Should I buy a front-loading washer?
You may not have a choice for much longer.
Top-loading washing machines are becoming as much of a dinosaur as manual-defrost freezers.
Front-loading washing machines are generally more efficient than top-loaders. In fact, after new government efficiency standards kicked in at the beginning of 2007, Consumer Reports determined it could not give a “best buy” rating to any top-loading machine.
The federal standards require manufacturers to build washers that use less energy. Top-loaders don’t perform as well when they have to use less energy as when they could use more.
Front loaders, which hit the market in the 1990's, are more expensive (around $700 to $1,500) but they perform better under the stricter energy standards.
If you buy one:
- Choose one with the Energy Star label, which proves the machine is more energy efficient than the federal government says it has to be.
- Insist on a washer with a high spin speed (1,000 to 1,200 rpm); speedier spins remove more moisture from clothes so they have to spend less time in the dryer. That not only saves energy but also helps you match the dryer time to the washer time more closely.
- At the same time, your model should have the option to slow the spin speed down for delicate items.
- Consider machines that have options you might like such as, settings for different fabrics and sensors that “decide” on the best water level and temperature for the type of clothing you’re washing.