Considering a new top-load washing machine? Here’s everything you need to know about choosing a new laundry machine, along with our pick of the best top-load washing machines around.
So, what do you need to consider? As with any new appliance, it’s always worth thinking about what you need the top-load washer to do for you, aside from the obvious washing. Does it need to be used for large family loads, speedy stuff for just one person, or is it something like how much the washing machine is going to cost which is more important to you?
Top-load washing machines definitely have their benefits. They can often be cheaper than front-load washing machines, cycles can be quicker and the added benefit of not having to bend down too much to fill a top-load washing machine is great for some.
Quicker washers can also mean that top-load washing machines can save on energy. But, picking a top-load washing machine doesn’t mean you have to skimp on important features - many of the more expensive models now offer smart features and Wi-Fi connectivity.
Another important factor to consider is where you’re going to store your washing machine, unlike front-load washing machines, top-load machines can’t be stacked on top of each other and therefore, can take up a bit more room.
Just about any new top-load washer will be more efficient than the preceding generation of machines, but it is worth researching specifics to get more efficient models. Get the smallest unit that will accommodate your laundry needs, because the smaller units naturally cost less to run. Check for the EnergyGuide label, which is easy to find online or in the store. That will tell you how much you can expect to pay annually in energy costs for each machine.
So, with all that mind, check out our guide to the best top-load washing machines to find the right appliance fit for your laundry needs.
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1. GE GTW720BSNWS: Best overall top-load washing machine
An easy-to-use top loading washer with powerful washing performance.
Washer Capacity: 4.8 cubic feet | Max Spin Speed: 800 rpm | ENERGY STAR Certified: Yes | Width: 27 inches | Depth: 27 inches
The GE GTW720BSNWS washer is our top pick as it’s a great all rounder that delivers superb cleaning without a premium price tag attached. It’s proven to be really effective at removing stains and even comes with a stain guide that allows you to choose the best settings for you.
For those that like a little custom control, the Deep Fill option allows you to choose to add more water to your wash and there’s also a range of rinse options so you can make sure fabric softener and any other additives are properly washed away.
Laundry does tend to come out a bit wetter than expected, which leads to longer drying times, but for most that won’t be a huge problem. Overall, it’s an excellent top-loading washing machine that has enough in the way of extra features to boost performance and usability, without so many that it pushes the price sky high.
- Read our GE GTW720BSNWS washer review
2. Samsung WA50R5400AW: Best high-efficiency top-load washing machine
With speed wash capabilities and enough capacity to work through laundry.
Washer Capacity: 5.0 cubic feet | Max Spin Speed: 750 rpm | ENERGY STAR Certified: Yes | Width: 27.6 in | Depth: 29.4 in
The Samsung WA50R5400AW washing machine is a top-load machine designed to help you get through laundry day as quickly as possible. It has a Super Speed cycle that powers through a wash in just 36 minutes, while the Swirl+ Tub interior extracts more water from the load so drying time is also decreased. On top of that, it can also help deal with stains quicker with its Active WaterJet, a kind of faucet that allows you to pre-treat stains at the machine itself, instead of journeying to and from the sink.
While the regular settings can be on the slow side compared to other top loading washing machines, the Super Speed cycle is so effective that it can still deliver a thorough clean at speed.
3. LG WT7300CW: Best smart top-load washing machine
A washer with a range of innovative features and smartphone control.
Washer Capacity: 5.0 cubic feet | Max Spin Speed: 950 rpm | ENERGY STAR Certified: Yes | Width: 27 inches | Depth: 28 3/8 inches
The LG Smart Top-load Washer WT7300CW is definitely towards the more expensive end of the top-loading washing machine market, but when you consider the range of innovative features it utilizes, it’s not that surprising. Some of these features work to reduce excessive vibration, using the clothing itself to create friction without beating and provide powerful cleaning even on a cold wash.
It’s also WiFi-enabled and, with the LG app, you’ll be able to control your machine from your phone and receive alerts as to the status of your wash cycle. You’ll even be able to hook it up to Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa to control the machine with voice commands from around your home.
4. Amana NTW4516FW: Best budget top-load washing machine
A budget washer that still offers a great clean.
Washer Capacity: 3.5 cubic feet | Max Spin Speed: 700 rpm | ENERGY STAR Certified: No | Width: 27 ½ inches | Depth: 27 inches
The Amana NTW4516FW is a machine that’s on the compact side and offers a fairly limited set of wash options, but it still delivers a good wash and does so on a budget. It does offer a deep-water wash for when you need extra water in the washtub. The clean-washer cycle is good for keeping your machine free of soap scum and bacteria.
While it’s not Energy Star certified, it’s still pretty energy friendly and only averages about $19 a year to operate.
It is a machine that will struggle with large or overly bulky loads, but it’s still a great option for standard clothes washing that won’t break the bank.
5. GE GTW335ASNWW: Best value top-load washing machine
A range of good wash features at a great price.
Washer Capacity: 4.2 cubic feet | Max Spin Speed: 700 rpm | ENERGY STAR Certified: No | Width: 27 inches | Depth: 27 inches
The GE GTW335ASNWW washer is our best value pick thanks to features like PreciseFill, which automatically selects the best water level for the best performance, and a deep clean cycle that offers a really powerful clean, all in a machine that can be found for less than $500.
This model offers more useful features than budget models, although isn’t as full of innovations as more expensive models like the LG WT7300CW, but if you aren’t bothered about WiFi or smart features, then the GE GTW335ASNWW is a great option that will provide excellent cleaning at a decent price.
- Read our GE GTW335ASNWW washer review
6. Maytag Bravos XL MVWB835DW: Best large capacity top-load washing machine
A large capacity washer with powerful stain removing options.
Washer Capacity: 5.3 cubic feet | Max Spin Speed: 850 rpm | ENERGY STAR Certified: Yes | Width: 27 1/2 inches | Depth: 28 inches
The Maytag Bravos XL MVWB835DW washer is one of the largest capacity washers on the market, offering 5.3 cubic feet of space, making it a great option for large families or anyone with a lot of laundry to get through. It also features a PowerWash cycle that delivers impressive stain removal, and a RapidWash cycle that can power through a wash in under 30 minutes.
It’s usually priced as mid-range in the market, but it is a good-looking model with well thought out finishing touches like a tinted glass lid with soft-close hinges. Plus, for those who spend a lot of time on multiple loads, this washer’s ability to tackle two to three baskets of laundry in one go is probably worth the extra cost over a smaller budget model.
What size washer do I need for a comforter?
If you are ready to replace your old washing machine, you may be looking for something large enough to handle bulkier loads. If you buy the right size washer, you can avoid having to take your king-size comforter to the laundromat. However, there is some debate on what the right size is.
Theoretically, any machine over 3.8 cubic feet should be able to handle a king-size comforter, but a few cleaning experts say you should look for a washer with at least 4.5 cubic feet. We think even that is a little low, depending on your comforter. While really bulky comforters may fit in a 4.5-cubic-foot machine, they don't have enough room to move and get clean.
How full should a top-load washer be?
Fill the tub no more than about 2/3 of the way up for the best results. It may be tempting to make use of the entire wash tub, but that can strain the motor. Also, if you overfill your machine, your clothes may come out still soiled, because part of what cleans your clothes in a top-load machine is the items colliding with one another and the agitator. If the load is too full, everything will just sit there in one, dense lump.
The manuals for many of the washers we compared aren't very specific in their filling instructions. They mostly just advise against overfilling. For traditional top-load washers, that means you shouldn’t fill it past the agitator, and you don't want to pack the items too tightly either. However, the 2/3 of the way full we recommend is below the top of the agitator. Most modern top-load machines don't have agitators. Instead, they have impellers or wash plates that are much closer to the base of the wash tub, and they work best when filled no more than 2/3 of the way full.
How can you maintain a top-load washer?
You may think you are off the hook for maintenance if you buy a top-loading machine instead of a front-loader. After all, front-loaders have the bad reputation of mold and mildew problems. Top-loading machines still need some time and effort if they are to run properly, though. Whether you buy the older style with a central agitator or the newer style with an impeller along the bottom, consider doing these things, at least every three months, to keep your top-load washer in good shape:
- Run a Sanitize Cycle – If your machine has one, use it. If not, you can get the same effect by setting the water temperature to its hottest and adding about a quart of vinegar and 4 ounces of baking soda. You can also use 2 cups of lemon juice instead. Once the baking soda has dissolved, stop the cycle and let it sit for a half hour, at least. Then restart it and let it finish. Running this cycle with bleach can also be helpful.
- Wipe Down Everything – Skin cells, dust mites and dirt can spread onto various surfaces as you toss your clothing into the machine, so it’s important to regularly clean all the surfaces on and in your washer. Pay special attention to the automatic dispensers, which can build up a lot of sticky grime.