Front loading washing machines have become very popular with the rise of HE (high-efficiency) washing machines. However, top loaders haven’t gone anywhere, either! Both styles are very popular, and some people feel passionate about which style is best. Let’s look at the details of the front loader vs. top loader debate and see which one would be best for your family’s needs.

Perks Of A Top Loader

front-loader-vs-top-loaderUsing a top loader has many perks, especially if you are a cloth-diapering parent.

For starters, it is much easier to load laundry into a top loader. You can take baskets of clothes and dump them in. When dealing with particularly soiled laundry (like diapers), it’s nice that you can keep the amount you need to dig your hands in it to a minimum. With a front loader, it’s nearly impossible to get your laundry inside it without using your hands.

Another perk is the greater options for varying water levels. Even many HE top-loaders will have “deep fill” options to allow you to get more water when necessary. It is nearly impossible to get more water in a front loader. The sensors greatly inhibit the amount of water because it doesn’t like to allow the water level to get too close to the door level.

Top loaders also allow you to soak laundry. This is helpful when using bleach on your whites or stripping cloth diapers. It is impossible to soak with a front loader. If you want to do any sort of soak but have a front loader, you will need to resort to a sink or bathtub.

Top loading washing machines are easy to clean and don’t hold a mildew smell the way some front loaders do.

Lastly, if you like having an agitator in your washing machine, you’re really only able to get one in a top loader. More and more top-loaders are being made without agitators, but there are plenty that still have them. Front-loaders do not have them at all.

Perks Of A Front Loader

front-loader-vs-top-loaderFront-loaders have some perks, too. For example, front loaders can be stacked with a dryer. This saves space, which is important to many people.

It is also easier to reach the wet laundry in a front loader. You don’t need to stand on your tip-toes and reach into the bottom of a washer-like you do with a front loader. If you are less than 5 feet tall, this may be important to you.

There may be other things some people like about front loaders, such as their sleek look.

Which Is Better For Cloth Diapers?

Ultimately, which type of washing machine to use boils down to personal preference. However, based on my personal experience, I do think any sort of cloth diaper issue is easier solved with a top loader with agitator. Being able to adjust the water level and have extra agitation is HUGE.

This is not to say that you can’t cloth diaper with a front loader–you definitely can, and I am currently doing it! Our new house has a front loader.

But I would be lying if I said I wasn’t secretly hoping the machine would die so I can go out and get a top loader. It’s what I used to have and I miss it.

I had a much easier time using plant-based detergents when I had an agitator, too. In a front loader, I am not able to use enough water or get as much agitation as is needed with a plant-based detergent.

All this said I did finally work out a successful routine in my front-loading washing machine, and I will share my tips and tricks in another post coming soon.

Though if I had to pick between a front loader or a top loader WITHOUT an agitator, I might go with the front loader. I’ve not personally tried a top loader with no agitator, but I have heard many people comment that the diapers just don’t move around enough to get clean. At least in a front loader, they are constantly tumbling.


At the end of the day, both a top-loading washing machine and a front loading one will get the job done. If you already have a washing machine, there is no reason to go out and try to purchase something different. You can make what you have work.

However, if you’re in the market for something new, I hope this article helped you figure out what would make the most sense for your family. I’m personally a top loader fan, but not everyone is. My mother prefers front loaders. You just need to figure out what is most important to you in a washing machine and then purchase with that in mind.

What do you think about the front loader vs top loader debate? Let me know in the comments!