Thread Number: 37388
Why are Top Loaders Cheaper than Front Loaders?
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Post# 555884   11/11/2011 at 08:07 (4,400 days old) by qualin (Canada)        

OK, Maybe it's a dumb question, but this has been bugging me.

Why are top loaders cheaper than front loaders even though top loaders are more mechanically complicated?

Is it just because they're more commonly built and built in bigger numbers? (Supply over demand)

A friend of mine has noticed that front loaders have come down in price.

Back in 2004, what I noticed:
BOL TL = About $300
TOL TL = About $800
BOL FL = About $1200
TOL FL = About $2500

BOL Conventional TL = About $300 (Regency/Inglis/Amana)
BOL Impeller TL = About $800
TOL Impeller TL = About $1200
BOL FL = About $600 (Inglis branded)
TOL FL = About $2500 (Miele branded)

So.. why is that?

My thought is the sheer amount of electronics you see in Modern machines may have something to do with it and heavily influence the price.

Opinions? Flames? etc?

Post# 555888 , Reply# 1   11/11/2011 at 08:26 (4,400 days old) by DirectDriveDave ()        

I'm thinking it's because when you open up a basic TL, it is much simpler inside, like the inside of a WP direct drive or any of the Maytag TL washers. Less was required to build them.

This is all just a guess.

Post# 555894 , Reply# 2   11/11/2011 at 09:40 (4,400 days old) by pierreandreply4 (St-Bruno de montarville (province of quebec) canada)        

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well for me in my case a top load washer is easyer for me to load and unload when it comes to washing clothes and there is also the fact that topload washers are easyer to start set the dial to the desired wash time pull the timer knob and voila and the wash time of a top loader is shorter than the wash time on a fl and the model in the picture when my duet set breaks will be the model that i will buy as a daily driver as well.

Post# 555904 , Reply# 3   11/11/2011 at 10:23 (4,400 days old) by pierreandreply4 (St-Bruno de montarville (province of quebec) canada)        
Also what influce the price is the cycles or option featured

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this all depends on the cycles or options offered on a washer thake as an exemple this topload maytag bravo washer, and here are the options and cycles it offers but for me in my case i do not see the use of a sanitize cycle.

Dependable Performance

Capacity: 4.5 cu. ft. I.E.C.*
Smooth Balance™ Suspension System with Superior Vibration Control (SVC)
PowerWash™ Cycle
Sensi-Care™ Wash System with IntelliClean™ impeller
QuietSeries™ 300 sound package
Add a Garment Indicator
Extra Rinse option
Whites Cycle
Cycles: 13
Auto Start-Up Electronic Controls

Dependable Performance
Maytag® Commercial Technology (MCT)
Every Maytag® washer features long-lasting, commercial-grade components for your home. MCT components found in Bravos® washers include the wash basket, drive system bearings and motor capacity. These durable components assure a long and dependable life for the product.

Smooth Balance™ Suspension System with Superior Vibration Control (SVC)
A reliable magnetic direct drive system, dual balance rings, four spring dampers and advanced balancing software—these washers operate smoothly. Vibration is minimized, making it ideal for upper-floor installation.

Power Wash Cycle
Extra cleaning action and a deep rinse tackles your dirtiest loads

Dependable Design
4.5 cu. ft. I.E.C.* Capacity
Easily handles large loads—With an unsurpassed 4.5 cu. ft. I.E.C.* capacity, this Bravos® washer is our largest washer ever.

Dependable Efficiency
ENERGY STAR® Qualified
Our most efficient top-load washers. They use 70% less water and 67% less energy than conventional top-loading washers.(*may depend on the area you are as each have diffrents water norme)

*Equivalent volume per I.E.C. International Standard, 4th Ed., based on 4.0 cu. ft. DOE measurement.

Dependable Durability

10-Year Limited Warranty on wash basket and motor
Maytag Commercial Technology (MCT)
Wide Opening Lid with SmoothClose™ Hinge
Stainless Steel wash basket
Commercial capacity, direct-drive infinite speed motor
Zinc-coated, tuned leveling legs
Commercial-grade glass window

Dependable Efficiency

ENERGY STAR® Qualified
MaxExtract™ Extended Spin Option
Automatic detergent, bleach and fabric softener dispensers

*Equivalent volume per I.E.C. International Standard, 4th Ed., based on 4.0 cu. ft. DOE measurement.

but me in my case i am sticking to a classic top load washer with agitator like the inglis washer pictures in my last post.

Post# 555915 , Reply# 4   11/11/2011 at 11:41 (4,400 days old) by laundromat (Hilo, Hawaii)        

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I think that there are many reasons for the front loaders being a bit more including the cost of retooling the many factories and assembly lines used to manufacture them. Remember, front loaders were not that popular in the U.S. due to companies like P&G trying to brainwash all of us that suds get your clothes clean. their marketing proved that when their ads for products like Tide advertised saying "Oceans of suds" on their packages.Suds in front loaders retard (slow down) the washing process (tumbling) and can break the washers.So, by the 1960's,early 1970's,Westinghouse was the only brand of front loading washers available in the U.S. however, there were many more being made overseas and they were the most popular style in Europe, Asia, and the far east.because of that, most of the "bugs" they had were fixed and many companies there gained sales as well as popularity.Because of that and WCI being dethroned by Electrolux who built a brand new factory in '95 solely for their new front loaders,the competitors also retooled their lines bringing their own version out. I predicted this way back in the early 80's. I think john and Tom remember me talking about it back then. I actually had written a long letter to Frigidaire telling them to reintroduce the front loaders Westinghouse made. Six years later, the new ones arrived and the rest is all history. The companies like Whirlpool, Maytag and GE had to retool or open new factories to meet the demand and now they all have their own versions of their new products.They used that to increase the profit claiming it was more expensive to make them.I don't see how a machine with fewer parts, no transmission and cheaper,plastic parts can be justifiably more expensive to make.

I,myself, have noticed just recently that U.S. detergents like Tide, Gain, and Wisk that are not HE don't make half the bubbles or suds they did a year ago. I wonder if anyone here has noticed that. I deliberately poured 2 measuring cups of Tide with Bleach in my Miele and got almost no suds.has P&G finally given up on high sudzing detergents? Lets only hope.

Post# 555922 , Reply# 5   11/11/2011 at 12:02 (4,400 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Anything costs more when it is a new product. When top loaders first came out, Bendix was able to say that their machines cost less and they did because they were already an old & relatively simple design compared to a top loader and the company was not trying to pay back borrowed money for investments in design and tooling up to build the washer. Unfortunately, they had made their wad and sat back on their butts and did not keep the machine competetive mainly because the AVCO folks were not interested in maintaining a line of appliances when they discovered that vastly greater amounts of money could be made far more easily in the defense industry. Over time, the volume of production drove down the cost of top loaders, just like it does most everything else. So you look at the costs involved in designing a new FL and, if you are Maytag, redesigning many of the flaws out of the original design or, if you are Whirlpool, finding a place in Europe or later, Mexico where labor is cheaper and transportation distances and costs are lower to build the machines to import, or if you are GE, finding a place in China to build the models you don't just buy and rebadge from someone else. If you are WCI and can't find a hole with your finger in it, you go to Italy for help and wind up with a machine where one of the bolts that holds the tub weights in place will punch through the expensive timer if the tub lurches hard while going into spin. With foreign production, you have staggering transportation costs and the exchange rate to worry about, but because trade agreements made it possible, you don't have to pay American workers salaries or benefits and, if you are really lucky and find a third world or desperate second world place to build them, you don't have to worry about safety or pollution. If you are other manufacturers in Asia, you have to buy these machines and copy the design and fight patent infringement lawsuits. The electronics are the cheapest part to make; not necessarily the most durable, but comparatively, the cheapest.

The nice thing for US corporations, until very recently, is that most of the money made in selling these machines goes to the important people who control the wealth in the corporation. It does not get "soiled" or diminished by being recirculated through factory workers' hands. So history repeats itself. Just as at the beginning of the laundering industry in this country at the end of the 19th century, once again Asians play a large part of our laundering; not all Chinese by any means and not by hand, but Asians nonetheless through the equipment.

Post# 555937 , Reply# 6   11/11/2011 at 14:01 (4,399 days old) by hoover1100 (U.K.)        
Why are Top Loaders Cheaper than Front Loaders?

'cos front loaders are better?

*ducks and runs!*

Post# 555939 , Reply# 7   11/11/2011 at 14:37 (4,399 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Historically H-Axis Washers Have Always Cost More

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Than top loading versions.

The R&D that goes into designing a water tight system that not only can keep the water and clothing inside a horizontal drum, then various safety,protection, stablisation systems and so forth. Even with say only 11lbs of dry laundry once wet you've got quite potential mass there suspended on that central bearing and the machine must last severaldaily duty cycles over a decent amount of time (in theory) to give customer satisfaction.

Top loading washers basically have a tub and central beater.Aside from the seals neath the agitator to keep water from leaking you have a pretty basic machine.

Will give you as designs settled into customer demand Europe went one way and the USA another. So after awhile since manufacturers on each side of the pond were by and large producing only one type of machine, economies of scale took over.

Expensive as some think domestic front loaders are, price even the smallest commercial/laundromat unit, they are *quite* dear. However such machines are designed to withstand heavy use/abuse and can be totally serviced including torn down and rebuilt.

Post# 555940 , Reply# 8   11/11/2011 at 14:41 (4,399 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
And Another Thing

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For at least American washer makers there were few ways of designing early front loader that got around Bendix's patents. Appliance makers must have figured "why bother" with all that extra costs and put their R&D into taking top loading washers to new heights.

From the simple wringer washers the USA saw a huge variety of top loading washers including "odd" designs such as the Frigidare "Jet Action" thumpers to the wiggle disk of Philco-Bendix

Post# 555942 , Reply# 9   11/11/2011 at 14:55 (4,399 days old) by arbilab (Ft Worth TX (Ridglea))        

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I could have got a near-TOL TL and new dryer for what I paid for a BOL FL. Neptune was even more, more troublesome, and my FL policy is "no window, no sale".

Even when Westinghouse FLs had a transmission they were no more expensive than a GE TL and cheaper IINM than a Frigidaire TL. FL suspensions are a little more complex but suspension is only one system, doesn't justify doubling the price of the product.

Other than that, both have motors, pumps, valves, controls (electronic or clockwork), cabinets, bearings, tubs.

So why ARE FLs more expensive? Because they can be? AKA, "market forces"?

Post# 555952 , Reply# 10   11/11/2011 at 15:22 (4,399 days old) by brummybear (Birmingham uk)        
UK and US cost of front loders and top loders

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I just did a totaly unscientific comparason on Amazon US and Amazon UK your front loders are about the same price here in the UK. But the American top loaders available here cost a lot moor.

Post# 556016 , Reply# 11   11/11/2011 at 20:56 (4,399 days old) by pierreandreply4 (St-Bruno de montarville (province of quebec) canada)        
for anyone s' infos a top load cleans better than a fron

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for one thing a top load washer wash better than a front load washer since for one thing the clothes are submerge in water and agitated with sends the detergent in the fiber of the clothes i am going off topic for a sec but i have a 95 year old aunt in my family that has a top load washer this model to be precise brand inglis liberator and she knows nothing of electronics or computer so trying to teach her on using a front load washer or one of these newer top load washers with electronic controls she would not even understand since she knows nothing of computers well back to the topic at hand me i know for 1 thing is when my actual set breaks i will be buying as a daily driver the model i pictured in my Post# 555894, Reply# 2 with the matching dryer and do not forget that the choice of a washer depends on the person using it and for my family i am the 1 doing the washing.

Post# 556046 , Reply# 12   11/11/2011 at 23:28 (4,399 days old) by qualin (Canada)        

Thanks for the input everyone. I've had my questions answered.

Post# 556071 , Reply# 13   11/12/2011 at 04:22 (4,399 days old) by Haxisfan (Europe - UK / Italy)        
Still in time to have my say?

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Hi qualin...

I know you had your question answered, I hope I'm still allowed to put in my 5p worth.

Apart from all the other potential reasons already mentioned on this thread, marketing, existence of suspension system, etc, my contribution to this is about the involvement of more labour required to build a front loader and the need for more advanced engineering in order to achieve gravity management. Immagine what would happen if you decided to lean your top loader on its side and let it operate against gravity. Hence stronger supporting system for a heavy laod of wet clothes being lifted and dropped in a tumble fashion.

To get an idea of how sturdy a front load structure must be, try to spin the drum by hand with a full load of soaked clothes (If you have a front loader) and see how heavy this is... that's how hard your front loader works... and it does it for hours!

Enough from me... see ya ;-)

Post# 556211 , Reply# 14   11/13/2011 at 00:28 (4,398 days old) by qualin (Canada)        

Thanks Hax. You do bring up a very good point. The suspension system in a top loader is quite different than a front loader and for that I could see some additional cost there.

My parents old GE Filter-Flo actually just used a pulley system which held the outer tub in place with cables tied to springs. Every front loader I've seen either uses shocks or springs.

One thing I will say is that the one thing I've noticed is that top loaders typically come with a 1/3 HP motor, but top loaders come with 1 HP motors. That says something right there.

Post# 556234 , Reply# 15   11/13/2011 at 04:47 (4,398 days old) by Haxisfan (Europe - UK / Italy)        
Thanx Qualin!

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I'm happy you're answered, you made my comment fit in with the rest ;-)

I'm not up on HP in relation to electric motors... but I guess '1' means higher power compared to 1/3? Yet, I can think of good reasons for putting a powerful motor in a TL too... immagine those users who overload them (although it's a no no), they're still going to need some good power to move the agitator through the clothes!

By contrast an overloaded FL might even require less power to turn and keep turning as the weight of the clothes is all lumped up equally... and tumble action would be very reduced: perhaps the hardest situation would be with a 3/4 drum of clothes (or less) and 1/3 drum of water as the tumble action would require quite some strength to occur (and it's the most effective cleaningwise).

That's why you Americans build massive front loaders... in order to allow enough space for clothes to wash in the shortest possible time.


Post# 556363 , Reply# 16   11/13/2011 at 16:50 (4,397 days old) by qualin (Canada)        

Hi Hax.

Yeah, there certainly is a different design philosophy with European vs American Front Loaders.

I can certainly tell you that judging by the sizes of European washers, Europeans would tend to do lots of small loads as needed, probably just before starting lunch or dinner...

Whereas Americans just let the laundry pile up and when there's nothing to wear, they jam as much as they can into the machine and want to do as few loads as possible to get the washing done ASAP.

Not to mention, the fascination with stuffing King Sized Comforters into their machine without having to go to a Laundromat or Dry Cleaner...

I can tell you that growing up in a family of five, my father wished we could have afforded one of those gigantic 50 lb bolt down washers you see at the Laundromat. Yes, I admit, we were lazy.. Laundry would pile up to waist high levels in the laundry chute. (It was about a 3 feet wide and about 12 feet high.) By the time we finally got around to it, it was pretty much an all day affair.

I know... I know... we should have done it more frequently, but I ended up taking charge of the laundry and between school, studying and doing things that teenagers do as they're growing up, laundry was near the bottom of my priorities.

Getting back on topic... I kind of wonder though, what kinds of compromises are made when you have a washer which has a tub which is 5.0 cu.ft in size, but the washers at the laundromat with the same tub size have a cabinet size which is nearly double what the home washer is! (Does that make sense?)

Post# 556564 , Reply# 17   11/14/2011 at 17:03 (4,396 days old) by Haxisfan (Europe - UK / Italy)        
I'm getting changed as I type this message :-)

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I see where you're coming from in what you're saying... that would make me a true European for sure! Yes... I often find myself hopping on one leg trying to get out of my clothes while my index finger prepares to press the start button on the washer! You got it... a pair of trousers and a shirt are good enough for me to have a load!

Perhaps I can accept that as a general statement but it's not really that simple. Yes it might apply to me... but from what I've seen so far... each person around here seems to have their own laundry habits! I'm not even consistent with it myself... you might sometimes find me doing umpteen micro loads and other times, all of a sudden, stuffing the washer silly as I realize that the wash hamper got fuller than expected... ouch... heavy... help!

Still, my washer wouldn't pair with an oversized American FL even when run at its fullest: naturally that means infinite wash times, which I don't personally mind cos' when I run into this kind of situation, I set the washer the night before to run a couple of hours before I get up.

Having said that... I feel that the real reason for having bigger FLs in the States is due the the fact that you folks are used to the quicker wash times of a TL, so your FLs must be bigger to accomodate the same quantity of laundry and return peak results in the shortest possible time (which would still be longer compared to a TL). I am sure there are other reasons... and this is the beauty of these many cultural exchanges made possible by this forum ;-)

Now I managed to derail totally: I didn't mean to sabotage this thread... too badly :-P

Post# 556574 , Reply# 18   11/14/2011 at 17:27 (4,396 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Standard 5kg/11lb Front Load Washers

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Were long seen by a majority of American consumers as "too small" for their purposes.

Malber, Miele, Bosch, Asko, Equator et al all had limited sucess selling units and none really achieved any deep market share equal to say Whirlpool or Maytag.

The long cycle times plus *small* capacity simply turned Americans off. Mind you as most of us know and those Americans who tried found out you can fit quite allot into a 5kg machine, still the washers lost points. Even Consumer Reports often dinged such machines because they didn't hold as much as a top loader.

European and UK housewives long ago adapted to doing the wash daily or as often as required to keep up with demand. Also the small size of 5kg washers allow for installation in kitchens and other areas. This is a boon to those living in tight quarters that often made up many UK/European homes without dedicated laundry areas.

American housewives OTHO have still clung to the washdays of their grand or great grandmothers. That is the stuff is saved up for a week or so and one big wash day is set aside to get the thing out of the way. For that you need washing machines able to hold large amounts of laundry and or very quick cycles; that is right up top loader's street. This why you see all the various designs of "HE" top loading washing machines.

From what one understand uber-sized front loaders do not sell well in the UK/EU, consumers don't see the need.

Post# 556733 , Reply# 19   11/15/2011 at 08:37 (4,396 days old) by pierreandreply4 (St-Bruno de montarville (province of quebec) canada)        
The choices bewteen a topload washer and front load washer a

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the choice between a top load washer and front load depends on the use like if i take as an exemple a family of 2 that wash every day or a family with young children that needs to wash every day or have to soak clothes over night because of stains on the clothe the choice would go for a topload washer du to the fact that the washer dial as the option depending on the model of having a 6 minutes agitation wash time on the dial or 2 or 3 minutes(Short wash) for top load washers depending on the brand of the top load washer compare this to a front load washer that has a 1:04 minutes wash time for me in my case thats way to long and why have on a washer a heavy duty cycle or whitest white cycle when the normal cycle has the same effects as these cycles? if you look closely at the picture included there are not that many cycles on the washer and it do not change anything in cleaning power of the washer.

Post# 556773 , Reply# 20   11/15/2011 at 11:04 (4,396 days old) by iheartmaytag (Wichita, Kansas)        

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Here's the way it was 'splained to me:

Front Loaders cost more because they have a more complex set of seals and balance system. 

Front Loaders cost more because American manufacturers are still re-cooping the cost of development.

Front Loaders cost more because they put more bling on them to get people to pay more.


Top Loaders take less time to do a cycle, but use more water in doing so.  As I was told, a FL machine takes about twice as long to do one load as a TL machine, but it holds twice as much, so in the end it's doing the same amount of clothes in the same time frame, and using less water and energy to boot.



Post# 556778 , Reply# 21   11/15/2011 at 11:39 (4,396 days old) by aladude ()        
I don't post very often but...

Hey pierreandreply4... I would just like to point out that you've posted that picture in threads 37338, 37342, and 36855, as well as twice in the current thread.

Furthermore you similarly posted a photo of an estate pair in 37235, 36815, and three times in 36855.

In the nicest and most friendly way possible, I am trying to say that we get it.

Post# 556819 , Reply# 22   11/15/2011 at 14:44 (4,395 days old) by Hunter (Colorado)        
Consumer Reports and FL machines

When I had my euro sized Asko, Consumer Reports said that its capacity was small because it only held 5 pounds of laundry.

Funny last I noted 5kg was WAY more than 5pounds.

And laundromat machines don't hold much more than 8-9 pounds.

Just incredible. And uninformed people believe them.

Post# 556831 , Reply# 23   11/15/2011 at 15:23 (4,395 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Laundromat Front Loaders

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Most brands such as SQ, Dexter, Wascomat etc start at 5kg or so but go up to 50lbs or greater.

Indeed the greatest trend in laundromat business these days are washers from 18lbs, 25lbs and those 50lb behemoths. This his happening for several reasons.

One, many customers like bringing in huge loads and bunging the lot into one washer rather than run several smaller loads in different machines. This includes local businesses such as dog kennels, vet offices, dry cleaners without their own capacity of washers/dryers etc...

Larger washers also allow the processing of huge bulky items like duvets, car mats, pillows and so forth by both in house wash/fold service and customers.

One problem is that many laundromats often upgrade and or install uber-sized washers but fail to add dryers that can accomodate those loads. While it may not be a problem splitting up 50lbs of laundry into many dryers, duvets and other large bulky items really do need more than than the standard pocket dryers to be done properly.

Post# 556846 , Reply# 24   11/15/2011 at 16:31 (4,395 days old) by sudsmaster (SF Bay Area, California)        

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It's because the front loaders are made in the USA and the top loaders are made in Canada.


Seriously, the top loaders are old, proven technology. Even with the new restrictions on water use and temperature, they are still cheaper to make than most front loaders, esp the BOL ones, with plastic wash baskets and paper thin sheet metal cabinetry. To get a good wash a front loader needs to work smarter than a top loader, and this costs money for R&D and electronic controls.

Post# 556869 , Reply# 25   11/15/2011 at 18:40 (4,395 days old) by pierreandreply4 (St-Bruno de montarville (province of quebec) canada)        
Top loaders are not old

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Top loaders are not old tech they are a better choice compare to front load washers at least for me as a top load washer you can control the water level depending on the load and they are also low price perfect for those that can not afford to buy a fl washer and the trouble with front load washer for those that suffer from arthrits in the back or tend to have occasnal muscle pain a top load you can unload the clothe standing up and there is also no door seal to clean and here is a quote of my last post try to teach an 95 year elder thats knows nothing on how to use a computers she would not know much about a washer with electonics controls if she do not know how to use a computer since an electronic control board is like a computer.

Post# 556878 , Reply# 26   11/15/2011 at 19:13 (4,395 days old) by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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You keep saying that about frontloaders with electronics being difficult to use, but I don't understand why.  How hard is it to push a cycle selection button (or turn a dial as the case may be) and press a Start button?  Majority of consumers use the cycle defaults so there's nothing else needs to be set, and all frontloaders adjust the water level automatically.  My grandmother, who only made it to third grade before an evil stepfather pulled her out of school, caught on to using an electronic F&P washer with no trouble ... Press Regular (which I marked with red tape) and Start (blue button), simple as that.

Post# 556889 , Reply# 27   11/15/2011 at 20:21 (4,395 days old) by pierreandreply4 (St-Bruno de montarville (province of quebec) canada)        

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i am talking about someone in my family thats 95 years old and for me what i do not like about front loaders for anyone asking its the long wash time and the fact that i need to set the water temp to cold each time witch should of been the default water temp from the start and the long wash time is also a complete waste of engergy in my book.AND THEY LEAVE MY CLOTHES FULL OF WRINKLES 100% of the time witch forces me to rewash if my clothes have to much wrinkles compare to my old 1993 topload washer that i had my clothe came out wrinkle free sorry for the all caps

Post# 556893 , Reply# 28   11/15/2011 at 20:35 (4,395 days old) by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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My grandmother will be 93 in January.

Post# 556921 , Reply# 29   11/15/2011 at 22:22 (4,395 days old) by powerfin64 (Yakima, Washington)        

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someone report Pierre to Robert. This is completely Ridiculous posting.

Post# 556953 , Reply# 30   11/16/2011 at 04:42 (4,395 days old) by qualin (Canada)        

Hi Pierre. I would have mailed you privately, but it looks like you are a basic member.

I don't really appreciate how you've been thread jacking. This is the third thread where I've asked a valid question and you've jacked it with the same rhetoric.

This thread was about why Front Loaders are more expensive than Top loaders, not how they are better. (Or not.) If I wanted to listen to a sales person, I'd go to an appliance store.

It is considered to be very very bad netiquette to jack other peoples threads with a topic very different than what was being discussed.

If you really want to discuss it in depth, create your own thread and spout your rhetoric there... and if people ignore it, live with it instead of continuing to jack other threads with the same damn pictures over and over again.

So, to put it bluntly, Aladude has mentioned it and now I'm mentioning it and now Powerfin is calling for your ban. Smarten up and think twice before you post, ask yourself if you have anything worthwhile to contribute to a thread before you post.

This post was last edited 11/16/2011 at 05:02
Post# 556954 , Reply# 31   11/16/2011 at 05:00 (4,395 days old) by qualin (Canada)        

To Sudsmaster:
> It's because the front loaders are made in the USA and the top loaders are made
> in Canada.

With the dollar almost at parity, that does make me scratch my head. :) Personally, I do wish there was a company based out of Canada which made appliances. The closest we have I believe is Bombardier, but they make everything you wouldn't want to buy. (No, I don't own a Snowmobile. :) )

> Seriously, the top loaders are old, proven technology.

Well, if you count the old 1910-era Wringer Washers being "Top Loaders", then yeah, I would definitely say that is old technology. :)

> esp the BOL ones, with plastic wash baskets and paper thin sheet metal
> cabinetry.

I have to admit, those make me cringe. The first time I saw a top loader with a plastic basket, I nearly cringed in horror. It's bad enough the agitator is made from plastic, (As opposed to?) but that's really environmentally unfriendly, not to mention IMHO not very hygienic.. I mean, I wouldn't buy a plastic toilet...

The thin metal cabinetry makes me wonder about the frame inside of the washer, wether or not they've cut corners on that as well, so that over time, things become misaligned due to the vibration of the tub from spins and such.

>To get a good wash a front loader needs to work smarter than a top loader, and
>this costs money for R&D and electronic controls.

Good point. One thing I have noticed a lot is that front loaders do come with a lot more "Bells and Whistles" as far as being able to select things electronically. I guess it doesn't help either they throw in frills like VRT and Powerfoam, etc, etc.

Agree with all of you on the R&D part. I can see why American manufacturers are trying to recoup their R&D costs, because nobody made large capacity front loading consumer targeted machines before and they do have to stand up to a lot of vibration, water, chemicals, etc.

To Launderess:

I do agree, it was one of the reasons why I would go into a laundromat.. Stuffing some huge item into a 50 lb'er because there's no way it would fit into the top loader. I can see how that is an expensive proposition for a laundromat too. These machines just do not come cheap. I seem to recall hearing from a laundromat owner about how a Wascomat Triple Loader set him back $12k..


And finally to Pierre:

My Top Loader has 28 cycles and an incredible amount of options to choose from. My Front loader has 6 cycles and only really five options to choose from. I kind of figured since I paid $830 for this washer when I bought it new, I was paying around $500 to have all of those extra options available to me. If I had decided to go with a MOL or BOL washer, I would have been looking at around the $300-$500 mark for a machine.

So no, they're not always easier to operate than a front loader. :) That's beside the point though.. the point I was making is that electronics certainly do bring up the price of a machine, that's for sure.

Post# 556967 , Reply# 32   11/16/2011 at 07:09 (4,395 days old) by mrb627 (Buford, GA)        

mrb627's profile picture
It certainly seems that more than enough R&D is being put towards the TL market these days. But it seems that for the most part, the research is towards how to make the machines cheaper and the life span shorter.


Post# 557038 , Reply# 33   11/16/2011 at 13:11 (4,395 days old) by whitetub (Montreal, Canada)        

I am skeptic about the R&D making the price higher. Front-loading washers have been around for a very long time. Since the fifties, if not longer. I think the manufacturers see that people want them, that they are trendy. And they use less water. And they are trying to convince people that the money they will save by using them will pay for the price difference in the long run. It's a marketing scheme. I am not biased against the FL, I own one myself.

And the reason why the traditionnal top loaders are so cheap. Nobody wants them anymore. The only way to sell them is to lower the price.

Just like the flat screen tv's and the bubble tv's.

That's my theory.

Post# 557489 , Reply# 34   11/18/2011 at 02:01 (4,393 days old) by qualin (Canada)        

To Malcolm:

It seems to me that applies to any industry. Cost cut until you can't sell product, come out with something new that doesn't suck and then cost cut again until it does. Such is the way of the beancounter vs Engineer. (GM and Mopar come to mind here right away.)

What boondoggles me is just how much more expensive washplate style washers are over conventional top loaders, even though it's nearly the same technology but without a lot of the bits a traditional top loader would have.. like a ratcheting auger on the agitator, transmission, etc, etc. Maybe it's the electronics?

To Whitetub:

I think you are fairly correct. Back in 2004, new large capacity front loaders were fairly new and hence more expensive. Again, maybe supply vs demand...

Post# 557611 , Reply# 35   11/18/2011 at 14:46 (4,392 days old) by arbilab (Ft Worth TX (Ridglea))        

arbilab's profile picture
Maybe it's the electronics?

I've been in that business. That $150 board it costs to replace can't cost more than $20 to make. Not much design work either, the design is mostly dictated by the chipset, just copy it off the spec sheet. The only work that goes into it is hiring a programmer to write the code and it doesn't take a very advanced programmer to write washer code. These days, marketing determines what they want the machine to do, they email that to a programmer in India making 1/3 what a US engineer costs.

Post# 557950 , Reply# 36   11/20/2011 at 02:40 (4,391 days old) by qualin (Canada)        

That still kind of blows me away that washing machines need software. I mean, it is understandable, but it makes me wonder how complex the software is in modern machines.

Post# 557954 , Reply# 37   11/20/2011 at 02:54 (4,391 days old) by arbilab (Ft Worth TX (Ridglea))        

arbilab's profile picture
Sequential-machine firmware is the easiest to write. I'm not even a professional coder and I can do it.

If you want your whole panel to be buttons, displays, and no clockwork, firmware is unavoidable. It's by no means necessary for laundry. Clockwork timers got clothes perfectly clean. My washer is clockwork and I have no complaints about it. Clockwork tends to be more reliable than electronics. Or at least, washers tended to be more reliable in the clockwork days than in the firmware days. Eh?

But to an extent, buyers want digital displays and program buttons they don't even understand. I sure the hockeysticks can't explain that. I'm an engineer not a marketer.

Post# 558145 , Reply# 38   11/20/2011 at 18:17 (4,390 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Every Type of Washing Machine

launderess's profile picture
Has it's virtues and will produce clean and sanitised laundry if the thing is done correctly.

Whilst one adores the Miele and indeed all front loaders (built in heater preferred), there are times when one wants more control over what one is washing and or the load isn't well suited.

For instance when one has large or small numbers of all the same items such as napkins, then a front loader may *not* be the best choice. A proper load for both cleaning and spin distribution in such a machine consists of a varied load. Often when doing napkins by the third or fourth rinse things end up horribly unbalanced during the following spin.

Happily one has the Hoover TT and Whirlpool TL (amoung others) to get things done. For large amounts of napkins with today's modern detergents can soak them overnight and they are practically clean. Then it's off into the Hoover or Whirlpool mainly for rinsing and spinning dry. Items requiring more heavy duty cleaning can be boiled in my range top lessiveuse,followed by rinsing as above.

There are also times one does not wish nor require the endless cycles and buckets of time the Miele takes to do a wash.

Post# 558220 , Reply# 39   11/21/2011 at 03:49 (4,390 days old) by Haxisfan (Europe - UK / Italy)        
If I may... I don't quite agree there :-O

haxisfan's profile picture
@ Launderess: I found that a front loader is suitable for anything in my book.

I've washed anything possible and imaginable in my front loader of any size and shape and no once I've experienced an imbalance drama or any issues of any sort. Wash times are adjusted accordingly not just by the software but also by the intervention of the user. E.g. I'm likely to use a short cycle or options such as the 'time saver' facility if I've got a small load.

I don't understand the bit about the out of balance issue... surely that becomes a real problem in a TL as the items are sitting at the bottom of a kinda turntable and the don't have a chance to reshuffle (unless you do it manually)... a FL instead has the ability to rearrange the articles as many times as necessary. Things become are little more complicated when proportions are not worked out properly, some trouble related to balance is more likely to happen within such structures which bear huge drums in confined spaces... which is increasingly the case nowadays over here too: manufacturers offering bigger capacity FLs while maintaining the same size cabinet.

I guess we can generalize to an extent but it all depends on the specific machine we're dealing with no matter whether it's an FL or a TL: some machines are not as flexible as others. For example I would utterly abhor a FL which doesn't allow for some kind of leeway in wash times and temperatures... having said that, most of them do but extremely basic ones.

Sorry for going off-topic again :-P


Post# 558222 , Reply# 40   11/21/2011 at 04:31 (4,390 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
My Miele Is An Older W1070

launderess's profile picture
And while "electronic" it only tries a few times to balance a load then it's off.

Washing large amounts of napkins or other items of all the same size is generally not recommended for front loaders. Things tend to ball up and or otherwise do not make for proper washing.

All of our table linen is just that pure linen, some of it of the older heavy variety. Once that lot gets wet it does become quite heavy and often as stated above the washer ends up unbalanced. It will spin but shakes and vibrates. One supposes new motherboard controlled washers have ways to avoid this, but I wouldn't know about that.

The Whirlpool TL is actually less sensitive to unbalanced issues especially with loads of all the same size items. Then again there is less tangling going on and the basket merely has to push items to the side as it spins.

For various reasons one prefers to launder linen outside of a front loader, so don't mind using the FL or TT. Have even been known to wash my huge vintage French linen/hemp sheets in a wash tub.

Post# 558270 , Reply# 41   11/21/2011 at 10:21 (4,390 days old) by PassatDoc (Orange County, California)        

Where I live, rebates from the water district and the gas company can amount to $150 or more, thus blurring the price point difference between FL and TL. However, to get these rebates, a washer must now be considered "Tier III" in water efficiency. An EnergyStar designation in and of itself does not qualify for a rebate.

My FL, Frig 2140, is still in production and now can be had for $400 or less...but it no longer qualifies for a rebate [though it did when purchased in early 2006]. A very basic machine, with a few features missing that I wish I had (ATC and variable delay wash between the chief two), but it's rugged, has gone nearly six years with zero issues* or repairs, and washes everything nice and clean except for king-sized comforters, which require a trip to the laundromat. Has all the cyles I need: heavy, normal, perm press, delicate, handwash, and sport (for synthetic athletic clothes). A new larger machine (4.4+ cu ft) probably could handle a king comforter.

The newer FLs, the ones that qualify for the $150 in rebates, all seem to be priced higher, so I wonder if---at least in our area---the retailers build the expected rebates into the sales price and thus sell the rebate models for more. Paying the base price, you'd probably never recoup the price difference between newer and older models in terms of utility savings, but with the rebate thrown in, maybe you would save (at least a little...).

I think the other issue, at least in USA, is that the water use standards have tightened under government mandate. Several years ago, the wash quality of mass-produced TLs in USA (I don't mean HE TL but traditional agitator TLs) declined to the point were Consumer Reports could not recommend ANY of them because none of them washed satisfactorily: they simply used too little water to wash and rinse the clothes. They rated TLs that year (c. 2008) but gave none of them a Recommended or Best Buy designation. I think poor CR ratings (used by many consumers, even if their system has limitations for more knowledgeable consumers such as readers) plus the known issues of higher water and energy (to heat the water) are enough to depress the prices.

Having been a house guest in Europe numerous times, to me it seemed that clothes just felt cleaner when washed in a FL in Europe vs. a TL at home. When my FL was first installed, I ran a load of already clean clothes (hanging in the closet) without any detergent. I stopped the machine mid-cycle and saw SUDS in the water---leftover residue from having been washed in my TL, which did not have an Extra Rinse option---no way it could compete with three rinses after the wash in my FL. I am not sure if all consumers know about this issue, but some do, plus there are articles describing how FLs are gentler on clothes and that they therefore last longer (another hidden savings).

Even though we here know about some of the low built quality issues (aluminum spiders, plastic doors, etc.) on modern FLs, the general public looks at cost of operation, quality of washing, gentleness on clothes.....most have no idea about durability, and some now see washers as something you periodically replace every five years (nonsense to me, but....).

*a few months ago the magnet fell out of the dispenser, causing the machine to stall, but I found it on the floor, reinserted it, and it works fine now. Most likely it dislodged because I dropped the dispenser on the floor while airing it to dry, i.e. my fault and not the machine's.

This post was last edited 11/21/2011 at 10:37
Post# 558344 , Reply# 42   11/21/2011 at 15:07 (4,389 days old) by Jsneaker ()        
Post# 558270, Reply# 41 11/21/2011 at 10:21 by PassatDoc

Hi Doc! While I am quite happy with the total cleaning & extraction performance of my 2010 Samsung WA448AAW, I wish the machine had full-width "normal-size" tumble vanes, to create far better drop. While my drum has the "diamond pattern", and "full"-height-across vanes, they are too short in height and width, clothes slide past the front of the vanes because of the tilted drum. Some of the cheaper Samsung's don't have the diamond drum and have dual-height(if any!)vanes. By the way, my brother's 1999 Passat V6, now gone, was a true "money pit"! While he took excellent care of it and didn't beat on it, I sure hope our Samsung will not end-up costing a mint to repair! We, too, remove & empty the dispenser drawer and leave the door open after every wash, therefore the machine still smells new! The machine is in the basement out of the way.

Post# 558402 , Reply# 43   11/21/2011 at 20:38 (4,389 days old) by PassatDoc (Orange County, California)        

My 1998 Passat 1.8T costs about $600 a year to maintain. Gets 35 mpg on the highway which is hard to beat, except with a diesel or hybrid. When it starts to become a money pit, I'll get a new one.

I've never seen a FL in a European home with the door closed when not in use, just about everyone I know keeps the door ajar. I think that closing the door is a major cause of mold and odor here. One of the major manufacturers (may be Frigidaire) now makes a clip that allows you to keep the door ajar but it's supposedly childproof so kids can't open the door and climb inside.

Post# 558406 , Reply# 44   11/21/2011 at 20:45 (4,389 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
All Washing Machines

launderess's profile picture
Top and front loading should have their lids left open after laundry day is done for proper airing. If you walk past any well run laundromat after it closes you will see doors on washers left up/open overnight.

Post# 558408 , Reply# 45   11/21/2011 at 20:50 (4,389 days old) by eronie (Flushing Michigan)        
top load

i can put 12 pair of farm dirty jeans in my bol ge ff and they come out clean !!! in a euro fl that would be 4 loads!!

Post# 558412 , Reply# 46   11/21/2011 at 21:19 (4,389 days old) by ronhic (Canberra, Australia)        
in a euro fl that would be 4 loads!!

ronhic's profile picture

...only if you've a particularly big butt.


But seriously, a pair of jeans weighs somewhere between 450gm and 900gm, depending on which sex they are for and the denier of the fabric....let's say about 650gms or about 1.5lb for an average mens size 36....


In that case, my Euro front load machine with its 6.5kg capacity would only hold 10 'average' pairs - hardly small capacity.


....but a new machine of the same make would take 12....

This post was last edited 11/22/2011 at 00:18

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