- Gentler wash but longer cycle
- Price and features
- FAQ: Washing Machines
- Jargon Busters: Front Load Washing Machines
Front load washing machines offer several big advantages over top load units. They use less water and electricity, and their design makes them better for people who have limited space. This explains why front load machines have a slightly higher purchase price than top loaders.
Although small in size, these machines generally hold a similar number of clothes as top load units, with an average machine holding somewhere around 6.5kg of dry clothing. When buying a washing machine, make sure to think about how many people you wash for. For a single person, something around 4.5kg is more than enough, while a family with two or more children may want a 6kg or bigger unit.
One of the most important reasons for buying a front load washer is that they use less water and less electricity than top load machines.
Information form the government-sponsored Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme shows that for 5kg to 6kg machines, front load units use an average of 58.7 litres of water per load, while top load machines use 109.1. That equates to about just over 6 standard buckets of water for the front loader versus 12 for the top loader. There are even some washers that use less than 5 buckets of water per wash. WELS information is presented to consumers via a sticker on the washing machine, or the packaging, which contains a number and star rating.
Front load washers also use, on average, less electricity than top loaders. Research shows that 5kg to 6kg front load washing machines use on average about half the electricity of top load machines of a similar size.
The speed of the spin cycle also has an impact on how much energy a washing machine uses. The spin cycle refers to when the machine spins your clothes around after a wash to remove as much water as possible. It is measured in rotations per minute, or rpm for short. Many front load units will have a top spin speed greater than 1000rpm, whereas top load units usually offer a slower top speed of 600rpm to 800rpm. The faster spin can result in clothes coming out dryer which means less time on the line or, if you are using a clothes dryer, less electricity.