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Okay, so here’s the scoop:  unless you’re new to this blog, I’ve pretty much reminded you that I’m graduating soon with an MBA on nearly every post (two years in the making, 25 days and counting, what what!). Recently, I’ve been thinking about graduation gifts.

My sweet, wonderful, awesome (Mom/Dad, hope you’re reading this) parents have offered to buy me a new washer and dryer as a graduation present. I humbly accepted (by immediately scouring every Black Friday deal on my favorite new website and texting my mom a few dozen times). So, now I have all of these new thoughts in my head. Awesome decorating ideas like the ones I’ve collected over the last few years on a dedicated Pinterest board)

I have a budget to stick to (under $1,000 for the pair), and a really tight space to work in (not nearly as tight as the makeover I did for Heidi and Jon on HomeStretch Season 7 back in 2013, but close enough!). Here’s what things look like now-ish (or rather the last time I even bothered to take photos of the laundry room, which was all the way back in 2010):

boring laundry room

But thanks to this sweet little face:

Puppy Charlie

… who now looks more like this:


… the laundry room floor has been removed for me. Isn’t she thoughtful?

Spilled dog food

There are a number of challenges that I’ll have to deal with later (I’m still working on the kitchen after all), but for now, the biggest question I have is about the style of appliance. I haven’t done much research on washers and dryers under the assumption that I wouldn’t be buying them in the near future, so I’m a little clueless as to the pros and cons versus top- and front-loading. I’ve heard things, but I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to get reader opinion. So far, here are my thoughts:

The room itself

  • Pro:  As a puppy, Charlie sort of removed most of the linoleum floor for me (up to what’s still wedged under the existing washer and dryer). Which is kinda good, I guess?
  • Con:  Cramped. Tiny. Tight.
  • Con:  Awkward layout (single window above the only useful wall, which nixes possibilities like stacking and cabinetry). Walls narrow toward the door, so the entire space will always feel nook-ish.

Front-Loading Washers

  • Pro: Ideal for tight and awkward spaces. I can put a countertop above both units to help maximize use of the room (examples 1 / 2 / 3).
  • Con:  Heard that washers are smelly and you have to clean them a lot (which as I’ve confessed, isn’t really something I have a lot of extra time for). But there are tips that I think I could easily follow, such as keeping the door open to limit mold.

Top-Loading Washers

  • Pro:  Avoids the smelly issue that I’ve heard about front-loading (I have top-loading now, and the only smell I’ve ever had to worry about is accidentally forgetting I left laundry in the washer)
  • Con:  Not as great space-wise without that counter above.
  • Pro:  But as I’ve seen with rooms like Kelly’s and Kim’s spaces, top-loading can still look pretty great.

Top Loading Versus Front Loading Washers

That leaves us with YOU. What are your thoughts on top versus front-loading washers? I haven’t heard a lot of negative things about the dryer part. Are there any other factors to consider that I’m not thinking about yet? When you had to make the decision yourself, what ultimately won you over?

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  1. I did a ton of research and asked a lot of people before I purchased my HE topload washing machine (without center agitator) a few months ago. I LOVE it!! I’ve had both front load machines and traditional topload with agitator machines so I’ve used pretty much everything. In order of preference- my new HE topload is first, followed by my old traditional topload and last is the front load.

    1. Hi,

      I am interested in getting a HE top loader, but I have heard that they leave your clothes very wrinkled. We line dry most of out clothes instead of putting them in the dryer, so this is a concern for me. Could you please comment on how wrinkled clothes are after washing in a HE toploader?


      1. Not honestly something I ever take note of, sorry. I throw mine right into the dryer and try (as much as possible) to fold right when it’s done, so wrinkling isn’t really a concern for me. Plus, I have a nifty steam feature on my dryer, so wrinkles come out with a quick pop back into the dryer if I’m pressed for time.

  2. we just got a new pair from my parents as a wedding gift and did SO MUCH research before deciding what to get, it gets overwhelming real fast. I went with a top loading washer that did not have an agitator (that pole thing that sticks up the middle), and my main reason for it was because I could fit all our bedding and bedroom curtains in it, in one load. which was super important in a house with 3 cats and a dog. My decision was made on size and energy efficiency for the most part, secondly that I really wanted LG brand because I like their stuff… and the $300 rebate didn’t hurt either :) haha.

  3. I am a big fan of top loaders…there’s a reason they’ve been used for so long. Plus, hello….something wonderful about being able to throw something in last minute after you’ve already started the load. You could always still install a counter on top of the dryer half and then put a hanging rod over the washer for things to dry?

    1. My front load lets me add items after the washing has started. Just have to hit the pause button and wait for the door to unlock before you throw it in.

  4. We just bought a front loader, although I haven’t had a chance to try it out yet so I can’t give you my thoughts on actual use yet (I’ve only had top load in the past). We went with front load since they’re supposed to be more energy efficient and use less water – but the biggest reason was that I want to put a countertop over the washer/dryer like you mentioned. Our laundry room is right by the garage entrance, so we want it to function as a mud room too, but the space is pretty small. Adding the countertop will make it look nicer and have more usable space.

  5. We have front loaders. I love them. There is only a smell issue if you don’t leave the door and the soap drawer open, and/or use tons of soap- less is more in this case. And I occasionally run a load with some white vinegar. That’s the extent of my cleaning. The washer takes awhile to do a load, but the clothes come out super dry- my dryer runs for maybe 30min tops. It’s great! We have whirpool duets, btw. I do wish we had ours on some sort of pedestal though (not that I want to shell out $200/pedestal)- it’d be nice for the doors to be higher up so my laundry doesn’t fall on the floor when I’m transferring it to the dryer. That’s my only complaint. :)

  6. I got a really good deal on a last season model of the Whirlpool Cabrio set about 3 years ago and I could not love them more! The washer is a high efficiency top loader, it doesn’t have an agitator in the center like traditional top loaders. Clothes in all high efficiency washers come out a little more wrinkled because the drum spins faster to get the water out. I just shake the clothes out a little when I’m moving them to the dryer or to hang dry and they always dry wrinkle free for me. I want to spend as little time in the laundry room as possible, so I like not having to worry about cleaning a musty/moldy smelling washer. And my in-laws have had terrible luck with two different brands of front loader washers malfunctioning, which scared me off a little!

  7. So aside from our apt. days we have always had a front load w/d set. I agree the gook/mold in the rubber ring inside the washer is gross. About twice it has somehow come lose and looked like a crap bomb went off in the washer (just happened last week when I did not need one more thing!). However, another wash and it came out (I sprayed the clothes too with stain remover just in case but probably not necessary). I have tried the wash tablets and those seem to help. The first set we did not get the bases and as a mom of two young ones I found that (if the kids weren’t “helping mommy”) the bending became a little much. (Remember though with kids, sciatic (sp?) nerve and back problems are easy to get.) On this set we built an awesome pine table for folding on the top. Worked awesome. Now we have the bases which are great help with the back–just about the perfect height for throwing stuff in and not bending. In your case I would definately go for the front load and build the shelf above for setting the basket, sorting, and then folding. For your space it is the only way. It looked like maybe behind you in the cut-out to the right you could do some shelves/cupboards going UP? And always leave the door to the washer open! Also, the washers can shake if an odd load or offset. Stacking would not seem to work.

  8. I don’t really have an opinion on the front-loading versus top-loading washer debate (like you, I like the idea of a front-loader because you can put a counter over it, but I also have had top-loaders for many years and have never had a problem with them). Dryers, however are a different story. The washer-dryer set that came with our house are the cheapest, most basic things ever, and while the washer is OK, the dryer sucks. It takes forever to dry my clothes, and the lint trap is one of the long, flexible ones that come out of the top of the dryer – which means lint particles fly everywhere every time I clean the lint trap. Grrr. When we decide to upgrade, I’m going to make sure our lint trap is in the dryer door and that the dryer comes with a steam/dry-clean type function.

  9. I never once owned a top-loading washer, always had front-loading ones, but used some top-loadings at friends/family/hostels. I prefer the front-loading washer an dryer. Mine are side by side with the doors opening to opposite sides so I can easily move stuff from washer to dryer. I love that I can have a countertop on them, use it for folding clothes right out of the dryer – prevents crinkling. As for the smell-problem: Mum thought me to never shut the empty washer completely and to run an empty wash on hot with only white vinegar or special cleaner for (dish-)washing machines which you can buy nearly everywhere you can buy detergent.
    As EMILY @ DAVENPORTDIY mentioned, having them on some sort of pedestal is really nice. Mine are on one (easy to build yourself, takes just some bricks) and it is absolutely worth it. My laundry basket now fits under the door/opening of both, washer and dryer, which is quite comfy.

  10. I’ve lived with front loading washers my entire life, and I’ve never experienced any problems with smell etc. Just keep the door open for a couple of hours to let it dry out. After that it’s fine to close the door.

    I would definitely go for a front loading pair to get a plain surface in such a small room.

  11. With your space I would def do front loaders with a shelf on top!
    Maybe we are lucky but I have NEVER had any issues with our front loaders – we have Samsung ones. I do leave the washer door open for 24 hours after each wash and have never seen mold – we have had this set for 4.5 years. If you forget an item all you do is push the ‘pause’ button, it unlocks and you add an item. It also has a quick cycle – 35 mins – I actually use this for ALL my wash and everything always come out clean! The only thing I do clean a few times a year is the detergent bin – it does seems to build up so I pop it out and clean it in the sink – super easy!

    Our dryer is amazing and has a wrinkle setting and a steam clean button – LOVE!!

  12. I’m a big fan of front load. though I don’t mind top load either. I think it really does depend on your space. I went with the front load because I needed something that stacked. But in a space like yours I’d still probably go the same route. the fact that you can put them side by side and have a nice big flat surface for folding I think is great (not that a top load doesn’t afford you that), but with the front you can leave baskets and what not on top and not have to move them to put things in an out. And most brands you can get matching stands to stick all your odds and ends in and also raise them up so you aren’t having to bend over as much.

    I’ve never had a smell issue with mine, but I do keep the door cracked on the washing machine after I use it, so I think that probably helps. Capacities vary by brand, and size requirements so it really just depends on your space. As far as functionality i don’t know much difference between them. You can obviously spend more and get all the bells and whistles, but my little front loaders don’t have all that and I don’t miss it.

    P.S. – I got my washer and dryer for under $800 because they were floor models and also last years models. They function great, and they weren’t marked up. They just didn’t have their boxes so I had to take them home without. No biggie!

    Good luck on your search!

  13. Front load!! I am on my second set (sold my first set with my last house) and love them. The only smell issue is if you close the door to the washer. I just leave mine open and have had no issues. I am on the shorter side, so it is easier for me to reach into the front of the machines instead on trying to stand on my tippy toes to reach into them. A lot of the bigger home improvement stores are honoring the Black Friday deals right now on appliances. Congrats on finishing school!!!!!

  14. I’ve always had top loaders. My next set is going to be an HE top loader without the agitator. I’ve got 3 boys and their stuff – phew! And it would be nice to be able to fit one of their comforters in the machine – getting tired of hauling the big stuff to my mom’s!

  15. We have a front-loading washer and dryer and I love them. I found that my clothes were getting a lot cleaner with my frontloader than the previous toploader we had been using. We haven’t had any issue with smelliness. I don’t know if toploaders have this, but our frontloader dryer came with a tray that you can place things on in the center of the dryer so you can dry things delicately (or quietly, like sneakers.)

  16. I used to have front-loading machines, but I left them behind when I moved. I now have a huge HE top-loading washer without an agitator and a fancy floor model dryer. Honestly, with the exception of the convenience moving laundry between the stacked machines, I don’t miss the front-loaders. It seems to me that you get a bigger capacity machine for your money with the top loading machines. The large size of my washer makes it a little hard for me to reach the laundry at the bottom of the washer because I’m short, but I can actually wash a queen size blanket now and I can do all my laundry in half the time it used to take.

    If you do end up with front-loading machines, just be careful that you put your clothes all the way in the washer. I know it sounds obvious, but the arm of my sweater got stuck between the gasket and door where I couldn’t see it and destroyed the seal (and my sweater…). I was able to repair it, but it was a pain to unstack the machines and take the washer apart.

  17. I have no experience with front loaders, but from those I know who do own them, I only hear horror stories. I actually just make sure the top of my washer and dryer are clean and fold clothes directly on top of them. You may not need a counter for that function, but I do agree it looks nice.

  18. I love our front load GE washer and dryer. We always leave the door slightly ajar and have never had an issue with smell. We also have the automatic dispensers, so that might help with smell issues too because you don’t have to worry about using too much soap. With the front load, you could do the “countertop” above the washer and dryer (which we have and is wonderful), and then do a shelf just below the window, two shelves on either side of the window (about half way up) and one shelf above the window. I think that it would provide a ton of storage! I put together a design for the room that you can see on my blog (because I have no idea how to upload pictures in a comment). I hope you like it! http://renovationrehab.blogspot.com/2013/11/laundry-room-makeover-for-ugly-duckling.html

  19. If you get a front loading washer I’d suggest you have a drain in your laundry room floor. Or install one of those valve cut offs if there’s a leak. My husband does water extraction work for a living and I can’t even tell you how many homes he’s been in tearing up floors because of a front loading washer leaking. I love our regular old top loader with agitator. I am suspicious of the ones without the agitator (does it REALLY swish your clothes around as much??? I doubt it)

  20. So I’m sure you’re going to get a ton of conflicting information on this topic because I think everyone has differing opinions on top vs. front washers and they always seem to feel very strongly one way or the other. As for me…

    My family has owned a used appliance store and repair center since the 80’s and everyone in my family has worked there at some point including me. They’ve fixed and used every type of appliance out there and here’s what they/I say. Besides soap there are two things that get your clothes clean in a washer…water and friction. In my opinion this is what makes a front load machine not as great as a top loader. They use too little water and don’t provide the same amount of friction as a top loading machine. A front load machine uses gravity instead of an agitator, basically throwing your clothes up and letting them fall back down on top of each other (imagine washing your hands in the sink and instead of rubbing them together you’re just patting or clapping your hands together). I’m no scientist but I just don’t see how this removes any dirt? Basically you’re soaking your clothes in soapy water and throwing them around a bit. A top load machine (at least a good one like a Kenmore or Whirlpool with a dual action agitator) uses the agitator to actually rub the clothes against it and each other causing friction which actually cleans clothes (like rubbing your hands together when you’re trying to get them clean).

    And finally, because this is what I always think about. When that warranty runs out and the machine breaks, then what? Cuz inevitably it will break the day after the warranty is over. As a single DIY lady, like yourself, I would rather be able to fix the machine myself then pay hundreds of dollars to a repair center to have them fix it for me. The top loaders are BY FAR cheaper and easier to fix than a front loader will ever be, especially, if you get a Whirlpool or Kenmore. They are made to be fixed easily and cheaply. And the thing that breaks the most often in the front loaders? The electronic mother board that costs about as much as a new machine to replace.

    Okayyyyyy…..I could go on forever about this subject so I’ll just leave it at that.

    Love your blog and I’m so excited for you to graduate! Gives me hope that I too will soon graduate and I can refocus back on my house! Keep the posts coming!

  21. When we bought our house, we bought HE top loader. 1. Because that’s always what I had. 2. Because I’d been warned about the smell and forget to clean things like the washer. 3. My husband is in the laundry detergent business and my BIL is in the appliance business. They both said front loaders were considered a ‘fad’ by their industries and suggested top loader.

    That being said, one thing to consider that no one else has mentioned is that the new top loaders can accommodate huge loads (deeeeep basins). I’m 5’5” and my MIL told me to make sure I could bend over and reach the back of the washer for that lone sock that’s stuck there. I haven’t had any issues, but she claims she has to stand on her tippy toes to reach the bottom. (She also might have some extra *padding* that limits her ability to bend right over the front of the washer). However, at 5 months pregnant and definitely sporting a half-way-there tummy, I still haven’t had any issues. But others who are shorter than I am might have difficulty.

    I say, the toughest part about cleaning clothes is getting them to the dryer ;)

  22. I grew up with a top-loader with center agitator (it was also the fabric softener dispersal mechanism). My bf had a cheap pair of front-loaders his mom bought him ($500 for the pair!…from Kohl’s of all places??), so that’s what I use now. Having never used front-loaders before, I was treating them just like top-loaders, closing the door, packing in clothes, etc. Oh God, the smell. I’ve tried cleaning it and I leave the door open now that I’ve learned more, but it still lingers. If you treat them right from the beginning, you probably won’t have any problems. But front-loaders also need a lot of empty space in the bin, so an equivalent capacity between fronts and tops is not actually equivalent. I still pack mine full, but your jeans will end up with weird permanent creases and you can ruin the motor/drum/bearings by filling it to capacity. Probably not an issue for one person’s amount of laundry, or for someone who does it frequently, but I get impatient at the amount of loads I have to do for 2 people when I only do laundry every 3 weeks =P It always makes me wonder how much water/electricity you’re really saving when you have to do more loads because each load is smaller… Anyway, my biggest annoyance BY FAR with fronts is loading/unloading. I’m tall, so I have to bend way over or sit on the floor, and clothes will still topple right out the front if you don’t get in there and shove them all the way to the back. I miss being able to grab an armful and just toss it in. Now I feel like I have to individually place each and every sock in the back, lest it jump back out onto the floor. It would be harder to reach into a top loader for someone shorter, though, so there’s that. But I always liked our dryer with the flip down door because you never had clothes end up on the floor during transfer. Also, you kinda have to shake out each piece of clothing before transferring to the dryer, so they don’t dry all crumpled, but I’m not sure if that’s a front loader thing or an HE thing. As for counter space, we always end up piling ours with stuff as we go in and out of the garage, and it’s always dusty with lint, and who wants to stand in front of the garage door in a tiny room to fold laundry anyway…so I’ve always folded clothes on the foot of my bed or the coffee table while watching TV =P

    1. That said, I would probably buy another set of front-loaders if I had the money to upgrade – but I would make sure they had more capacity and were better quality. And I would build a platform to raise them up, with a pull out shelf to keep things from ending up on the floor. I do still want a counter, even if it’s just aesthetic lol (you could still build a counter with a top loader, just have the washer part on hinges so you can lift both the counter and lid). And it gives us the capability of stacking down the line if we ever need to (like if we move or something). Front loaders are prettier, and they’re not TERRIBLE, so I think they are still worth it.

  23. I installed a stacking Frigidaire HE W/D in my bathroom closet, so front loader was my only option. Things I wish I knew before I bought them… make sure there is a trap door on the front of the washer for access to the pump. Granted, yours won’t be stacked, but mine is almost impossible to access the pump in the back if there is ever an issue with draining. Which leads me to point number 2, HE washers spin faster, thus causing some slight wear and tear on clothes. It is super important to use a mesh lingerie bag for all small items – socks, bra’s, underwear, bathing suits, etc. I promise there is nothing more embarassing than watching a repair man extract the removable padding from a bathing suit out of the pump wondering what it was. Apparently smaller items can be sucked behind the drum and into the pump. FYI, underwires clog the pump also :)

  24. We got the Kenmore front load washer and gas dryer 10 years ago when this was a new concept in laundry. They have died a dignified death after 10 years of constant use (teenagers, dogs, horse blankets, overloading, and whatever else you could do wrong). Never have I left the door open to air out nor did I smell an odor, never did I rinse with vinegar, and never once were these appliances babied. I am now purchasing another set as every one is amazed this set lasted so long without a problem.

  25. I never owned a front-loaders, I guess the price kinda kept me away. I bought a GE set last year of top-loader washer and a front loader dryer (standard old school kind), and I have found they work just fine. I’m single, so I don’t need much sorting space, and I find I take a basket of clean laundry to my closet to hang up anyway. I think you should ask yourself what your laundry process is, how you want to change the process (if at all), and then design your laundry room from there. Pintrest ideas are pretty and inspirational, sure, but you need to make the room work for you.

  26. Congratulations! You have cool parents, obviously.

    Top loader all the way. I really, really wanted a front loader, because of the water savings, but we ended up buying a Whirlpool Cabrio. It’s high-efficiency and uses very little water. Our water bill is easily $10 less a month, and we’ve seen some savings on electricity and gas as well (less water=less energy for the water heater and more efficient cleaning.) The other obvious plus of a top loader is no stooping, bending and contorting to get clothes that get stuck at the back of the drum (in fairness, this can be avoided with platforms or whatever they’re called. Some of the platforms have storage in them, I’ve heard.)

    We mounted a shelf above the washer with about three inches (??) of clearance for the lid. It’s a nice height.

  27. like other commenters said, just keep the door open of your front-loading washer and you’ll be fine. the vinegar and hot water load works wonders every quarter or so. so, i agree with the others that front loaders are the way to go (especially in a tiny space).

    the only advice i have to you on appliances (and this includes ALL major appliances, not just laundry ones) is to buy american. not only does it help our economy (obvi), but heaven forbid your appliance breaks down in some way, it is VERY difficult to find repairmen willing to do work on korean-made appliances (lg and samsung). apparently those companies are notoriously difficult to work with (to receive reimbursements, order parts, etc), so most repairmen just don’t even bother with them. it’s especially hard to find repairmen willing to do warranty work, but even when they’re out of warranty (like my fridge is…and decided to crap out on me a few weeks ago), i had to call 10 different local companies here in austin to find ONE that would work with me. so while lg and samsung get great reviews and can be affordable, i’d buy american all the way because of ease of repair.

  28. Here in Australia saving water is a big deal so for me it’s a front loader all the way. Do Americans pay for water? We do so it’s a hip pocket issue as well as an environmental concern. Most only have a cold water intake, while top loaders have a hot and cold water intake. So you save money on water heating bills too.
    I’ve never had a prob with smells cos I keep the door open. I do wish it was on a pedestal for easier access but that’s a first world problem so hey, I can get over it!

  29. As an architect, I spend a lot of time learning and working on long-term sustainability for homeowners. My first choice is always the most resource-efficient appliances that are in budget. For laundry equipment, be sure you’re comparing water and energy use between each brand. “High Efficiency” is pretty meaningless, as is an Energy Star label (there are many different levels of the Energy Star program). Instead, compare things like gallons per load, and watts per year. Then you know you’re comparing apples to apples.

  30. Couldn’t read all the comments above but I have a top loader and want that counter, so why not put half in as a lift up on hinges? Might work..? :-)

  31. Holy washer machine! I never knew there were so many well-grounded opinions about front load washer machines vs. a top load washer machines. But being a guy, and it looks like our opinion is significantly in the minority, I’d offer up “it doesn’t matter”. But then again I’ve been known to mix whites with colors and paid no attention what so ever to water temp. And I’ve also been banned in a past life from loading a washer machine after shrinking my ex-wife’s favorite sweater to a size that would fit a four year old. (I think that started the downhill slide.)

    The one thing I can tell you is if buying a front load, watch your door swings. You want to be able to stand between two open doors (like a barn) to load from the washer to the dryer. Otherwise you’ll be lifting heavy wet clothes across two doors flipping them into the dryer in a contorted yoga pose that will knock your back out. Given my experience, that’s the best that I can should offer.

  32. I have a front loader, we do have to keep the door open all the time unless it’s currently running a cycle otherwise it does get a smell to it. The only reason I wish that I had a top loader is because it is trickier to get cloth diapers clean in a HE front loader. I am not a super regular reader of yours so I don’t know how interested you are in having kids or being environmentally friendly. But if it is something you think you may do someday look into a top loader. Otherwise, get a front loader

  33. Sarah, first congrats on your MBA! Whatever are you going to do with all your free time now?
    OK, I currently have a front loader at my primary home (new when we built 8 years ago) and a top loader (13 years old) at our vacation home–I’m probably older than your parents! Bottom line, the front loader, a Whirlpool, is infinitely better in my humble opinion. Clothes come out cleaner, not as ‘mangled’, and dryer. Having to leave the door slightly ajar becomes second nature. Occasionally I throw one of those tablets in but it isn’t really necessary. (BTW, kudos to The Impatient Home Builder for mentioning door positioning!). Personally I find leaning in to the top loader to make sure it is empty is a pain.

  34. I have had both front and top loading machines. I am a tiny gal (4’11”) and had trouble scraping items off the bottom of the barrel of my top loading machine, so my hubs surprised me with new front loading machines. I love love love them. I have mine on pedestals, so I don’t even have to bend over to transfer items from the washer to the dryer. We also built a folding table and cabinets on the side to hold supplies. We have a big family, so with my 8 foot folding table, I can fold items and leave them and the kids come and get them to put them away. I can’t gush enough how much I love the front load vs top load. It made doing laundry so much less of a chore. I have never had a problem with mold, but it’s pretty cold here in Alberta, and not humid at all. About once every other month I throw a gallon of vinegar in the washer and run it, and it’s sparkly clean. I have the extra large barrel Samsung machines. Best appliance purchase ever. And for less than $1500, Sears delivered them, installed them and took the old machines away for charity. Great deal.

  35. I miss my old top loaders. We bought a front load pair off craigslist for $400 and they are really pretty. I actually end up doing laundry daily for just two people now, so I don’t know how much water or energy we are saving. They are much smaller than our old appliances. There is definitely mold in the washer and I have had a hard time getting rid of it, even with tons of scrubbing and washes. I think it’s a little ridiculous that I have to leave my washer open all the time and sometimes I worry the cats will get inside and somehow get stuck. The dryer in ours has the lint tray sticking up in the front and my underwear and tank tops got stuck on it and wound tight enough that they broke or got huge holes, so I had to throw away about $200 in clothing in the first month before I figured out what was happening – now anything with straps goes into a mesh bag.
    My neighbors got pedestals for theirs but it made them too tall to fit in their cabinetry.

    So what I’m saying is, they look cute and feel free to get them if they’re cheap, but eventually we’ll go back to what we used to love.

  36. I would highly recommend looking at Consumer Reports before choosing an appliance you are going to use for the next decade. I have, and have never been disappointed. One key point you did not rate was energy efficiency. Generally, the front load washers have an advantage here due to their low water usage vs. the top loaders. However you should consider this in tandem with stain removal/washing ability, noise/vibration, and price which, again, is why you should consult an independent source like CR. Aside from CR recommendations, I would recommend the cheapest front loading washer you can find. Dryer technology has not changed much in the last few decades, so keep the one you have if possible, or get the cheapest one available.

  37. I admit that I have never used a top loader, they are simply hard to get in Germany. My front loader was cheap (200€), works just fine and doesn’t smell at all.
    I always leave both the door and the detergent-compartments-drawer-thing (Sorry, I have no idea what it’s called in English!) open and have never discovered a single smell, I haven’t even cleaned the washing machine in two years!
    As mentioned before, you might want to have some kind of table or pedestal (maybe for drawers?) for the machines to stand on, because all that bending down causes back-ache (at least for me).

    Greetings from a fangirl from Germany! You rock!

    1. Thanks so much for the tips! I think you’re right, a pedestal is the way to go if you’re going front-loading. I’m short, so I’m sure it won’t have to be tall, but I LOVE that you’re reading from Germany1 Thanks for commenting.

  38. It’s definitely got to be a front loader! We’ve had our current one for 3,5 years. No mould, no smells and we’ve never cleaned it. We’re not really dirty or anything, it just hasn’t needed it. Except for the little tray that the washing powder goes in – but that can just be shoved in the dishwasher.

  39. Yay for graduation and awesome parents!

    I’d go for the front-loaders. As a short person, I much prefer to have the “counter space” to fold on. Also, front-loaders typically use less water and less detergent. (Not always, though.)

  40. Loved my front loader until it broke beyond repair after 5 yrs. These machines are a very expensive purchase, so I would think they would last longer than 5 yrs. So I went back to a top loader without an agitator and don’t want to jinx it, but have been happy so far(only 1 yr. in).

  41. We recently, within the past couple of years, bought a new washer and dryer and admittedly, I did zero research on the top- vs. front-loading washing machine, but I went with a top loading. I did hear about the “having to clean the front loading all the time” issue and that itself was enough to make me get a top-loading because really, who has the time/wants to clean a washing machine? Plus, I feel like the top-loading ones drain so much easier/better. Sure you don’t get to the do the “shelf above the appliances” thing but you’re crafty and clever, you’ll figure out another option for storage. =]

  42. I have a front load HE Kenmore set that I absolutely love – because they stack. This basically doubled the useable space in my townhouse laundry closet, which was a win-win for me. We got a great deal on ours at the Sears Outlet – there’s one in Tucker on Mtn. Industrial and one in Duluth at Sugarloaf Mills.
    At any rate, I leave the door slightly cracked on my washer (my bifold doors still close flush), and haven’t really had any serious smell issues (after I finally figured out to leave the door cracked – mine didn’t come with an owner’s manual since it was a “scratch and dent” situation). Now in addition to leaving the door cracked, I just wipe down the rubber seal inside the door occasionally…very occasionally and leave it at that. A tip on the Sears Outlet – they keep their stock pretty updated online so you can see if they have the model you’re looking for in stock at the store before you go.

  43. SO JEALOUS that you even HAVE a laundry room!! My stuff is in the basement which tends to be dirty, it’s unfinished. Anyway, same as many people have said… Front load washers can seriously decrease the amount of water it takes to get clothes clean! I don’t have one in my current house but next one I buy will be front load :)

  44. Very late to the party here, but as an owner of a low-ish cost front loader I WILL NEVER BUY ONE AGAIN! We have a Maytag and bought it after extensive research. We also have the limiting factor that our old house can’t accommodate a full size washer and dryer in the basement. So that means we had to get their small version without any real features. It doesn’t do a good job washing, started stinking almost right away (have to leave the door open, use vinegar with loads, etc), vibrates like it’s trying to leave the house, doesn’t do a great job washing our clothes, and the washer/dryer cycles are seriously out of sync. Oh, and the dryer (electric) takes at least 2 cycles to dry a single load. Oh, and the old 1970s washer we had was better and more reliable. I had to take this waster apart when a dime got lodged in the pump and left us with a front loader that wouldn’t drain, full of water, with a locked door. I ended up taking it apart and had to open the door and just let the water drain all over the basement floor. Good thing it’s not finished. I am responsible for all of our laundry, and I look forward to the day that we eventually get a new washer and dryer. I’ll probably look at the Euro high efficiency top loaders.

  45. I have front load washer and when it dies it will be replaced with a top loader! Go for the top loader!

  46. Just make sure you have sufficient room to open the door on both in the space you have. My front load has to be farther from the wall than the old style top load washer it replaced. Just check before you buy.

  47. Hi!
    I’m from Spain and I can tell you there are almost no top loaders here, and when you see one it just seems like such a waste of counter space that it would only make sense for somebody with a movility issue, who has problems bending over.
    In the States you don’t have such space constraints as we have here (our washing machines are ussually in the kitchen, sometimes in the bathroom), so that’s probably why you keep using top loaders. But if whole countries of people use front loaders, I wouldn’t think the smell issue is really such.

    btw, I really like your blog, I think you are so brave with all the things you tackle.

    Greetings from Spain!

    1. Happy to have someone visiting from Spain! Always wanted to go there (it’s on my travel list… whenever I find the funds for the plane ride). Glad you found the blog and thanks for weighing in. I am definitely needing the counter space and will share the design concept in the coming week!

  48. I’m a convert from top load to front load washers. I own a Samsung front loader that I have had for almost two years now, and I love it. It uses much less water, and considering how much I pay for that utility in my area it’s a big plus. I consider the front load washers to be much gentler to your clothes, and still gets them clean. They spin clothes drier, so I also spend less energy on drying time. I have had no problem with odor. The installer gave me a big talk on the main reason that people get odor issues is that they use waaaayyyyyy too much soap and fabric softener in front loaders. Even when they’re told, they tend to think more in terms of the amounts that they used in a tub/top-load washer, and add more than they need to. It gunks up the machine, and then the smells start. And really, if you follow the recommendations, it’s another plus, less soap and fabric softener means less money spent.

    1. I also have to add that though I’ve had no problems at all to warrant a service call, there is more than one appliance repair business certified to repair Samsung washers here, and I don’t live in a huge metropolitan area. You should certainly call around first, but I’m finding the statement that appliance repair places aren’t certified to repair foreign-made brands like Samsung and Bosch just doesn’t hold water. These brands have a large enough market share that repair and parts are more readily available than they were even five years ago.

  49. Frontloader!! ;)

    Toploaders always remind me of my student days. I don´t know why, but we´ve always had toploaders in my shared flats and after graduation I got my first frontloader.

    -> toploader = student
    -> frontloader = worker

    So if you still feel like a student after your graduation, you should get a toploader. If not, go for a frontloader.

    Easy, isn´t it? ;)


  50. I’m on team front loader. I can fit way more in, it’s more gentle on my clothes, and despite one commenter suggesting that a front loader cannot clean clothes as well, I’ve had no problems with it.

    And we dump everything together (other than delicate work clothes)–towels, jeans, shirts, etc., and it all comes out clean, and makes the laundry process simpler.

    We leave the door open, and every once in a while the gasket needs to be wiped down. I’ve also run the “clean washer” cycle three times in the two years we’ve owned it.

    Most European countries have only had front loaders for decades, so the technology should be well thought out by now. :)

    Good luck making your decision!

  51. I too have a top loader without the agitator (which I love). Previously I had a front loader, which lasted only 3 yrs (boo). My 2cents: front loaders are awesome, but the uneven on the rotor (working with gravity on the down spin, against on the up spin) means that construction has to be sturdy. At a $500 price point, it is hit/miss whether your machine would be up to snuff. Top loaders are “old” technology, which means the non-electronic components are cheaper to manufacture/fix. good luck and congrats on the MBA.

  52. OK for my 2 cents. I read the above reviews QUICKLY because I am now in an unwelcome situation. I have a set of Bosch front load washer/dryer which I love(d). They are about 10 years old. Back in October, I remodeled my laundry room thanks to my son’s wonderful help. I wanted a counter over the w/d. Finally finished it with beautiful granite – looks wonderful! Yesterday the washer died. Now when the counter was installed, the base cabinet with the sink had to be raised which makes the granite 38″ from the floor. Guess what? I can’t find a w/d less than 38″ in height. So…….before you decide on anything like this, be sure to TRY and see into the future. I wish I did. Now for a few of the above comments. My w/d went through 4 boys that played sports. The washer cleaned far better than my old top load. Someone above mentioned less water and friction does not clean as well – I disagree based on experience. As for smell; I leave my door slightly open and clean the gasket occasionally. Another comment was about fixing your own washer. I don’t think there is one out there anymore you can fix yourself. They are all computerized in one way or another. So pick your poison! Good luck!!

  53. I am in the process as well of buying new and redoing my tiny laundry space. I have been without a dryer now for over two months and realize it is now way past time to make that purchase. The more I read “top verses front loader reviews” The more I am realizing, it is about what works best for you. So, here I go to place my order and perhaps I will revisit this blog to let you all know which I decided on and how well I like it. It was great to read all of your comments!