sealing gasket around the lid of top load washers make them easy to clean and maintain.

Additional benefits of top load washers include the following:

  • Fast cycle times available

  • Choice between agitator or impeller washing designs
  • Deep Water Wash functionality on select models

SHOP MAYTAG® TOP LOAD WASHERS

If you choose a top load washer, you’ll need to decide between an agitator or impeller design. Learn more about the differences between agitator and impeller washers or start browsing all Maytag® top load washers. Chosen a top load washer? Here’s how to hook it up when it arrives.

EXPLORE MAYTAG® WASHING MACHINES

Washing machines are the unsung heroes of your laundry room—they’re there to get the job done when you need it. Explore the Maytag brand collection of washer models including models featuring the Extra Power button to boost stain fighting action on any wash cycle. Power through laundry day with the Maytag® washing machine that’s right for you.

Maytag® front and top load washing machines

TAP INTO THE POWER OF EXTRA POWER

Some stains dissolve best in hot water. Others in cold. With the push of the Extra Power button, select Maytag® washing machines fight both in a single load by boosting stain-fighting performance on any wash cycle with a dual-temperature wash.

READY TO FIND YOUR NEXT WASHER?

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1  Swash and the recommending brands are owned and distributed by Whirlpool Corporation.