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There's something wonderfully familiar about a top load washer. The design is straightforward, drum is easy to maintain, and you can treat any stain right on top of it. When making a large appliance investment, these conveniences are key. "What things with your old appliances did you say, 'I wish this was here. It would’ve made my life easier?' Ultimately, you want to make sure your life is easier." says Tiffany Aliche, financial educator and author of Get Good with Money. We researched the best and most convenient top load washers, evaluating each on performance, drum capacity, cycle options, and special features such as built-in faucets or specialized settings for activewear.
Our favorite is the Whirlpool WTW8127LW 5.3 cu. ft. 2-in-1 Top Load Washing Machine because it has both an agitator and impeller plate, an extra-large capacity, and a host of convenient features.
Find the best top load washers for every type of budget, household, and laundry room below.
Best Overall: Whirlpool WTW8127LW 5.2-5.3-cu ft Smart Top Load Washer with 2-in-1 Removable Agitator
Large selection of cycles
Can pre-soak clothes with stains
Hard to reach bottom of the drum
Limited retailer availability
What do buyers say? 500+ Lowe's reviewers rated this product 5 stars.
The Whirlpool WTW8127LW 5.3-cubic-foot Smart Top Load Washer is capable of pleasing fans of both agitator- and impeller-style washing machines. Open the lid to this washer and you’ll find a snap-in center agitator that can easily be removed to meet various laundry needs, like making room for a bulky load of blankets or opting to gently wash delicate items using the impeller plate. No other top load washer on the market offers this 2-in-1 design, giving this model tremendous value. With the agitator in place, the washer provides 5.2 cubic feet of room inside the stainless steel wash basket. Once removed, the wash basket has 5.3 cubic feet of space.
Regardless of which washing mechanism you choose, the Whirlpool WTW8127LW is equipped to meet the care requirements of any laundry load. It has 11 pre-set cycle options along with selections for things like water temperature, spin speed, or a deep water fill. In total, there are 36 unique cycle combinations to properly care for your clothes. With built-in Wi-Fi, you can also use the Whirlpool app to schedule your next load of laundry to begin at a specified time or receive updates on the cycle status.
Another feature that is unique to top load washers is the built-in faucet to pre-treat stains. You’ll find this handy for giving stains some extra attention before the wash cycle or for quickly cleaning items that require hand-washing only.
This one-of-a-kind top load washer is known to sell out quickly, and we wish there were more widespread retailer availability right now. That said, if you find this one in stock, order it immediately.
Best Budget: Amana NTW4516FW 3.5 cu. ft. White Top Load Washing Machine
Deep fill setting
Load sensing technology
No stainless steel tub
No fabric softener dispenser
The basic but efficient Amana NTW4516FW is a great pick for a budget-friendly top load washer. It offers simple features but delivers a deep clean for small to large loads. This washer relies on a dual-action agitator and auto-sensing fill technology, but it’s worth noting that you can opt for a deep fill setting to ensure that large or bulky loads are completely saturated. There are eight wash cycles, plus five settings for water temperature. All options are selected using control knobs on the back panel of the washer.
Saving big on a top load washer means giving up a few extras, like a stainless steel wash basket or a dispenser for fabric softener. However, the porcelain-enamel finish on the 3.5-cubic-foot wash basket will offer years of reliable service as long it remains chip-free. Keep in mind that the maximum spin speed of this top load washer is 680 RPM, which is less than many other models. Avoid overloading it to ensure that it can efficiently extract water from your laundry load.
Best with Steam: LG Electronics WT7900HBA 5.5 cu. ft. HE Mega Capacity Smart Top Load Washer
Stainless steel drum
Powerful water jet
Not ideal for small households
Hard to reach items at bottom of drum
A washing machine equipped with a steam feature can provide extra stain-fighting power and can sanitize everything from grungy gym clothes to kitchen towels. While the majority of the steam-equipped machines are front load washers, the LG WT7900HBA Smart Top Load Washer is loaded with features and the latest in laundry care technology, including steam settings. It also happens to be one of the largest top load washers on the market, boasting a 5.5-cubic-foot wash basket with an impeller plate. The capacity of this washer is a bonus, but keep in mind that it can be a challenge to retrieve socks or other small items from the bottom of the washer after the cycle is over.
Depending on the cycle chosen, this top-loading washer releases steam into the stainless steel drum, removing odors, allergens, and more. Like other LG washer models, the WT7900HBA is certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, making it a good choice for households with allergy sufferers. It also features a sanitizing cycle to remove bacteria. Including these specialty cycles, this top-loading washer offers 13 preset cycles. But since this washer is equipped with Wi-Fi, you can also use the LG ThinQ app to download additional specialty cycles.
Best High-Capacity: Samsung WA55A7300AE 5.5 cu. ft. Extra-Large Capacity Smart Top Load Washer with Super Speed Wash
28-minute speed wash setting
Deep fill option
No steam function
If you’re looking for a workhorse to clean large loads of laundry, the Samsung WA55A7300AE is one of the largest high-capacity top load washers on the market. It has an impressive 5.5 cubic feet of room inside of the stainless steel wash basket, eliminating a center agitator pole for increased capacity. Instead, an impeller plate produces a variety of wash motions to ensure that clothes are thoroughly cleaned—while providing plenty of space for oversize items like blankets, comforters, and beach towels.
This high-capacity top load washer also offers high-speed clothes washing. A 28-minute speed wash setting gives you the option to accelerate your laundry routine, without skimping on cleaning ability. We tested an earlier version of this Samsung high-capacity washer and were impressed with its performance on a week’s worth of baby clothes and soiled workwear. Our product tester also appreciated the deep fill option and the built-in water faucet, which are both features on the new Samsung WA55A7300AE.
This model is available in an ivory finish, intended to be a modern update of the classic white appliance color. It has a soft-close glass lid, giving you a window into the wash cycle. However, our product tester notes that the slanted lid isn’t suitable for folding clothes or holding items like laundry detergent bottles.
Best Compact: Maytag MVWC565FW High-Efficiency Top Load Washer
Energy Star certified
Cold wash setting
Powerful spin cycle
Hard to reach bottom of the drum
No steam function
For a compact top-loading washer that won’t shortchange you on capacity, consider the Maytag MVWC565FW. With a width that's fewer than 28 inches and a depth of 27 inches, this washer is well-suited to small laundry spaces. Despite its trim dimensions, it offers 4.2 cubic feet of room inside the wash basket—making it one of the roomier compact top-loading washers we found.
Maytag equips this model with a center agitator to tackle dirt and stains along with a PowerWash cycle that provides extra cleaning action. There are 11 wash cycles in total along with the usual options for water temperature and rinse cycles. This small but mighty washer is also equipped with HE features, like auto-sensing load technology to fill the washer, but you can opt for a deep water wash if you prefer.
Best High-Efficiency: Whirlpool WTW4955HW 3.8 cu. ft. High-Efficiency White Top Load Washing Machine with Soaking Cycles
Speed wash cycle
Available with impeller plate
Not Energy Star certified
High-efficiency washers are designed to conserve water and energy usage without sacrificing cleaning ability. They typically are equipped with auto-load sensing technology, which uses the weight of your laundry to fill the wash basket with the right amount of water for the cycle. All of this is true of the Whirlpool WTW4955HW, a top-loading washer with 3.8 cubic feet of space for your clothes, bedding, and towels.
Open the hamper-style door on this top-loading washer and you’ll find a dual-action agitator. The rotating action of the agitator is designed to effectively clean clothes and adjusts its intensity of action based on the cycle you choose. It’s worth noting that this high-efficiency top-loading washer is also available with an impeller plate washing mechanism, for shoppers who want to gain slightly more room in the wash basket. While high-energy washers generally do take longer to complete a cycle than conventional washing machines, a 30-minute speed wash cycle adds to the convenience of using the Whirlpool WTW4955HW.
Best with Agitator: GE GTW335ASNWW Top Load Washer with Agitator
Auto-sensing fill technology
Stainless steel drum
Not Energy Star certified
No smart features
If your first step in evaluating a top load washer is to look under the lid, you’re not alone. Many shoppers base their buying decision in part on a washer’s mechanism—either an agitator or impeller. If you’re looking for a top loader with an agitator, the GE GTW335ASNWW is an excellent option.
This frills-free washer has the familiar center agitator that was the mainstay of washing machine technology for decades. The plastic fins are designed to provide washing motion for loads ranging from delicate to bulky. With a capacity of 4.2 cubic feet, there’s room for sheets, blankets, towels, and more—but you’ll want to make sure you properly balance the load. The stainless steel wash basket offers a smooth, snag-free finish and peace of mind against rust or chipping.
There are 11 wash cycles on this machine along with a PreciseFill water setting to fill the washer based on load size. However, you can also choose a manual fill level along with options like a deep rinse. While this washer forgoes any smart features, it does feature a status indicator light bar along the back panel of the machine—letting you know where the machine is at in the cycle.
Best with Impeller: Maytag MVW6200KW 4.8 cu. ft. White Top Load Washing Machine with Deep Fill
Reverse-action impeller plate
Deep fill option
No smart features
Not Energy Star certified
For decades, an agitator pole was the key mechanism found in washing machines. However, many new washing machines make use of an impeller plate instead. This rotating plate found at the bottom of the wash basket is usually equipped with small ridges or fins and is designed to deliver a gentle but effective wash motion for clothes. Top-loading washers with an impeller plate also generally have more capacity than agitator-equipped models.
The Maytag MVW6200KW is our pick for a top load washer with an impeller. The impeller utilizes a reverse wash motion and three sources of water spray to thoroughly saturate and clean clothes. Without a center agitator taking up space, this model has 4.8 cubic feet of capacity—enough for 19 towels. Cycle options include standard selections along with quick-wash and wrinkle-reducing cycles. However, this model doesn't offer any smart features and isn't Energy Star certified.
The Whirlpool WTW8127LW 5.3 cu. ft. 2-in-1 Top Load Washing Machine is our top recommendation since it offers both agitator and impeller plate washing mechanisms. It has 5.3 cubic feet of room and smart features to make life easier on laundry day. A more basic but budget-friendly option is the Amana NTW4516FW 3.5 cu. ft. Agitator Top Load Washer. With 3.5 cubic feet of capacity, it's sufficient for average-sized loads. This model lacks smart features but has load-sensing capability and an auto-cleaning cycle.
What to Look for in a Top Load Washer
Drum size is typically measured in cubic feet. A smaller, portable model may have around 3.0 cubic feet of space, which can comfortably fit one person's three-day laundry pile. This capacity is most suitable for an apartment or RV setting. A high-capacity model may have up to 6.0 cubic feet or more. To decide which size fits your needs, consider this: A queen-size comforter can fit into a 3.5-cubic-foot washer, and a king-size comforter can fit into a 3.8-cubic-foot washer. An average washer has around 5.0 cubic feet of space, and top-loading models are typically more spacious than front-loading options.
Agitator vs. impeller plate
Top load washers can either have a central agitator or impeller plate. Both work to move your clothes in the drum of the washer as well as mix them with soap and water. A central agitator is a column in the washer's drum, which may have attached fans for shifting clothes. This type of agitator is more traditional; however, it is known to be rougher on clothes. In comparison, an impeller plate is built into the bottom of the drum and is better for delicate cycles and sensitive fabrics. It's typically found in more modern and high-end models.
Cycle options in top load washers include traditional settings for whites, delicates, and a normal load of clothes. However, they can also include specialty settings for activewear, bedding, towels, and items that need to be washed in 20 minutes flat. The activewear setting, in particular, ensures that items like leggings and sports bras—which can include delicate fabrics made of spandex or mesh—are treated very lightly. It can mimic the process of hand-washing while more thoroughly removing sweat and grime. Other notable options are allergen and cold wash settings.
If you’re frequently pretreating stained clothing, a faucet that’s built into the drum of your washer will make your laundry routine more efficient and clean. This feature, seen in top-loading models, eliminates the need to apply stain remover in your bathroom’s sink or carry a wet item across your laundry room. It’s also handy for those living in a small space where a washer may be installed in a closet or mudroom.
A bulk dispenser holds enough detergent and/or fabric softener for 20 to 40 loads. After a cycle is selected and started, it automatically dispenses the correct amount of liquid based on the size of your load. This feature is particularly handy in households that need to run many loads each week due to infants, multiple children, or athletes.
Are top load washers better than front load washers?
Top load washers are better than front load washers when it comes to upfront cost, maintenance, and lifespan. The familiar design of a top load washer is typically more budget-friendly and doesn't collect mildew and odors as quickly as a front-loading machine. You can usually do basic repairs, like balancing the drum, on your own by watching an instructional video or following the troubleshooting tips in your manual. On the downside, top load washers can create a good amount of wear and tear on your clothes. For more, check out our comparison guide on top load versus front load washers.
Do top load washers use more water and energy?
Top load washers can use significantly more water and energy compared to other types of machines. On average, they use 40 gallons of water per load. If you're hoping to save money, you'll want to shop for a high-efficiency model that uses about 12 to 17 gallons of water per load. This is competitive with front load washers, which use an average of 13 gallons per load.
How do you clean a top load washer?
To clean a top load washer, first, empty the drum completely. Next, choose the hottest and longest cycle on your machine and start it. Before your machine begins to agitate, pause the cycle and add four cups of liquid chlorine bleach to the drum. Finish the cycle, and then turn your focus to your dispensers. If there is residue build-up, you can tackle it using distilled white vinegar and an old toothbrush. For the full step-by-step process, check out our guide on how to clean a top load washing machine.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Having tested and researched dozens of laundry machines, we looked at reliability, functionality, and actual usefulness when recommending the best top load washers on the market. We considered the capacity, cycle options, and type of agitator for each model, in addition to dispensers, drum material, and lifespan. For insight, we spoke with Marilee Nelson, a certified building biologist, environmental consultant, and co-founder of Branch Basics; Brittney Castro, a certified financial planner for Mint; and Tiffany Aliche, The Budgetnista and the author of Get Good with Money.
Erica Puisis is a product researcher and writer with years of experience testing and writing about small and large appliances. She has hands-on experience with top-loading and front-loading washers. For this article, she researched the latest models available and rated them according to information available from the manufacturers, retailers, and verified customer reviews. All products were compared based on factors like capacity, washing mechanism, cycle options, and available features.