If you are thinking of repairing or purchasing a clothes washer, lets check out the pros and cons of the two basic styles of washers available, the 'top load washer' and the 'front load washer'.

    The new front load type washers have recently been selling in large numbers.  The appeal seems to be the the trendy, glamorous hi-tech new look, and the promise of greater efficiency.  It is true that the front load washer does use much less water than the older style top load washer.  However to achieve this, the front load washer has to carefully control the motor speed and be able to reverse direction every few rotations to prevent the clothes from tangling.  On most models, this requires three separate computer boards; the interface board, the main control board, and the motor control board.

    All this extra complexity means more to break and a much greater up front cost that will take quite a while to make up for, by the savings from less water usage.

    And there is the claim that with the tumble action of the front load washer, instead of an agitation action, the front load washer is gentler on the clothes.  Perhaps it depends on the circumstances.  Some of our customers tell us that the front load washers are not really better.

    Damage to the clothes comes from when the garment fibers are forced against a hard surface. This action could occur with the slapping of the clothes on the basket of the tumble action front load washer, or the forceful action of the agitator in the top load washer.   However, with the top load washer this happens mostly when the washer is overloaded, causing the agitator to press on the clothes, instead of having the clothes slosh freely while suspended in the water. Some of the new top load washers use a rotating disc instead of a tower agitator. The disc has gentle waves formed in its surface that create standing waves in the wash water to do the agitating.  These clothes washers are generally more complicated, thus more expensive. 

    Also, the front load washing machines are sealed when the door is closed.  If the door is left closed when not in use, often mildew will grow causing an undesirable odor.  Putting the front load washer through a wash cycle with chlorine bleach usually solves the problem.  Top load washers don't have this problem.

    Since all machines will eventually break and require service, it is important to consider what difficulties you will be confronted with when this happens with your washer.  An appliance repairman's ability to provide knowledgeable, and fair priced appliance service is heavily based on his ability to acquire the proper technical data for your particular brand and model.  Appliances made in the last decade use much more electronics and are more technical in their designs.  This can sometimes require specific information in order for the appliance repairman to perform a proper diagnosis.  Unfortunately, most manufactures deliberately withhold this information in order to force the consumer to spend their dollars with the manufactures own repair hub.  This can result in fewer repair companies to choose from and higher repair prices for you.

    However, there are two manufacturerers that take the exact opposite business practice, Whirlpool and Speed Queen.  
'Whirlpool', who also makes Kitchen Aid, Maytag, Jenn-Air, Estate, Amana, and other brands, takes great length to make sure their technical data is available to all technicians.  Plus, their appliances are usually designed to be easy to repair and diagnose.  This of course means less cost to you.  Speed Queen seems to have a similar practice. Almost every appliance repairman is eager to work on Whirlpool and Speed Queen products, and will gratefully recommend them.

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