The Best Top-Load Washers of 2019By Julia MacDougall, August 15, 2019
There are two types of washing machines: front-load washers and top-load washers. In front-load washers, the wash drum is oriented horizontally, and you put your dirty laundry in through a door that opens on the front of the machine. In top-load washers, the wash drum is oriented vertically, and you lift up a door on the top of the machine to drop your laundry in from above. You're probably thinking, "Who cares where I put the laundry in, as long as it comes out clean?" While the distinction between these two types of washers may seem trivial, they differ significantly in terms of engineering and user experience.
While front-load washers are the hot new thing when it comes to laundry appliances, many people prefer top-load washers because they're easier to use (in that they typically have less complex control panels), more ergonomically designed (you don't have to bend over to put your laundry in), and typically cost less than their front-load counterparts.
If you're interested in buying (or replacing) a top-load washer, we've got your back. We've compiled a list of the best top-load washers available on the market today. The GE GTW680BSJWS (available at AppliancesConnection for $572.00) is our favorite top-load washer because of its stellar cleaning performance, neat features, and affordable price tag.
Here is our list of the best top-load washers, ranked in order:
- GE GTW680BSJWS
- GE GTW485ASJWS
- LG WT7500CW
- Samsung WA54M8750AW
- Maytag MVWB865GC
- Whirlpool WTW7500GC
- Samsung WA45M7050AW
- Kenmore 31633
- LG WT7100CW
- GE GTW460ASJWW
Where To Buy$572.00 AppliancesConnection Buy $577.80 Home Depot Buy $574.00 Abt Buy $579.99 Best Buy Buy
GE GTW680BSJWSBest Overall
The GE GTW680BSJWS features the very best of top-loading technology, with everything the American public wants out of a washer: a massive 4.6-cubic-foot capacity, a warm rinse feature, and powerful stain removal. We also love its efficient wash cycles, but if efficiency isn't a big deal for you, you might appreciate the Deep Fill feature, which allows you to add more water to a given cycle (even if you don't actually need more water to get your laundry clean).
By including both a dial for cycle selection and a control board for cycle options, laundry novices and experts alike will have an easy time choosing exactly what cycle they want for a given garment or food stain. If you don't like bending over or squatting to get wet clothes out of your washer, we heartily recommend the GE GTW680BSJWS as our favorite top-load washing machine.
Why Would You Want a Top-Loader?
You've probably heard people bragging about their beautiful front-load washing machines (and rightfully so); why would you want to buy a top-loader? As it turns out, there are plenty of reasons to buy a top loader, but the three most important reasons are ease of use, extra water options, and ergonomics.
Ease of Use
While recent studies indicate that front-load washing machines are overtaking top-load washers in the laundry popularity contest, some shoppers prefer to stick with what they know—top-loading washing machines with pole agitators (the big spiral column in the middle). The sentiment isn't misplaced; getting a machine similar to one whose layout and logic you're used to will make your laundry life easier, even if most top-load agitator washing machines have gotten a tech-induced face-lift, and will probably look slightly different than the one in your mom's basement. Additionally, you can easily throw laundry into a top-load washer after a cycle has started—this is a much more difficult task for a front-load washer, which has to pause the cycle so that the water doesn't spill out when you open the door.
In general, most top-load washing machines are less complicated than front-loaders, which often come with control pads that look like they belong on a spaceship. If you just want to hit a few buttons and get your laundry going, you'd probably be better off with a top-loader.
Extra Water Options
Additionally, top-loaders don't generally score as well in the efficiency department as their front-loading counterparts with respect to water and electricity usage, but some people like having the option to use more water in really dirty loads of laundry, even if it doesn't necessarily mean your clothes get any cleaner. That's why a number of brands have started to add options like Deep Fill so that users can easily add more water to a wash cycle.
Top-load washers have different ergonomics than front-loading washers. If you prefer to just drop laundry into the washer from a standing position, and don't want to crouch down to get your clothes into and out of a front-load washing machine (or have to stack your front-loader so that accessible while standing), then you're probably better off with a top-loader. The washing machine type and feature set are just two of the things to consider when you're buying a washing machine, but knowing that you prefer a top-load over a front-load washer will help to narrow down your choices considerably.
How We Tested
Hi there! We're Reviewed's appliance testing team. Between the three of us (Jon Chan, Kyle Hamilton, and Julia MacDougall), we've spent many years testing major appliances including washers, dryers, refrigerators, dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, and robot vacuum cleaners.
We have plenty of experience testing these products in the lab, but we've also used them like normal people would in the course of their daily lives, which means that we have a great sense for what appliances are bargains at their price points, and which appliances have really useful extra features (as opposed to the kitchen-sink approach to features).
With all this in mind, you can feel confident that when we recommend a product, we're giving it our Reviewed stamp of approval, which means two things: firstly, this appliance performs well, and secondly, this appliance is easy to use. We're always reviewing new products, so stay tuned for our reviews and roundups of the latest products in laundry, refrigerators, dishwashers, and vacuum cleaners.
Every washing machine that comes into Reviewed’s labs gets put through the same testing regime, which addresses both performance and user-friendliness. Performance tests include:
• Stain removal – Using a strip of AHAM-approved stains (which includes cocoa, sweat, pig’s blood, red wine, and oil), how much of each stain can this washing machine remove?
• Wear and tear – During a given cycle, how hard is the mechanical action of the washing machine on your clothes?
• Water retention – How much water does your washing machine spin out at the end of the cycle?
• Cycle time – How long is each washing machine cycle?
The best washing machines have solid stain removal abilities, do not damage your clothes, retain little water, and have short cycle times.
Beyond these performance tests, we also assess the usability of each washing machine, based on our experience, both during testing and during more casual use (one perk of working at Reviewed is that there is plenty of laundry machines on premises!). Our main goal is to get the answer to one question: How easy is it to actually use this washing machine? This involves cumulatively assessing the control panel, the door, the detergent dispenser, and any smart features that are included.
By combining the performance data with our own observations, we can make the solid recommendations for someone looking for any type of washing machine at any price point.
Other Top-Loaders We Tested
Where To Buy$695.00 AppliancesConnection Buy
The GE GTW485ASJWS is our best top-load washer with a pole agitator. It combines traditional methods and current technology to clean your laundry. Want to fill it to the brim with water? You can do that with the Deep Fill button. Would you rather let the washer calculate how much water the load needs? Sure, no problem, just pick a cycle and run it.
There’s plenty of room for laundry in the 4.2-cubic-foot drum, and this machine meets Energy Star guidelines. The washer provides a dozen cycles to choose from, and the stain guide feature lets you specify the type of stain you want the washer to deal with. It will figure out the temperature and spin needed to remove it. However you prefer to do your laundry, the GE GTW485ASJWS will help you get it done.
Where To Buy$940.10 AppliancesConnection Buy
The LG WT7500CW is one of our top picks for top-load washers thanks to its size, speed, and power. The huge 5.2-cubic-foot drum is one of the highest-capacity top-load washers on the market today, and easily accommodates a load of laundry from a family of four. Even better, when you need clean clothes in a hurry, its Normal cycle can be as quick as 30 minutes. The best part is that during those 30 minutes, it performed admirably in our stain removal tests.
Other options on the WT7500CW, such as Cold Wash, Water Plus, and TurboWash, allow you flexibility and customization with your wash cycles. Its only major drawback is how much water it uses, but if you prefer more water when you do your laundry, then the increased water usage is worth the slightly elevated utility bills.
The Samsung WA54M8750AW is competitively-priced, and comes with a roomy 5.4-cubic-foot tub with plenty of room for laundry. It cleans clothes well, and it has plenty of family-friendly cycles and options.
The best feature, however, is ActiveWash. ActiveWash is a combination faucet/hand-washing sink that's built into the top of the washer, so you can clean and soak your clothes—then dump them straight into the washer. When you're done hand-washing, the sink basin simply flips up next to the top of the washing machine, and the rest of your laundry routine proceeds normally. A washer with a built-in, convenient feature like ActiveWash is something worth putting in your laundry room.
The Maytag MVWB865GC is the future of top-load pole agitator washing machines. Between its beautiful metallic slate finish and it's sleek but streamlined interface, this is one washing machine that you won't mind showing off to guests. In a handy combination of tech and legend, this Maytag washer lets you select the cycle with a dial, and punch in cycle options (such as soil level, water temperature, and spin speed) by tapping touch-sensitive buttons on the display.
We were very pleased with the cleaning performance on this washer; the PowerWash cycle is up to the task of defeating your most stubborn stains. Even better, this washer did a great job of minimizing wear and tear on our test laundry load, which is an impressive feat for a washer with a pole agitator. If you want a Maytag washer, you can't go wrong with the Maytag MVWB865GC.
The "What to Wash" and "How to Wash" control panel system helps to ensure that your clothes won't get ruined in the Whirlpool WTW7500GC. With over 20 different combinations, this washer can handle any laundry situation. One of those options is ColorLast, which keeps your clothes from getting stretched out or losing their vibrancy by washing in cold water and with a gentler agitation setting.
On top of that, this top-load washer offers a built-in faucet. This feature allows you to easily pre-treat tough stains without the need for a utility sink. The Heavy cycle offers the best cleaning performance, but the other cycles are nothing to sniff at. Between its awesome stain removal, intuitive control panel, and built-in sink, this Whirlpool washer will make itself right at home in your laundry room.
The Samsung WA45M7050AW is a prime example of what a modern top loader can do. It has a 4.5-cubic-foot drum, a soft-close lid, a powerful Heavy Duty cycle, and a diamond-patterned drum interior. While it has longer cycle times than other top-load washers in its price bracket, the WA45M7050AW has great stain removal and is gentle on your clothes.
Like most Samsung washers, the WA45M7050AW has an amazing number of wash cycles and options, but those myriad options aren't overwhelming: The interface is streamlined and easy to use. When you combine better performance, sleek design, and premium features, you get a washer that's worth trading up for.
Kenmore Elite 31633
Kenmore Elite 31633
When it comes to washing machines, you can't get much bigger than the Kenmore Elite 31633. With its humongous 6.2-cubic-foot capacity, the 31633 can turn a mountain of dirty laundry into a molehill chore. Not only does this washer have the size, but it also has the speed. Even better, this washer is one of the gentlest we've seen ever come through the lab—the wear and tear experienced by your clothing during a wash cycle is minimal.
Utilizing Kenmore's Accela Soak Technology, the 31633's cycle times max out at about an hour, so you're in for some speedy cleaning. Speed, size, and performance come together in perfect balance with this washer.
While today's washers are all about efficiency, some people prefer their washers to completely fill up with water for every cycle. If that's you, then look no further: The LG WT7100CW top-load washer won't disappoint.
With large, intuitive controls and a nice soft-close lid, this washer is easy to use, but still has enough options to please even the pickiest of laundry doers. It did an okay job of stain removal and didn't spin out as much water as we'd hoped it would, but for those who want a lot of water in each laundry cycle, the Deep Wash cycle is sure to be a people pleaser. In fact, that Deep Wash cycle uses about four times the amount of water used in a Normal cycle. With its quiet operation and see-through lid, the WT7100CW is a solid choice for someone who wants to upgrade from an old-school washer with a pole agitator, but isn't quite ready to embrace a high-end, high-tech laundry set up.
The GE GTW460ASJWW is the quintessential American washer. If you want the washing machine that your mother (and maybe your grandmother) used, this is today's version. It has a dual-action pole agitator, a button that lets you fill the tub to the brim with water (or use the default water settings for a more efficient wash cycle), and easy-to-read controls.
In spite of its retro feel, all of the major cycles for this washer take less than an hour, so you won't be stuck waiting by the washer for long. Unsurprisingly, we recommend using the Heavy cycle for your most intense stains, but the other cycles also clean your clothes well. If you've enjoyed a top-load washer in the last six decades, you'll be pleased by this one.