While front-load washers are the hot new thing when it comes to laundry appliances—for good reason—many people do prefer top-loading machines. Not only are their controls typically more straight-forward, you also don't need to stoop down in order to load them. It's also no small matter that top-loaders often cost less than front-loaders.
If you're interested in buying a top-load washing machine, you've come to the right place. We've compiled a list of the best top-load washers available today. The Whirlpool WTW8127LC(available at Lowe's) earns our highest ranking of Best Overall, and allows users to remove the pole agitator and instead use the impeller for a more gentle wash.
Due to supply chain challenges and soaring demand, there is widespread unavailability of home appliances and long wait times for delivery of backordered product. If you're a consumer in need of a washer or dryer, here are the best places to buy in-stock appliances right now.
These are the best top-load washers we tested, ranked in order:
The Whirlpool WTW8127LC features an industry first: an agitator pole that’s removable. This means owners of the Whirlpool WTW8127LC have two options for washing their clothes.
The WTW8127LC is one of the best pole-agitator washers that we have ever lab tested, and it’s our highest-scoring pole agitator to date.
Not only did its agitator do a decent job cleaning during the testing we performed in our laundry lab, removing the agitator and using the built-in impeller also did a decent job and was more gentle overall on the clothes being washed.
We also love Whirlpool’s “What to Wash / How to Wash” system, which replaces the traditional cycle selection dial. For those less familiar with traditional washers, this system can help take the guesswork out of what a wash cycle does.
If you want a workhouse washer that can deal with lots of laundry and lots of different laundry situations, you’ll want to take a look at the LG WT7900HBA top-loading washer.
This washer has a lot of appealing features, including a large 5.5-cubic-foot capacity that’s great for bulky items. (Most normal washers have a capacity of about 4.8 cubic feet) There’s also an Allergiene cycle (which claims to remove pet dander and dust mites), and seven steam cycles (including Normal, Allergiene, and Sanitary).
Additionally, the cycle times are nice and short. The Normal and Speed Wash cycles both clock in at 30 minutes long. If you really have some serious stains to remove, though, we recommend the Heavy Duty cycle, which performed the best in our stain removal tests, and takes less than two hours to run.
While this washer isn’t as efficient as some LG front-load washers we’ve tested, it's a great option. If you like top-load washers and want a larger tub capacity, fast cycle times, and steam cycles, the LG WT7900HBA might be a good fit for you.
If you want a washer that is both beautiful and functional, then you’ll appreciate the Samsung WA50R5400AV top-load washer. This washer has some really nice features that belie its affordable price tag. Who wouldn’t want a built-in faucet for pretreating stains, a soft-close top, or a fingerprint-resistant black stainless steel finish?
During our testing, the Heavy Duty cycle had the strongest stain removal performance, but the Normal cycle comes in a close second. Depending on your expectations, you may find that a 55-minute-long Normal cycle is too long or just right. Fortunately, if you need an even shorter cycle time, this washer has a Super Speed option that can shorten your Normal cycle time to as little as 36 minutes. If you want a washer with a luxury feel at a non-luxury price, check out the Samsung WA50R5400AV.
The Maytag MVW7232HW top-load washer is a great mix of new features and old-school functionality. With its capacity of 5.3 cu. ft. and its Extra Power stain removal booster, this washer can handle large loads without losing efficiency on cleaning. If you like to control the water level of your wash, you’ll be delighted by the Deep Fill option, which allows you to add varying amounts of extra water to your wash cycle.
In terms of stain removal, this washer has some of the best-performing Normal and Heavy Duty cycles that have ever come through our labs. Even better, we found that this washer is gentle on your clothes. While the cycle times are longer than those of some other washers we’ve seen on the market (the Normal cycle clocks in at ~40 minutes), the kind of cleaning power you get with the Maytag MVW7232HW is worth the trade-off.
The Whirlpool WTW7120HC is a solid washer. It has decent cleaning power, and its built-in faucet and pretreating brush are excellent features that make it easier to take care of your clothes. It also wrings out a lot of water with its spin cycles, saving your dryer a lot of extra work.
On the downside, the WTW7120HC is currently very expensive to purchase, and its smart features require a paid subscription to access beyond the first six months.
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 it 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 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.
If your laundry hamper is full of delicate pieces, sportswear, or other items that don't do as well as cotton does in a washing machine, you're going to love the LG WT7300CW. This washing machine has a clear glass lid so that you can peer down and see the wash plate wash your clothes.
One of the metrics by which we judge washers is wear and tear, that is, how much the washer damages the threads of your clothes in a given cycle. Out of the washers we've tested recently, the Normal and Delicates cycles on the LG WT7300CW were the most gentle.
LG is known for its feature- and gadget-heavy appliances, and the WT7300CW doesn't disappoint. While it has a ton of extra cycle options (like Tub Clean, Turbo Wash, and Water Plus), you still select cycles by turning a dial and pressing a button.
The cycle times are a bit longer than some of the other LG washers we've tested recently, and the Quick cycle option is located on the panel, rather than on the dial. Still, its gentle and efficient cleaning performance makes the LG WT7300CW an easy choice for one of our top top-load washers.
The Maytag MVW7230HW top-loader carries a premium price, but if you can get it on sale it offers some decent performance for a traditional top-loader. On our tests, we found it performed about as well as the average washer. It also includes some nice extras like a built-in faucet and an impressive, decade-long warranty.
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. This means that we have a great sense for what appliances are bargains at their price points. We also know which appliances have genuinely 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. That means two things: firstly, this appliance performs well. 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. This is based on our experience, both during testing and during more casual use. (One perk of working at Reviewed is that there are 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 solid recommendations any type of washing machine, at any price point.
What You Should Know About Top-Load Washers
You've probably heard people bragging about their beautiful front-load washing machines (and rightfully so). 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.
While the distinction between top-load and front-load washers might seem minor, they differ significantly in terms of their design and user experience. With front-load washers, the wash drum is oriented horizontally: you put your dirty laundry in through a door on the front of the machine. Front-loaders can leverage gravity as they run, allowing them to keep your laundry tumbling to agitate it.
With top-loader washing machines, the wash drum is oriented vertically. You lift up a door on the top of the machine to drop your laundry in from above. Top-loaders use their rotation to rub your laundry items against each other to scrub out stains.
The sentiment isn't misplaced. Most top-load agitator washing machines have gotten a tech-induced face-lift, and will look different than the one in your mom's basement. But even so, if you're already familiar with the layout and logic of these machines, it can make your laundry life easier.
On top of that, 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 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're probably better off with a top-loader.
What Are The Extra Water Options For A Top-Load Washer?
Top-loaders may be easier for some people to use, because they let you drop your laundry into the washer from a standing position. Front-loading washing machines make you crouch down to get your clothes in and out. (Or, they require you to stack your front-loader for easier access while standing.)
Jonathan Chan currently serves as the Lab Manager at Reviewed. If you clean with it, it's likely that Jon oversees its testing. Since joining the Reviewed in 2012, Jon has helped launch the company's efforts in reviewing laptops, vacuums, and outdoor gear. He thinks he's a pretty big deal. In the pursuit of data, he's plunged his hands into freezing cold water, consented to be literally dragged through the mud, and watched paint dry. Jon demands you have a nice day.
Julia is the Senior Scientist at Reviewed, which means that she oversees (and continually updates) the testing of products in Reviewed's core categories such as televisions, washing machines, refrigerators, and more. She also determines the testing methods and standards for Reviewed's "The Best Right Now" articles.
Our team is here for one purpose: to help you buy the best stuff and love what you own. Our writers, editors, and lab technicians obsess over the products we cover to make sure you're confident and satisfied. Have a different opinion about something we recommend? Email us and we'll compare notes.