Return to the Laundry Room Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Washer Recommendatrions - Top Loader vs Front Loader

Posted by Shawn1972ut (My Page) on
Sun, Dec 8, 13 at 15:45

My Whirlpool washer of 13 yrs needs to be replaced. In an attempt to research a new one, I've created more confusion than clarity.

I'd like to move toward a more efficient (both energy & water) washer, but I can't seem to find any common themes or recommendations.

Front loader complaints of smell, long cycle times, inefficient rinses, poor electronic components, and failure rates at less than 5 yrs concerns me.

Consumer Reports recommends LG, but some ppl love their LG, some hate them. Others love their Meile, some do not. Samsung? GE? Again, no consistency.

The information on Top Loader HE is even less helpful.

I'll take brand and model recommendations if anyone can help with some consistent data to drive the decision.

Thank you.

Shawn


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Washer Recommendatrions - Top Loader vs Front Loader

Just run down the posts and you can see that this is a loaded question with everyone wanting you to think their way!

What model and brand are you interested in? Then maybe people who own that model can tell you what they like or dislike about their units.


 o
RE: Washer Recommendatrions - Top Loader vs Front Loader

LOL, this does seem to be a loaded (no pun intended) question. All I can give you is my experience. I had a TL Maytag that lasted for more than 20 years before giving up the ghost, and I thought it did a pretty good job on the clothes. I replaced it with a FL Electrolux 70 series, and I found that my clothes are getting much cleaner with the new washer than they ever did with the old one. We also use a LOT less water, as evidenced by using about half the amount of softener salt than we used to with the old TL. I've had it almost two years now, no problems, no mold, no smell. nothing that I don't like about it. I love some of the features that the machine has, in particular the ability to program it to do pretty much whatever I want it to do--extra water, extra rinse, and tumble the load a bit after the spin to release wrinkles. The capacity was also a draw for me, as we do a lot of laundry around here and it's nice to be able to just toss in a big load of towels or a large comforter and know they'll come out clean.

It's important to note that if you decide to go from a TL to a FL, then you really need to commit to changing the way you do laundry. You might need to experiment with different HE detergents to find out which one works best with your water, and also you'll need to use a LOT less detergent than you're used to using. The cycles are longer, but it makes sense that your clothes need more dwell time with the detergent if you're using less water. I really don't mind that--I've got plenty to do to keep me busy while the washer does it's thing. I often put a load in at night and program the machine to give a quick rinse occasionally to be sure that it doesn't smell musty in the morning. No problem. It takes a little getting used to, but well worth it in my book. I'm really happy I made the switch, but I did a lot of reading about how these beasts work and how to properly maintain them, so I knew what to expect. It's really not hard or a lot of fussing, it's just different, and takes a different mind set.

Honestly, I know that the early versions of the FLs had problems, but for the most part they've been fixed. People also didn't know how to use them properly in the early days of FLs here--and that lead to problems as well. I think that for the most part, if you get a decent quality machine to begin with and go at it properly, you won't have any trouble with either a TL or FL.

I have not heard anything about the TL HE machines that would make me want to get one--few people seem to be happy with them. I'm sure you'll read all about that, and I have no direct experience with them.

Best of luck to you. Pick the machine that best fits the way you want to tackle the laundry. No one person has the absolute Truth, and no one machine is The One To Get, no matter how passionate they may be about it. :-)

Cj


 o
RE: Washer Recommendatrions - Top Loader vs Front Loader

Thanks for the responses housefairy and cj47.

Certainly didn't mean for it to be a loaded (no pun) question, I just feel a bit lost in this quest.

To give you some additional detail - I don't recall actual price paid for 13 yr old washer, but it was probably around $600. My assumption is that advances in technology would allow me to invest same $600 and get 10 solid years. However, I seem to hear 5-7 lifespan is norm now. Thus my reluctance and trepidation.

We are a small family of 3, so we're not all that hard on washer/dryer. Consumer Reports seemed to like LGs, so I was initially pulled in that direction. Informal survey of friends was mixed on LG, but relatively negative on Samsung. We have a Meile vacuum, but need to travel to bigger city to get fixed, so I'm wary of service coverage by Meile.

I'm willing to change / evolve way we wash (I'll have to research environmentally friendly HE soaps), but in the end it's just laundry. Seems to me it shouldn't be too complex.


 o
RE: Washer Recommendatrions - Top Loader vs Front Loader

What's wrong with your Whirlpool that requires it be replaced? Assuming it's a typical direct-drive machine, parts are still very much available, reasonably-priced, and the machine is worth repairing unless it's cratered with rusting or some such.

A friend gave a Kenmore (which was manufactured by Whirlpool, the same mechanical design as yours if it's a direct-drive) to me a couple years ago that was 10 years old at the time. They were going to toss it to the scrap heap for what was a $15 part. I did some additional refurbishment to make it "like new" and my parents are using it.

This post was edited by dadoes on Sun, Dec 8, 13 at 18:45


 o
RE: Washer Recommendatrions - Top Loader vs Front Loader

I believe the OP's reason for wanting to replace was to get a more energy and water efficient machine.

I also have a Miele Vacuum (going on 20 years old and still works like a champ), and my experience made me look long and hard at the Miele washers. In the end, they were really just out of my budget. I waited for rebates on the Electrolux pair, and that made them more affordable. We are on a well, and the new washer really makes a difference in the water usage. Also way less laundry detergent, so the cost of running these things is quite a bit less than the old pair, plus they do a better job. I'm happy with it. I'm not one to fuss with my appliances. I want to them to do what they're supposed to do reliably and a minimum of fussing around on my part. I'm happy with these. I'm sure others are good, too.

We're all kind of snickering about it being a loaded question because there's a few on this forum that seem to pop up and be very...passionate... about their own washer choice. The question has come up a few times lately. It's nothing to do with you or your actual question, really. LOL.

Cj


 o
RE: Washer Recommendatrions - Top Loader vs Front Loader

No worries cj47. Totally understand the "passion" some seem to display in their loyalty (I used to work in computer industry -- apple vs pc).

To dadoes question - if you really want the background, here is a post I made on another forum about my Whirlpool:

Washer was not agitating, so I did some online troubleshooting and ultimately replaced the coupler (plastic was broken) and agitator dogs (they were worn). When I ran a test cycle, it filled correctly, agitated better than it had in years, and drained effectively prior to spin cycle.

Once the spin cycle started, there was an increasingly loud "whining" noise (metal sliding on metal) --- vrrruuump, vrrruuummmp, etc as it increased speed. The drum spun fast and correctly, but the noise was a new problem that had not occurred in the past.

I took apart washer, verified that I'd correctly assembled, and tested again, WITHOUT agitator attached, to see if I could better identify problem. As drum spun, I could see that center post (where bolt holds agitator in place) would "slip" and that was most likely the root cause of the noise. Note that the ridged post would spin, but not as quickly as drum.

Based on online research, there seem to be a few possible issues. All of those issues tend to increase in cost for parts, so I want to be a bit more precise and not start replacing things that aren't necessary.

Fact that drum spins and agitates effectively leads me to think it's not clutch.

Worth noting - for years, I've had some type of brown-gold lubricant leak, which I've always assumed was basic grease. Its just a think film that develops under washer, so its not a "big" leak. This *may* be a contributing factor, but it's odd that noise wasn't a progressing issue (e.g. started long ago and increased in severity over time).

Can anyone help me narrow down to true failing part?


 o
RE: Washer Recommendatrions - Top Loader vs Front Loader

No worries cj47. Totally understand the "passion" some seem to display in their loyalty (I used to work in computer industry -- apple vs pc).

To dadoes question - if you really want the background, here is a post I made on another forum about my Whirlpool:

Washer was not agitating, so I did some online troubleshooting and ultimately replaced the coupler (plastic was broken) and agitator dogs (they were worn). When I ran a test cycle, it filled correctly, agitated better than it had in years, and drained effectively prior to spin cycle.

Once the spin cycle started, there was an increasingly loud "whining" noise (metal sliding on metal) --- vrrruuump, vrrruuummmp, etc as it increased speed. The drum spun fast and correctly, but the noise was a new problem that had not occurred in the past.

I took apart washer, verified that I'd correctly assembled, and tested again, WITHOUT agitator attached, to see if I could better identify problem. As drum spun, I could see that center post (where bolt holds agitator in place) would "slip" and that was most likely the root cause of the noise. Note that the ridged post would spin, but not as quickly as drum.

Based on online research, there seem to be a few possible issues. All of those issues tend to increase in cost for parts, so I want to be a bit more precise and not start replacing things that aren't necessary.

Fact that drum spins and agitates effectively leads me to think it's not clutch.

Worth noting - for years, I've had some type of brown-gold lubricant leak, which I've always assumed was basic grease. Its just a think film that develops under washer, so its not a "big" leak. This *may* be a contributing factor, but it's odd that noise wasn't a progressing issue (e.g. started long ago and increased in severity over time).

Can anyone help me narrow down to true failing part?


 o
RE: Washer Recommendatrions - Top Loader vs Front Loader

Have you checked the bearing? Bad or worn bearings can cause extremely load "roaring" spins that get gradual over time.


 o
RE: Washer Recommendatrions - Top Loader vs Front Loader

Loud whining noises that get worse with increasing speed is generally the bearing.

Bearings have a finite calculated life for a given loading, called L10, that is the length of time that 90% of a given lot of bearings will exceed for a load condition, which is a combination of speed and force. Although bearings are generally sealed, oils, often brown, black, or yellow in color, leach from a bearing over time at which point your bearing begins to run dry and will have a rather accelerating failure as a combination of increased friction resulting in increased temperature result in even faster grease degradation. Or possibly your bearing has spalled, where a chunk of the ball or race has broken off to cause a rather nasty growl. Either way, a much more involved repair than popping in a new splutch which I have done on a few friends whirlpools through the years.

As for front load vs HE top load, I would say that front load technology has been out there for decades and is a much more known science. Figure about 5 to 7 gallons a fill for most front loaders as opposed to 8 to 11 gallons for a top loader. HE top loaders have a spray rinse and/or partial fill to save water during the rinse phase, but the trade off is less water = poorer rinsing. Definitely use less soap if you opt for TLW HE model. The DOE sets energy rules which pertain to how much energy a washer uses but they really don't care if they rinse the soap out in their formulas.

For what it is worth nobody makes super sized top loader HE washers for the commercial washer business. Every large (I'm talking 30 lb and up) washer is a front loader due to superior performance. If HE top loaders were such a breakthrough technology, hotels, etc that do a lot of laundry would be equipped with them, not the case though.

Most front loaders have two rinses, and many have options for a third rinse. I run three rinses on my FLW, it does a great job and still saves total net water vs top load. Here in Great Lakes region, water and sewer is still relatively cheap (although going up 18% in my municipal this year) and natural gas to heat the water is probably at a 6 to 10 year low in cost. Electricity is only about 5 to 10% of the total energy in a washer, with most of the energy associated with heating the water. That said, water rates NEVER go down and energy cost generally trend up.

You have to ask yourself a few questions:
-want to save the most energy? go FLW, shop for lowest DOE label op cost
-going to own for awhile, not moving away?Go FLW, 4-6 yr payback vs TLW
-planning on moving in 3 to 5 yrs, leaving W/D behind? TLW wiser choice
-water/sewer really crazy expensive - go FLW

Best of luck in your decision making.


 o
RE: Washer Recommendatrions - Top Loader vs Front Loader

Shawn1972ut: "Front loader complaints of smell, long cycle times, inefficient rinses, poor electronic components, and failure rates at less than 5 yrs concerns me. "

It is necessary to separate issues of front loader vs. top loader from issues of generations -- both generations of people and generations of manufacturing.

The numbers would be difficult to aggregate, but, with a fair degree of certainty, it can be said that a majority of the automatic washing machines ever made have been front loaders. Front loading automatics have been around since the 1930s, but top-loading machines did not lose their mangles (those wringer arms that you see atop older top-loading washing machines) -- that is, they did not become automatic, until after World War II.

Like tail fins on automobiles, top loading automatic washing machines became all the fad in the United States in the 1950s, but never caught on elsewhere in the world. In the United States, though, some consumers mistakenly think of top-loaders as "traditional." There is a high correlation between those who refer to top loaders as "traditional" and those who simply do not know what they are talking about.

A couple of generations of housewives (that is not sexist, just the way society was organized), brought up on the post-WWII top loading machines, were educated to think that you need at least 40 gallons of water to wash a load of laundry. And that much water required at least a cup of laundry detergent; and if one cup is good, aren't two cups even better? When those consumers encountered later generation water-conserving front-loading washers, they continued to use their two cups of detergent per load, and that detergent overload is the source of a lot of the negative comments you see about front loading machines.

Now, getting to your question, there are two kinds of "features" in washing machines. One kind of feature is choice of materials and construction techniques. Speed Queen washing machines are rightly often praised for construction quality largely because of choice of metal bearings in place of nylon bearings, heavier gauge steel where it counts, etc. The other kind of features are multiple selectable cycles, programability, LED screens, etc. You pays your money and you takes your choice.

Personal opinion: one of the better "features" is a dimpled stainless steel drum. When a washing machine's drum spins for water extraction, fibers of the laundry inside the drum are drawn through the water drainage holes in the drum, and that accelerates fabric wear. Miele pioneered the "honeycomb" drum, with the drainage holes positioned in small domes in the drum surface to minimize the fabric pull-through. Samsung rather blatantly copied that feature in its "diamond" drum. So far as I am aware, no other maker has followed Miele and Samsung down that road.

Our family, starting with my mother, has owned only four washing machines in over 75 years; they all have been front-loading washing machines. The first three lasted, on average, over 20 years each in moderately hard use. We purchased the fourth machine a few years back, and the deciding factor in our purchase was the dimpled drum design; we selected a Samsung over a Miele for price considerations.

HTH.


 o
RE: Washer Recommendatrions - Top Loader vs Front Loader

My husband knocked over a filter cone of brewing finely ground espresso coffee onto his khakis. Fortunately he didn't get burned but his pants looked like this.

He undressed in the laundry room and I forgot about the pants. Three days later I gave them a profile wash in my front loader. Here's the result:

Like most boomers, I grew up with top loaders. My first experience with front loaders and high spin speed extractors was when I lived in France briefly and had to go to the laundromat. I was amazed that the clothes dried so quickly. Never thought about it again.

When I bought the original front loaders for our house, I knew there would be less dryer time but that was about it. Using less water was fine but we have our own well so it's not an issue.

My main motivation was having the machines fit under a counter in my small laundry room. IOW I did it for a practical reason -- space vs conviction.

There was a learning curve and the aesthetics of it were fleshed out in various posts here. But 10 years later, I would not go back to a top loader because older clothes and other things like tablecloths, towels and cottons have actually had their condition improve by washing in the FL. No more hand-washing at all -- all lingerie, silk, woolens and cashmere sweaters go into the machine.

So for me it's purely practical and also a considering of how to best use space and my time and get the best results.


 o
RE: Washer Recommendatrions - Top Loader vs Front Loader

I agree with rococogurl in the stain removal properties of a good FL can't be beat.

Our kitchen cloths are used for all sorts of things - coffee, spilled juice, etc. When they get that "funk" they get hung to dry, stains and all. About once a month or so - sometime s2 (we have quite a few) in the washer they go. Sanitary, Stain Cycle, detergent and Oxygen Bleach and they come out almost as good as new. A few stains remain but all in all they come out smelling good and looking good!


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Laundry Room Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here