7 Differences Between Top-Load and Front-Load Washers that You Need to Know


It’s time to buy a new washing machine, but which do you choose: the traditional top-load washer, or the stylish front-load washer?  Both have their advantages and disadvantages and choosing between the two usually comes down to personal preference. The top-load washer, referred to as the traditional washer, is believed by some to be the more well-known and reliable choice, while front-load washers are known for their stylish design, convenient features and energy efficiency.  To help you decide which washer is right for you, we’ve outlined some of the biggest differences between the two below.

Here are the top 7 differences between top-load washers and front-load washers:

Size and Space

The first thing you should consider when choosing a washer, just like any other major appliance you purchase, is the size. You don’t want to purchase a washer that is too big for the space you plan to install it in.

Both styles, top-load and front-load, are both pretty similar in width, but can be quite different in height and depth.  Top-load washers tend to be taller than front-load washers, unless you plan to put your front-load washer on a pedestal. If you are concerned with space, keep in mind many front-loading washers can be stacked with a companion dryer, which is great option for tight quarters. A top-load washer can never be stacked for obvious reasons.

The Door

The front-load washer design, if elevated on a pedestal, can be easily loaded and unloaded. If you do not choose to put your washer on a pedestal you may find yourself doing a lot more kneeling and bending.

The top-load washer design is very easy to load, but may not be as easy to unload since you will have to reach down into the tub to pull out your wet laundry.


One of the major reasons front-load washers have become more popular in the last few years is because they are more energy efficient than the traditional top-loading machine, but new high efficiency top-loading washing machines are quickly closing that gap.

The Agitator

Traditional top-load washers include an agitator, but front-load and newer top-load models do not.

There are pros and cons to having an agitator:

On one hand, many consumers argue that washing machines with agitators clean clothes better and help to lift dirt out of tough stains. However, the agitation can be rough on clothes. Things like drawstrings can get tangled around the agitator, and it also lowers washtub capacity.

Last Minute Laundry Adding

Have you started up a load of wash only to realize after you forgot to add a sock or t-shirt? With a top-load washer it’s easy to just flip the lid and throw in the forgotten laundry.  Front-load washers, depending on the manufacturer, may not have the option to pause your wash and allow you to add laundry after the cycle has already begun.


With a top-load washer you can use any kind of detergent, but with many front-load washers, you may be bit limited on what detergent you can use.  Most manufacturers of front-loading washers will recommend using a high efficiency, low-sudsing detergent.

Money Saver

A front-load compared to a traditional top-load washer is the big winner in this regard. Although initially more expensive than a traditional top-load washer, the front-load washer uses less water and energy, saving you lots of money over time. These days, however, high efficiency washers are now available in both front-load and top-load designs.

If you are looking to purchase a new washer stop into your nearest P.C. Richard & Son Superstore and one of our expert sales representatives can help you find the washer that is right for you!



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Common Washing Machine Problems and Solutions


The next time your washing machine isn’t working try checking all the simple things first before you call the repair man. Troubleshooting can save you a lot of time and money. If you still can’t resolve the issue after you have done these simple checks, then it might be time to call professional help.

Whether you have a front load washer or a top load washer, here are some common problems that can occur with your machine and easy solutions to fix them.

My Washer is Vibrating

There are a few possible reasons your washing machine could be vibrating: unbalanced load of laundry, the washer is not level, or the washer feet may not be locked in and contacting the floor.


  • Rearrange the load of laundry and be sure that you are loading your washer correctly to avoid shifting.  Check your manufacturer’s instruction book; inside you will find a recommended maximum or optimum load weight. Use that as a guide. When you fill your washer, make sure the clothes still have room to move freely and aren’t packed too tightly.
  • Check the floor to see if it’s level. You may need to add a ¾-inch piece of plywood under your washer.
  • Be sure the washer feet are in firm contact with the floor. Washing machines have adjustable, front leveling legs with a lock nut. You should adjust each leg to the proper height and then tighten the lock nut up against the body of the machine to keep the leg from rotating. After adjusting each leg, lean against the machine and make sure that you feel no movement. Some machines have the same type of legs in the rear that should be adjusted, but most machines have “self-adjusting” rear legs. These legs are set by tilting the entire machine forward onto its front legs with the rear legs about 3 inches off the floor and then setting the machine back down. The legs should adjust automatically.

My Washer is Leaking

If your washer is leaking water, it doesn’t automatically mean you need a major repair.  Leaking water could happen due to simple issues such as:

  • The washer is not balanced or loaded properly.
  • Hoses are not attached/inserted properly.
  • Hose washers are worn.
  • Drains are clogged.


  • Check to see that your machine is balanced and make sure that the washer basket is not out of alignment causing water to spill out.
  • Check all your hoses and make sure they are tightened and properly connected. Check the hose washers for cracks or damage.
  • Check water lines and faucets to ensure they are not leaking.
  • Make sure the washing machine is draining properly. If it’s not, check the drain hose as it could be clogged with lint, hair, or that missing sock.

My Washer is Making Strange Noises

Weird sounds such as clicking, gurgling or humming can be caused by objects that are caught in the washer, clogged drains or internal sensors.


  • A clicking sound may mean that an object is caught in the washer drain. Be sure to check your drain and remove any objects that have been caught.  Make sure to always check and remove items from pockets before washing.
  • If your washer is making an unusually loud gurgling noise, this may indicate that the washer drain line is partially clogged. Check the line and remove the blockage before a real problem can occur.
  • If you hear a humming or buzzing noise, that may indicate that something has jammed the pump. Check your pump and remove any objects that do not belong. If damage has been done you may need a new pump.

My Washer Will Not Run or Fill With Water

Before you think the worst, there are several simple items you should check first.

  • Don’t overlook the plug. The first thing you should always check is if the machine is plugged in. It may sound silly but dozens of times this problem has been solved by simply checking the plug.
  • If the power cord is plugged in, check to be sure the outlet has power and that your circuit breaker wasn’t tripped.
  • Check the water supply. Make sure the hoses are attached and both water inlet valves are open. Look for kinks in the hoses and make sure nothing blocking the inlet valve screens.
  • Check the inside lid switch. For most washers the lid must be closed and the lid switch engaged to operate. Make sure there is no lint or dirt on the switch that is causing it to jam.

My Washer Won’t Drain or Spin Correctly

Drainage problems are most commonly caused by clogged hoses, improper loading of clothes, obstructions or too much detergent.


  • Sometimes items are overlooked even when you have checked pockets before loading your washer.  Small items like coins, pens, or even a sock, can get caught in the pump or between the basket and tub blocking draining. Check the pump and between the basket for any unwanted items and remove them.
  • Overloading or improper loading will cause the machine to be unbalanced and prevent the washer from spinning correctly. Check your load and adjust by redistributing the wet laundry or removing some laundry to allow the washer to finish spinning.
  • Make sure the drain hose has been properly installed. The end of the drain hose should not be higher than 96 inches above the floor.
  • Remove and inspect the drain hose for clogs. Before reattaching, be sure to remove any residue from the hose.
  • Check to make sure you are using the proper amount of detergent.  Using too much detergent causes an overabundance of suds, which will slow the draining process and cause the washer to malfunction.

My Washer Dispensers are Still Full of Detergent

The most common problems with an automatic dispenser malfunctioning is the use of the wrong formula or a lack of cleaning.

  • Check your washer manual to make sure you are using the right formula in designated dispensers. If your washer manual instructs you to use liquid bleach, don’t use powder bleach.
  • Make sure to clean your dispensers every month. Heat a cup of distilled white vinegar and pour it into the dispenser, then run the washer on a regular cycle. The vinegar will clean away any clogs or built-up residue.

My Washer Smells Funny

Washer odors are common, but with simple preventive maintenance, you can keep your washer and laundry smelling clean.


  • Once again, make sure you’re using the proper amount of detergent. Excessive suds leave dirty residue on washer parts and trap odors.
  • Cleaning your washing machine monthly helps prevent smelly residue.
  • Check around your washer for mold or mildew growth. There may be an issue with moisture, which must be corrected immediately. Mold and mildew is not only unpleasant smelling, but it’s also dangerous to your health.


If you’re still experiencing problems with your washing machine after following these troubleshooting tips, it may be time to call a professional. At P.C. Richard & Son, we service what we sell, and if you purchased your washer from us we would be happy to take a look at it. Learn about our repair services here! http://www.pcrichard.com/content/service


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