Find our top load washer reviews, comparison charts and buying guides to help you buy the best top load washer for spic and span clothes.
Best Top Load Washer for Home Use
Speed Queen AWN432S: If you’re in the market for the most durable and functional top load washer, the AWN432S is an absolute beast. Don’t take just our word for it. It has been tried and tested by Speed Queen to last for 25+ years and 10,000+ loads of laundry. Yes, it is a premium buy but worth every penny.
Haier HLP21N: The Haier HLP21N is our top value for money pick and the ideal washer for those low on funds but in desperate need of a top load washer. Its compact design and stainless steel build offers both durability and portability and yet its large enough to fit in all your messy, dirty laundry of the day.
- Top Load Washer Comparison Chart
- Best Top Load Washer 2018
- Budget Top Load Washer
- Front Load vs Top Load Washers
Your washing machine is wearing out, it’s breaking down, not very efficient anymore, or it’s making noise… Whatever the reason, you want to buy a new washer, and we’re here to review the best ones around so you don’t have to. Lots of brands and models are available and of course, you can choose from dozens of models from either of the two main types: front loaders or top loaders (more on that later). We review some of the best top loaders available and recommend the best washer as well as the best pick if you have a tight budget.
Some washers come with a range of features that go beyond the number and the types of wash cycles they’ll perform, like digital control panels, specialty cycles, temperature and spin setting, etc.
In this roundup, we take a look at seven of the best available top load washing machines of different sizes and with different features and pick out the best among them, including the best overall value-for-money machines and best budget models.
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In-Depth Top Load Washer Reviews
This washer from is our top pick from among all the top-loaders we’ve looked at for this roundup. Although Speed Queen comes to more to mind as a laundromat brand, the AWN432S, and its tough industrial design will feel right at home in your laundry room. The brand is not heavily advertised, so it’s a relative unknown, but its mechanical controls and industrial strength components, such as a stainless steel washtub, make this our favorite washer.
Unlike most of the competition, Speed Queen has been around for 100+ years, is based in Wisconsin and manufactures its washing machines in USA-based factories.
The incredible number of positive reviews all over the internet is indicative of a why the popularity and sales of this model have skyrocketed of late. It’s not a cheap product and is, in fact, more expensive than any of the washers we review here, but we think the price is worth it.
A big part of the reason for this washer’s success is the quality of the components used and the overall engineering and build quality employed. Gone are all the plastic components used by other manufacturers, which reminds one of how washers were made years ago: A heavy-duty 0.5 HP, capacitive start motor, and a long, 210-degree wash stroke, guarantees maximum agitation, and great clean results.
The Speed Queen AWN432S has a relatively large washtub by today’s standards at 3.3 cu. ft. and has an average water consumption for a wash cycle of 31.4 gallons, which is on the higher side, and it’ll spin up to 710 RPM to get rid of water and get your clothes ready for the washer.
It’s not a modern energy and water saving machine. By design, it’s old-school, with an agitator that doesn’t treat clothes with kid-gloves, but actually gets them thoroughly clean. You can do things like add extra bleach and fabric softener manually as needed, it’s got all mechanical dials and switches, with no LED’s or touch sensors to be seen.
Other interesting aspects of this washer are its ability to use hot water straight out of the tap without diluting with cold water, a ‘quick’ 30 minute cycle is available, it runs very quiet, an ‘add water’ feature that gets around government water-saving restrictions, a manual soak that lets you soak clothes as long as you want to, and an extra rinse cycle feature.
You’re not getting a modern machine that’s designed to break down in a few years, in fact, the washer is tested by Speed Queen to last for 25 years and 10,000+ loads of laundry. And to back it all up you get a three-year manufacturer’s warranty and an extension to five years on the motor, and 10 on the transmission.
This is a high-end washer for the standards of this roundup and as such competes well with our top-rated Speed Queen model, although the Fisher Paykel WashSmart is a bit more modern in its design and construction, has a bigger tub, at 3.9 cubic inches, and is not quite as stubbornly minimalist.
The washer uses uniquely reliable ‘SmartDrive’ technology, which is made up of just three main parts: a brushless direct drive DC motor, a small computer and a flexible agitator, which makes it a robust tried and true design, that will do a bang-up job on your wash.
The WashSmart’s ‘SmartTouch’ controls are push-button based and let you choose from among five wash temperatures and six wash cycles. You can manually set the water level or let the machine set it for you automatically. The 22 pound capacity of its stainless steel washtub means you can fit a lot of clothes and save time and money, as you’ll be doing fewer loads. With the big tub, you’ll be able to fit bulky items in your wash.
An ‘Eco-Active’ wash cycle serves to increase the washer’s soil removal capability while saving on energy. It does this by using a cascade pattern to recirculate water and detergent through the clothes, getting rid of dirt and stains quickly and killing bacteria. The washer comes with five preprogrammed wash cycles to meet disperse clothing types and needs.
Additional features, like auto lint disposal, a durable powder coated steel top lid that’s resistant to corrosion and won’t chip and will let you open it and take a look at your wash while the machine is in operation (except when in a spin cycle). It’s counterbalanced so it’s ergonomically prepared for using your elbows or other body parts to maneuver. It also has a whopping 1,100 RPM spin speed for maximum wringing, so your wash will dry pretty quickly.
Fisher & Paykel stands behind this tough, durable washer with an extension to five years to its already generous two-year warranty on parts and labor.
#3: Haier HLP21N Pulsator 1-Cubic-Foot Portable Washer (Budget Pick)
The Haier HLP21N is a high-quality budget washer that is ideal for people with space problems and for those of us who are running tight on cash. It’s a compact unit that could be hidden away in a closet and rolled out as needed.
The stainless steel wash tub is tough and durable and since it doesn’t have an agitator it will fit more clothes than you’d expect from its one measly cubic foot. This is our top budget pick, not only because it’s the cheapest model in the roundup, but due to its combination of great features and space savings/portability.
It’s pretty quiet during operation but can be noisy during spin cycles, just make sure you use the adjustable caster wheel leveling feet with brakes to level up, or it will definitely get noisy.
It’s 700 RPM spin speed is pretty fast for such a small machine and will leave your clothes ready to dry without any drips. The machine takes on any kind of detergent, but you’ll have to manually add softener or bleach or use a Downey ball, as the dispensers are not automatic.
Some of the more interesting and valuable features of this small washer that make it particularly versatile are its three water levels and three wash cycles, a quick cycle option and wash only or spin only cycles. It has a clear plastic upper lid so you can monitor your wash as it’s cycling through. The clear status indicator LED’s are easy to see and it uses a sturdy push-button control panel and it has an aural end of cycle signal.
The washer is really simple to set up and you can get started washing in a couple of minutes. You don’t need special standard clothes washer plumbing, just screw the base plate on, connect the wheels, and connect the included fill and drain hoses. When you’re done, just roll the washer out of the way, as it’s manageable given its size and weighs in at only 43 pounds.
Haier provides excellent customer service and a two-year warranty on parts (one on labor), extending it to five on the cabinet and seven years on the stainless steel wash tub.
The Panda Compact Washer we review here is a budget portable machine that actually has quite a bit of capacity for its size at fifteen pounds per load. The machine is sturdy and versatile and does an excellent job on your wash with its stainless steel drum and quiet, fully automatic operation.
This machine is ideal for people with space problems, like apartment or condo owners, that don’t want to settle for a completely manual portable machine.
There’s no installation really necessary and you can hide it away in a closet and only take it out as needed using the included inlet hose and quick connect faucet adapter and just put the drain hose in the sink. It’s equipped with rollers in the back of the machine for easy portability.
The washer is made of sturdy panel steel, finished in plastic and has a clear see-through plastic lid, so you can monitor your wash’s progress. The control panel has tough push buttons and LED indicator lights. It’s equipped with a pulsator that varies the strength of water flow, alternating weak and strong flows. It has six completely automated wash cycles: normal, quick, cotton, jeans, anti-wrinkle and air dry.
The fact that it includes a pulsator and not the more traditional agitator vanes makes for less wear and tear on your clothes and a roomier drum, so you’ll be able to easily fit comforters, several pairs of jeans, and other items that you’d have trouble fitting in other small washers.
This Magic Chef top loader is on the higher end of the budget range for the washers on this roundup but is well worth the price considering its excellent space saving portability, a wide range of convenient features and a lightweight durable, sturdy construction. Its ‘3D waterfall’, filtering technology and plentiful wash cycle and water level selections mean you’ll have a full feature appliance with the convenience of a lost cost portable.
The machine has a modern, low-weight design, is easy to move around your house or apartment, and can be easily put away, although it does not come with wheels or casters. It has a low profile and cabinet handles and can be put away in a closet or other out of the way space.
It´s fully automated and has a pretty complete feature set, starting with a large washtub of 1.6 cubic feet, given its low profile, that can do a small family’s laundry at one go, a fast top spin speed of 800 RPM that gets rid of moisture from your clothes, leaving it ready to dry fast with no drips, six wash cycle settings (normal, jeans, quick, anti-wrinkle, heavy, and air-dry), and six water levels.
The Magic Chef’s indicator panel includes a time-remaining indicator to allow you do other things while you do the laundry and get back to it when it’s done and an end-of-cycle signal that will audibly tell you about it. It also has a delay start feature and an automatic soap dispenser that will put soap into the washtub during the right times of the wash cycle.
This is really convenient and allows you to leave your laundry and detergent inside your washer as you walk out the door and time its operation so that it will have been just washed as you walk back in from work or a from a trip.
Since it’s made by Speed Queen, you’ll be getting an industrial-strength commercial-grade steel cabinet and washtub that will take a lot pounding. It’s no accident that Speed Queen is one of the premium laundromat brands. It has a big 3.3 cubic foot drum with four wash cycles, a 210-degree agitator, and full tub wash and rinse feature that provides outstanding cleaning for your clothes.
The AWN432SP is built and tested to last for twenty-five years of daily use. The agitator works at 68 strokes per minute moving water through clothes and cleaning gently but steadily. The stainless steel tub is smooth and long-lasting to help your wash load get rid of dirt and spins up to 710 RPM to help get clothes ready for easy drying.
It’s an old-school mechanical control design that eschews electronic sensors and gizmos that tend to break down at the drop of a hat. You can open the lid at any time since its lid lock only shuts the door when the machine is in a spin cycle. It uses analog timers and water level sensors which are time-tested and reliable.
As we said about the AWN432S you’re not getting a modern machine that’s designed to break down in a few years, in fact, this washer is also tested by Speed Queen to last for 25+ and 10,000+ loads of laundry. And to back it all up you get a three-year manufacturer’s warranty and an extension to five years on the motor, and 10 on the transmission.
This Magic Chef 2.1 cubic feet top loader is very similar to the 1.6 cubic inch model we also review on this roundup. It’s a bit bigger, both in the amount of space it takes up, but also in the volume of clothes you can fit in, which can come in handy for a bigger family or if you just wash more clothes. It’s also a relatively inexpensive budget model and has a similar price as the smaller washer.
The washer has a wide range of convenient features and a lightweight durable, sturdy construction. The ‘3D waterfall’, filtering technology and plentiful wash cycle and water level selections mean you’ll have a feature-full appliance with the convenience and price of a lost cost portable.
The MCSTCW21W3 has a modern, low-weight design, is easy to move around your house or apartment, and can be easily put away, and comes with a pair of small wheels. It has a low profile and cabinet handles and you can conveniently put it away inside a closet or other out of the way place.
It´s fully automated and has a pretty complete feature set, a large 2.1 cubic feet washtub. It can do a typical family’s laundry in one go, six wash cycle settings (normal, jeans, quick, anti-wrinkle, heavy, and air-dry), and six water levels.
The Magic Chef’s indicator panel includes a time-remaining indicator to allow you do other things while you do the laundry and get back to it when it’s done and an audible end-of-cycle signal that will tell you about it. It also has a delay start feature and an automatic soap dispenser that will put soap into the washtub during the right times of the wash cycle.
This is a convenient feature which allows you to leave your laundry and detergent inside your washer as you walk out the door and time its operation so that it will have been just washed as you walk back in from work or a from a trip.
Front Load vs Top Load Washers
Before we start showing you our picks of washers we should go into the reasons why you might want to choose one that loads from the top rather than a front-load washing machine.
Both types of washers have similar dimensions, but height dimensions can vary because front loaders can be stacked and have their control panel on the front, rather than on top.
So you’ll typically stack your dryer on top of your front-load washer and thus be able to save floor space. If you don’t have space issues there’s no need to go for a front-loading washer.
Most top-loaders have somewhat larger drum sizes than front loaders, but since a lot of top loaders use a big plastic interior rod or agitator, you’d have to subtract the agitator’s volume, so the actual space available for your laundry load would actually be closer to that of a front loader’s clean interior.
However, many more modern top-loader designs actually use an impeller that takes up much less space than an agitator. Front-loaders don’t use either mechanism as they tumble-clean clothes. All in all, a top-loader will fit more clothes than a front-loader.
Other typical differences between top-loaders and front-load machines are that front-loaders tend to be a bit more expensive when comparing similarly sized and featured models, but front-loaders have higher average performance values.
Front-loaders can also be more efficient, using less water, on average, during cleaning cycles. Since front-load machines emulate hand washing more closely due to their tumbling clothes in an up and down motion, they are gentler on clothes and you’ll get less wear and tear.
Some aspects where top-load washers outdo front-loaders are ease-of-use in loading and unloading clothes or in adding items to cycle, they’re generally cheaper to buy, and their life expectancy and cost of parts and repairs tend to be cheaper. Front loaders are also known to more easily develop mold deposits at the doors. Check out our detailed post on Front Load vs Top Load Washers to know more and make the right choice.