HE Top Loading Washers VS Traditional Agitator Washing Machines

The pump started leaking in my old agitator washer, so we felt it was time to purchase a new one. I felt a little overwhelmed by all the choices. In the end, I purchased a top loading HE (high efficiency) model and it didn’t cost me more than a traditional machine. Prices have gone down on these machines.

After checking ratings and prices, I ended up buying a GE high efficiency top loader.I'd suggest that you check the brand that you plan on purchasing. Some of them don't get good ratings for differed reasons.

I’m happy with my purchase. These machines don’t have an agitator in the middle of the machine. With my last machine, I had problems with bras etc getting tangled around the agitator. With no agitator this doesn’t happen with my new machine and it is also gentler on the clothes.

The HE model uses 40% less water. Not only does this save on my water usage, but it also saves on the water softener salt, natural gas used to heat the water, and I use less detergent than before.

The new machine does require using HE detergent, which hasn’t been a problem. Most laundry soap brands now make the HE detergent. Be sure to check the box or bottle. It will be stated right on the front. HE washers require the special detergent because it is low-sudsing and this is necessary with less water usage. Never use regular laundry detergent in a HE machine. I have heard that some HE machines are now being produced that don’t need the special detergent, but in my price range I didn’t find one of those.

This is a European model of a top loading machine. It is slightly different the American model. The ones we now have look just like a regular washing machine, but doesn't have the agitator bar in the middle..
This is a European model of a top loading machine. It is slightly different the American model. The ones we now have look just like a regular washing machine, but doesn't have the agitator bar in the middle.. | Source

My machine also came with the feature that it automatically senses the amount of water needed for the load. This eliminates the need to reset the load size every time you wash clothes.

The spin cycle on the HE works at a faster speed, so the clothes come out dryer, but this can also cause more wrinkling. I haven’t noticed a problem with this, but I’ve heard others complain.

One problem with the HE machine is that an odor will develop if you don’t leave the lid open between uses. A small amount of water builds up, but it will dry out if you remember not to shut the lid. A special cleaner is also available to use once a month if you’d rather do that.

Even with less water my clothes are coming out clean and I’m happy with the new machine. One problem I do have with the machine is that when I wash just a couple of items, they come out so wrinkled that it is hard to get the wrinkles out. I’m enjoying the energy saving and I’d recommend the machine to anyone searching for a new washer.


A front loader would be nice, but they are about double the price at this time.
A front loader would be nice, but they are about double the price at this time. | Source

Have you tried a top loading HE machine?

  • Yes, but I didn't like it.
  • Yes, I love mine.
  • No
  • No, but I plan to in the future.
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Comments 28 comments

whitton profile image

whitton 5 years ago

Great Hub. I have heard many great things about the HE Top Loading Washers are great and for the fact that it uses 40% less water than your traditional washer machine. Do you think that OXY detergent would be able to work with the washer??


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 5 years ago from USA Author

Do you mean the OXY Clean stain fighter or OXY detergent. If it is detergent it would be safe to stick with only those that say HE on the front label or the front of a box.


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 5 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

Thank you for the product referral. Like you said, there are way too many choices. Appreciate you sharing. Thanks again.


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 5 years ago from USA Author

whitton, I checked for you and yes it says OXY detergent is safe with HE top loaders.


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 5 years ago from USA Author

LillyGrillzit, Thanks for reading and commenting on my hub.


Tamarajo profile image

Tamarajo 5 years ago from Southern Minnesota

One other thing I don't like about the front loader is the clothes come out so tangled up. It is a wrestling match to get them out and untangled. But I agree with all your other advantages.


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 5 years ago from USA Author

Tmarajo, Thanks for commenting.


mmmkisses 5 years ago

We bought a HE top loading washer by GE a few weeks ago and am extremely disappointed. We use about half the HE liquid detergent recommended (approx 2 tbsp) because we have a water softener..and so far we haven't had one dark load of laundry that doesn't have soap scum on the clothes. There is absolutely no water savings as after washing the clothes with an additional rinse, we have to put it through the 'rinse only' cycle..and often completely rewash the load again with no soap at all. Buying this machine was a complete waste of money.


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 5 years ago from USA Author

Hmm. I dont' have that problem at all. I wonder if you can use vinegar in them instead of water softener. That would take care of the soap scum.

I use Tide HE with mine. I know it's more expensive. I wonder if I used a cheaper detergent if I'd have problems.

I'm sorry to hear it isn't working out well for you.


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 5 years ago from USA Author

I meant using vinegar instead of fabric softener not water softener.


Edna Cole 5 years ago

DO NOT BUY THE WHIRLPOOL CABRIO WASHER SOLD AT COSTCO. It makes weird humming noise and takes forever to wash a load. Don't like the HE feature either. What are you supposed to do with the giant box of leftover detergent from the old washer?


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 5 years ago from USA Author

GE makes a weird sound when it runs also, but it isn't as loud as the sounds my traditional machine made. The info that came with it warned that it would make a different noise than you would be used to hearing.

I like the HE feature myself. I've had no problem with its cleaning capability.

I gave my old bottle of detergent to my sister. That bothered me too, because I had a large bottle that was almost full.

Thanks for reading the hub Edna. I"m sorry to hear that you aren't happy with your HE.


baroegner 4 years ago

I also have the problem with soap scum on my dark laundry. The service man told me I am using to much soap, I am now down to 1/2 tsp and have also tried diluting it with water and the stains are still there. I also have to put the load through a rinse cycle when the wash cycle is done because the second rinse doesn't work. I am very dissapointed in this washer..


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA Author

baroegner, I've never had a problem, so it makes me wonder why others are. I do have a water softener and I only load the clothing up to 3/4 of the tub. I wonder if not doing these two things are giving you the problem. It could be some brands aren't as good as others too.

Something else that is very important is that you are using HE laundry detergent.


blort 4 years ago

The HE design of the Whirlpool is almost useless. I have stood over the device (glass lid top-load) for multiple entire cycles and watched a pair of pants or shirt simply *never* get drawn down into the water. Many items get damp at best. I am going to do videos and send to Whirlpool. I can't understand how something like this gets past the design phase. And washing something like a mattress cover is utterly pointless. Uses less water? Absolutely. But get a glass lid device where you can watch what's going on and you realise you now need to do at least twice as many loads because the mini-actuator simply doesn't "rotate" the load in the water. Complete waste of $1000.


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA Author

blort, I've been perfectly happy with my GE washer, but I do only fill it 3/4 full. Different models may work differently and some may use a little more water.


Adam 4 years ago

Thank you for the advice all. We're going with the agitator. HE just isn't there yet it seems.


Leslie Velazquez 4 years ago

I found The Brand "HEplus+" performs like most leading brands and is very cost effective and lasted a very long time...5gallons for $45...I couldn't go wrong!!!

www.heplus.vpweb.com


Gary 4 years ago

My wife hates our 600 dollar maytag we've had it about a year. I hooked a hose so she could add more water. It's better but she misses her old Maytag, as the new is too time comsuming.


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA Author

Gary, I'm sorry to hear that. It must depend on the brand that you buy. I am happy with ours, but I've heard this from a lot of people.


Tom 4 years ago

We bought the LG 3 days ago and I regret it already. Can I return it? It washed the clothes OK but I put my son's comforter in it and it would never complete the rinse cycle. I tried to readjust the load manually, I turned it down to low spin and still no luck. After two and one half hours of trying, I had to drag the dripping wet comforter out of the washer and make a terrible mess in the floor. There was water everywhere. I had to hand wring the comforter and run the dryer for three hours to get it dry. What a disaster.


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA Author

Tom, I'd call the store and let them know what happened. I hope you can return it.


Randy 4 years ago

It is my understanding and proven knowledge that an HE washer machine DOES NOT WORK! I have tried several brands and they all fail to do what they are suppose to, Wash Clothes! I believe it is a scam. I'm starting to feel sorry for the store I keep buying them from because I return every one. I do not care what a machine costs I just want it to clean my clothes. Can you recommend a traditional washer with an agitator that has a Grey or Stainless appearance?


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA Author

All I can say is that mine works fine and I am happy with it.


Namastemama 3 years ago

I have had a frontloader for 8 years. LOVED it. It shook the entire house though. HE is not a joke, there is a vast difference between the TOP and FRONT loaders. We recently purchased a top loader. If we keep it, our water bill will double from our frontloader days. The few loads we have tried come full of lint and wrinkled. We purchased a Samsung toploader. It adds a lot of water. It is very quiet. That is the only good thing about it. I wish I would have tried a frontloader again and returned it if the vibration was an issue.

If you are satisfied with the old school agitator washer then do not change. If you would like to conserve water, be able to wash a king size comforter, gentle on clothes, short drying times and still get clothes clean. Get a FRONT loader.


marcia lemus 3 years ago

I have an HE top load washer, takes too long for every load, makes too much noise does not wash good. Im very desappointed. I dont know why we cant decide how much water we want to use. I would definitely not recommend it.


Peggy in Memphis 2 years ago

If I could take my 6 month old GE HE Washer back to Sears where I bought it. I WOULD!! I HATE THESE HE Machines. We paid $600 for a washer that DOES NOT CLEAN CLOTHES!!!!

I used to LOVE TO WASH. . . now I just throw them in, knowing that all I will get are wet clothes that probably smell fresh - BUT NOT CLEAN!

I'm raising my own fund to buy a USED WASHER from CRAIGSLIST!


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 2 years ago from USA Author

Peggy, I've had mine for awhile. I've noticed it helps to put less clothes in and then they come clean. The problem is that it takes forever to get your laundry done this way. I'm not sure if I'd buy another or not. There is no doubt that they save water.

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