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Top load washers have the benefit of fully submerging your laundry for a deep, soaking clean and saving you time fighting mold. That's true whether you go for one with an agitator (the moving post in the center that swirls your clothes around) or an impeller (a textured surface in the bottom that serves the same purpose, a little more gentle on clothes.)

I'm the founder of Designer Appliances, a premier appliance store in New Jersey, and I have 15+ years of experience. I've test-driven these top load washing machines (and their predecessors), and sat through countless hours of training. Most importantly, I've heard real-life feedback from our customers in real-time.

Read on, and I’ll walk you through the pros and potential cons of a top load washer, then recommend the products I think are the best.


Check out our exclusive video of LG top load washers.

The 6 Best Top Load Washers of 2022

1. Best Overall LG WT7900HWA

LG Top Load Washer in a laundry room in black stainless color
Our exclusive video review of LG top load washers.

Width: 27 inches | Height: 44 1/2 inches | Depth: 28 3/8 inches | Capacity: 5.0 cu. ft. | Cycles/Options: 8/14 | RPM: 950 | Steam: No | Color: White, Graphite Steel | Energy Star: Yes |

LG WT7900HWA

We’re still gathering real customer feedback on LG’s new top load agitator washer, and we’re excited to see how they perform. That’s because LG washer models have been dominating the top loader space. This impeller LG top load washer is our current top pick with its modern features, ease of use, and energy efficiency.

It has a stainless steel drum that’s designed to help with detergent penetration. That’s especially helpful for washing clothes in cold water, which doesn’t typically distribute detergent as well, and this LG washer has an energy-saving cold water cycle to make the most of it.

LG’s TurboWash3D setting offers a 30-minute quick wash option, and the Water Plus mode lets you add extra gallons of water to any cycle. Its matching dryer has a smart feature we find especially useful, the Flow Sense duct blockage sensing system. It’ll automatically alert you if it detects any blockages in your ductwork.

Key Features:

  • Impeller style
  • Wi-Fi
  • Stainless steel drum
  • Deep fill option
  • 30 minute quick wash
  • Soft close lid
  • Energy saving cold wash cycle
  • Dryer door can be drop down or side swing

2. Runner-Up Samsung WA50R5200AW

Samsung WA50R5200AW

Width: 27 9/16 inches | Height: 44 9/16 inches | Depth: 29 7/16 inches | Capacity: 5.0 cu. ft. | Cycles/Options: 10/7 | RPM: 750 | Steam: No | Color: White, Brushed Black | Energy Star: Yes |

Why We Like It:
We’re also gathering a full report on Samsung’s new top load agitator washing machine, but in the meantime this Samsung top load washer gets top points for performance and convenience. It has an Active WaterJet faucet that lets you pretreat clothes right in the machine, so there are no spills.

It also has a nice ergonomic design that makes it easy to reach the very bottom of the tub. In spite of the built-in anti-vibration features, some people do complain about noise with this one. That said, most front loaders are quieter than top loaders, period.

Key Features:

  • Impeller style
  • Wi-Fi
  • Stainless steel drum
  • Deep fill option
  • Quick wash
  • Soft close lid
  • Matching dryer has steam

3. Best Traditional Agitator Speed Queen TC5003WN

Watch our exclusive Speed Queen washer video review
Speed Queen TC5003WN TC5

Width: 25 5/8 inches | Height: 42 3/4 inches | Depth: 28 inches | Capacity: 3.2 cu. ft. | Cycles/Options: 6/5 | RPM: 710 | Steam: No | Color: White | Energy Star: No |

Why We Like It:
This traditional, made in Wisconsin Speed Queen washer is built to last. They’re known for their solid construction, powerful drive motors that can clean and balance heavy loads, and minimal electronics. That’s great, since the latter are usually what cause service calls. Speed Queen even goes a step further and tests all of its units for 10,400 cycles, which it says is up to three times more than other brands.

Speed Queen is focused on old-fashioned cleaning performance; That's why we think it's one of the best top load washer with agitator.

Key Features:

  • Agitator style
  • Stainless steel drum
  • Deep fill
  • 28 minute quick wash
  • Matching dryer has reversible door and interior light

4. Most Reliable Maytag MVW7232HW

Maytag MVW7232HW

Width: 27 1/4 inches | Height: 43 7/8 inches | Depth: 27 7/8 inches | Capacity: 5.3 cu. ft. | Cycles/Options: 13/6 | RPM: 850 | Steam: No | Color: White, Metallic Slate | Energy Star: Yes |

Why We Like It:
The Maytag washer is another name brand people know and trust, and a brand which has been trusted for over 100 years. This particular Maytag top load washer is made for tough jobs.

The MVW7232HW has a special Heavy Duty wash cycle that you can make even heavier duty by pressing the Extra Power button. This will tell the machine to incorporate two different water temperatures in the wash, which Maytag says helps break up stains.

The Power agitator is also designed to tackle really dirty clothes. We also like the glass lid—it’s satisfying to see your clothes sloshing around and getting clean.

Key Features:

  • Agitator style
  • Wi-Fi enabled; Android, iOS, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant compatible
  • Stainless steel drum
  • Deep fill option
  • Sensor wash
  • 30 minute quick wash
  • Soft close glass lid

5. Best Portable GE GNW128PSMWW

GE GNW128PSMWW

Width: 24 inches | Height: 37.4 inches | Depth: 24 1/2 inches | Capacity: 2.8 cu. ft. | Cycles/Options: 8/5 | RPM: 750 | Steam: No | Color: White | Energy Star: No |

Why We Like It:
This GE washer may be small, but it has many of the features you’d love about a full-size one, like electronic controls, an LED display, a stainless steel drum, and eight wash cycles (including speed wash), plus a deep fill option to fully submerge your clothes. If you need a portable washing machine and can’t permanently connect it to plumbing (say you have a very small space, or an RV), this affordable unit is a great choice; the two casters on the front make it easy to roll into storage when you're not using it. It also comes with all the washing machine parts you need, like the fill hose.

Key Features:

  • Infuser style
  • No Wi-Fi
  • Stainless steel drum
  • Deep Fill
  • 2 casters included (2 leveling legs at back)

6. Best Bulk Dispenser GE GTW840CSNWS

GE GTW840CSNWS

Width: 27 inches | Height: 48 inches | Depth: 27 inches | Capacity: 5.2 cu. ft. | Cycles/Options: 10/8 | RPM: 800 | Steam: No | Color: White, Diamond Gray | Energy Star: No |

Why We Like It:
This washing machine gives you the high-tech features and top-notch performance of an LG or Samsung model, from a U.S. made brand that’s known for its quality products and excellent service network. We love GE’s SmartDispense automatic laundry detergent dispenser; it holds up to 48 loads’ worth at once, and automatically dispenses the correct amount for each load, so you don’t have to pick up the heavy jug every time you do the wash.

This machine also has a Water Station, a GE-exclusive feature that’s essentially a built-in sink and faucet meant for pre-treating stained items. You can also use the appliance's QuietWash technology, which is designed to offer quieter performance, a dedicated cycle to sanitize with Oxi, and a Power Prewash mode for especially dirty items. The only cons? No steam, and an essential washing machine part, the fill hose, is sold separately.

Key Features:

  • Infuser style
  • Wi-Fi
  • Stainless steel wash basket
  • Deep Fill option
  • Speed wash (for smaller loads)
  • Soft close lid
  • Quiet Wash with Dynamic Balancing technology
  • Oxi sanitize cycle
  • Power Prewash
  • Water Station

Pro Tip! How to Clean a Top Load Washer: Good news! It's very easy—much easier than cleaning a front load washer. Top load washers don't develop mold the way front load machines do, so you don't need to wipe the door gasket after every load. To keep it smelling fresh, we recommend running a hot cycle with white vinegar and baking soda or a commercial washing machine cleaner, like Affresh, every few months or so depending on how often you use your machine.


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What Are Pros of a Top Load Washer?

  • No Mold Problems. Top load washers just don’t have the mold issue that can make front-load washers smelly. FYI: According to leading consumer test company, 17 percent of front load washer owners reported mold or mildew, compared with only 3 percent of HE (high efficiency) top load washer owners and 1 percent of agitator top load washer owners. According to the same CR research, 15 percent of front load washing machines users mentioned a stinky accompanying odor. If you’re not disciplined enough to leave the door and detergent drawer open after every load and regularly disinfect them, you might be happier with a top loader.
  • front-load-washer-mold
  • They Give You an Old School, Traditional Clean. According to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, over 80 percent of U.S. laundry rooms have a top load agitator washer with deep fill or deep water wash options, which “is still viewed by most consumers as providing the best balance of performance, price, efficiency and water use.”
  • They’re Easier on Your Back and Knees. Top load washers generally make loading and unloading more comfortable, since they’re at arm height for many people. If anything, you might need a step stool to reach the very bottom of the drum. Front loaders also can come with a hidden extra cost: To make a front load washer and dryer easier to access, you might need to buy a pedestal to raise it 12 to 15 inches.
  • They Use More Water. Compare HE models of top and front load washers, and the front loaders undisputedly outclass top loaders for water efficiency. Top load washers have a higher water level than HE front loaders. In CR testing, front loaders used 7 gallons per load, HE top loaders averaged 12 to 17 gallons per load, and agitator top loaders used 19 gallons. If water savings is a priority for you, look for washing machines that are Energy Star certified.
  • Easier to Find Value Deals. An entry level or base model top loader generally is a better quality washing machine than an entry level front loader. If you’re on a tight budget, we recommend going with a top load machine.

What Are Cons of a Top Load Washer?

  • They Can’t be Stacked. If you want to place your clothes dryer on top of your washer to maximize storage in your laundry space, the buck stops here. Unforunately, most top load washers aren't stackable.
  • They Take Up More Floor Space. If you live in an apartment or have a small laundry room, you need a compact washer and dryer. A top load washer has to sit next to it’s matching dryer. You might not have enough square footage for that. The same is true if you’re adding a secondary laundry room on an upper story of your home. You may want a stackable washer and dryer (a.k.a. front loader) instead. That being said, a top loader washer might stick out in your room less than a front load washer. Front loaders are generally bulkier machines on average, with wide, protruding openings, while top loaders are more compact (but tall) and boxy in design.
  • They’re Rougher on Clothes. Top load washing machines, especially those with an agitator, put more wear and tear on the items you wash simply because of how they work. If you want the most gentle possible wash, and you aren’t concerned with the amount of time that takes, you might prefer a front loader.
  • They Leave Clothes Wetter. Front loaders run at higher speeds and are capable of wringing out more water during the spin cycle, which means your clothes will air dry faster on the rack or line than they would in a top loader.

Watch our exclusive video review - front load vs top load washers

Top Load Washer 101: How to Shop?

Measure Your Space Carefully

This is where most first-time buyers make costly mistakes. Make sure the dimensions of your washer fits in your space. Depth is especially important dimension that many people either ignore or measure incorrectly. In addition, top load washers have lids that open upward, so you'll want to make sure that lid has enough free height to open.

You also want to check the opening of its matching dryer. Dryer doors are in the front; some doors drop-down, but most are side hinged. Depending on your space, you might want the door to open to the right or to the left. Make sure the hinge is correct or can go on either side.

As for capacity, most people want to be able to fit a king-size comforter. If that matters to you, look for top load baskets that are 5 cubic feet or larger. Smaller wash baskets, like the Speed Queen’s, can fit only a queen-size comforter. Check how many pounds of laundry the manufacturer says it can hold.

Check the Fuel Type
Top load washers run on standard 110 Volt electric power. If you’re buying a washer dryer set, it’s worth noting that dryers can be gas or electric powered. Confirm what you already have before you buy. Gas dryers require 110 Volt electric along with a gas connection. Electric dryers will need a 220 Volt outlet.

220v electric dryer outlets
There are 2 types of electric dryer outlets.

Research the Wash Action
Yes, you want a top load washer that thoroughly cleans your clothes. It can do this either with a traditional agitator or an HE impeller mechanism. In terms of pricing, impellers may be more expensive upfront, but over the long haul you’ll keep more green in your wallet by saving on water and energy usage. Whichever route you go, here are the most important factors to consider for the machine’s cleaning capabilities.

Agitator vs impeller top load washer
2 methods top load washers move clothes in the drum

Agitator vs HE impeller washer: An HE or high-efficiency washer doesn't have a traditional post in the center. These machines depend on the motion of the drum, which has an impeller (aka infuser) at the bottom, to move your clothes around, saturate them with soapy water, and loosen dirt. This results in less water use and a quieter, gentler wash, albeit at the cost of longer wash time. HE washers also spin faster to extract more water from your clothes, drying them even faster.

Many manufacturers still make traditional agitator washers, though. These machines are very effective, particularly with very dirty clothes. However, fabric care is a long term issue with these models. Pricier models do have features (motion control, specially designed fins) to help take better care of your fabrics.

Drum quality: A poorly designed drum—like compartment can tear tiny holes in your laundry. A high-quality drum is important to avoid this. Try to shop around for stainless steel drums only, as it’s the most durable drum material.

Special cycles: Any washer has several modes you can select from. As you scale up in cost, you typically scale up to more cycles, including those for particular types of clothing (jeans, activewear) and laundry loads (bulky). Steam and sanitize cycles are nice to have, especially if you need to fight allergies in your household, but they might not be part of a base model machine.

Noise and vibration: Quiet is the goal here, folks. Shock absorption features should help with this. When searching for a new machine, look for models that have the word “quiet” in their reviews or description, and check the online reviews for complaints about noise.

built in faucet in the top load washer
Some top load washers have built-in faucets for pretreating stains. GE calls this feature Water Station (at left); Samsung calls it Active WaterJet (at right).

Take Note of Extra Conveniences
Now we’re getting fancy, but if you’re all about a little laundry TLC, consider looking for machines that have premium functionalities. Common offerings we appreciate include automatic detergent dispensers, a built-in water faucet to soak and pretreat stains, and smart features like Wi-Fi connectivity that allows you to control your machine from your phone or tablet.

Still trying to make up your mind between a front load and a top load washer and dryer set? Check out our full front load vs top load washer comparison and shopping guide.


Conclusion

If you've always had a top load washer and love the way it cleans, you may want to stick with what works. Alternatively, you might want to go back if you made the switch to a front loader and felt disappointed by its maintenance requirements.

Whether you pick a new impeller or a classic agitator model, you'll find that these top loader machines have more advanced features than ever before. To pick one you'll love, double check the washer capacity and noise, and be sure the appliance you choose has the features necessary to meet your needs, from a good speed wash to steaming in the matching dryer.