“If you buy that washer, mom, don’t put it in the laundry room”, the girl said, closely eyeing the front loading washing machine in the appliance store.
“Why?” her mother asked absent-mindedly, also eyeing the machine.
“Because it looks so techno, so cool, so colorful. Why don’t we put it right smack in the living room so it can be a good conversation starter when we have guests?”
“Silly you.” The mother said, laughing. “I do want to buy it but it’ll have to go to the laundry room.” At that point she motioned to a sales clerk to rattle off the list of questions she had prepared about front loading washing machines.
Front Loading Washing Machines: the Facts
- People would consider buying a front loading washing machine because it is more energy efficient. It uses less energy, less water and cleans clothes better. Less energy is consumed because front loading washing machines do not have an agitator. It relies on gravity to generate movement when the tub is in motion.
- Front loading washing machines have come a long way. When they first appeared in the market in the 70s, they had design flaws and mechanical weaknesses, but all these problems have since been addressed. For example, one complaint was the growth of mold. This is no longer an issue because all you need is to read the manufacturer’s instructions regarding proper care of your machine. To avoid mold, leave the door open for a couple of hours when you’re not using your machine.
- Front loading washing machines cost more. Instead of the $350.00-$550.00 you would normally pay for a top load, front load models can be double that price. It is, without any doubt, a major investment, so choose carefully. This is where consumer reviews will come in handy. One reason they are expensive has to do with production costs. Since new energy-efficient components are integrated into their design, adjustments and upgrades had to be made to the production process. The good news, however, is that like flat screen TVs and hi-tech computer monitors, they will come down in price as demand for them increases.
- Unlike in the past where models were few, you now have several choices for a front loading washing machine. They come stackable (great for condos, apartments and townhomes), in more colors (we’ve seen some reds and avocado greens in the store) and have a visually-pleasing design to liven up the “drab and dirt” of your laundry room.
- Front loading washing machines are now available with added features. For instance, back in the days when they were just coming off the assembly line, you could not open them once a wash cycle starts. A few today’s models come with an “add-a-garment” feature. This means you can stop the machine, add a last-minute dirty item and not worry about water seeping out. And hear this. Georgiana Bobolicu, an editor who reviews electronic gadgets online, says that a few models now come with a USB port or wi-fi feature so you can connect to Facebook and tell your friends that you’re doing a woman’s best loved chore – laundry!
- Front loading washing machines have spin speeds as high as 1,000-1,200 rpm. The advantage is that with greater spin speeds, more water is sucked out of the clothes, cutting the drying time. If you have several loads, quicker drying times translate to lower load congestion, sparing you the wait time to put the next load into the dryer.
- Front loading washing machines come with sensors and controls that will automaticaaly determine cycle, running time, water temperature, once you set a button to the type of fabric you are washing. If you choose “cotton”, for example, the machine will decide for you the cycle, run time, water temperature and level, and spin speed. Do bear in mind that the more options you want, the more it’s going to cost you.
Popular Brands of Front Loading Washing Machines
If you’re ready to shop for a front loading washing machine, you’ll be happy to know that prices range from the low end to mid-range all the way up the top of the line models.
The list of brands below are approximate prices. Our research tells us that a particular brand may fall in the low-end price range and also in the high-end price range. You’ll find an LG brand in the low end but then another LG model would fall in the top price bracket, so make sure you ask about the models available in each brand. Price will depend on the model number and the number of features you want. Most of the top end range front loading washing machines are European brands.
These are a few examples:
Low range prices:
Frigidaire $460.00 – $549.00
LG $599.00 – $1,000.00
GE $602.00 – $1,090.00
Maytag $672.00 – $870.00
Mid range prices:
Bosch $1,089.00 – $1,410
Samsung $985.00 – $1,295.00
Equator $930.00 – $1,456.00
High end prices:
Electrolux $1,349.00 – $1,599.00
Miele about $2,100
Asko about $2,199.00
Things to Consider: Front Load Washing Machines
The first consideration is of course cost. If you can afford paying more for a high-energy efficient front loading washing machine, then go for it. You’ll be saving on energy bills because front load washines have higher spin rates, use less water, and use less energy. The initial cash outlay may be substantial but over the long term, you’ll be saving more dollars.
If you have can’t bend because of back or leg problems, don’t buy a front loading washer. If you’re doing several loads in each laundry session, the frequent bending might be physically awkward. You could probably set them up on planks to minimize bending but the top of the washer may be too high for you to fold clothes on.
Some front load washing machines require the use of special high efficiency detergents. This is because they use less water and there are no agitators so a special detergent is required to ensure your clothes are washed to perfection. Some manufacturers of front load washers and other high efficiency appliances will recommend that you only HE detergents (also called high efficiency detergents). There is a reason for this. HE detergents come in the form of concentrate and are low-sudsing which are great for washers that use very little water. A word of caution: when buying HE detergents, look for the letters “HE” on the label. They’re easy to miss. These letters mean that the detergent is only to be used in front load washers or high efficiency appliances. Some consumers have absent-mindedly put an HE detergent into their shopping cart thinking they were for regular washing machines and were disappointed that it produced very little sudsing.