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Top load washers are still a popular option for modern laundry rooms, thanks to their easy maintenance and increasingly large capacities. While front load washing machines have gotten a lot of attention in recent years, many people are shopping for a top load washer that reduces worries over mold and provides a thorough clean while still conserving water and energy.
Inside a top load washer, you’ll find either an impeller plate or a center agitator. Most models have a drum capacity of 3 to 4 cubic feet, but high-capacity models stretch this to 5 or 6 cubic feet. Other features to consider include Wi-Fi connectivity, specialty cycles, and the addition of steam or a built-in faucet to treat stains. We've done the research to find the best front load washers for a variety of budgets and household needs, so you can pick the right one for your home.
Most people shopping for the best top load washer are looking for an effective, easy-to-operate machine that can handle large and small loads with ease. The Whirlpool WTW5000DW is a straight-forward top load washer with plenty of cycle options and a stainless steel wash tub that is rust-proof and snag-free for years of worry-free use.
Like many top load washers on the market today, this model from Whirlpool uses an impeller plate in lieu of an agitator (that means there's no column in the middle of the wash basket to get wrapped up in your clothes or take up space). It features load sensors to determine the right amount of water for each load, reducing water waste and maximizing savings. The 11 cycles cover all the bases, including cycles for fluffy or large items like blankets. You can also opt to use the ‘Deep Fill’ setting to override the water sensors if you want to ensure total saturation for a load.
Reviewers generally find this washing machine to be quiet, though some people note that it does make different noises than a conventional agitator washing machine. This model doesn't have auto-dispensers for bleach and fabric softener; however, you can easily pause the cycle to add them yourself.
Make the most of laundry day with a high-efficiency washer, like the Samsung WA50R5400AV. This top load washer includes a Super Speed setting to get your laundry done in a hurry, along with other time-saving features that will make laundry day feel less like a chore.
The machine has a capacity of 5.0 cubic feet, which enables it to handle even large loads or bulky items with ease. Make each laundry session count by loading up your machine and plowing through your laundry pile. Or, put up to 8 pounds of laundry in for a Super Speed cycle and let the machine clean your clothes in 36 minutes flat. Additionally, this efficient washing machine includes an Active WaterJet—Samsung’s name for a built-in faucet to pre-treat stains on the spot. This eliminates shuffling back and forth to a laundry sink with a drippy shirt or pants.
While some people complain that the Samsung WA50R5400AV takes longer than traditional agitator top load washers, the Super Speed cycle gives you the option of a quick wash if you really need it. And, more importantly, most users agree that it cleans efficiently, which eliminates the need to repeat cycles for laundry that isn’t satisfactorily clean.
With an expected annual operating cost of only about $13, it’s hard to beat the energy efficiency of the LG WT7300. This roomy model offers 5.0 cubic feet of space but looks to maximize your utilities through top-notch cleaning cycles and conservative water usage. According to the manufacturer, this model uses about half of the water of a conventional machine—and up to 30 percent less energy. It’s both Energy Star certified and CEE-qualified.
Even better, this energy efficiency doesn’t mean sacrificing the quality of clean. According to users, this machine performs well on loads of all sizes. Features, like LG’s TurboWash, help to provide extra agitation that cleans clothes more thoroughly than some other energy efficient washing machines on the market. This model also includes ColdWash technology, which incorporates a variety of washing movements to deliver a deep clean without incurring additional energy costs from the use of hot water. Finally, reviewers are impressed with the spin cycle of this machine and report that many loads come out with considerably less moisture, which shortens drying time and saves money.
The Amana NTW4516FW is a budget washing machine that won’t shortchange you in terms of features or performance. This basic model is much-loved by users for its reliable operation, effective cleaning, and affordable price tag.
Inside the 3.5 cubic foot drum, you’ll see a center agitator and a smooth porcelain tub. While stainless steel has become the new standard in washer tub material for its rust-proof nature, porcelain enamel offers many years of use as long as it remains chip-free. The control knobs are simple and guide you to choose from one of 8 wash cycles and 5 water temperatures.
This budget washer includes automatic load sensing technology to use the right amount of water for each load, but you can also opt to use the ‘Deep Fill’ option to fill the tub. The included auto-cleaning cycle is an option not always seen on budget washers but adds value to this model.
Reviewers are very happy with this affordable washing machine’s performance. However, a few people found that the 700 RPM spin speed isn’t always up to the task of thoroughly wringing out heavy, wet items, like blankets. Generally speaking, though, this machine gives you all the basics and then some—making the Amana NTW4516FW a smart buy for a budget top load washer.
Go for a high-capacity top load washer like the LG WT7900HBA if you need a super-sized solution to your laundry situation. While typical top load washers have a capacity of 3 to 4 cubic feet, this model from LG stretches the interior drum to 5.5 cubic feet. While a few models exist that push this number even higher, this model offers more than enough cleaning capacity while still retaining a reputation for thorough, effective cleaning.
The LG WT7900HBA is more than qualified to wash comforters, King-size bed sheets, or a week’s worth of laundry. It utilizes an impeller plate, which is part of the secret to maximizing the interior space of this high-capacity top load washer. If you’re skeptical that an impeller washing machine can clean large loads as well as an agitator-style machine, LG has designed the tub and motor to rotate independently to create additional water agitation. A water jet sprays clothes for a powerful and fast rinse. Overall, these features enable this high-capacity washing machine to make the most of each load.
If you’re into smart home technology, or just want a smarter way to manage your laundry routine, check out the GE GTW840CPNDG. This smart top load washer has built-in Wi-Fi to keep you in sync on laundry day and includes other smart features, like an auto dispenser for detergent.
This top load washer has 5.2 cubic feet of room and reviewers find that it washes even king size sheet sets or comforters with ease. But the real advantage of this washer for smart homes is the fact that when connected to your smartphone, you can check the status of a load, receive an alert when the wash cycle has ended, or even remotely start a cycle.
The SmartDispense function also takes the guesswork out of your laundry routine by sensing the weight and fabric type of each load and adding the right amount of detergent to get the job done. But this machine isn’t too smart for its own good—users can adjust the setting to dispense a little more or a little less detergent as needed. On a similar note, you can modify the fill level for each load of laundry to add more water when necessary, which is a feature that reviewers often appreciate.
If you’re interested in adding the power of steam to your laundry routine, the Samsung WA54R7600AW is a popular choice. This top load washer includes plenty of options to get your laundry extra clean, but its most outstanding feature is the Steam Cycle.
This top load washer has a built-in heater to generate steam for use in ousting odors or fighting tough stains, without extra wear and tear on your clothing. In addition, the use of steam to sanitize laundry and eliminate common allergens (like dust, dander, and mold) can be very beneficial for allergy-sufferers. The option for additional rinse cycles ensures that your laundry comes out fresh and clean, without lingering odors or residue.
If you’re tight on space, then the GE GNW128SSMWW is one of the best compact top-load washers. Measuring just 2 feet wide and a little over 3 feet tall, it fits well in small utility closets or limited laundry rooms. Despite its small footprint, this model has nearly 3.0 cubic feet of interior space and a surprising number of features for a compact washing machine. It’s a good choice if you’re shopping for a condo or apartment washing machine.
The GE GNW128SSMWW offers 8 wash cycles and a choice of 4 different water temperatures. Reviewers point out that it does the job of a full-size washer and report washing even blankets or bulky loads with success. In addition, this compact washing machine includes dispensers for detergent, fabric softener, and bleach.
For an effective, easy-to-operate machine that can handle large and small loads with ease, go with the Whirlpool 4.3. Cu. Ft. Top-Loading Washer (view at Best Buy). It has 11 different wash cycles, and customers say that this machine is relatively quiet. If you’re looking for a high-efficiency machine, though, we recommend the Samsung 5.0 Cu. Ft. Top-Loading Washer (view at Best Buy).
Drum size Perhaps the most important consideration when buying a top-load washing machine is the drum size, which can vary significantly from around 3 cubic feet up to 6 or more. For perspective, consider that 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. This will give you an idea of just how much laundry bigger washers can hold.
Wash options Once upon a time, washers had just a few settings—typically for colors, whites, and delicates. Today, however, modern washing machines come with a wide variety of wash cycles, including quick wash, bulky, sheets/towels, power wash, hand wash, permanent press, and sometimes even athletic wear settings. Consider which, if any, of these cycles might be useful to you when shopping.
Extra features Similarly, many of today’s washing machines have advanced features, such as Wi-Fi connectivity, built-in sinks, and more. However, these options will drive up the cost of the appliance, so make sure they’re something you’ll use before buying.