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A pole agitator is the old-school way of doing laundry Credit: Reviewed.com/Kyle Hamilton

The Best Traditional Top-Load Agitator Washers of 2022

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A pole agitator is the old-school way of doing laundry Credit: Reviewed.com/Kyle Hamilton

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Editor's Choice Product image of Whirlpool WTW8127LC
Best Overall

Whirlpool WTW8127LC

The Whirlpool WTW8127LC is a one-shop stop for all your laundry needs. You can scrub stains, soak them, and even hand wash them all from this machine. Read More

Pros

  • Good cleaning
  • Built-in faucet
  • Removable agitator

Cons

  • Expensive
2
Editor's Choice Product image of Maytag Pet Pro MVW6500MBK

Maytag Pet Pro MVW6500MBK

The Maytag MVW6500MBK top-load washing machine is a solid pick. Its PetPro System filter is effective at removing the majority of pet hair. Read More

Pros

  • Catches a lot of pet hair
  • Decent cleaning power
  • Slow-close lid and built-in faucet

Cons

  • Delicates cycle is rough
  • Spin cycle doesn't get out much water
3
Editor's Choice Product image of LG WT7305CV

LG WT7305CV

A traditional washer polished off with modern smart features, there’s lots to love about this fairly powerful machine. Just steer clear of bad stains. Read More

Pros

  • Traditional design
  • Helpful smart features
  • Deep fill option

Cons

  • Expensive
4
Product image of Maytag MVW7230HW

Maytag MVW7230HW

This Maytag model offers pretty average performance, but it comes with some impressive features and a 10-year warranty. Read More

Pros

  • Built-in faucet
  • 10-year warranty

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Low cleaning power for its price
  • Tough on clothes
5
Product image of Frigidaire FFTW4120SW

Frigidaire FFTW4120SW

The Frigidaire FFTW4120SW has an understated design, a clear top so you can look in and see all stain-scrubbing action, and a soft-close lid. Read More

Pros

  • Transparent, slow-closing lid
  • Intuitive controls

Cons

  • Subpar cleaning
  • Poor value for its price

Top-loading washing machines with pole agitators have been around for roughly a century. Your parents and grandparents used them. Now, as a homeowner, you may like to use one too: there's something comforting about doing household chores the same way as you saw them done while growing up.

What's more, some high efficiency front-load washers, though newer, have issues with odor build-up and loud vibrations. Time hasn’t stood still for pole-agitator models. Many major brands have improved on the time-tested design by adding stainless steel wash tubs, soft-close hinges, and dual-action agitators.

Over years of lab testing, we’ve put hundreds of washers to the test to see how well they remove stains, what their water usage is, and how gentle they are on clothing. We’ve found that the Whirlpool WTW8127LC (available at Lowe's) is the best top-load washer with an agitator, blending modern features with old-school cleaning. If you're looking for a pole agitator, this is the one to buy.

Editor's Note

Due to supply chain challenges and soaring demand, there is widespread unavailability of home appliances and long wait times for delivery of backordered products. If you're a consumer in need of a washer or dryer, here are the best places to buy in-stock appliances right now.

The Whirlpool WTW8127LC drum with removable agitator
Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

The Whirlpool WTW8127LC has a removable pole agitator.

Best Overall
Whirlpool WTW8127LC

If you want a washer that is easy to use, provides a good clean, and has a pole agitator, the Whirlpool WTW8127LC is a solid choice.

This Lowe’s exclusive has three unique features that set it apart from the rest of the pack. First, it has a removable agitator for when you need extra space or a more gentle wash cycle. All you need to do is squeeze the handle on top of the agitator and the whole pole pops out.

Second, this top-loading machine comes with a built-in pretreating station—a faucet with hot and cold water and a specialized brush for scrubbing stubborn stains. Finally, instead of having vague cleaning cycle names, the WTW8127LC has the “What to Wash / How to Wash” system. Knowing exactly what your washer is doing to your clothes helps cut down on confusion and frustration on laundry day.

We think a washer that has a pole agitator, a washer plate, and a utility sink is worth checking out.

Pros

  • Good cleaning

  • Built-in faucet

  • Removable agitator

Cons

  • Expensive

The Maytag MVW6500MBK top-loader in our laundry testing lab.
Credit: Reviewed / Michael Elderbee
Best for Pet Owners
Maytag Pet Pro MVW6500MBK

If you're a pet owner looking for a top-load washer, the Maytag MVW6500M is a good pick.

In addition to its solid stain-fighting power, the real draw is its trademark Pet Pro system, which excels at removing pet hair from your laundry. A filter inside the machine's pole agitator collects pet hair during a wash, which you can easily empty after the cycle.

In our testing, we found this washer was able to remove the majority of shedding from a blanket used exclusively by a Bernese Mountain Dog (and it brightened it up quite a bit as well).

This washer also has some nice extras to round out its offerings, including a built-in faucet and a slow-close lid to prevent slams.

Pros

  • Catches a lot of pet hair

  • Decent cleaning power

  • Slow-close lid and built-in faucet

Cons

  • Delicates cycle is rough

  • Spin cycle doesn't get out much water


Other Top-load Agitator Washers We Tested

Product image of LG WT7305CV
LG WT7305CV

The new LG WT7305CV, combines a design purists will love with features that smart home fans can geek out over.

It comes outfitted with LG's ThinQ app, which lets you control the washer remotely. Through LG's Proactive Customer Care program, it uses AI and wifi to send LG usage diagnostics and appliance problems. It also has some other great, useful features like its soft-close lid and a deep fill feature to tackle intense soil levels.

The WT7305CV’s cleaning power holds its own, but we would've liked to see a bit more stain-fighting power from a washer in this price range. Still, this washer is more than capable of handling the average load of laundry—just be careful around red wine and chocolate.

Pros

  • Traditional design

  • Helpful smart features

  • Deep fill option

Cons

  • Expensive

Product image of Maytag MVW7230HW
Maytag MVW7230HW

The Maytag MVW7230HW offers average performance and a couple of unique features like a built-in faucet and a 10-year warranty. The price is steep for what it is, but if you find it on sale and want an agitator washer, it might be worth it.

Pros

  • Built-in faucet

  • 10-year warranty

Cons

  • Expensive

  • Low cleaning power for its price

  • Tough on clothes

Product image of Frigidaire FFTW4120SW
Frigidaire FFTW4120SW

If you're in the market for a mid-range washer, the Frigidaire FFTW4120SW top-loading washing machine makes an appealing option. It has an understated design, a clear top so you can see the stain-scrubbing action, and a soft-close lid that saved our fingers from a slam on more than one occasion.

Pros

  • Transparent, slow-closing lid

  • Intuitive controls

Cons

  • Subpar cleaning

  • Poor value for its price

Product image of Maytag MVWC465HW
Maytag MVWC465HW

The made-in-America Maytag MVWC465HW washer is perfect for people who want a traditional white top-load washing machine with an old-school pole agitator.

The PowerWash cycle does a good job removing stains, but its cycle time is a bit long, clocking in at an hour and 24 minutes. The normal cycle has a shorter run time of 47 minutes, but your clothes might not get as clean.

This machine lets you add more water to a cycle with the "Deep Water Wash" option. Meanwhile, the "Deep Rinse" option sprays water on the wash drum itself, cleaning the washer of leftover detergent and stain residue, so you don’t transfer dirt from one load of laundry to another. This washer could work well for a smaller, cleaner family.

Pros

  • Deep Fill option can deal with heavy soils

  • PowerWash cycle has great stain removal

Cons

  • Tough on laundry

  • Small capacity

Product image of Maytag MVWC565FW
Maytag MVWC565FW

The Maytag MVWC565FW washer is a good value—more budget-friendly than its sibling, the Maytag MVWB765FW, but similar in important ways. The spacious, 4.2-cu.-ft. tub lets you do a lot of laundry at once, and the central corkscrew agitator and lengthy PowerWash cycle work together to produce very clean clothes.

This model also includes a Wrinkle Control cycle (basically a Delicate cycle with warm water) that purports to help clean and mitigate wrinkles on clothes that are harder to iron, like sports jerseys.

This washer’s five knob interface won’t win any design awards, but both laundry experts and total newcomers will find every control easy to use. The temperature settings are numerous, you can choose a deep water level for really dirty clothes, and with a turn of the dial, you can add a second rinse.

Pros

  • PowerWash cycle has great stain removal

  • Uses extra water when you want

Cons

  • Tough on laundry

  • Relatively small capacity

Product image of Maytag MVWP576KW
Maytag MVWP576KW

If you like old-school washers, the Maytag MVWP576KW is a solid choice. This straightforward, commercial-grade washer has intuitive controls and an aesthetic reminiscent of decades past. The solid metal construction is built for punishment, and its motor comes backed by a 10-year guarantee.

In terms of cleaning, the MVWP576KW didn’t impress us as much as some other Maytags have, but it should be able to handle the average load of laundry. We’d recommend it if high durability is your main concern.

Pros

  • Great warranty

  • Intuitive controls

Cons

  • Below average cleaning power

  • Leaves laundry a little soggy

Product image of GE GTW335ASNWW
GE GTW335ASNWW

The GE GTW335ASNWW is a solidly good top-loader. It might not be the greatest we’ve ever tested, but it’s a reasonable price for what it offers. If you’re just looking for an inexpensive, old-school-style washer, this is a great pick.

To enable the low price, this agitator washer is light on features. If you’re looking for bells and whistles, it isn’t for you. If you don’t want a bunch of extra features you won’t use, however, you can save some money by opting for the GTW335ASNWW.

Pros

  • Good cleaning performance for its price

Cons

  • If you're looking for top-notch cleaning, look elsewhere


How We Test Top-load Washers with an Agitator

The Testers

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 their daily lives, so we have a great sense for what appliances are bargains at their price points, and which extra features are actually useful.

The Tests

We use pre-made stain strips in our laundry testing.
Credit: Reviewed

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 – on 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 agitator washers have solid stain removal abilities, do not damage your clothes, retain little water, are Energy Star certified and efficient, and have short cycle times.

We also assess the usability of each washing machine, based on our experience during testing and during more casual use (bringing our laundry to work is one perk of working at Reviewed!). Our main goal is to learn how easy it is to use each washing machine. This involves evaluating the control panel, the door, the detergent dispenser, and any smart features.

By combining the performance data with our own observations, we can make solid recommendations for someone looking for any type of washing machine at any price point.

What You Should Know About Top-Loading Washers

Loading laundry into a top-load washing machine
Credit: Reviewed.com / Jackson Ruckar

Which is better, an agitator or impeller washer?

We've got some bad news for top-loader and agitator fans.

While top-loaders with pole agitators are still popular, they’re pretty old-fashioned. While personal preference is always going to factor into your choice, our data shows a clear winner in the agitator vs. impeller competition.

The top-ranking washers are almost universally front-loaders, with some top-loading impeller washers appearing once you’re outside the top 10. The highest-ranked pole agitator washer we’ve tested is #34 on our list of all washing machines—and that’s primarily because you can remove its agitator.

While the pole can add some torque to the scrubbing action, it also restricts movement inside the drum to “clockwise” and “counter-clockwise.” Other top-loaders use impellers to get laundry tumbling throughout the whole drum, which is gentler on your clothes and also scrubs them more completely. Even better? Front-load washers use a lot less water and really get your laundry tumbling around.

The older design may feel familiar, or newer designs might not make as much intuitive sense, but stain strips don’t lie: As of right now, top-loaders with pole agitators can’t get your laundry as clean as front-loaders. They can get them almost as clean, but over time your clothes will look dingier, faster.

How do you remove a washing machine agitator?

You don’t! Outside of some very specific models, like the Whirlpool WTW8127LC, that pole agitator needs to stay in the washer. Without it, the washer won't be able to create any sort of turbulence in the water to move your clothes around.

How do you load a top-load washer with agitator?

This is one of the most frequently-asked questions about top-loaders with agitators, but it’s fortunately got a pretty easy answer. There’s nothing special to consider when loading clothes into your top-loader. You just distribute your clothing more or less evenly around the central pole agitator.

How do you clean a top-loading washing machine with an agitator?

While you could check out a more in-depth guide on how to clean a washer, the short answer is with baking soda and vinegar. Mix some baking soda with warm water and give the machine a scrub down, then pour in two cups of vinegar and run a normal load at high heat.

Meet the testers

Mark Brezinski

Mark Brezinski

Senior Writer

@markbrezinski

Mark Brezinski is a senior writer with over ten years of experience reviewing consumer tech and home appliances.

See all of Mark Brezinski's reviews
Jonathan Chan

Jonathan Chan

Senior Manager of Lab Operations

@Jonfromthelab1

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.

See all of Jonathan Chan's reviews
Julia MacDougall

Julia MacDougall

Senior Scientist

@reviewed

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.

See all of Julia MacDougall's reviews
Kyle Hamilton

Kyle Hamilton

Product Tester

Kyle Hamilton is a product tester at Reviewed, specializing in home appliances and technology.

See all of Kyle Hamilton's reviews

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