The 8 Best Top-Load Washing Machines for Quick and Efficient Laundry

We love the affordable Maytag MVWC565FW High-Efficiency Agitator Top-Load Washer because it automatically adjusts the water level to match the size of the load.

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Best Top Load Washing Machines

Lowe's

Though many of the washing machines on today’s market are front-loading units, top-load washing machines are still the preferred option for many homeowners.

A top-loading washer eliminates the need to bend over when loading and unloading the machine and gives you clearer visibility into the drum so that no sock gets left behind. Many of the top models also come with advanced technology, like smart features and an array of cycles, to make doing the laundry easier than ever.

While front-load washing machines are typically more energy efficient than top loaders, Stuart Eason, founder of professional appliance servicing company, Appliance Expert, suggests that anyone on the hunt for a new washing machine would do well to opt for a high-efficiency model to greatly bring costs and energy consumption down.

“Every manufacturer is going in that direction, and soon all washing machines will be high-efficiency,” Eason says. “A high-efficiency washing machine, whether top- or front-loading, uses less water per load and has specific cycles, settings, and features—such as sensors that can adjust to each load—that can contribute to lower energy consumption and general costs all around.”

Our top pick for the best top-load washing machine is the Maytag MVWC565FW High-Efficiency Agitator Top-Load Washer. It has a PowerWash cycle that thoroughly cleans even the dirtiest clothes, and its controls are easy to understand and use. Thanks to its auto sensing mode that automatically adjusts the level of water based on the size of the load, this model is also cost-effective as well as being priced reasonably.

Here are the best top-load washing machines.

Best Overall: Maytag MVWC565FW High-Efficiency Top Load Washer

Maytag MVWC565FW Top-Load Washing Machine

Home Depot

Why You Should Get It: It is a high-efficiency washing machine with 11 wash cycles at a very reasonable price.

Keep in Mind: It has a smaller capacity than some other top-loading high-efficiency washing machines on the market.

As our pick for the best top-load washing machine, the Maytag MVWC565FW is both excellent at cleaning even the dirtiest clothes and highly efficient, too. Though agitator models aren’t known for their water or energy efficiency since they traditionally fill the drum with water in order to get clothes clean, this model only uses as much water as is absolutely necessary.

Its auto sensing mode automatically adjusts the level of water needed according to the mass of the load you put in. It does, however, have an option to add more water to dirtier loads with the Deep Water Wash setting should you feel it’s necessary.

It has 11 wash cycles with specific settings, including for delicates as well as bulkier items, like sheets and towels. There’s even a wrinkle-control option if you’d rather forego the ironing.

There are five knob controls on the backboard that are intuitive and easy to understand, and you won’t have to spend an age studying the manual either. The drum is constructed from a durable stainless steel that is made to last the life of the machine, but for extra peace of mind, the manufacturer also offers a 10-year limited parts warranty on the unit.

Keep in mind, however, that at 4.2 cubic feet this washing machine’s drum is smaller than other high-efficiency machines on the market.

Price at time of publish: $598

Product Details:

  • Type: Agitator
  • Capacity: 4.2 cubic feet
  • Size: 27.25 x 28 x 42 inches
  • Wash Cycles: 11
  • Energy Consumption: 281 kilowatt hours per year

Best High-Efficiency: LG Electronics WT7400CV Large Capacity Smart Top-Load Washer

LG Electronics WT7400CV Large Capacity Smart Top-Load Washer

Lowe's

Why You Should Get It: It’s a smart machine with an impressively large 5.5 cubic feet capacity and 16 wash cycles. It’s also available in both impeller and agitator models.

Keep in Mind: You have to use a special high-efficiency detergent with it, and it does not have the option to increase the water level in a load. There’s also no sanitizing cycle.

The extremely sleek LG WT7400CV top-loading washing machine is not only nice to look at, but it’s also durable, easy to use, and extremely energy efficient. Plus, it can be operated via your phone or tablet with LG’s ThingQ app.

The app, among other things, can send you notifications when your laundry is ready to take out—a great addition for anyone who tends to forget the laundry in the machine. This washer has a capacity of 5.5 cubic feet that is large enough to fit a king-size comforter, and it automatically sets the water level based on the load you’ve put in.

It not only has a low energy consumption of 130 kilowatt hours per year, its large capacity means you can fit more laundry into every load and minimize the number of times you have to use it. In addition to this graphite steel model, the machine also comes in an equally elegant white version.

What’s more, if you prefer a top-loading washing machine with an agitator instead of an impeller, you can also purchase this model with a four-way stainless steel agitator that moves the laundry left and right and up and down to break down dirt and get clothes super clean.

The capacity in the agitator model goes down to 5.3 cubic feet to accommodate the agitator, but it still provides plenty of space for even your bulkier loads. The basket on all models is made from a long-lasting stainless steel that won’t chip, dent, or peel.

Its door is made from shatterproof glass, and it even features a child lock for safety. There’s also a 10-year limited warranty. LG recommends using high-efficiency powdered and liquid detergent with this washer and to avoid detergent pods.

Price at time of publish: $1,049

Product Details:

  • Type: Impeller or agitator
  • Capacity: 5.5 cubic feet for the impeller model; 5.3 cubic feet for the agitator model
  • Size: 27 x 28.38 x 44.5 inches
  • Wash Cycles: 16
  • Energy Consumption: 130 kilowatt hours per year

Best Budget: GE GTW335ASNWW Top Load Washer with Agitator

GE GTW335ASNWW 4.2 cu. ft. White Top Load Washer with Agitator

Lowe's

Why You Should Get It: It’s an affordable top-loading washing machine with a large capacity for its price.

Keep in Mind: There is a lid lock during sensing and spinning, so you can’t add more laundry if you happen to forget a sock.

For a top-load washing machine, the GE GTW335ASNWW is friendly to your wallet. Though it has a lower capacity than some of the other best top-load washing machines on this list, 4.2 cubic feet is still considered large (especially for its price), and it has plenty of room for a daily family load.

There are 11 wash cycles with a choice of six water temperatures for you to set your preferred wash setting each time. However, this washing machine also has a PreciseFill setting that automatically senses the load and adjusts the water level accordingly if you’d rather let the washer take care of things.

The status lights let you know from afar where in the cycle your machine is, and, although you can’t add any more items during the sensing and spinning parts of the cycle since the lid locks, you can lift the lid at any other time which will pause the water flow.

The drum is made from stainless steel, and the heavy-duty agitator that powerfully twists and turns the laundry is made from a strong and durable plastic. With a 700 RPM spin speed, this machine is designed to leave clothes as dry as possible to minimize how long you’ll have to leave them in the dryer—yet another way this top-loader can save you money.

Price at time of publish: $699

Product Details:

  • Type: Agitator
  • Capacity: 4.2 cubic feet
  • Size: 27 x 27 x 44 inches
  • Wash Cycles: 11
  • Energy Consumption: 184 kilowatt hours per year

Best with Agitator: Whirlpool WTW5105HW Top Load Washing Machine

Whirlpool WTW5105HW Top Load Washing Machine

Lowe's

Why You Should Get It: The agitator on this top-load washing machine turns the opposite way to the drum for a more thorough clean. There’s also a sanitizing cycle to get rid of bacteria and germs.

Keep in Mind: It consumes more energy than some other models on this list.

If you’re looking for the best top-load washing machine with an agitator, the Whirlpool WTW5105HW is an extremely worthy contender thanks to its two-way washing agitator that turns in the opposite direction of the drum. This helps the clothes twist and turn better so that they’re thoroughly washed through and through. This washing machine is super quiet and has a large glass lid that allows you to see what’s going on inside.

The lid also glides closed softly and won’t bang shut even if it slips out of your hand. Its wash cycles can be combined with the various heat and spin settings to create 36 different cycles for all different types of laundry loads. All your favorite settings can be stored, too, so you won’t need to program them again every time. Settings include a quick wash cycle, deep wash option, and sanitizing cycle that can help eliminate germs and bacteria.

We also love the pretreat station on this washing machine, which allows you to prepare dirtier items right on the washer using the built-in faucet and stain brush. The controls, which are easy to use, are situated on the dark backboard and look ultra sleek.

The machine comes in either a dark chrome shade or white and, although we think this is a superb agitator top-loading washing machine, you can also opt for an impeller model if you prefer.

Price at time of publish: $949

Product Details:

  • Type: Agitator or impeller
  • Capacity: 4.7 cubic feet for the agitator model, 4.8 cubic feet for the impeller model
  • Size: 27.25 x 27.88 x 41.19 inches
  • Wash Cycles: 36
  • Energy Consumption: 335 kilowatt hours per year

Best with Impeller: Samsung WA50R5200AW Top Load Washer with Impeller

Samsung WA50R5200AW Top Load Washer with Impeller

Lowe's

Why You Should Get It: At only 120 kilowatt hours per year, this is an eco-friendly and cost-effective top load washing machine with an impeller. It also self-cleans after every 20 washes.

Keep in Mind: There are only 10 cycles, which is a lower amount than other washing machines offer.

The large impeller at the bottom of this Samsung washing machine’s drum, which spans almost the whole of the drum’s floor, turns clothes efficiently to make sure that water and detergent have reached all items and that they are thoroughly twisted and turned for a better clean all around. For laundry that is more soiled, you can opt for the deep fill option that adds more water as the machine is washing.

This quiet top-load washing machine has vibration reduction technology, so you won’t get any of that earth-shaking shuddering that we’re used to with older washing machines. Its 5 cubic feet of capacity provides plenty of space for larger loads like towels, sheets, and even comforters.

This is a smart washing machine that you can control, monitor, and troubleshoot via the Samsung Smart Washer/Dryer app on your phone or tablet, so you don’t have to trek to the laundry room to check on the machine’s status.

It features a handy built-in spraying faucet if you need to pretreat any clothes prior to throwing them in the washer. The washer will self-clean automatically after every 20 washes, keeping any dirt or detergent buildup at bay, but remember to keep the lid open in between washes until the drum is dry as a preventative measure against mold and mildew. The lid is soft-closing and allows you to see all the way in thanks to its glass top.

Price at time of publish: $899

Product Details:

  • Type: Impeller
  • Capacity: 5 cubic feet
  • Size: 27.5 x 29.4 x 44.6 inches
  • Wash Cycles: 10
  • Energy Consumption: 120 kilowatt hours per year

Best Smart: Maytag MVW7232HW Smart Top Load Washing Machine

Maytag MVW7232HW Smart Top Load Washing Machine

Lowe's

Why You Should Get It: This smart appliance can be operated and monitored via your smartphone and voice-controlled with Google Assistant and Alexa, too.

Keep in Mind: It’s a bit pricier than other top-load washing machines, and after the initial six-month free trial, the Maytag Mobile App for using the smart features costs $0.99 per month, per appliance.

With WiFi connectivity, the Maytag MVW7232HW smart top-load washing machine allows users to operate it remotely with the Maytag Mobile App. The app enables you to do an array of things from the comfort of your couch, like changing the settings, scheduling a load of laundry, and starting and stopping cycles. It also allows you to monitor progress and diagnose any issues.

The app is compatible with other Maytag smart products, including dryers, refrigerators, and ranges, so that you can control and monitor all your smart appliances within the same app.

You can also operate the machine via voice control with Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant, and no hub is required. There is a pre-soak setting and a built-in water faucet to help you tackle stained garments, but there’s also a 30-minute quick wash for lighter washing. The machine comes with anti-vibration technology to keep noise and disruption down, so you can even put a load in at night while your household is sleeping.

This top load washing machine has a large 5.3 cubic feet capacity that allows it to wash around 20–25 pounds worth of laundry—approximately 16 large towels—in one go. Washing comforters and blankets is also a breeze for this machine.

Though this is an impeller washer, this appliance also offers a removable agitator should you prefer using one. The company backs its product with a 10-year limited parts warranty on the motor and stainless steel drum.

Price at time of publish: $1,148

Product Details:

  • Type: Impeller
  • Capacity: 5.3 cubic feet
  • Size: 27.25 x 27.88 x 43.88 inches
  • Wash Cycles: 13
  • Energy Consumption: 270 kilowatt hours per year

Best Large Capacity: Samsung WA55A7700AV Smart Top Load Washer

Samsung WA55A7700AV Smart Top Load Washer

Lowe's

Why You Should Get It: It has the largest capacity of all the top-load washing machines on this list and is very economical at only 120 kilowatt hours per year. There’s also a convenient 28-minute washing cycle.

Keep in Mind: Though you can unlock the lid and add additional items while the washer is still filling, you can’t open it during the rest of the cycle.

The Samsung WA55A7700AV is one of the best top-load washing machine models for large families as it can wash up to 5.5 cubic feet of laundry in one load. Its deep-fill cycle automatically adds more water to soiled clothes, so even kids’ muddy sports uniforms can come out sparkling clean after one wash. To be on the safe side with extremely stained clothes, you can pre-treat them right on the washer with the built-in faucet.

To reduce your to-do list, this washing machine can conveniently store and automatically dispense detergent and softener for up to 12 loads—meaning that all you have to do is put the clothes in and take them out, letting the machine do the rest. For less-dirty items, you can use the 28-minute quick wash setting.

There’s also a delayed start option if you’d rather set the machine to start washing at a later time in order not to let the wet clothes sit in the washer for a prolonged period of time before you’re able to take them out.

This Energy Star Certified machine is smart-device compatible and can be operated remotely via the SmartThings App, which does not have a monthly fee. The soft-close lid shuts gently and inaudibly, and the machine has vibration reduction technology for quieter operation. It will also remind you once every 20 cycles that it’s time for a self-clean.

For the hearing and visually impaired, the washer has audio assistance that plays a different sound for each setting, and there’s braille next to each button.

Price at time of publish: $1,299

Product Details:

  • Type: Impeller
  • Capacity: 5.5 cubic feet
  • Size: 27.56 x 29.43 x 45.81 inches
  • Wash Cycles: 12
  • Energy Consumption: 120 kilowatt hours per year

Best Compact: Magic Chef MCSTCW20S5 Portable Top Load Washer

Magic Chef MCSTCW20S5 Portable Top Load Washer

Walmart

Why You Should Get It: It’s ideal for homes with limited space, can be moved around easily if necessary, and has a very low energy consumption.

Keep in Mind: This is not the most convenient option for a large family or anyone who does a lot of laundry on a weekly basis.

Not all homes come equipped with their own utility room or spacious laundry, and a large—or even standard-sized—washing machine might not be an option for some. For those who need a more compact top-loading washing machine for smaller homes or apartments that don’t have much storage space, or anyone who needs one for a vacation home or cabin, the Magic Chef MCSTCW20S5 is a great choice.

At only 37 inches high and around 22 inches wide, this portable washer could fit in a small gap in the kitchen or bathroom or even in a small closet. There are two roller wheels at the base to make it easy to move around, too. This Magic Chef washing machine has a durable stainless steel drum and a see-through window on the lid so you can monitor your laundry. It also features six wash cycles that can be set from the electronic controls, and there is a clear LED display. Cycles include an anti-wrinkle setting, a quick cycle, and options for cotton and delicates.

This is a quiet washing machine with a noise level of less than 72 decibels, and its 800 RPMs provide excellent water extraction so that your clothes come out as dry as possible. There’s also a delayed start function and three water levels for a more customized laundry experience. While there is no self-clean option, there is a built-in filter that can catch lint, fluff, and other stray items like a forgotten tissue. The filter is removable and easy to clean in between washes. 

Price at time of publish: $392

Product Details:

  • Type: Impeller
  • Capacity: 2 cubic feet
  • Size: 21.7x 22.2 x 37 inches
  • Wash Cycles: 6
  • Energy Consumption: 70 kilowatt hours per year

The Bottom Line

With an automatic sensor that detects how many clothes you’ve put in and adjusts the water accordingly, the Maytag MVWC565FW High-Efficiency Agitator Top-Load Washer is our top pick for the best top-load washing machine.

What to Know About Top Load Washing Machines Before Shopping

Capacity

Top-load washing machines can range in capacity from around 3 to 5.5 cubic feet, with anything from 4.5 cubic feet and up being classed as large capacity. Extra-large capacity washing machines can go up to 6.2 cubic feet, whereas compact options typically have a 1.5- to 3-cubic foot capacity.

As a general rule of thumb, 1 cubic foot of capacity roughly equals 3 pounds of dry clothes, so a standard-sized top-load washing machine with a capacity of 4 to 5 cubic feet can accommodate clothes weighing around 14 to 20 pounds. For reference, a large towel weighs approximately 1.5 pounds.

Drum Material

Most washing machine drums nowadays are made from stainless steel, but you can also find models with plastic and porcelain-coated steel drums, too. The best top-load washing machines have a stainless steel drum, however, which won’t warp, chip, or stain like a plastic or porcelain drum can. Stainless steel drums are also highly durable and should last the life of the washing machine without any hiccups.

Wash Settings

Buying a washing machine that has a variety of wash cycles is important both for maintaining the quality of your clothes and other laundry items, but also for water, energy, and cost efficiency. Most washing machines have settings for delicates, wool, and other more temperamental materials that need a little extra care, and it’s always good to wash these items using the appropriate setting to make sure they stay in their best condition for longer.

Settings that can have a positive impact on your energy and water bills are cycles such as cold water washing, half-load, rinse and spin, and speed wash options. These cycles are all designed to enable users to avoid running a standard cycle when a setting that consumes less will do sufficiently.

Agitator vs. Impeller

Top-load washing machines have either impellers or agitators to move the clothes around to clean them. An agitator looks like a pole that sits in the middle of the drum, and it twists and moves side to side or back and forth, knocking against the clothes as it does to release the dirt.

An impeller is a low-profile rotating disc or a cone that turns the clothes, moving them around and making them rub against each other to remove dirt and stains. Agitator washing machines rely on the agitator to come in contact with the clothes, whereas impellers use the clothes themselves as the technique that causes the appropriate friction for stain removal.

Your Questions, Answered

Are top-loaders with agitators better than impeller machines?

The best top-load washing machine type for you depends on the features and energy efficiency you desire in your new washer as well how soiled your typical load of laundry is.

While agitator washing machines have been known in the past to have more cons than impellers, manufacturers have addressed a lot of the issues caused by agitators and have made them much better machines that are both energy efficient and gentler on clothes.

Some agitator machines now have sensors that detect the size of the load and only fill the machine with enough water to clean that amount of clothes, whereas more basic agitator machines completely fill with water no matter the load size. As a result, these agitator machines require more detergent, too.

Impeller washing machines also traditionally had much higher spin speeds than agitator machines, meaning that clothes were not as wet at the end of a cycle, which translated to less time in the dryer. However, spin speeds have greatly increased in agitator washers in recent years, minimizing the difference between the two washer types.

And, while impeller machines are typically gentler with clothes (there’s no agitator for them to bash against during the cycle), agitator washers generally do a better job of removing tough stains. Plus, agitators are, on the whole, less expensive than impeller machines.

What is a high-efficiency washer?

The best top-load washing machines have the high-efficiency (HE) label and are designed to be a lot more cost effective than standard models. Any washing machine with the Energy Star label uses about 25% less energy and 33% less water than non-certified washers. These washers use a special detergent that is also more powerful and designed to work in tandem with these machines for a superior clean.

“An HE washer is more efficient than other types as it has more advanced features and smarter technology, including much better wash and spin performance,” Eason says. “They are usually larger too, meaning you can get more clothes in and reduce the number of loads you have to do.”

Is a high-efficiency washing machine worth it? Eason says yes. “They can reduce your water and electricity bills and are also kinder to the environment.”

How do you clean a top-load washing machine?

Though they’re cleaning machines, washing machines are prone to dirt buildup themselves, whether it’s from dirt from your laundry, leftover detergent, hard water deposits, or mold and mildew. Keeping the door of the washing machine open for an hour or so after each cycle can help prevent mold and mildew from forming, but it’s also good to give your washing machine a good clean too every one to two months.

Cleaning a top-loading washing machine is fairly easy, and you don’t need any harsh chemicals to get it sparkling clean. All you need to get started is some distilled white vinegar, baking soda, a dish sponge, a microfiber cloth, and a small brush for the crevices (an old toothbrush works perfectly).

Pour 2 cups of the vinegar into the drum or the detergent dispenser. Run a high-temperature empty cycle. Pause the cycle once water has filled the drum and let the water and vinegar soak for about an hour before resuming the cycle.

Mix ¼ cup of white vinegar with 1 quart of warm water, dip your sponge in the solution and wipe down the inside of the machine once the cycle has finished. Dip the small brush into the same solution, and use it to scrub all the corners and small nooks, such as around the door opening and the agitator’s spokes.

Add ½ cup of baking soda to the drum and run another high-temperature empty cycle. Finally, use the microfiber cloth to wipe down the inside of the drum when the cycle is finished.

Who We Are

This article was written by Kat de Naoum, who has over 10 years of commerce writing experience. Kat is also the commerce editor-at-large at Thomas-Xometry, the leading U.S. online platform for supplier discovery and product sourcing. For this article, Kat researched and reviewed some of the best top-load washing machines and spoke to Stuart Eason, founder of the professional appliance servicing company, Appliance Expert. She also researched factors like each machine's type, power, settings, capacity, and value for the money.

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