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User Rank
Do Top Loaders really clean?
Chris   12/2/2011 9:22:32 PM
Do you remember women formerly throwing the clothes agains a rock at the side of the river?
Wondering why they did?
It's the shock that facilitates removing the dirt.
This is, what the Top Loader can't do,
but the Front Loader does, as long as it's not overfilled.
Falling into water doesn't harm - in opposite to that weird gyrator in the middle of a Top Loader that has less effect besides of damaging the clothes.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Re: The technical term for front loaders is "sucks"
Charles Murray   12/2/2011 4:26:04 PM
It's interesting to read the complaints about Maytag washers. Twenty years ago, Maytag prided itself on its reputation for engineering quality. Hearing repeated complaints (this isn't the only place I've heard them) makes me wonder what happened. I guess the old Maytag repairman isn't so lonely anymore.

User Rank
Anecdotal account of reliability
bgcat57   12/2/2011 2:45:23 PM
I've owned 4 washing machines in the last 26 years, In the first fifteen of those years, they were all top loaders. Maytag, Sears, one that escapes memory (the first one). The first two brokedown and were replaced because the replacements were cheaper and faster than the repair costs. The third was on it's last legs as it was begining to fail when I sold the house that it was in and the Washer with it. Then 11 years ago, I bought an Asko (Swiss made front loader.) It was small (the size of a dishwasher) and it took 1:24 for a normal wash load.

The drawbacks were as follows:

You can't use liquid bleach.

A normal wash cycle is just under an hour and a half.

Because it's small, you can't wash a big comforter.

I was expensive at $1400.00


I was able to clean things I couldn't effectively clean with the top loader like sealed pillows.

The water is heated by the machine (and controlable from cold to 180 degrees) so there's only a cold water hookup and more efficient since only the water that's used is heated. (Additionally, the dryer plugs into the washing machine for power, so there's only one 230V power outlet required.)

Uses far less water (significant if you have a septic system.)

Uses far less detergent and cleans far more effectively than the top loader.

Has been moved twice, once across country where it was really banged up on the outside because it wasn't secured properly for the move. Yet it still hasn't required a service call even though it's been used an average of ~1.2 times a day for 11 years.

I was cautioned that if the Asko's require service, that qualified service people and parts are hard to come by. The dryer has required one service call due to a door switch breaking during the move mentioned above. The cost was $120 and there was no problem getting someone qualified.

Whenever either of these machines finally die, I will replace them with Asko machines again.

William K.
User Rank
FRont load washers Vs top loaders
William K.   12/2/2011 11:26:05 AM
The first Maytag that I met was the one on my uncles farm, which originally came with a gas engine since it was prior to the REA, and the farm did not get power until after WW2. The Maytag was quite old by then. BUt they used it until the late sixties, when a more convenient one came out. 35 years of daily use was not to bad, and it still worked well when they sold it.

The durability of a front loader washing machine is critically dependant on the design and construction. My dad bought the Bendix "duo-matic" about 1957, and it worked fairly well for several years, but it was replaced in 1964, due to a variety of electrical problems. A combination washer and dryer is probably a poor choice.

Some front load machines have the water level below the door seal , and work the clothes by tumbling them, while others seem to roll the clothes, working them into one large knot. So there is a major difference there. Any washer that has fast acting valves that cause water hammer is very poorly designed, since the ASCO VALVE people solved the water hammer problem in the early sixties, as I recall from their ads at the time. The best part of the water hammer solution is that it did not add any cost or complexity to the valve, it just made it close much slower. So any machine that still has snap action water valves is very poorly designed indeed. The failure of the electronic controls in a modern washer is the result of either poor design or extreme cost cutting, since there is no reason that an adequate control system should not last at least 15 years, although the "lead free" laws have assured that all solder joints will be less reliable. ROHS has assured that consumer goods will not lastas long as they used to because there will be more failed solder connections. 

The well designed front loader machines seem to have an arrangement that avoids the overhung load stresses by having the bearings centered in the rotating tub. It does look a bit strange, but avoiding the overhung load and the "spider" support do make a much more durable mechanism.

Tom Shed
User Rank
Look at Reliability Statistics
Tom Shed   12/2/2011 11:08:13 AM
I try and judge a purchase by reviewing the frequency of repair statistics in publications like Consumer Reports.  

That said, we've only had two machines, a top loading Whirlpool purchased shortly after we were married in 1972.  We purchased it from a friend a year old who moved into an apartment and didn't need it.  I did rebuild it once, replaced the belt numerous times, but it worked untill the day that the new front loader was delivered in 2006.  

We replaced the top loader with Whirlpool front loader in 2006 and have been relatively happy with its performance.  We purchased a machine that was made in Germany.  Whirlpool bought the tevhnology by purchasing the German company that developed it, and the company continued to import the machines from Europe untill building a facility in Mexico.  Our matching dryer is made in Mexico.  

Diferences?  I do agree with the previous comments and observations, in addition to these:

The complete wash cycles are much longer than the top loader.  I suspect that the complex rinse cycle adds to this.  It uses much less water, which isn't an issue with us, we havfe a very strong well, and got good results cold watter washing with the top loader.  

I do run extra rinse cycles with the front loader to insure the clothes and machine drum are washed clean.  

We use very little high efficiency detergent in the front loader.  (The amount of detergent suggested by the detergent manufactures has always been much too much.  I suggest that you cut back to see if and when it makes a difference).  



User Rank
Water Hammer
colin55   12/2/2011 10:46:35 AM
1. All new houses in Australia have plastic plumbing for water.
No water hammer and much easier and cheaper for new installations.
2. Front loaders don't clean the clothes nearly as good as top loaders.
Their washing-action is not nearly as active, and they take ten times longer to do a wash.

User Rank
Re: Agitated by molds and leaks?
sherwingws   12/2/2011 10:22:31 AM
My family has used front loader washers since the 1950s.  Most of these post seem to have no real knowledge of either their performance or structure.

   1,  Contrary to popular belief, the mechanism of a front loader is much
        simpler than that of a top loader.  There is no geared transmission, no
        agitator seal, no shifting mechanism (the early ones had a ratchet pulley
        and a solenoid shifter for the spin cycle, but no more).

   2.  Front Loaders use 1/4 the detergent!

   3.  Front Loaders use much less water.

   4.  Front Loaders clean much more effectively.
        If you doubt this, take a load of clothes that have been washed in
        a top loader and wash them in a front loader.  DO NOT ADD SOAP!
        it is very likely that the soap and soil residue left behind by the top
        loader will over sudz the front loader.

   5.  Front loaders do have an extra combination seal between the outer
        drum and the door.  Though improper care can lead to odors and
        other problems associated with the seal boot, this seal also protects
        the internals of the machine more effectively than the air gap present
        in top loaders.  Leaving the door slightly open and occasionally running
        a cycle with just clorine bleach usually keeps this problem away.

  We have owned Westinghouse, Maytag-Neptune, and Samsung-VRT front
loaders and several top loaders along the way.  We usually gave the toppers
away.  We disliked them that much!  That is, except for the ones that had
transmission failures.  Those went to the recycling yard.  Additionally, my
family has allergies; soap scum agravates these problems.  Top Loaders
rince better, in our experience.

John E
User Rank
Very happy with my front loader
John E   12/2/2011 10:20:54 AM
The attraction of front loaders is three fold: 1) they get you clothes cleaner, 2) less wear and tear on your cloths ( the agitator in a top loader is a major source of wear on your cloths), and 3) lower water usage.  Ours adds two more items, 180°C water to sanitize diapers, and a high speed spin (1600 RPM) to get most of the water out of the cloths to reduce dryer energy usage.

We bought a Miele front loader 15 year ago and have had zero repairs.  The only maintenance I have done is clearing out the drain filter twice from stuff my kids left in their pockets.  For the first 6 years this machine ran at least one load of diapers every day.  We leave the door open to let it dry out between loads.

We are extremely happy with this washer, our cloths are cleaner, we use less soap, our clothes last about twice as long as with our old front loader, and it is very quiet.

There is no good reason for a well designed front loader to be less reliable than a top loader.  The mechanism is much simpler; there are fewer moving parts by an order on magnitude.  Any problems are due to design decisions made by the manufacturer.

User Rank
Horizontal washing machines
watsonm05   12/2/2011 9:42:33 AM
After reading dozens (if not more) of posts about front load washers and their issues I finally have been moved to comment.

Like many others I've been wondering about them.  The claims for them include reduced water usage, cleaner clothes, and reduced drying times due to lower moisture content.  The posts certainly point up the issues of mold/mildew, seal issues, shorter lives, higher maintenance costs.

A few years ago I heard about the Staber washing machine.  It's a horizontal shaft machine that's a top loader.  I don't own one and have no financial interest in the company.  I'm really intrigued and keep thinking of replacing our current machine with one when it dies.  They're fairly expensive (their website lists $1300 - $1900 www.staber.com) but they look like they were designed by a washing machine repairman who wanted to make his/her life easy.

I sure wish I could see one in action and better yet try one out.

Anyone else ever seen anything about these products?

User Rank
The technical term for front loaders is "sucks"
Island_Al   12/2/2011 9:41:27 AM
I have owned three washers over the past 45 years. The first, a Sears top loader lasted 20 years and 4 kids and thousands of loads. We used cloth diapers and easily washed 10E4 of them.  The second, a Maytag top loader lasted 15 years, went under water during a hurricane, and after mass application of WD40, ran a few more years before rusting away.  My wife was elated to get a Maytag Neptune.  Shortly after the warrenty expired the tub bearing went.  Some genious ME designed it to be non replaceable, molded into the tub.  A new tub from a third part supplier set me back $300.  Next the main electronic PCB failed, a micro controlled unit.  Another $150 as I recall.  Next the unit would not empty or spin.  Luckily a bad connection in the lower unit, but I feared a 3 phase motor failure.  Yes, they use a triac driven 3 phase motor and another PCB mounted under the machine with another internal controller.  The last straw was a failure in what Maytag calls a "wax motor" in the interlock system. It is a heat actuated linear "motor" with a long actuating cycle.  At that point my wife was in tears and told me just to make it work. Now it is just bypassed.  The next problem we have we will roll out this Caddy priced unit and roll in a cheap Chinese unit.

Oh, did I mention you need to use special soap?  The boot under the door looks like the bottom of a parrot and smells worse?

One of my daughters however owns a Sears (Fridgidaire?) front loader and seems to perform very well.  I however will never, ever, own another Maytag.

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