Washers - Front Load vs. Top Load

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What is it about the front load washers that makes then twice the price of the top load units?
I'm trying to cut through the sales talk. Are they actually "better"? If so, what do they do that the top load units don't?
Thanks,
Ian
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I don't know why they cost more, although the fact that the drum reverses often could be part of the reason. I wouldn't part with mine, though. Uses very little water, very little detergent, and I can pack more laundry in, so I don't need to do it as often. Downside: Can't be opened once started, in case you forgot to throw in that one last shirt. And, if it's in a poorly lit area, like my basement, it's kind of hard to see into. Mine says "Frigidaire Gallery" on the front. Washer & dryer combo were under $1100 if I recall. Not the cheapest, but not the most expensive, either.
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I cant say I'm entirely pleased with mine. I have the Sears units and they washer vibrates quite a bit on the plywood floor of my apt
I would say that more care is needed as to what kind of surface they washer sets on so it doesn't vibrate so badly
Question.... you have yours in a basement right? Does it vibrate any?
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I barely hear the thing running except when it draws water. When standing near the machine, I notice no vibration at all.
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Doug Kanter wrote:

I have a frontloader. When we first got it, it was spooky how quiet it was.
The real saving comes from how dry they spin the clothes -- they come out damp instead of wet, and you can set the clothes dryer on a low-heat cycle and they will still dry quickly. The next biggest energy savings is the hot water you save (obviously not an issue if you wash everything in cold.)
The power company here offers a $100 rebate for EnergyStar washing machines. That really helped make the initial cost competitive with a toploader.
Bob
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what type of floor is it on?
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Cement. When I mentioned vibration, I was referring to what the machine itself feels like. My old machine was so badly balanced that it walked across the floor during the wash cycle occasionally, and it had nothing to do with how the thing was loaded with clothes.
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Front loaders use much less water, which may or may not be a good thing, depending on the load you're washing. Sometimes with very heavily soiled items it's better to have more water than less.
Also, generally, front loading machines can handle larger loads.
As to why the price difference, I'm sure some of it is due to higher design and manufacturing costs for front loading machines (e.g. better quality seals are required on the door and wash basket, for obvious reasons), but beyond that I'm not sure why they cost so much more than top loaders.
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Ian wrote:

It appears it is more difficult to make one that does not leak or have other problems. Therefore it is more expensive. I expect (and have seen some evidence of) a slow reduction in cost and in time a phase out of top loaders.
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia duit
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wrote:

If you are looking for "better", check out a Fisher & Paykel machine. They are top loaders, but have all the advantages of a front loader. They also have a direct drive, which means no transmission to break. The final spin-dry cycle spins at something like 1000 rpm, leaving the clothes almost dry when they come out, which means you run the dryer a lot less, saving further energy.
http://usa.fisherpaykel.com/model_overview.cfm?mod_uuid01D5899-65B7-DB96-12E5C08AD4C89AAE
This isn't some new company, either. These machines have been around for many years in Europe and Asia. The price is comparable to a good conventional top loader.
rusty redcloud
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Red Cloud wrote:

http://usa.fisherpaykel.com/model_overview.cfm?mod_uuid01D5899-65B7-DB96-12E5C08AD4C89AAE
They still have an agitator, don't they? I had understood that lack of an agitator was one of the big advantages of the front-loaders, as your fabrics suffer less wear without the agitator, so they last longer.
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That's a lot of hooey. There's nothing gentle about being dropped 2 or 3 feet hundreds of times (and spun at 1000 RPM) every wash cycle.
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My machine rotates the drum very gently, almost to the point where, when I first got it, I wondered if it would actually get things clean. It does. And, the spin cycle is adjustable. For towels, I select warp speed. For pretty much everything else, normal or gentle. No problems with clothing showing premature wear.
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Rick wrote:

It's a big deal when you are washing a quilt or something really big and bulky like that. If it can't circulate in a toploader, the agitator can wear a hole in the fabric in just one washing.
Bob
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wrote:

The configuration and action of the Fisher & Paykel agitator is completely different than what you are familiar with. I guess you really would have to see one working. It's very kind to the clothes.
rusty redcloud
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It's my guess the locking mechanism and seal required in a front load that a top load does not need. Front load washers use less water and are more gentle on the fabrics. How long to make up the cost difference, I don't know. The fewer knobs and controls, the lower the cost. Personally I would be hesitant to spend more then $500 for a washer and I'd get the largest I could find. Scratch-and-dent can save some $, but you have to be careful.
wrote:

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Top loaders wear your clothes out faster due to the agitator. I don't know about the prices, though.
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i remember allmost everyone around here had a frontloader when we were on cysterns,cause they used little water, then when city water came thru, everyone eventually went to top loaders because they were cheeper and water supply wasnt an issue..this was back in the early 60's ,so front loaders have been more expensive for quite some time around here. lucas
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I remember that. We had an old Bendix, probably late '50s or so. Nothing like the machines of today. It vibrated, the gasket leaked, but it was entertaining for a 3 or 4 year old.
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wrote:

Apart from more valuable considerations that others have mentioned, you can store stuff on top of them.
Are they high enough so that you don't have to bend over to unload it?
Sue(tm) Lead me not into temptation... I can find it myself!
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