Troubleshooting, Washing Issues

Front Loader Vs. Top Loader – Which Is Best?

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!


Holly Lee

I'm Holly and I'm the mom of two awesome young boys with a girl due summer 2020. We have been cloth diapering for 6 years. My family and I live in Minnesota with our dog, Ruby, and cat, Gherkin. Outside of Rocking the Cloth, I am also a middle school teacher. Thank you for visiting Rocking the Cloth--feel free to email me at if you have any questions or concerns. I'd love to help!

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  1. Nick says:

    Hey, my mum wanted to buy a new washing machine. Personally, I prefer a top loader washing machine because you do not have to get on your knees when putting in the laundry. In my opinion, you do not have to necessarily buy a new machine if you already have one which works properly. Of course, many people always want the newest technology, but sometimes you have everything you need.

    1. Holly Lee says:

      I agree–no sense in buying a new machine for no reason. When you’re due for a new one, though, it’s definitely best to think through the pros and cons of different styles.

  2. Jessie says:

    My wife and me debate this all the time.  She wants a top loader, and I want a side one.  I am willing to admit, though, that the top loaders are much more effective, but I like the space saving and the modern look of the side loaders.  Eventually I did give in.  My wife would probably agree with your assessment!

  3. My last washing machine was a top loader, and my current one is a top loader. I find it very convenient for loading, separating, and if I need to make any adjustments in the load, it is easy to do so with my top loader. I also prefer it for removing wet clothes.  It was good to read about the side loader but I am ok with my top loader. Thanks for the information 

    1. Holly Lee says:

      Thanks, JJ!

  4. Jos, says:

    Hello again, Holly.

    I stumbled upon this article at a good time. My mom and dad just moved into a new house and they got the washer and dryer with it. Why did they leave it? Because the dryer likes to ruin my clothes, of course! All of the lint gets attracted to my nice red sweater instead of the lint rap. They will be buying a new one soon and I’d be glad to refer them to this site.

    1. Holly Lee says:

      Hope this article can help them out.

  5. MrBiizy says:

    Hello Holly, I had a nice time reading through the contrast of the front loader and the top loader. Well, in our home, we have the top loader and I definitely prefer it to the front loader. It’s obvious that the top loader won the competition and it will Forever be my favourite due to its numerous perks you highlighted in this post.


    1. Holly Lee says:

      I agree–I miss having my top loader so much.

  6. Paul says:

    Hi Holly,

    I own a top loader, and I hope that I don’t end up with a front loader any time soon. I like the “dump the whole basket in” technique. Learned it was I was young, so I’m quite good at it.

    Since my washer and dryer are side by side, I’m waiting for someone to invent a top loading dryer, lol, that can magically turn itself into the side position after I’ve dumped all my wet clothes in from the top.

    I agree that front loaders may be easier to load for shorter individuals. More water and easy loading win the day for me.


    1. Holly Lee says:

      That would be an awesome dryer, Paul!

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