If you’re in the market for a new washing machine, 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-loading washing machines and are helpful for those with limited mobility.
This guide can help you learn more about important features to consider while searching for the best top-loading washing machine for your laundry room.
- BEST OVERALL: GE 4.2 cu. ft. Top Load Washing Machine GTW335ASNWW
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Amana 3.5-cu ft Top-Load Washer NTW4516FW
- UPGRADE PICK: LG Electronics Smart Top-Load Washer WT7900HBA
- BEST HIGH-EFFICIENCY: Samsung High-Efficiency Top Load Washer WA50R5400AW
- BEST SMART: Maytag 5.3-cu ft Smart Top-Load Washer MVW7232HW
- BEST LARGE-CAPACITY: Samsung 5.4 cu. ft. Top-Load Machine WA54R7200AV
- ECO-FRIENDLY PICK: LG Electronics TurboWash 3D Top-Load Washer WT7300CV
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Top-Loading Washing Machine
While all top-loading 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 between 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.
Before making a purchase, confirm that the washing machine you’re interested in will fit in the available space. Begin by measuring the space where you plan to put the washing machine, and look at the dimensions of each product being considered.
Most washing machines have a width of around 27 inches and a height of 44 inches, though these numbers can vary between models. The depth of a machine varies based on its capacity. Many models have a depth of 27 inches, but large-capacity models are closer to 30 inches deep. Compact washing machines may have a depth of only around 20 inches.
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, most home washing machines typically have a capacity between 4 and 5.5 cubic feet.
Washing machines with a greater capacity will be able to hold more clothing and linens. Consider the number of people in your household and how often you do laundry to help find the right size 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 washer will hold between 12 and 16 pounds of laundry, and a 4.5-cubic-foot washer will hold up to 20 pounds of laundry.
Most top-loading washing machines offer a similar configuration. They feature a hinged door on the top of the machine that opens to allow access to the interior wash basin. However, there are still a few considerations related to configuration that you’ll want to keep in mind while shopping.
First, determine if you’d prefer to have a separate washer placed beside your dryer, or if you’d prefer a stack washer/dryer combination unit with the dryer above the washer. Note the direction that the dryer’s door opens if you’re placing a washing machine next to a dryer. Consider how easy it will be to move items from the washer to the dryer to determine which configuration is optimal for your space.
Agitator vs. Impeller
Top-loading washers clean clothes using either an agitator or an impeller. Each mechanism features a different design and cleaning method. Agitators, which are the more traditional choice, are 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.
Impellers are a spinning disc at the base of the washer. They have a much lower profile than an agitator. 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, so wash cycles may be longer on machines with an impeller.
Next, assess the wash cycles offered by each model you are considering. Weigh these options against your laundering needs, and consider the types of items you wash to determine whether a particular machine will be a good fit. Some common wash settings offered by top-loading washing machines include cycles for whites, delicates, and bulky items, as well as prewashes, quick washes, deep-cleaning washes, and extra rinses.
Also look for settings that allow you to customize the water level for each load to prevent wasting water. The best washers offer the ability to choose whether you want to use cold, warm, or hot water for each cycle.
Some top-loading washing machines 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-loading 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-loading washing machines require more water per load than front-loading machines. The average top-loading machine uses around 20 gallons of water for each load, while the average front-loading machine uses 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 on average $35 each year in electric bills. In general, top-loading washers are not as efficient as front-loading models. However, impeller- style top-loading washers can be quite efficient and may earn Energy Star certification.
Some top-loading washing machines 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 personal assistants, like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant, allowing users to start or stop a load of laundry with voice commands.
Some top-loading washing machines offer additional features to enhance their performance and functionality. These may include:
- Bulk dispensers: These dispensers are designed to hold detergent and/or fabric softener for multiple loads of laundry. Based on the load cycle you select, the dispenser will release the right amount of detergent or fabric softener into the machine at the appropriate time. Depending on the machine, a bulk dispenser may hold enough detergent for up to 40 loads.
- Built-in faucets: A few washing machines also offer a built-in faucet. Machines with this feature can be a good solution for laundry rooms where there is no sink. A washing machine with a built-in faucet can simplify treating or rinsing items before washing them.
- Quiet operation: Some washing machines are designed with lower decibel motors or anti-vibration systems to reduce the noise they produce when washing a load of laundry.
Our Top Picks
The following list features some of the best top-loading washing machines available, chosen for their wash cycles options, load capacity, eco-friendliness, extra features, and more.
GE’s top-loading washing machine 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 than a standard 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.
The machine boasts a stainless steel basket for durability and snag-free cleaning as well as a heavy-duty agitator to ensure 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.
Those looking for an economically priced washer should consider this top-loading washer from Amana. It offers a 3.5-cubic-foot capacity with a porcelain tub to ensure items don’t get snagged as they’re cleaned. The Dual Action Agitator rolls clothing throughout the basin to ensure each item comes out clean.
This model offers five temperature settings to customize each load. It also has a delicate cycle with a slower speed and a more gentle agitation for cleaning items that require special care. A deep water wash setting is also available for breaking down spots and stains for more effective cleaning.
An ideal choice for those who are looking to splurge a bit, this 5.5-cubic-foot top-loading washer doesn’t skimp on the extra features. This washer from LG offers 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.
The Samsung 5.0-cubic-foot top-loading washing machine is an Energy Star-certified model that will help keep energy use and costs down. Thanks to its Super Speed technology, this machine allows users to clean a full load of laundry in only 36 minutes. A deep fill option comes in handy for individuals who wish to take advantage of the cleaning power delivered by a full machine. Twelve wash cycles, five temperature levels, and eight additional wash settings allow for complete customization for each load of laundry.
This model also features a built-in faucet to use when pretreating stains. The EZ Access design of the basin also makes it easier to reach the base of the tub than is possible in other similar models. VRT Plus technology keeps noises and vibration to a minimum to limit disturbances and create a quieter environment. This model also offers a soft-close lid and a self-clean cycle.
Maytag’s top-loading 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.
Individuals with a large family or those looking to wash large or bulky loads of laundry may want to consider this spacious 5.4-cubic-foot-capacity top-loading washer from Samsung. The washer offers a deep fill setting to add extra water to a load for adequate soaking. Choose from 10 preset wash cycles, five temperature levels, and seven other wash options to find the optimal setting for each load.
The VRT Plus technology in this model keeps it quiet during operation by reducing vibrations and other noises. It also offers a built-in water faucet to use when pretreating stained items. Additional features include the soft-close lid, a self-clean cycle, and Swirl and Tub interior to remove more water from clothing during a spin cycle. This washer also offers Smart Care technology which allows users to troubleshoot problems using their smartphones.
LG’s TurboWash 3D top-load 5.0-cubic-foot washing machine is an energy-efficient model that helps users limit their impact on the environment while also keeping energy costs down. This model also offers LG ThinQ smart technology that allows users to control their washer remotely with their smartphone.
The brand’s special TurboWash3D technology ensures clothes are thoroughly yet gently cleaned without the use of an agitator. Additionally, LG’s 6Motion technology combines up to six washing motions to clean each item with care and precision. A deep-fill option is also available and can be turned on with any wash cycle by simply pressing a button, and the stainless steel tub resists nicks and prevents fabrics from getting snagged.
FAQs About Top-Loading Washing Machines
A washing machine is a big purchase, and it’s understandable if you still have a few questions or want to learn more about the best top-loading washing machine before making a purchase. Use the frequently asked questions below as a resource to help you gain new information before selecting a product to purchase.
Q. Do top-loading washers clean as well as front-load washers?
Some people who have compared top-load versus front-load washers have found that front-load models are more effective at cleaning. However, 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-loading washers 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.
Q. Are top-loading washers easier to keep clean?
Yes, top-loading washers are easier to keep clean than front-load washers due to their design and orientation. Washing machine cleaners can also be used to keep the drum clean and prevent detergent buildup or odors.