Washing machines just might be the biggest labor-saving device of the last century. The fact that you need one goes without saying, but which type should you purchase? You can choose a model where you load your clothes through a door in the top of the machine or one with a door in the front. Both types have their pros and cons, so it's just a better of deciding which works best for you.
Wash machines that load on the top were the first introduced on the market and still make up the majority market share today. The oldest models have a central agitator that churns your clothes and water from the machine simultaneously to eliminate dirt and stains. Although it does a good job of this, the process can be hard on your clothes. It also uses a lot of water because it repeats this process two times before moving on to the rinse and spin cycles.
High-efficiency top loaders resolve many of the issues with their earlier counterparts. Instead of an agitator, newer top loaders use central wash plates to move clothes through the wash cycles while consuming less water in the process. That is because water levels automatically adjust to match the size of the load of laundry. One major benefit of both new and old school top loaders is that it requires minimal lifting and bending to load clothes in the wash machine.
Wash machines that you load in the front are easier on the environment because your clothes don't have to be fully submerged to come clean. The horizontal tub of the front loader moves clothes through the water instead. This type is slightly harder on the body due to the bending required to add and remove clothes, but many people feel that the improved efficiency is worth this minor trade-off. Front loaders are generally more efficient because their high spin speeds mean clothes don't have to spend as much time in the dryer to get fully dry.