The 6 Best Top Load Washers of 2021

Top load washer fans everywhere agree: These machines deliver the dependable, traditional cleaning power they know and love. 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, sometimes also called an infuser), these appliances have the benefit of fully submerging your laundry in water for a deep clean. They tend to last a long time, too, but they don’t last forever. Maybe the one that came with your house finally broke down or needs an expensive repair. Whatever the reason, the majority of people shopping for a new top load washing machine want the same things: an easy-to-use appliance that’s powerful, works fast, and looks pretty sleek to boot.

The best top load washer gives you all that and more. There has been some exciting recent news in the laundry whirld, ahem, world, with LG and Samsung releasing their first top load agitator washer models. Also, you can buy a Speed Queen washer with an agitator again; for two years, the company had taken them off the market. There are also still many tried-and-true models that deliver on the quality front, as well as some budget-friendly models that get the job done without too many fancy bells and whistles. Read on, and we’ll walk you through the pros and potential cons of a top load washing machine, then recommend our six favorites.

The Best 6 Top Load WashersWatch our exclusive video of LG top load washers5 Reasons to Love a Top Load Washer

The best washer and dryer for you depends on your particular circumstances. Top load washers have tons going for them, from ergonomics (no bending down to put clothes in or take them out, the way you have to with front-load washers) to practically zero maintenance. Here are just a few reasons you might really appreciate a top load washing machine.

1. No Mold Problems

Top loaders just don’t have the mold issue that can make front-load washers smelly. FYI: According to Consumer Reports, 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.

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. We recommend running a hot cycle with white vinegar and baking soda or a washing machine cleaner, like Affresh, every few months or so, depending on how often you use your machine, to keep it smelling fresh.

2. They Give You an Old School, Traditional Clean

According to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, a dominant 80 plus 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.”

3. 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. You might need a step stool to reach the very bottom of the drum, if anything. Front loaders also can come with an 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.

4. They Work Fast

Because top loaders can fully submerge your clothes, they generally finish loads faster on most cycles, although front loaders are catching up on the speed wash front.

5. Better Value for Money

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 loader machine.

5 Reasons You Might Not Love a Top Load Washer

In spite of their many benefits, top load washers do have some shortcomings that you should be aware of. They may not be the right fit for everyone, or every laundry space. Consider these points before making up your mind to buy a top load washer instead of a front load washer.

1. 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. A top load washer just won’t work.

2. They Take Up More Floor Space

Say you live in an apartment or have a small laundry room. You need a compact washer and dryer solution. 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 into your room less than a front load washer. Front loaders tend to be bulkier machines, with generous curves and doors that really protrude, while top loaders are more compact and boxy in design.

3. 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.

4. They Use More Water

This could technically be a pro or a con, depending on how you like to do laundry. But compare HE models of top and front load washers, and the front loaders come out ahead 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.

5. They Leave Clothes Wetter

Front loaders go faster and can wring 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 washersHow to Shop for a Top Load Washer
Measure Your Space Carefully

This is where most people make costly mistakes. Make sure the width, height and depth of your washer fits in your space. Depth is especially important, and many people ignore it or measure it incorrectly. Keep in mind that over the years washers and dryers have gotten bulkier, and new machines may take up more space than your old ones.

In addition, a top load washer has a lid that opens up. So make sure the lid doesn’t hit any shelves or cabinets above it.

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 5 cu. ft. or larger. Smaller wash baskets, like the Speed Queen’s, can fit only a queen-size comforter. Check how many pounds of laundry—especially bulky items like towels, or pairs of jeans—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.

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 up front, 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.

2 methods top load washers move clothes in the drum

Agitator vs HE impeller washer: Technology has caught up with the way top load washers work. 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, so they extract more water from your clothes; that means your clothes dry faster.

Many manufacturers still make traditional agitator washers, though. These machines are very effective, particularly with very dirty clothes, and clean them fast. However, fabric care is an issue over time 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—the compartment that holds your clothes and has holes in it to rinse everything with water—can tear tiny holes in your laundry. A high-quality drum is important to avoid this. Look for stainless steel; it’s the most durable drum material.

Special cycles: Any washer has several modes you can select from. As you go up in cost, you typically get more cycles, including those for particular types of clothing (jeans, activewear) and types of loads (bulky). Steam and sanitize cycles are nice to have, especially if you have babies or need to fight allergies in your household. They might not come on 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.

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 smart 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.

The 6 Best Top Load Washers
1. Best Overall: LG WT7300CW

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

Why We Like It:
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 gives you a 30 minute quick wash option, and the Water Plus mode lets you completely fill the tub or add extra gallons of water to any cycle. (As much as people like the energy and water savings you get from HE, old habits die hard; you may be grateful that LG gives you the option to fill up the tub.) 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

LG Upgrade Chart

Main Features

WT7100CW 4.5 cu. ft., 950 RPM, SmartDiagnosis with Wi-Fi, pairs with a non-steam dryer, in White

WT7300CW 5.0 cu. ft., Adds option to clean in under 30 minutes, pairs with a non-steam dryer, in White and Graphite Steel

WT7800CW Extra Large 5.5 cu. ft. Adds Oxi Sanitize, pairs with a steam dryer, in White and Graphite Steel

WT7900HBA Steam in both washer and dryer, AAFA Certified allergen cycle, in Black Stainless

2. Runner-Up: Samsung WA50R5200AW
Samsung WA50R5200AW

Width: 27 9/16" inch | Height: 44 9/16" inch | Depth: 29 7/16" inch | 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 and no need for a separate sink.

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. In general, front loaders are quieter than top loaders, period.

Key Features:

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

Watch our exclusive, in-depth Speed Queen video review – great visuals!3. Best Traditional Agitator: Speed Queen TC5003WN
Speed Queen TC5003WN TC5

Width: 25 5/8" inch | Height: 42 3/4" inch | Depth: 28" inch | 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; you won’t find Wi-Fi on its machines. That’s why we think it makes the best top load washer with agitator.

Key Features:

  • Agitator style
  • No Wi-Fi
  • 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" inch | Height: 43 7/8" inch | Depth: 27 7/8" inch | Capacity: 5.3 cu. ft. | Cycles/Options: 13/6 | RPM: 850 | Steam: No | Color: White, Metallic Slate | Energy Star: Yes |

Why We Like It:
Maytag washer is another name brand people know and trust. It’s been around for over 100 years. This particular Maytag top load washer is made for tough jobs. It has a special Heavy Duty wash cycle that you can boost even more by pressing the Extra Power button; that tells the machine to use two different temperatures of water 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 Top Load: GE GNW128PSMWW

Width: 24 inch | Height: 37.4 inch | Depth: 24 1/2 inch | 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 Dispenser: GE GTW840CSNWS

Width: 27 inch | Height: 48 inch | Depth: 27 inch | 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 unique to GE feature that’s essentially a built-in sink and faucet. It lets you pretreat stained items in water and detergent or just water. You also get QuietWash, which is designed to give you quieter performance too; a dedicated cycle to sanitize with Oxi; and a Power Prewash for very 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


If you’ve always had a top load washer and love the way it cleans, you may want to stick with one. And you might want to go back if you made the switch to a front loader and felt disappointed by its performance and maintenance requirements. Whether you pick an new impeller or a classic agitator model, you’ll find that these machines have more advanced features than ever before. We find that the best options focus on cleaning power, not bells and whistles like Wi-Fi. To pick one you’ll love, double check the washer capacity and noise, and be sure the set you choose has any features you consider must haves, like a good speed wash or steam in the matching dryer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *