Thread Number: 32999
The demise of toploaders
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Post# 496882   2/16/2011 at 16:16 (4,844 days old) by wringersteve ()        

I hope I'll be forgiven for bringing up a topic that is probably redundant on this site, but do you all think that top loading machines will REALLY be phased out in the U.S.? If so, then when do you think it would happen?

The reason I'm asking is that if this happens soon, then I suppose I should start thinking about purchasing a new Speed Queen toploader washer and matching dryer to replace my GE Hydrowave. My assumption is that the SQ's will outlast other current model toploaders on the market. Every time I stroll through the w/d sections of stores, it appears there are fewer and fewer toploading machines available.

Post# 496905 , Reply# 1   2/16/2011 at 18:40 (4,844 days old) by Haxisfan (Europe - UK / Italy)        
@ Wringersteve and Other Top Loader Users

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I'm also rather new on this forum and I'd actually like to see your views on this topic whether it's phased out or not... being particularly interested in appliances in general. We all have a natural inclination or preference for something rather than another and I often wonder whether I would like top loading American style washers: needless to say I don't feel any particular attraction for them... well... nowhere near the kind of attraction I experience with front loaders, yet... I haven't ever even seen one live... only in pictures or movies! I envy Americans (or any other top loading washer country/continent) in this respect as they at least have the choice between different style washers.

Also, there's probably not much to worry about energy/water consumption as to top loaders in comparison with front loaders nowadays seen the new high efficiency models available... b.t.w. could someone shed some light over the water consumption of a HE top loader? I'm interested to know how much water it uses for a full load and how much water it'd save when washing a small load... say... a quarter of the total capacity (suppose I want to wash my sweaty tracksuit, a t-shirt and some other small items for a total of approx 2kg/4lb). Thanks.

Post# 497007 , Reply# 2   2/17/2011 at 01:00 (4,844 days old) by dj-gabriele ()        

Hi guys! I too was interested in the topic and did some researching.
So far the only model of top loading, vertical axis machine I've seen sold in Europe is this Maytag washer. Whirlpool used to carry a laundry pair but don't anymore, instead they have a top loading horizontal axis machine now.

Searching around the net you can see the specs for it:

At 8,2 kg of capacity the machine is rated

"G" for energy use (it means more than 0,4kWh of energy per kg of laundry)
"D" for spinning efficiency (more than 70% of residual moisture)
"G" for washing ability

168 litres of water for a standard load.

Compared to any horizontal axis machine you can lower the water consumption of more than 100 litres for the same load and the energy/washing/spinning class would be A+/A/A.

Now I don't know if it is a HE version or traditional version of top-loading machine but given the price, the outrageous water and energy consumption and poor washing and spinning results, I'm sure they're going to discontinue it soon here in Europe as it costs twice than a standard front loader of the same capacity!

CLICK HERE TO GO TO dj-gabriele's LINK

Post# 497127 , Reply# 3   2/17/2011 at 12:19 (4,843 days old) by joe_in_philly (Philadelphia, PA, USA)        

joe_in_philly's profile picture
Does the test that determines the washing ability use a detergent formulated for a non-he type top load washer? Consumer reports said that when HE formulated detergents were used in a non-he washer, the results were not as good than if the proper detergent was used.

Post# 497131 , Reply# 4   2/17/2011 at 12:43 (4,843 days old) by paulc (Edinburgh, Scotland)        

paulc's profile picture
I have often wondered what kind of detergent was used in these test too. The cycle used to rate a machine is a 60 deg cotton wash, so I feel the "G" rating for wash ability is not a true reflection as US T/L avalible here do not have heaters.

My Aunty has a whirlpool US toploader and loves it, her washing is always spotless.

Post# 497132 , Reply# 5   2/17/2011 at 12:47 (4,843 days old) by dj-gabriele ()        

The detergent used is "reference detergent A*", standard for all the machines tested. It's low foaming, enzyme based, with optical brighteners and no oxygen bleach in it (to be added separately).

It's a standard introduced after the demise of phosphates, the previous formula had them and no enzymes.

Mind that in Europe "non HE" detergents never existed as the first automatic were front loaders or top loaders with a horizontal axis drum.
Even if the machine were to perform better with a "non HE" detergent, a jump of 7 classes is just not possible!

CLICK HERE TO GO TO dj-gabriele's LINK

Post# 497138 , Reply# 6   2/17/2011 at 13:27 (4,843 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        

From a cost standpoint in the usa, a entry TL 2 washer costs less than a FL washer.

Last year in shopping for sales, the lowest TL washer locally was 218 dollars and the lowest ever for a FL washer.

The average home has less than 2 folks here, thus a small 3.2 cuft Amana TL washer for 218 bucks on sale last summer gets the average Joe or Jane by.

Water costs here about a penny a gallon, a machine that uses 40 gallons costs 40 cents in water. That 0.63 kW energy consumption mentioned in the European Maytag is not much either; about 10 cents per load. The whole outlay/cost per load with soap and dryer is less than 1 dollar.

Even the cheapest most wastefull TL new washer costs radically less than driving to a coin laundromat and paying several dollars per wash.

Just to have a service guy come to ones house is 80 dollars, thus if the 218 bucks TL dies in 3 to 6 years you just buy another.

The average person washes 2.5 loads per week; thus that "wastefull" TL washer costs one 11 dollars or less per month. Many folks spend more than this each day in food, thus the washers operating cost is in noise.

One could buy a super FL washer for 600 bucks and save a mighty 5 dollars per month. Oh boy; that means in (600-218)/76 months or 6.3 years one breaks even. The aluminum spider might be broken before that time, thus the lowly low end TL washer for many folks in the usa is the cheapest cost. If one bought that super sale 349 buck FL washer the payback is better (349-218)/5= 26 months; about 2 years.

Post# 497164 , Reply# 7   2/17/2011 at 14:36 (4,843 days old) by liberator1509 (Ireland)        
Mind that in Europe "non HE" detergents never existe

Except they are in the UK and Ireland and still are - P&G and Unilever both make them. Twin tubs and automatic top loaders were popular in both countries.

The ratings are for efficiency NOT efficacy, so a G rated machine is quite capable of excellent results, just not efficiently. I have a G rated top loader (thought with a better spin-speed than the Maytag) and never have issues with results and I use a range of detergents (according to whim mainly) - Persil non-HE powder (non enzyme), Daz non-HE powder (bio), Persil non-Bio HE powder and Persil colour liquid and occasionally vanish oxi-bleach for whites. I have very clean laundry (and bigger energy bills I guess)!!

The Maytag TL is totally over-priced because Maytag UK are positioned as a top-end luxury brand (more upmarket than Miele) appealing to the large-house setting and available through specialist shops only. The Whirlpool equivalent is a deal cheaper. My only real issue is that Maytag don't seem to twig that the Bravos range would be even more appealing...

CLICK HERE TO GO TO liberator1509's LINK

Post# 497174 , Reply# 8   2/17/2011 at 15:18 (4,843 days old) by ronhic (Canberra, Australia)        

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To get good results with HE detergent in a standard Top Load machine, you really need to use twice as much to ensure the ingredient concentrations in the water volume are then need to factor in the short wash time.....

Post# 497176 , Reply# 9   2/17/2011 at 15:25 (4,843 days old) by kenmoreguy64 (Charlotte, NC)        

kenmoreguy64's profile picture
Steve -

Here's an idea for you: If you are already willing to consider a Speed Queen, why don't you just do it now, have the machine to enjoy, and sell your Hydrowave on Craigslist while you can get some decent money for it? You might be able to pay for a decent portion of the SQ cost. The SQ will likely well outlast the 'done-point' on your GE anyway. It has already broken once, right?

I think you'd enjoy the SQ and you'll have the purchase decision overwith and a good company standing behind their machine (in terms of warranty and support) for quite some time to come that you do not have now.

Toploaders in the U.S. still outsell front loaders. You see what you see in the stores because it's what stores want to offer, but it may not be a full vision of the total marketplace. As to how long TLs will be out there - probably as long as mfg companies are allowed to make them. Keep in mind that HE TLs will still be around after regulations take out a full-fill TL.


Post# 497177 , Reply# 10   2/17/2011 at 15:29 (4,843 days old) by Haxisfan (Europe - UK / Italy)        
Efficiency vs Efficacy?!?!!

haxisfan's profile picture
I appreciate the efficiency vs efficacy factor... although, it would all make sense if that particular appliance advertised in dj-gabriele's link above rated the machine 'G' for energy consumption and... 'A'... well, never mind 'A'... even 'C' or 'D' for wash performance. Maybe in order to obtain an 'excellent' performance out of these machines one has to seriously underload them! I don't know... it just doesn't make any logical sense to me... feel free anyone to shed some light on the subject.

One more thing, by not having a built in electric heater the user does not save a penny neither a cent nor a eurocent! There must be made some alternative arrangements to cater for the required hot water... and, unless someone is fortunate enough to have a solar panel system installed in their dwelling, they've got no choice but to rely on different means liable to a monetary charge. To make matters worse, in that scenario there would always be a share of hot water being wasted in the pipes before reaching the thirsty appliance.

By and large... the machine considered above as well as all the other machines mentioned so far in this thread with relative higher/lower specs have been traditional American style top loaders with a central agitator... has anyone any info on HE TL washers such a the GE with infuser or the Whirlpool Calypso as to how much energy and water they really use? Is Maytag Bravo an HE TL? Maybe some of you know a link to a site that give this kind of info. Laters.

Post# 497193 , Reply# 11   2/17/2011 at 16:20 (4,843 days old) by dj-gabriele ()        
Efficiency vs Efficacy?!?!! A clarification

The machine is tested both for energy use and washing ability that is, indeed, efficacy.

If the machine scored "G" in the standard test I can't see why it wouldn't be possible!

It did an inferior job with much more energy than a "traditional" front loader.

On this website I learned for the first time that people overseas soak and use additives all the time in their top loaders. I never did that, just dump clothes and detergent and I'm done. The stains are shifted without pretreating.
Now, mind that the eurolabel test is very tough so "normal" stains will be removed easily by any machine but the test patterns of dirt and their composition is way harder to defeat than normal dirt that one can have in their wash.
It must be noted that according to our consumer association 70% of the washloads done could be washed with no detergent and visually get no difference in cleanliness. You will only have the "clean" odour factor and bacterial ablation.

Another clarification about self heating and not self heating machine: as it was pointed out by Haxisfan, you won't save a single cent as the water, unless you have a solar collector, must be heated anyways! And if you want a double fill machine, front loaders have that too, our beloved Candy makes them, beloved Miele too and so does Indesit and Electrolux!

Now let's make a couple of calculations! (With the average Italian utility costs)

The Maytag, for a hot wash, would cost:

- 0,168 cubic metres of water x 1,50 per cubic metre = 0,25
of them roughly 1/3 must be heated (wash + 2 rinses)
- 56 litres x 45C (delta T from 15C) x 4,186 kJ/L/C = 10,549 MJ
1 kWh is 3,6 MJ, at 0,23 /kWh, the cost is
- 10,549 / 3,6 * 0,23 /kWh = 0,67
let's add the pure electrical consumption of the machine
- 0,63 kWh * 0,23 /kWh = 0,15

Dryer costs (assuming electric, full stated load, vented dryer, energy class "C")
Now you should note that the energy class is defined with a load with a residual moisture of 60% typical of a 1000 rpm machine.
We assume the figures to be 10% higher (like a 800 rpm machine) even if the spinning speed is only 650, but since the drum is bigger, the machine extracts like a 800 rpm one with a smaller drum (see the same "D" class for spinning typical of those machines)

Figures are:

- 0,67 kWh/kg * 8 kg = 5,36 kWh
let's add a 10% more because of the slow spin speed
- 5,36 + 10% = 5,90 kW/h
at the usual 0,23 /kWh
- 5,90 * .23 = 1,36

So using those machines, with electricity only, one would spend 2,43 excluding detergent.

Getting an equivalent sized front loader would cost

energy (including self heating of water to 60C)
- 1,36 kWh * 0,23 /kWh = 0,31
water used
- 0,060 cubic metres * 1,50 /cubic metre = 0,09

Drying it in the very same dryer as above but spun at 1400 rpm (44% of residual moisture vs circa 70%)

let's consider 10% less in energy use

- 8 kg * 0,67 kWh/kg -10% = 4,82 kWh
at the usual 0,23 /kWh it is
- 4,82 * 0,23 = 1,11

That all sums up to 1,51 to have your wash done (excluding detergent)

The difference is almost 1 per wash! And let's not forget that both water and electricity are tiered so using more of either drives the price up!
At 70 washes per year at 60 it is some 65 euros in difference!
I know that it is a wimpy amount compared to food! But you should consider that you're not wasting as many resources to accomplish the same thing.

Post# 497364 , Reply# 12   2/18/2011 at 08:31 (4,843 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        
us water rates

Here in the USA the stance has been since about 1940's that one places the FL wash close to the water heater. Then if one uses hot water for whites one gets a good direct short path to the washer.

In the USA a Natural gas water heater costs about 1/3 to run in operating cost versus an electric hot water heater. Thus those electric heaters in a new type FL washer are wasting energy, one pays about 3 times as much for heat from a heating coil versus a gas flame.

The tier for one of my businesses water bill is straight. My water usage last month was 2 thousand gallons. The bill was about 31 dollars, the bill includes 2X week garbage, waters and sewer.

The water is metered, the sewer part uses the same number off the water meters reading. The three constants (dollars per thousand gallons) that apply if one uses another 1000 gallons is 2.20 for watter, 4.12 for sewer, 4.40 dollars surcharge to due capital equipment ungrades. This means a 1000 extra gallons is 10.72 dollar, ie about 1.1 cents per US gallon. 1000 gallons is the smallest register the meter is read to; ie this is about 3785 litres. The monthly usage is typically about 1 to 2 k gallons, some months read 0, others 1 or 2.

If one does watering of plants one can have another water meter installed and thus the "sewer" part of the bill is dropped. Ie one saves 4.12 dollars per 1000 gallons ie 0.412 cents per gallon. Somebody who grows food at home or waters the lawn alot might do this. The issue is one then has to get another meter hooked up and this tends to be expensive, ie 400 to 1500 bucks. The meters are really only worth about 60 dollars. One really is paying for the labor and sort of a deposit and account settup charge.

If the new meter for irrigation only cost 600 dollars; one would have to use 600/0.412 K gallons to break even. ie 1,456,000 gallons, ie about 5.5 Million liters.

W@hen in Southern California whichs is basically a big desert, the water bill was stepped. One got a low rate if one used what a family needs for the basics. Once one used more than a certain amount the rate per gallon went a lot higher.

Post# 497403 , Reply# 13   2/18/2011 at 11:51 (4,842 days old) by ryanm (New York)        

I bought a Speed Queen Top load set about 3 years ago, and we love it. We in our household prefer a top load to front load for many various reasons. The Speed Queen is very gentle on clothes but cleans thouroughly. It's hand was cycle is great, and we have the ability to 'soak' if we wish. Many people I know her in the New York area prefer top load to front, but then there are those who like the front load too, it is truly a matter of preference. My friend who is in appliance sales at a large appliance store in my area claims the top load still outsell the front load by a considerable margin, most of their customers go for the top load. Several people I know have bought front loaders, then went back to top load as well. I personally prefer a top load, I feel nothing cleans like an 'agitator'. If it EVER comes to pass that top loads would dissapear, or Speed Queen would discontinue thier current design, I would rush out and buy another just to have it in the future, that is how much I prefer it over the rest.

Post# 497548 , Reply# 14   2/19/2011 at 06:14 (4,842 days old) by mrb627 (Buford, GA)        
Spin-Spray Rinsing

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I suspect we will eventually see the FS button on the control panel of the Whirlpool line of front loaders.  Opting for a spin-spray rinse as the default.   The big benefit to this would be a quicker rinse cycle.  Allowing the wash portion to be extended so the cold water detergents can work better.  Perhaps even the FS option would spray a fine mist of FS and water over the load during the last rinse.  Like FS and steam mixture.



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