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pokee99

Ten Reasons I am Afraid to Buy a Front Load Washer - HELP!

pokee99
16 years ago

We just bought a new house and we're buying new appliances. In our old house, we are currently using a Kenmore toploading washer which has served us fine for almost 8 years with no problems at all. We decided to buy a new energy efficient front loader for the new place to save money and use less water.

I was warned by my sister that front loading washers can be very problematic (she's had nothing but problems with hers), so I did some research. I was SHOCKED when I started reading the list of problems on the net:

1. Vibration problems for machines not installed on concrete (we'd be installing ours on a plywood floor covered in tile). There's stories where people's machines vibrated so badly that it moved nails, walls, wires, pipes, etc, in the walls/floors beneath. My sister also heard some horror stories from her Sears Kenmore tech. Sure, a lot of these problems could be associated with poor installation, but I'd say 80% of the stories/reviews I've read here on-line have been the result of multiple service calls and service techs scratching their heads and saying, "It's level, bolts in the drum removed, rubber mat underneath - well, that's as good as it's going to get". Some techs insist that these units MUST be installed on concrete WITHOUT pedestals to eliminate considerable vibration - even machines like the Whirlpool Duet Sport - which is advertised as a 2nd floor washer. We'd be looking at getting pedestals (since I have a bad back) and I've heard that vibration is usually even worse with pedestals.

2. Problems with small items getting stuck in drain tube. Sure, removing coins and paper from pockets is a no-brainer, but what about my 2 year old's teeny socks? Do I have to put all of my kids teeny items in a mesh bag? That seems like a lot of work just to do a load of kids laundry. I've heard some horror stories of machines needing to be taken apart to remove these small items from the tube - and the $$$ spent to do this, considering this is not a 'manufacturers defect' and would not be covered under warranty.

3. Front loaders stink. I have read reviews where users of front loaders follow the instructions and wipe the seal after each use and let it air out, and they still smell mold/mildew. Then there's those unlucky people that forget that they put a load in and it sits overnight and smells like sour milk the next day (then the clothes must be re-washed several times to get that smell out of the clothes and the washer). I don't know about everyone here, but I am always forgetting laundry in the washer. I am not sure if that's a habit I can break for the sake of a front load washer.

4. Service calls galore. Is it me, or do these front load washers just break down more then the regular top loaders? The technology is new - but not that new. What gives? Most top loaders just need a new belt every once in a while - which you can usually have within a few days. It seems most of the reviews I've read here on-line, when a service tech comes to service your machine, you end up waiting weeks to get that crucial 'part' - and it doesn't matter if it's Whirlpool, LG, Kenmore, Frigidaire, Samsung - everybody seems to have the same awful experience with waiting for repairs. There's nothing worse than having to take a large family's laundry to the laundromat and spend $5 a load. Extended warranties don't guarantee a turn-around time to fix - and with appliances, this is always crucial since we functionally rely on them on a daily basis.

5. Clothes cannot be added after the cycle starts. Okay this a bit picky, but I do this all the time with my top loader. Not a deal breaker, but a bit of a problem.

6. Cannot wash one or two items at a time. I've heard that most front loaders won't spin properly if there are only one or two small items in the wash. I do very small loads quite frequently, because of reds or other dark colours that will bleed. Any way around this?

7. Front loaders do not remove stains as well as top loaders. I've heard that the agitation from the top loaders - while harder on your clothing, also works better at removing stains. Is this true?

8. Leaks. I have rarely heard of anyone with a top loader getting a leak in their laundry room. I've heard a lot of stories of people with front loaders getting leaks and it running into their basement or lower floor. This is scary. Sure, it's wise to not run anything with moving parts and water while you are not home (even with my top loader now, I only run it while at home - same with my dishwasher). But, I've heard reviews here that people with top loaders also insist on buying laundry drain pans to go with their top loader in the even of the leak.

9. Dials on the front - not baby/kid friendly. This means my little wonders will be playing with the machines. Having to keep the washer door open after a load means my kids will be playing with it. Again, not a deal breaker, but it's another pitfall.

10. Too big for small spaces. I have a very small galley-style laundry room. It's 5 feet deep. Most of these front loaders are massive. I basically have a choice between the Whirlpool Duet Sport, the Frigidaire Affinity and a couple of Kenmore models - these are all around 28" deep or less. With the space at the rear by the wall that is required, this means they take up more than half the depth of my laundry room. I don't have the option of stacking (there's a window in the way on one side and then the door on the other side), so I just have to find washer/dryer combos that are the least deep as possible. Front loaders are much deeper - unless you want to go into the teeny tiny ones that are smaller than my giant top loader.

So, with all of these concerns, is it REALLY worth it to buy a front loader - to maybe save $50 a year in energy costs? They look great, they may be easier to load & unload with the pedestals, and they may be better for the environment, but it just seems like there are too many headaches associated with owning one.

On the other hand, isn't buying a top loader essentially buying 'old' technology? I just don't know if I can bring myself to buy a set that just seems outdated. I am all for change - and I am even willing to attempt to change my clothes washing habits to accommodate this change in machines, but the breakdowns, vibrations and potential leaks have me really concerned.

I suppose I could find a store that would let me 'try them out' and bring it back for a top loader if I decided I didn't like them, or if they vibrated too much, but that doesn't solve the majority of the problems I am concerned with, since those could tend to happen months down the road.

Really, it's only laundry, so a top loader is not a big deal - I realize this. But, I just have this nagging feeling that I should be buying the latest and greatest.

Any advice?

Thanks!

Paula

Comments (45)

  • sapphirestitch
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    The regulars from this forum will come along soon and explain what's right and what's wrong about your 10 points. :)

    I just wanted to mention that you are no longer limited to choosing between a conventional top-loader and a front-loader. I just (and I mean JUST this morning!) got a Fisher-Paykel GWL15 to replace my old Whirlpool top-loader.

    I have no idea yet how much energy and water we will save with this, and it's a new technology that I'm having to learn as I go. But I've done 5 loads of laundry since it was installed and it seems to be doing a great job. My DH is all geeked out (LOL!) over the way the motor works and the ease of repair, etc, etc. I love the fact that I can change some settings and wash my kids' bedding in a full hot wash, even though I use an energy-saving cycle for other loads.

    Something to consider, anyway! Do some searches on HE top-loaders...Cabrio, Bravos, Oasis, Fisher-Paykel...see what you think.

  • washer_man
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Yeah, someone on this forum just reported that the latest Maytag Bravos now comes with an internal heater so it looks like the HE top loaders are getting closer and closer in features to the front loaders.

    A lot of what you say is true to one degree or another, but there are some points, that in all fairness, aren't just restricted to front loaders.

    Getting coins and small items stuck in the drain tube is something that can happen with any washer.
    Also, any washer can flood your house as well. You might want to consider FloodCheck hoses, and installing a lever style shut-off valve next to the washer.

    The point about your kids playing with the controls on the front is definitely something to consider since most top loaders have the controls up and out of the way. Also, having the door on a front loader so close to the ground has to be awfully tempting for small children (or pets..) to climb in.

    However, as far as stain removing power and overall cleaning performance, front loaders are pretty much considered the gold standard. You have to remember that even though the tumble action in front loaders is gentle, the cycle times are much longer, so the washer has a lot more time to do its job.

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  • turbodrum
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    There is a simple solution to your problem pokee. Now that you've pointed out 10 reasons of fear, write down ten reasons why you would want to buy a front loader. Compile a similar list for top loaders, sit down and compare the lists; then ask yourself what are the most important things that you look for in a washer. Once you've identified what is most important to you, you will be able to better identify what type of washer most satisfies your needs and wants.

  • abbycat9990
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I chose a FL for energy and water efficiency. I love it.
    Here's our in-progress-galley-kitchen-converted-to-laundry-room:


    1. Vibration: We had it on slate over crawlspace before, and now it's on slab. No problems. It's level.
    2. Little socks: I usually use a lingerie bag for those little socks. DH likes putting her dirty socks in the little bag; I like the ease of finding & folding.
    3. Stink: Yep, mine can get stinky. I leave the door ajar, and use vinegar with towel & sheet loads--that helps. I'll be trying out Charlie's Soap soon, as I read here that it helps with the smell.
    4. Never had a service call in the 5 years we've owned our Kenmore FL.
    5. Can't add clothes: I've had plenty of "D'Oh!" moments, but it's no big deal. We always have plenty of clothes that need to be washed, so I just toss the forgotten items in the next load.
    6. Small loads: How small? I'll wash a couple of bathroom rugs by themselves; I won't just wash a few shirts. That's just plain wasteful. I'll handwash in the sink.
    7. Stain removal: Last washer was the 25 year old top loader that came with the house, and before that years of laundromats. I love my FL; I pretreat and don't blame the machine for failing to conquer chocolate milk, spaghetti sauce or coffee stains!
    8. Leaks: Never had a problem--touch wood!
    9. Dials on front: Yes, they are a kid magnet. I try hard to remember to check settings before I start a load (dryer too!).
    10. Size: Hmm, that could be a problem. Right now, we're luxuriating in the 42" aisle. So much better than the pokey utility room where it was located before.

  • housekeeping
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Sorry, your SIL is misinformed or she may not understand how to how to properly operate her machine, or she may have the one of the rare lemons that any type of appliance or brand can produce.

    I have had FLs for sixteen or seveteen years and never had the kind of problems you're describing.

    1. Vibration: This is reported for some machines on some types of floors, particularly new houses on the second floors. Many certified installers don't actually know how to properly install a front-loader. It's more complex than just removing the shippng braces and leveling the top surface, but is not technically difficult, justy finicky. Many users of this forum can easily to you explain how to do it correctly.


    2. Little socks: Any machine can suck up something as tiny as a toddler's sock. And some FLs do have greater sock-eating propensities, but mesh bags are very easy to use and make sorting after the wash a breeze. My machines actually have little coin and pin collectors than one opens from time to time to recover the odd things that find their into the washer.

    3. Stink: FL's by the nature of their need to be perfectly sealed during operation have doors which close much more tightly than top loaders which have doors that are only splash guards. Obviously having a water-tight door when closed means that any excess humidity trapped inside won't dry, leaving the possibility of of mold problems. This is easily cured by leaving the door slightly ajar between loads. Some first-generation Maytag Neptune FLs had serious mold problems but newer machines are better designed. I once left a full load of water sealed up inside my machine for more than two years with no untoward outcome other than a visible water line on the glass.

    4. Service probs.: I have had only one machine problem (after nearly 12 years hard use) on one of my several FLs.

    5. Can't add clothes: Some machines have an add-an-item feature, but it's not as simple as tossing in an item during TL cycle since the drum is full of water which in some instances would pour out if you opened the door.

    6. Small loads: Nonsense, I've washed single very heavy items (down comforter) and single teensy items like a silk blouse. No probs with any load size.


    7. Stain removal: FL's do a much better job at stain removal and grime fighting; that's the whole point of doing laundry. I am a laundry nut and I wouldn't use one otherwise. Even if they used more water and energy, or were more inconvenient than TL, I would still use FLs simply for the infinitely better cleaning they do.


    8. Leaks: Years ago (25-30+ years) some US Fls did have drum seal leak problems but machines have improved immensely in water tightness (cf my comment above about keeping the door open to avoid stinkies.) The biggest risk for flooding with any washing machine is not the drum or seals, it's the water hoses. Get some 1/4-turn shut-off valves on each line and never come home to an unexpected deluge. Some home owner's insurance actually give discounts for water-line shut-offs.

    9. Dials on front: Some brands have child-proof dials with lock-out settings.

    10. Size: My machines are the small-size Euro design models that can fit under a 24" deep standard kitchen counter. More recent, larger US models need more space, but not outrageously so. Many can be stacked. And don't be fooled by the apparent size of the drums; unlike TL's FLs are generally loaded drum-full.

    Bonus anti-FL quibble #11. (You didn't note this, but it will come up.) You have to change your detergent, or use special detergents with FLs. This is sometimes true. Manufacturers generally recommend using HE-formulated products. However in years of use of FLs in many areas I have concluded that it's more important to reduce the quantity of detergent and pick one that works with your water supply chemistry. I use a regular big-brand powder, not an HE product. I did, however, have to give up my previous fave -ERA liquid- when I began using FLS as I could never get enough cleaning power with it in FLs without creating an oversuds problem. So you may have to change. HE products are now commonly available; if not, you can try 'most any kind of low-sudsing product and see how it works for you in your water. And as a rule FLs use a fraction of the "normal" amount of detergent, so they save money that way, too.

    FWIW, I am sure that now that there are many brands of FL on the market, that there are better, or worse, brands and models. My FL experience is primarily with Asko (Swedish) and Miele (German) machines. There are experienced users of most brand of FLs here on the forum. Ask all the questions you need to, and you'll get thoughtful answers from real-world users. Can't ask for more than that.

    HTH

    Molly~

  • cynic
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I think Turbodrum has an excellent suggestion for you. Essentially that's what I've been doing to decide what will be my next machine.

    I'm not sure where you got some of your information from. I'm certainly no expert, but I will throw in my 2 worth on some of your concerns:

    #2 Re the coin trap. This should not require a service call so there's no cost to you. It's a maintenance item, like the trap on a dishwasher.

    #3 is a good point that I hadn't given enough thought to, but I wouldn't say they stink. I do have a concern about laundry left in there for a while, even a day or two. It happens with me, probably a few times a year. I'll start a load and not get to it until the next day or maybe longer. I'd appreciate some imput from people on this. At what point is there an issue. However the mold issue is something that you might have a concern about if you want to keep it closed. They do need to air out. I'm not sure how the laundromat machines get by without the issues. Slow laundromats would be a prime spot for this problem but most use Wascos and maybe they have resolved this issue somehow. If they have, the other manufacturers sure need to get on board.

    4. Service calls. I think, without any supportive documentation, but my humble opinion is yes, FLs are higher maintenance than TLs. I think a lot of it however is from the proliferation of electronics and cheap boards used in a lot of the FLs where many of the TLs use mechanical controls. In theory, electronics should be more reliable, but with the chintzy boards put in, they don't seem to be.

    5. Adding clothes. Not true. Many machines will let you add something after the load starts. To me, I just don't understand how many times a person will forget a sock! I put in a load and go upstairs so for me it's seldom if ever I'd use that feature. But some are concerned about it.

    6. Cannot wash one or two items at a time. I'd question that. Seems to me a FL would be more conducive to doing small loads except you do need some friction on there, however the tumble action should still wash small loads fine. Owners will address in more detail.

    7. Not remove stains as well. Most owners will contest this. Especially ones that have a profile wash capability. You see report after report of long time stains being removed.

    8. Leaks. I don't hear any more FL leaks than TL.

    Is buying a top loader essentially buying 'old' technology? Possibly, but front loaders aren't really any newer. The technology has been around and both are proven technologies. There's been some advancements in both areas and with the HE TLs, especially the washplate machines, yes that's a new technology worked into an existing proven technology. I'm conservative when it comes to risk-taking. I like proven technologies. But I wouldn't consider TL to be really older than FLs. That said, I'll also say that both technologies are new to some manufacturers so they will have a learning curve, but the basic idea has been around a long time.

    You alluded to it and I'll say it. From what I've read, changing from TL to FL or even to HE TL requires a complete re-learning on how to wash clothes. Some are resistant to change and they aren't good candidates. I like to learn so I think I could handle it as long as the machine is reliable.

  • jcrowley99
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I won't address each point individually, but I do want to just chime in for a moment. I went from a traditional TLer to a FLer to a HE TLer a year ago. My old TLer died, but I knew it was going so I had been researching for almost a year. I wanted a FLer, really, really wanted a FLer. They looked really cool, they were soooo hyped. I just had to have one. I bought mine a Lowes where they promised I could return it for any reason, no penalty. I hated it! I had it leveled multiple times, including by a pro and it still vibrated. A friend in constuction finally came over and looked at the situation and declared that my floor was too "flexible" for a FLer (whatever that actually means). It did not wash any better than my old TLer which I found a bit dissappointing after all the hype. It did not rinse nearly as well as my old TLer , even with several rinses. I have a lot of skin problems so that was a serious issue for me. Most people would probably not even notice. I did use (still am using the same) HE detergent, and I never once had a suds issue, it just did not rinse all the detergent out without at least three rinses.

    Now I have the Cabrio HE and I love it. It is still HE, has a wash plate instead of an agitator so I can wash huge loads of laundry, rinses much better than the FLer did, and washes well. It has a high speed spin so my cloths dry faster, and automatically adjusts the water level based on the load so I'm not wasting water. Best of all it rinses well with just one rinse. An average load in my Cabrio takes about 50 minutes to wash, in the FLer it was taking over 1 1/2 hours. And the best part was that the HE TLer is much easier to use than the FLer was. I felt like I was trying to learn to fly a rocket with the FLer, the Cabrio was no harder to learn than a basic TLer, and you don't really have to change your laundry habits like with the FLer. You just have to remember the drop each piece of laundry in seperately (except for loads of whites) instead of shoving a bit ball of laundry into the machine, but I rarely did that anyway.

    Joanne

  • plumbly22
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    There are pluses and minuses to all choices in life. If you don't think you want a fl, get a tl.... it's really simple.

    But, from my experience in 20 months of fl use, after 30+ years of tl use... I will say...

    1. I have not experienced vibration issues with my machne on the second floor of a house, about dead middle of the house, 2x4 construction, full basement, tile on plywood sub-floor construction. I did not want the pedestals... expensive and not really tall enough to hold much of anything I my personal opinion... plus they didn't make a lot of sense given the layout of the closet they are installed in... I have a hanging rod arcoss the closet that everything gets hung on straight out of the dryer... I didn't want to give up the height as then I'd never reach the hangers/rods... and for sure my children would not be able to get their our stuff to take to their rooms

    2. Small items in my machine have gotten 'caught' in the rubber gasket around the door opening... a stray child's sock, a stray panty... happens maybe one load every few weeks.... I tend to toss the offending item into the drum first with the next load and go on... I know how to get to and open the "trap" if for some reason it seems like the machine is not draining.

    3. smell... I have not had any... I leave my detergent "door" (not drawer) flipped open on the top, plus I keep an old wash cloth on top of the machine and wipe down the gasket and door when I'm done with laundry for the day and then use it to keep the door cracked (my machines are behind bi-fold doors, so keeping them open is not a problem)

    4. service... had a call... replaced the pump... not a problem...

    5. I routinely open the door to add items... all of these machines use so little water these days, the level is NOT up to the door in most all cases, making this a non-issue...

    6. small loads... do them all the time for 'fragile' items or comforters.... not an issus any more than with a tl... for example in a tl one bath rug is a problem... it probably would be in a fl too... so toss in 2...

    7 cleans great...

    8 leaks... gee... leaks are why I replaced my old tl washer... but to be fair it was over 25 years old... I don't believe one type of washer leaks more than another....

    9 front dials... if they are machines that can stack this will be true... my dials are on the top in the front... my machines do not stack... may be tempting to little hands... but then aren't your dishwaher and maybe even stove controls reachable? My stove controls are in front... guess it depends if the machines are in an area your little ones freely roam into frequently... mine aren't... I know some models have a 'child lock' function

    10... depth... this all depends on what fits well in your space....

    long and short here is you can't decided what you want without looking/touching/feeling what is out there for options across the board... do you want low water use? do you want energy star rated? do you want a heater to keep constant temp? do you want a sanitizing cycle? what fits in your space? (don't forget to consider which ways the doors open and clearance for them) are you willing to change your laundry habits if need be?

    Figure out these things, then quiz others about what they got and why... then go out and look and touch and feel... pick a couple of options, then go online and READ the user manuals... what do they say about prepping your load? do they have the type of wash and temp selections you like to make?

    Take your time and then decide... but do it based on factual information... remember everyone has different experiences and typically most forums tend to accumulate horror stories, not many 'great job' stories...

    fwiw... I have bosch 500 machines... my other choice was the whirlpool duets... basicaly it came down to which did I like the 'feel' of... but I believe either would have been solid choices for ME in my situation....

  • ebear1271
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I have the GE Harmony, an HE TL. I love it. It's a good compromise between convenience and energy efficiency. I personally don't care for FL's so if you are thinking to go with a TL, the Harmony would be a great one to look at.

  • washer_man
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    A cautionary note here. Just because one person has a successful experience, doesn't garantee that you will. There are lots of people that have front loaders installed in upstairs locations without any trouble at all, but the sad truth is that there are far too many variables that can cause a vibration problem to be able to compare one installation to any other. The same washer can just as easily work fine in one person's home and then give you nightmares in yours.

  • rogerv_gw
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    This sounds like a collection of all the bad things that have been heard about front loading washers. If you collect all the negative stories about anything, you'll find yourself paralyzed, unable to make a choice. Anything mechanical can break, but there are reasons for taking these risks, and ways of minimizing these risks (research, word of mouth, talking with service people, etc.). I agree with the idea of looking at the benefits of something that you could have problems with, and balancing these against the potential negatives. Such as energy and water savings, gentleness on your clothes, and so on.

    I've had a front loading washing machine for over 7 years now (same one *smile*), and it has been great. No bad smells, ever. As I recall, the owner's manual on my previous top loader said to keep the top open after a wash to let it air out, as well. I just leave the door cracked open after a wash. No problems.

    As far as service calls and break downs go, I see these reported on all kinds of washing machines. We have not had a service call on our washing machine, it has worked fine for a family of 4 for years, as I mentioned.

    I've obviously been happy with my experiences with my front loading washing machine. It could break any time, as could my car, computers, TV, etc. However, before I buy something I do my homework, look at the pluses and minuses of various products, and make a decision. Very often, as a result of the research that I do ahead of time, I have no problems with expensive items that I've purchased.

    The bottom line is that you need to be okay with the risks that you take, and be able to sleep at night *smile*. Good luck with your decision.

    -Roger

  • asolo
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Know what? An awful lot of TL's -- even the models that are now being trotted out for praise from years gone by -- were troublesome and poor-cleaning machines. Had a childhood-friend's mom who had a 1920-something wringer-washer that she was still using in the mid-fifties. Wouldn't consider anything else even though all of her neighbors had more modern machines. Wouldn't be surprised if it's still working.

    That said, and also saying that I've had mostly-good experience with previous top-loaders, the Duet pair I've had for the last three years is the best I've ever had experience with. The VERY best. Only unanswered question is longevity. Hopefully these first three years may be indicative. Ask me in 2018.

  • dadoes
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Even the Neptunes did NOT cause trouble for everyone. A friend has an early-model Neptune, with dial timer and mechanical pushbuttons, more than 8 years old. He never had the "retro-fit" repair kit done, or any repairs of any kind to best of my knowledge (yes, I've asked).

  • dgmarie
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    To the original poster: these are also issues I wonder about. They seem very real to me having read the many posts on this forum over the years. I have a TL Maytag at least ten or more years old. It is a work horse. Why not take your old appliances with you (I also had a series 90 Kenmore in my old house and it never had a problem in 12 years) and only buy a new one if they break down and cannot be repaired? That way by the time you need one all the manufacturers will have worked out these issues! You can fix a lot of TL washers and dryers for the cost of a new machine. And since you like your old ones, why change?

  • wtfiholly
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I was given a FL and dryer for Christmas from my husband due to the fact that our old TL and dryer were dying and could not be repaired again.
    Since using this "new" FL washer I have seen cleaner clothes and the smell in the dryer is not all perfume anymore.
    I have left some clothes in the washer (more than once) overnight by mistake and didn't deal with nasty odors the next day as I did with my old TL.
    I use 2 or 3 TBLSPN of detergent (liquid, I like it better)and vinegar with every load for added softness and to help keep my machine clean of build up, Wish I had known about that with my TL.
    I have had no leaks and no sock stealing from the machine. I also use a mesh bag to wash certain things that might be a snack for my machine. I clean out my machine once a week that helps alot.
    I find that the stains that I have had on my clothes are gone with a little pre-treating, with my old TL no matter how much pre-treating I did the stain did not come out.
    I have had no vibration that bothers me or my family, my machine does not dance across the floor.
    I have had no reason to want to add something I didn't add in in the first place, I'm still doing laundry I'll get to it.
    I have done small loads (1 or 2 items) without a problem.
    I have the controls at the back of the machine without pedestals, and so far the back is not feeling serious effects and the kids can not reach them. I do have child saftey locks on my machine that is an added bonus for me.
    I have an extremely small laundry room. It's so small that two people can not be in there at the same time, the FL fits just perfectly without taking up space.
    I have compared my water bill these past 3 months with my water from 6 months ago and I have seen my water bill go from $150 for 3 months to $75 for 3 months. That's including all the showers and dishwashing we do. I am thrilled with that. I have not had to call service for my machine, thank heavens.
    I came here and this forum has taught me and guided me and I am saving money and cleaning my clothes better. Horror stories are everywhere and about everything, all the way to what type of car you drive.
    It is your choice on the type of machine you'd like for you and your family. You have to feel comfortable with it. It is this way with any major purchase we make.
    Good luck with your search. Enjoy whatever you decide on.
    This was just my opinon.
    Best of luck, Holly

  • mike_73
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I have had a Frigidaire front loader since April 2005, so nearly 3 years. when I got it my divorced mom and sister lived with me no I am alone. The machine has seen Family size mountains of laundry and just mine for two years. I even moved once and took it with me. I have to say moving one is more trouble than a top loader, they weigh more and require the shipping bolts put back in for the move.

    I have had no service done since buying it. never had a stinky machine. I do leave the door open when I'm not washing and run a load with a few rags and Cascade Complete to clean the washer every 6 months. Both places the washer was on cement floors so no vibration issues.

    I can add items after the wash has started in most cycles, just not in delicate and hand wash cycles because the washer fill up with more water and you can't open it with out a flood so the washer locks the entire cycle then.

    My clothes are cleaner than with the washer I had before. stains are not usually an issue for me most will come out if pretreated or soaked but some stains are sometimes to challenging for any washer. It uses less water. the clothes come out not as wet so I spend less drying them. Small loads of a few items are not a problem, you just need 2 or more things to balance the spin. the only limit i found is I can't wash one sweater alone. the time I needed to do that I threw in a towel for ballast so the load would spin ok.

    I found no big adjustments in changing washer types but my mother did when I got it. She is the kind that don't adjust well to change and didn't like learning to use new things on her own. I had to deal with a few calls for HELP from the laundry room because she wanted me to set the cycle settings for her load for her. I decided to give a lesson on how it works, left a manual there with it for future reference, and told her from here on out you will have to learn to use it like a big girl would. That worked. (it's so hard when you have to raise your parents sometimes.)

    overall I like the front loader better and would buy one again next time around.

  • suz16
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    As far as top loaders being "old technology", when I was little my parents had the "new technology" front loader machine. It was fun to watch-like TV. It always broke down, when it was filled with water of course. We couldn't get our clothes out until the repairman showed up and dumped our stuff into a bucket, with water sloshing all over the floor. Many times it would oversuds and it was a real nightmare. Then, the top loader was introduced to answer those problems. Trends tend to cycle back again and again.

  • madpupster
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    9)LG makes a FL model with rear mounted controls. I think it's also a little less deep because of that. I have no experience with it. Just saw it in a store a couple months ago.

  • phillygrl
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I have only owned front loading washers. My first was a White Westinghouse Spacemates washer and dryer. These were installed in a closet, the only space available in our first house. I bought it because it was the only full sized washer and dryer that would fit in my space. I liked the idea of using less water and soap so it would be easier on the septic system. It lasted 27 years, and was given to a collector who has the time to replace the seals. It was still doing wash until my Frigidaire Affinity 7000 set was delivered in January. It's also installed in a closet. I love the new set. Gosh it's fun having more than 2 cycles to use. I would never buy a top loader. Never had any problems with a smelly washer. I always leave the door ajar after using the washer, and have had no problems. Haven't had lots of service calls. Replaced a pump and door seal after 10 years on my White Westinghouse. Never had any leaks. My clothes come out way cleaner than washing them in my Mom's top loader. Removes stains like a charm. Just did a load of whites on the Deep Clean cycle, and it removed 3 year old grease and coffee stains on an old sweatshirt.

    As for front loaders being "new" technology, nothing could be further from the truth. The very first automatic washing machine (meaning you put the clothes and soap in the machine, turn it on, and end up with clean damp dry clothes) was a front loading machine made by the Bendix company. Top loaders beacame popular in the US because they are cheap to build and cheap to buy. Over in Europe, everyone uses a front loader.

  • bmmalone
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I have read all of the posts. I have had a couple of top loaders and never had any problems with them (left them behind when we moved). Had a FL for three years now, and had it replaced once.It had broken down several times, bu was replaced because of the smell. Still not satisfied. LEave door open all of time, take laundry out as soon as the cycle has finished, and wipe the gasket on the door out each time. One thing, you all mention the 'trap' - not sure exactly what you mean.

  • otterhead
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Nothing wrong with "old technology". When we moved last year, we needed "new" appliances. Marched over to the local appliance megastore and bought a Whirlpool Top Loader. Why? Old, proven technology that can be repaired with a screwdriver and a crescent wrench. Robust electromechanical controls and nothing electronic.

    Why?

    1. Everything fails eventually. The more complcated you make a machine, the higher the chance of multiple failures.

    2. Service nightmares dealing with an industry filled with parts changing monkeys. Finding a GOOD service person is a crapshoot, though they are out there. Anyone that is reasonably handy can take care of the most common failure on a direct-drive top loader themselves.

    3. Water + Cheesy dimestore electronics = fail and dishing out lots of cash to repair.

    4. "progress" and "new" doesn't always mean "better."

  • looser
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Like phillygrl mentioned above, the front loading technology is not new at all. In the beginning, FLs used a whole lot of water. Over several decades they have been improved and modified so that they can get the job done with very little water and energy usage. I think they did finally reach the minimum amount of water as the rinsing performance already suffers...

    I don't think that FLs are more prone to mechanical failures than TLs per se. My parents had FLs that lasted 15 years or more without any major repairs/service calls.
    The newer machines rely more and more on computer technology which can lead to a number of problems.

    A musty smell in a FL can be prevented in the vast majority of cases by proper maintenance and using the right kind and amount of detergent. Many posters on this forum state that liquid detergents and fabric softeners lead to a buildup in the outer drum. I think that there is a lot of truth to that. I have used liquid Tide HE that contains fabric softener and it doesn't rinse well at all. Some clothes got a few greasy looking stains that were tough to get out. I switched back to the powdered detergents (Sears Ultra) and don't have any mysterious stains or clothes that smell like detergent anymore. I wash most items on the warm cotton cycle (90 F) or hotter and don't have a hint of a musty smell after almost six months. I also never had odor problems with our FLs in Germany.

    I do wash our three-year-old's socks in a mesh bag, but I don't find that too inconvenient. Her panties just go in without a bag and never caused any problems. With our old TL I was never able to wash nylon stockings or other really delicate items as they didn't survive a single wash. No problem at all throwing them in the FL. No more strings torn out of jogging pants or shirts anymore either...:-)

    IMO FLs do a much better job at cleaning than TLs. Lots of water does not equal clean results. I have seen the rinse water when the pump of our TL failed. It was very nasty and you know that just part of it gets removed during the slow spin cycle. The TL sucked at getting bad odors out of towels, dish rags and my DD's bibs. I have tried many additives except for chlorine bleach and didn't have much success. I don't need any additives in my FL to get things smelling clean and fresh.

    Regarding kids playing with the controls or climbing into the washer... Kids need to learn what they can play with and what is off limits. Our daughter tried to climb into our dryer once and we told her not to do it. Never had any problems since. Our house is not completely child proof, so we have to make sure that DD knows the rules. She is actually excited to push the buttons on the washer, dryer and dishwasher when I am telling her to do it. She also cleans the lint filter of the dryer with great excitement...;-)

    Growing up with FLs, I never understood why people like or put up with TLs. When we bought our crappy TL we needed a wahser for 9 months until we got stationed in Germany. After that it went into storage for three years and then we used it again for almost three years. Even though we didn't have to pay for water and electricity in NC I have always hated that washer. I am much happier now that we have a FL and I will never switch back to a (traditional) TL.

  • organic_rob
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I have a he3t for three years, it vibrates pretty good, but i've put up with it so far. I've checked it myself and have had a warranty and checked each year. After a year the boot was replaced because we didn't know better to have left the door "open" after each use on a $1200 unit. Even though we leave the door open you need to use HOT water and warm often or you will get mildew around the boot, pull it back and look at it. They now sell tabs to run quarterly to keep the mildew down.

    Another problem is we have to use the extra rinse cycle to get more soap out of it, and yes we use liquid HE soap.

    What's more interesting in our relatives have the same unit on a slab and it's quiet. But they have the laundry tub that the washer empties to, what's said is even after an extra rinse you can do another additional rinse and still soap will be seen.. it's a problem.

    The FL have been around for a while in a commercial setting which are used all the time and left open and it's not a residential setting and can't be compared. My local appliance shop told me they will discourage use of FL on raised floor as they have had too many problems, especially if pedestals are used.

    Anyway, i agree some people have no problems and good for you, but then again some people can't smell either lol... so one's perspective is hard to pin down. smells ok to you? maybe not to me .. :) But i can bet after 1 years use and it sits for a day i could smell the mildew, i'm sure of it.

    What's nice about the new TL HE models is that the water is changed out during the washing cycles whereas the older TL's just had the clothes churning about in dirty water the whole wash cycle.. hmm..

    I'm now looking at the fisher and paykel w2 model TL.. and the WP Cabrio 6700T which is now a CEE tier 2 for energy efficiency.

    The bottom line is i'm disappointed as most of you are about the lack of quality in most products these days. I mean the whole idea of buying a energy efficient appliance is that in 14 years it will be much cheaper to operate due to power and water saving over the old stuff, but after all the problems and that type of time frame is a joke, then maybe a $400 dollar unit would be better in the long run. i'm looking at about 800 Out the door now and that's even more than i want to spend. The $1000+ days are done and over for me :)

    Enjoy!

  • Jeannie Cochell
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I needed to replace our 17-yr old Whirlpools and started the confusing task of making a decision. I've determined that for every good comment, you're going to read a bad one. I polled my friends and family. First thing I found out is that I'm pickier than anyone I know, lol. Most of them have no idea what make or model they use and the ones that do wouldn't use a different brand if it was served up on toast. Then there are the folks that buy by 'color'. Who knew a red washer does a better job than a white one?

    I came here and read, and read, and read. Became quite worried about the washer walking out the door during the spin cycle, pouring a river of water and stealing my clothes. I would later find the washer hiding under an eave tearing my clothes apart. Yes, I might be stretching the truth a little...

    Started hanging out at appliance stores. My goodness, I forgot the zeal of a salesman working on commission, lol. Should be legal to deck one of these jerks if they don't actually DO laundry. Some of them only know the difference between the washer and dryer because it's written on the sign above the equipment.

    I may have a made a bad choice but I went with another Whirlpool, Duet FL, even though I remember my Mom's early 1970's SpeedQueen FL that had us fearing the animals would start showing up in pairs. However the price didn't freak out my husband (too much) and the salesman was nice. It might not do a good job because it's white instead of red, lol. OTOH, that 20lb box of detergent is going to last me for a nice long time.

  • pokee99
    Original Author
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thanks to everyone for their helpful posts! After much thought (and waffling back and forth) we've decided to buy a regular ole top loader.

    I have talked to quite a few happy FL owners. I agree with Moroseaz, that most people aren't really that picky about their purchases, and just buy what Mr. Salesman recommends (and don't have noses like Basset Hounds like some of us).

    Whenever I feel guilty about not buying an HE machine, I remind myself that I am actually helping the environment in some ways. Less service calls mean savings in gas & emissions (for shipping/delivering parts and the tech coming out to your house to fix your machine). While there are true believers out there that feel the FLs require fewer repairs than conventional TLs, I think there are more people out there (including my local appliance shop that told me to buy an extended warranty if I plan to buy a FL) that feel the FLs require more service calls than conventional TLs.

    Otterhead got it right when he/she posted:

    "Old, proven technology that can be repaired with a screwdriver and a crescent wrench. Robust electromechanical controls and nothing electronic."

    Amen to that. Not much you can do with your HE machine when error code F21 pops up.

    Long live the conventional TOP LOADER!!!!

  • fahrenheit_451
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    pokee99,

    If you are happy with your decision that's really all that matters!

  • cynic
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    So which machine did you decided to get? OK, I'm nosey! :)

  • otterhead
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Pokee99, what did you get? Did you go for the bling or did you get something reliable?

    "he", by the way.

  • pokee99
    Original Author
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    We haven't bought anything yet - we don't move for another 6 weeks, so we're not in a huge hurry.

    We really wish we could bring our 6 year old Kenmore top loader with us. It's been very reliable. But, we already included it in the sale of our house.

    I don't think we're going to buy one of the he top loaders (I've heard a lot of horror stories about those) - just a simple top loader like I have know. Probably a simple Whirlpool with the dials for $400! Any recommendations?

    Thanks again!

  • organic_rob
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I went down today and bought the HE cabrio 6700T, this is the new revision to the 6600, the 6600 was top in CR feb 08 report but it was not real green, the 6700 uses 20 gallons max on full load and adjusts based on weight of load. I think my he3t uses 10 + the extra rinse .. maybe 12-15... don't know, but i can report back after using it for a few months. it was 800+tax, i sprang for the $99 five year warranty, to be safe but also got a wp $75 rebate to send in and also a PG&E $35 rebate (not sure if i qualify for that one as im on propane), should be here and workin this friday. gotta clean up my he3t and put it on craigslist or something for a song - noting "don't think about it unless ya have concrete floors"

    Enjoy!

  • kingstonian
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Speed Queen should also be on your short list. They wash very well, are reliable, dead simple and fairly cheap to buy.

  • otterhead
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Check out the whirlpool website. Starting price of 299 for a WTW 5100S, bare bones, two wash levels only. Basic model.

    We bought the 5500 to get a few extra features including hand wash. Tiles over plywood subfloor in the laundry room means the washer is noisy when running, so the laundry room door stays closed when the machine is running.

    Their "best" model has sound insulation, but it's pushing 600 retail. All of the machines listed do the same job.

    These machines are available under the Kenmore, Inglis and Roper brands.

  • pokee99
    Original Author
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I am probably going to go for the Whirlpool 5800 - it's a little pricier, but I like getting the best sound reduction package (since our laundry room is on the main floor right beside the kitchen/family room and is on tile over plywood!) and wash options. It's on sale at Sears for $599 CAD, which is more than we wanted to spend - but my local Trail Appliances probably has it for much cheaper. As long as I can buy a pair for under $1000, I am happy.

    So, are you saying that Whirlpool is made in the same place with the same parts as Kenmore, Inglis & Roper - or just that their machines are similar?

    Unfortunately, I don't think we have Speed Queen's in Canada. That would be a neat choice.

  • otterhead
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Well howdy, fellow canadian! Where do you live? We dealt with Corbeil in Ottawa when we had to get all new appliances after we sold the house and they blew everyone's price out of the water. They also have three month price protection. If the deal gets better within 3 months of purchase, you get the lower price.

    $599 sounds like a super deal, we paid $549 for a 5700 (still listed on the canadian site) which was a close equivalent to the 3 yr old model we had to say goodbye to when we sold our home. We noticed that the new one seems quite a bit louder, but I think that's a function of the old laundry room being a washer and dryer in a 2nd floor closet vs the new setup. Because the new machine is in a main floor room with a tile floor, most of the mechanical noise gets transmitted through the feet of the machine into the tiles. When the door to the laundry room is closed, it's not a big deal, but I am looking for a rubber mat to place under the machine.

    Don't expect much from the sound reduction package on the 5800, it's a bit of insulation inside the front of the cabinet.

    Regarding brands, Inglis, Roper are owned by whirpool. If it's a Kenmore, as long as it is a direct drive top loader with agitator, 3.2 cu ft capacity, it's a whirpool.

  • otterhead
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    sorry for the mention of me buying a 5500 a couple of posts up. Assumed I was dealing with a US poster and the 5500 is the closest listed to the 5700 we own.

  • dadoes
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Of "traditional" agitator-type toploaders (not including the Cabrio, Oasis, and Bravos), the following brands have been mechanically identical for years, and built by Whirlpool: Whirlpool, Kenmore, Inglis, Estate, Roper, and KitchenAid (now off the market). Added to the mix now that Whirlpool owns Maytag are Amana, Admiral, and Maytag. Some market-areas also offer Crosley, which appear to be Whirlpool-made.

    The Cabrio, Oasis, and Bravos are mechanically identical to each other, but are different than the "traditional"-style machines. That is, the non-HE (agitator) Cabrio, Oasis, and Bravos models are mechanically identical to each other, but are different from the agitator brands listed above.

  • kingstonian
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    pokee99, I also am Canadian (Kingston Ontario) and being so close to the US border, I went to the very friendly town of Watertown NY and got my Speed Queen there. With the dollar at or near par, I bought the one machine down from the Top of the line TL for $649.00 US. Coming back I had to pay 50 or $60.oo for tax/duty. It is more expensive than a ubiquitous Whirlpool but to me it was worth it. If you have a minivan, they fit right in easily. Cheers!

  • dhallsh3h
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I have a GE Profile front loader bought March 08. I have a terrible time washing heavy items such as a king-size cotton blanket. Plush cotton bath towels pose a problem, too. The machine gets out of balance easily and spin speed is so slow that the blanket is still soaked at the end of the wash. Another problem ... The entire cycle can take up to 2 hours to complete with the forgoing results.

    Anyone have similar problem or advice?

  • lejack
    8 years ago

    I'm shopping too and I have come to the conclusion that the speed queen is the best buy for how I want to wash clothes - I agree with your points - check this machine out: Speed Queen AWNE92SP113TW01

  • rogerv_gw
    8 years ago

    I've had a Kenmore front loader for 15 years that has been a great washing machine. It originally cost about $600 in 2001, and has just kept on chugging. Right at the moment, it is dripping a bit from the bottom from a leaking outer tank, but not enough leakage that it doesn't dry out between uses. Since it's on a slab, not a big issue, but I expect to be replacing it within a year or so, Can't really complain about that length of service for what we originally put into it.

    I'll be looking for another front loader, this one has gotten our clothes clean without damaging them with minimal water use. No smell, but we leave the door and the soap drawer ajar between uses so that they dry out inside. Yes, it does vibrate, but it doesn't rip out pipes and walls or walk around, just makes some noise on fast spin. I haven't got enough money to buy a washing machine that doesn't make any noise.

    And yes, there's a certain amount of luck involved with any major appliance purchase, and I'm well aware that we've been lucky with this one. Lemons do happen. But you can take a lot of the doubt out (except the probability of getting a lemon *smile*) by doing your research up front.

    Good luck!

  • mamapinky0
    8 years ago

    WOuld a new FL function like a 15 year old one would? I would expect it not to so prepare for a learning curve.

  • rogerv_gw
    8 years ago

    I'm researching now...as usual, lots of conflicting points of view. Not easy to sort out the wheat from the chaff.

    On a lighter side, I noticed that I had responded to this thread once already (above), when I'd only had the FL washer for 7 years. Been a good experience, looks like. I suppose an update every 8 years or so is most likely okay *smile*.

  • Jeannie Cochell
    8 years ago

    I posted on here way back, too, and never did regret purchasing my Whirlpool Duets. Glad I took the chance as I really put those machines through their paces. I remember how shocked I was when I wasn't buying detergent every week, too.

  • rpsinfoman
    8 years ago

    Once you get a custom to it, you won't look back. They really do clean better by the nature of the heated hot water to temperatures otherwise unattainable by usual methods. You will also like the fact you can do large comforters, throw rugs, bulky blankets with ease.

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