Originally posted by durin oakenskinAccording wo the all-knowing Wikipedia , the main difference is:
- front-loading machines use less energy, clean better with less water.
- top-loading machines are faster, and are easier to fill
Seems like the typical stereotypes: efficiency vs comfort.
Front loaders are alway easier on the clothes. A top loader users an agitator to beat the shit out of the clothes, leading to fraying and wearing. A front loader simply cycles the cloths through a puddle of water and allowed that motion to clean the cloths. Much more gentle.
As you say, top loaders are easier to fill and empty. Manufacturers want to get people onto the front loaders because they could sell them at a premium. The government encourages their use with EnergyStar rebates etc since they use less electricty and less water. But, in North America, with the aging population, many are opting for the less efficient top loaders, but would like the benefits of a front loaders. I think Maytag is coming out with a nice model that brings the benefits of both. It is top loading, but instead of a vertical agitator, the 'walls' of the chamber are 3 large discs that rotate and spin the clothes through a puddle of water, much like a front loader does. The tub is slightly angled to allow the clothes to fall into the puddle. Imagine the premium they are charging for these puppies.
Why did top loaders never take off in Europe? I think mainly space concerns originally. Top loaders generally need to have as much capacity as possible and not be crammed full to make it worthwhile using them. Who has room for giant appliances? Front loaders, so long as they are full, their capacity is irrelavant..they are still efficient.