If you’re in the market for a new washing machine or dryer, you may be feeling overwhelmed by the multitude of different models available. Top-loading washing machines are a popular choice, as they tend to cost less than front-loaders and are helpful for those with limited mobility. But the best top-load washers can be difficult to choose among, so this guide is here to help!
Learn more about important features to consider while searching for the best top- loading washing machine for your laundry room in this comprehensive guide.
- BEST OVERALL: Samsung WA50R5200AW 5 Cu. Ft. Top-Load Washer
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: GE GTW335ASNWW 4.2 Cu. Ft. Top-Load Washing Machine
- UPGRADE PICK: LG TurboWash Smart 5.5. Cu. Ft. Top-Load Washer
- BEST HIGH-EFFICIENCY: Samsung 5.5 Cu. Ft. Smart Top-Load Washer
- BEST SMART: Maytag MVW6230HW 4.7 Cu. Ft. Top-Load Washer
- BEST LARGE-CAPACITY: Maytag MVW7232HW 5.3 Cu. Ft. Smart Top-Load Washer
- ECO-FRIENDLY PICK: LG ColdWash 5 Cu. Ft. High Efficiency Top-Load Washer
- BEST WITH AGITATOR: Speed Queen TR7003WN 3.2 Cu. Ft. Top-Load Washer
- BEST WITHOUT AGITATOR: Whirlpool 4.6 Cu. Ft. Top-Load Washer
How We Chose the Best Top-Loading Washing Machines
We researched the most sought-after top-loading washing machines in their respective categories and discovered that the best models are determined by their capacity, size, construction, number of wash and water cycles, and other special features included by select brands.
For more cleaning power per wash, the above list prioritizes larger-capacity washing machines from 3.2 to 5.5 cubic feet of capacity, and each has appropriate dimensions for the average home’s laundry room. Many of the above models are made in sleek finishes, have stainless steel drums to prevent snags and dings, and come with impellers or agitators based on the user’s personal preference.
These top-loading washing machines also come with multiple cycles including quick-wash and deep clean, different water level settings based on the size of your load, and a selection of water-temperature options to avoid damaging clothes and linens. For ease of use, these top-load washing machines also come with an assortment of smart-home capabilities, Super Speed technology, built-in faucets, slow-close lids, and Energy Star certifications for their water efficiency.
Our Top Picks
The following list features some of the best top-load washers available, each product chosen for its wash and spin-cycle options, load capacity, eco-friendliness, extra features, and more.
This Samsung is our pick for best washer with top-load functionality. It is large enough for an active family, packed with useful features, and comes with a midrange price tag. It is also Energy Star certified to help reduce utility bills.
A 5-cubic-foot load capacity means there’s plenty of space for larger items like comforters as well as day-to-day laundry. This Samsung can be ordered with either an impeller or an agitator, allowing buyers to choose the type that they prefer. There are numerous preset washing cycles and different settings for soil level. Extra options allow adjustment for different fabric types, and there are five temperature settings. The Swirl+ tub is designed to extract water efficiently when rinsing, without the risk of snagging. It also has a self-clean function to combat odor. This machine includes VRT (vibration reduction technology) to reduce vibration and noise, and it comes with a soft-close lid.
The high-capacity Samsung also helps those who are visually or hearing impaired. Audio assistance for the control panel plays a different tone for each option, and braille is included next to the control buttons.
- Capacity: 5 cubic feet
- Dimensions: 44.6 inches high by 29.4 inches deep by 27.5 inches wide
- Agitator vs. impeller: Either
- High-capacity machine means fewer wash loads, and Energy Star certification helps reduce bills
- Buyers can choose a washer with either am agitator or an impeller to suit personal preference
- Assistance provided for hearing and visually impaired with audio and braille controls
- The Smart Care app offers fault diagnostics but no control functions or smart- home integration
Get the Samsung 5-cubic-foot top-loading washing machine at Lowe’s, The Home Depot, or Best Buy.
GE’s top-load washing machine is our budget-conscious choice. It has a 4.2-cubic-foot capacity to accommodate large loads of laundry. With 11 different wash cycles, this machine gives users plenty of flexibility in customizing the settings to meet their specific laundry needs. Select the deep-clean cycle, which offers 67 percent more cleaning power for stain removal than a normal cycle for particularly soiled loads.
This washing machine also offers six water temperatures to further customize the cleaning and care of laundry items. It features a deep-rinse setting that works to make sure all detergent, fabric softeners, or other laundry additives are completely rinsed away from clothing and linens.
Its stainless steel basket provides durability and snag-free cleaning, and a heavy-duty agitator ensures clothing and linens are thoroughly cleaned. Automatic bleach and fabric softener dispensers are also integrated into the design; they will dispense bleach or fabric softener at the ideal point in the desired wash cycle. Other features include cycle status lights to allow users to quickly identify the wash progress and a 700 rpm spin speed for maximum water removal before drying.
- Capacity: 4.2 cubic feet
- Dimensions: 44 inches high by 22.7 inches deep by 27 inches wide
- Agitator vs. impeller: Agitator
- This high-quality, full-featured washing machine comes with a very competitive price tag
- Offers 11 wash cycles including Deep Clean, plus six water-temperature options
- American-made machine with durable stainless steel basket and heavy-duty agitator
- A few owners have reported machines not draining properly, leaving laundry wet
Get the GE top-loading washing machine at Lowe’s, The Home Depot, or Best Buy.
This LG model is the best top-load washer for those who are looking to splurge a bit, as this 5.5-cubic-foot top-load washer doesn’t skimp on the extra features. It offers Wi-Fi connectivity with SmartThinQ technology that allows users to pair the machine with their smartphones to receive alerts about wash cycles and control the washing machine from the palm of their hands. It also works with smart-home assistants for even more operating options. Using about 30 percent of the water used by other standard washing machines, it also conserves resources and is Energy Star certified.
In addition to being easy to use with the smart technology, this washer also offers powerful cleaning capabilities. Its special 6Motion technology puts up to six different wash motions to work during each cleaning cycle to produce optimal results, while steam technology removes wrinkles, dirt, and odors from fabrics.
Thanks to its LoDecibel motor and TrueBalance anti-vibration system, this washer is significantly quieter than other models. Other notable features include the clear lid, stainless steel NeveRust tub, and automatic detergent, fabric softener, and bleach dispensers.
- Capacity: 5.5 cubic feet
- Dimensions: 44.5 inches high by 28.38 inches deep by 27 inches wide
- Agitator vs. impeller: Impeller
- High-capacity model with TurboWash 3D technology for rapid but gentle cleaning
- Wi-Fi connectivity provides control features via phone app and integration with smart-home systems
- Energy Star certified and meets Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) standards
- Comes with a premium price tag
Get the LG 5.5-cubic-foot top-loading washing machine at Lowe’s, The Home Depot, or Best Buy.
Efficiency can be measured several ways, and this Samsung does an excellent job of meeting a number of those targets. Its impressive 5.5-cubic-foot capacity means fewer loads. The Super Speed wash can complete a full cycle in 28 minutes so it’s more time efficient, and since it’s Energy Star certified, it consumes less power.
Wi-Fi connectivity, combined with the SmartThings app, can schedule wash to make best use of low-cost electricity during off-peak hours. It can also give end-of-normal-cycle alerts and even advise the best cycle for each batch of laundry. A built-in faucet allows pretreatment of heavily soiled items right at the washer. The durable stainless steel Swirl+ tub design is more efficient at rinsing and offers five different spin speeds for better laundry care.
This Samsung model offers 12 preset laundry cycles, 10 wash options, and five temperature levels. Self Clean notifies users every 20 wash cycles so it’s easy to keep the machine fresh and odor-free. Voice control is possible via Alexa, Bixby, or Google Assistant, and there is also audible assistance and braille for key control functions.
- Capacity: 5.5 cubic feet
- Dimensions: 45.8 inches high by 29.4 inches deep by 27.5 inches wide
- Agitator vs. impeller: Impeller
- Extra high capacity and Energy Star certified, plus comes with SmartThings technology for efficient laundry management
- 12 wash levels for quick, easy selection and VRT (vibration reduction technology) for quiet running
- Easy-to-use control panel features audio tones and braille for those with reduced sight
- While most buyers are satisfied, there have been a variety of fault reports; may suggest quality control is inconsistent
Get the Samsung 5.5-cubic-foot top-loading washing machine at The Home Depot or Best Buy.
This Maytag washing machine is another top-load washer that combines old and new, with a traditional top-loading design that’s packed with smart features.
This washer offers many of Maytag’s attractive washing machine functions, including an Extra Power boost option, 30-minute Quick Wash (for small loads), and a Deep Fill option. To simplify the laundry process, this machine also has a Cycle Memory function, which stores the last-used settings so you can easily run the same cycle again.
With a capacity of 4.7 cubic feet and an agitator instead of an impeller, this machine is a step down from the MVW7232HW, but the roomy wash drum is plenty big enough for most households. Thanks to Wi-Fi connectivity, this machine is smart-enabled and can pair with the Maytag app for start and stop functions, cycle notifications, and limited troubleshooting. Plus, this machine also has a slow-close glass lid, which gives it an updated look.
- Capacity: 4.7 cubic feet
- Dimensions: 41.44 inches high by 27.88 inches deep by 27.25 inches wide
- Agitator vs. impeller: Agitator
- Smart-enabled with phone app for versatile control and monitoring from almost anywhere
- Power agitator and Extra Power button boost cleaning on any wash cycle
- Versatile laundry options include 30-minute Quick Wash and Deep Fill for heavily soiled items
- Does not have Energy Star certification
Get the Maytag 4.7-cubic-foot top-loading washing machine at Lowe’s, The Home Depot, or Best Buy.
This Maytag top-load washer is an ideal choice for those looking to enjoy the features offered by a smart washer. With the ability to connect via a smartphone, users can get notifications about the progress of a wash cycle or start and stop cycles from anywhere. The powerful impeller combined with the Extra Power button work together to penetrate and remove tough stains and leave items clean and refreshed.
This smart washer offers a number of other cycles, including a quick-wash cycle, a wrinkle-control cycle, a delicate cycle, a bulky items cycle, and an extra-rinse cycle. Individuals can also program their favorite settings to simplify laundry time. The washer is Energy Star certified and has a slow-close glass lid.
- Capacity: 5.3 cubic feet
- Dimensions: 42.88 inches high by 27.88 inches deep by 27.25 inches wide
- Agitator vs. impeller: Impeller
- High-capacity washer built to commercial standards and fitted with durable direct-drive motor
- Smart features for remote start and stopping, plus voice control via Alexa or Google Assistant
- Energy Star certified with auto sensing to adjust water level for efficient cleaning
- Some users reported a variety of faults and error codes; may suggest quality control could be improved
Get the Maytag 5.3-cubic-foot top-loading washing machine at Lowe’s, The Home Depot, or Best Buy.
LG’s ColdWash top-load 5-cubic-foot washing machine is an energy-efficient model that helps users limit their impact on the environment while also keeping energy costs down. LG washers are made in the USA, so distance from factory to owner is minimized. Less fuel is used in transportation than with imported machines, which helps reduce greenhouse gases.
ColdWash technology offers further energy savings, while Water Plus means extra water is only added when necessary. The LG’s special TurboDrum creates powerful water flow and ensures clothes are thoroughly yet gently cleaned for easy stain removal. Additionally, eight wash cycles and nine wash options, plus multiple temperature and spin speeds, ensure there’s always a precise choice for every type of laundry. The long-lasting stainless steel tub uses an impeller that maximizes useful space and prevents delicate fabrics from getting snagged, while the direct-drive motor and TrueBalance anti-vibration system help keep the machine running quietly.
- Capacity: 5 cubic feet
- Dimensions: 44.5 inches high by 28.38 inches deep by 27.63 inches wide
- Agitator vs. impeller: Impeller
- Made in the USA, and Energy Star certified to help reduce environmental impact
- High-capacity machine with ColdWash technology that can further reduce energy usage
- Stainless steel drum with impeller to maximize laundry space while caring for delicate fabrics
- A few owners reported it did not perform well on small loads
Get the LG 5-cubic-foot top-loading washing machine at The Home Depot or Best Buy.
The Speed Queen name may be less well known than some imported brands, but the company has manufactured commercial washing machines in Wisconsin for over 110 years. With the Speed Queen TR7003WN, the high standards of engineering necessary to produce machines suitable for laundromat use are available to homeowners. The durability of this model is such that it is expected to last for over 10,000 cycles, or more than 25 years in average household use.
The Speed Queen has multiple options to clean and sanitize all kinds of laundry while providing excellent fabric care. There’s a true hot wash to kill bacteria, then there’s Classic Wash for cleaning tough stains rapidly and Perfect Wash that’s gentle on clothes—an area where other agitator machines are sometimes criticized. There’s also a special Pet Plus cycle that was tested in animal shelters and service-dog facilities to tackle pet hair and odor, and the machine comes with a steam function to make ironing easier.
- Capacity: 3.2 cubic feet
- Dimensions: 42.75 inches high by 28 inches deep by 25.63 inches wide
- Agitator vs. impeller: Agitator
- Commercial grade–built quality designed to run for over 10,000 cycles
- The power of agitator cleaning with multiple options to care for different fabrics
- Pet Plus wash cycle specifically designed to remove pet hair and related odors
- Although highly rated for reliability, the capacity is modest and it comes at a premium price
Get the Speed Queen top-loading washing machine at Appliances Connection or Best Buy.
There’s a lot to like about the Whirlpool top-loading washing machine. With a capacity of 4.6 cubic feet and a very competitive price, it sits somewhere between our Best Overall and Best Bang for the Buck picks, and it makes an interesting alternative to either.
Many prefer the gentler washing of an impeller, and the Whirlpool offers a number of user-friendly options for laundry care. There’s a built-in faucet that allows for prewashing at the machine, and it has a presoak facility to loosen tough stains before the wash cycle. There’s a 30-minute Quick Wash for small loads and a Deep Water Wash for heavily soiled items. The smooth spiral stainless steel tub drives clothes into the center for effective cleaning while the seamless construction helps care for delicate fabrics. An extra rinse cycle makes sure particularly dirty loads come out clean and fresh. A specific machine-cleaning cycle and safety lid lock complete what is an impressive machine for the money.
- Capacity: 4.6 cubic feet
- Dimensions: 41.5 inches high by 27 inches deep by 27.75 inches wide
- Agitator vs. impeller: Impeller
- Competitive capacity and feature set comes at a budget-friendly price
- Quick-wash cycle can tackle small loads in as little as 30 minutes
- Conveniently located built-in faucet allows prewash right at the machine
- Does not have an integrated fabric softener dispenser; must use a fabric softener ball
Get the Whirlpool top-loader washing machine at Lowe’s, The Home Depot, or Best Buy.
What to Consider When Choosing a Top- Loading Washing Machine
While all the best top-load washers share the common characteristic of loading from the top of the machine rather than the front, there are still a number of important differences among the various options available. Top-loading washing machines come in different sizes and capacities, offering varying wash cycles and levels of water and energy efficiency. Some washing machines may also be WiFi-compatible or offer other features that make them a better fit for your specific needs.
Size and Capacity
Like front-load washers, most top-loading washing machines have a width of around 27 inches and a height of 44 inches, though these numbers can vary among models. The depth of a machine varies based on its capacity. You’ll find small to average-size machines in the 20- to 27-inch width range, and models with the largest washer capacity up to 30 inches wide.
While you’ll want to pay attention to the physical size of each washing machine to ensure it will fit in the space you have available, the capacity of the machine will tell you more about how much each option will hold. A washing machine’s capacity is measured in cubic feet and may range between under 1 cubic foot for some portable washing machines to nearly 6 cubic feet for extra-large models. However, average top- and front-load washers typically have a capacity between 4 and 5.5 cubic feet.
Consider the number of people in your household and how often you do laundry to help find the right size top-load washer for your needs. Also think about the size of your bedding, especially comforters and duvets, which tend to be bulky. Keep in mind that overloading and underloading the machine can both lead to laundry mishaps. As a reference point, a 4-cubic-foot top-load washer will hold between 12 and 16 pounds of laundry, and a 4.5-cubic-foot top-load washer will hold up to 20 pounds of laundry.
Agitator vs. Impeller
Top loaders clean clothes using either an agitator or an impeller. When comparing machines with an agitator versus those with an impeller, you should know that each mechanism features a different design and cleaning method.
An agitator is a tall post with a finned design that rises up in the center of a washing machine. During wash cycles, the agitator twists from side to side to rub against items to remove debris and other soils. Agitators generally offer shorter wash-cycle times than impellers, but they don’t spin as quickly at the end of a cycle to remove as much water as an impeller can.
An impeller is a spinning disc at the base of the washer with a low profile. Rather than rubbing against items to get them clean, an impeller spins to make the clothing and linens in the tub rub against each other to get clean. Impellers offer gentler cleaning cycles than agitators since they don’t rub directly against the items in the wash. They also deliver higher speeds for spinning water out of clothing at the end of a cycle. However, they typically take longer to clean laundry, so wash cycles may be longer on machines that have an impeller.
Some common wash settings offered by top loaders include cycles for whites, delicates, and bulky items, as well as prewashes, quick washes, deep-cleaning washes, and extra rinses. The best washers offer the ability to choose whether you want to use cold, warm, or hot water for each cycle.
Just like front-load washers, some top-load washers also offer cleaning cycles to keep the interior of the drum clean. Choosing a model with this feature can make it easier to maintain the washing machine and keep the stainless steel or porcelain tub interior clean.
Water and Energy Efficiency
Finding a top-load washer that is energy efficient and doesn’t use excessive amounts of water is important both for keeping utility bills under control and reducing your household’s environmental footprint. Most top loaders require more water per load than front-loading machines. The average top-load washer uses around 20 gallons of water for each load, while the average front loaders use about 13 gallons.
Some washing machines that consume less energy than other models may receive Energy Star certification. Washers that consume around 316 kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity will receive Energy Star certification and can help users save an average of $35 each year on their electric bills. In general, top-load washers are not as efficient as front loaders. However, impeller-style top-load washers can be quite efficient and may earn Energy Star certification.
Just like front loaders, some top-load washers offer Wi-Fi connectivity and smart technology. Washers with smart technology provide a greater level of control over washing the laundry. With a smart washing machine, users can start or stop a wash cycle using a smartphone from any location, as well as check the status of a wash cycle or receive a notification when a wash cycle has been completed.
Some smart washers are also compatible with smart assistants, such as Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant, allowing users to start or stop a load of laundry with voice commands.
A washing machine is a big investment, and it’s understandable to still have a few questions or want to learn more about the best top-load washing machines before making a purchase. Use the frequently asked questions below as a resource to help you gain new information before selecting a product.
Q. What is the most reliable top-load washing machine brand?
Opinions about which is the most reliable top-load washing machine brand do vary, but most modern domestic appliances tend to be reliable, and checking owner feedback suggests problems are not common. One of our criteria when selecting the best top-loading washing machines was reliability and durability so in our view GE, LG, Maytag, Samsung, Speed Queen, and Whirlpool all meet this requirement.
Q. Do top-load washing machines clean as well as front-load washers?
It’s a difficult question, and it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s suggestions for best cleaning performance. Overloading, for example, is a common cause of disappointing results. Some people who have compared top-load versus front-load washers have found that front loaders can be more effective at cleaning, but this shouldn’t suggest that top loaders don’t clean perfectly well. Also, top loaders are easier to maintain than front loaders and can still do a good job cleaning with their agitator or impeller.
Q. Do all top-load washing machines have an agitator?
No, not all top-loading washers have an agitator; some clean using an impeller. An agitator is a tall post in the center of the machine that rubs clothing as it twists to get it clean. An impeller is a cone or disc on the base of the basin that spins and makes items rub against one another to get clean. There are a few top-loading washing machines on the market that offer removable agitators, which can help when washing large or delicate items.
Q. Which lasts longer, an agitator or impeller?
Whether an agitator or an impeller lasts longer depends on several factors, not the least of which is the type of laundry. Large, heavy items can impact agitator performance more than they would an impeller, and given that an impeller usually produces a more gentle washing action, it could last longer. However, it’s important to remember that impeller wash cycles are longer and may not clean heavy stains as efficiently as an agitator would.
Q. What are the disadvantages of an agitator?
There aren’t many disadvantages of an agitator in high-quality top-loading washing machines, though industry experts tend to point to the more aggressive nature of these appliances. The hard work they put into cleaning is great for most clothing, but it can be tough on delicate fabrics. There’s also the fact that because the agitator sits in the middle of the wash basket, there is less space for laundry than with an impeller. While not a problem with standard loads, comforters and blankets can be a disadvantage.
Q. Are top-load washing machines easier to keep clean?
Neither front-loaders nor top-loaders are particularly difficult to keep clean, though some feel top-loading washers are easier to keep clean than front-load washers due to their design and orientation. A quick wipe with a damp cloth is usually all that’s required on the outside. There are also washing machine cleaners that can be used to keep the drum clean and prevent detergent buildup or odors.
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