Washers: please explain high efficiency advantages vs. agitator

linnea56February 8, 2014

I would VERY much appreciate recommendations for top loaders to replace my 27 year old GE Filter-Flo. We are 2 empty nesters, so our use is not heavy. I don't want a front loader. The laundry room is adjacent to the kitchen, so noise is a factor. It doesn't need to be the quietest, but not really noisy either.

When I went shopping last week for a new one, most dealers had chiefly the High Efficiency type with no agitator. I did not get a really clear explanation for why they are so desirable, nor how the use in practice and cycles really differ from an agitator machine. All I know is that they use less water, which is not a priority for me.

I wanted to stick with an agitator as that's what I know. My mode of washing clothes is also to soak them before running the load, as I feel it get them cleaner (I'm a gardener, work outside, and do other dirty/dusty tasks. Spraying clothes with water, if that's really how they work: would not be enough). And if they can't be soaked, then that won't work for me. I also soak some things in a small amount of hot water, then add to the load and add more warm water to run the load. Might be weird but it works for me. I work at home so I can do this.

If I am not understanding the way the High Efficiency machines work, please tell me.

I checked Consumer reports, and they recommended ONLY the high efficiency machines, and no agitator models. So now I don't know what to do.

Thanks for your advice.

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Sounds like you need a Speed Queen. If water efficiency is not a factor and you like soaking your clothes, then I don't think a HE toploader is what you're looking for.

The ONLY thing I miss about our HE frontloader is the fast spin that lowers drying times. Other than that, we love our SQ. There is no question in my mind that our clothes are getting cleaner.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 3:26PM
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I second what's been said above. If you don't care for front loaders or HE top loaders... get a traditional top loader. Speed Queen is practically the only traditional brand left, unless you can dig up another vintage washer like yours in good shape.


    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 4:44PM
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Yep...Speed Queen.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 11:38AM
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I can vouch for speed queen and I had a HE toploader washer and got ride of it due to destroying clothes when it was two years old. Clothes come out super clean, done in 35 minutes and you can do a true soak if you like.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 4:51AM
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We had the most expensive HE top loader that Sears had a few years ago. I cannot begin to tell you how much we hated it. It had to 'think' for you; no other choice. The idea of using less water sounds great, but because clothes weren't loose in the water, they came out of the dryer very wrinkled. Whatever energy was saved in less water was more than made up for by having to iron everything.

We are building a new home and I want:
1. To set the water level myself
2. A slow agitation speed for delicate things
3. An optional second rinse.

I've been doing laundry enough years I can think for myself.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 9:23PM
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You did not mention if your GE Filter Flo still works-on the -automaticwasher.org-site your machine is one of the preferred vintage machines- a good repair tech and advice from that site should be able to keep it running. My take on ConsumerReports recently is that they are all about energy and water conservation, good causes they are, even if it is to the detriment of performance and/or low life cycle costs-see how few years they recommend replacement over repair. Besides the Speed Queen,the Fisher Paykel Eco Smart with traditional agitator might be suitable if you cannot keep your GE running. FP uses very little hot water unless YOU CHOOSE to run a cycle with a full tub of warm or hot water and it has a high speed spin to save energy and time in the dryer. With any new machine's electronic controls use a good surge suppressor to help prevent blown control boards. We have had our F&P about 10 years,use a surge suppressor and unplug washer between uses-no problems so far.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 4:45PM
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