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Hybrid Top Load vs Front Load Washers (Reviews/Ratings)

William Hanley  |  June 13, 2012  |  3 Min. Read

Front Load Washers  |  Laundry  |  Hybrid Washers

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Confused about the different types of washers out there? Don't be. We'll explain the three most popular styles of washers in this article so at the end you can decide which one would be right for your home.

Let's start at the very beginning before we compare the two most efficient washing machines.

Top load washer vs. front load washer vs. hybrid washer

Traditional Top Load Washer

traditional top load washer with agitator Traditional Top Load Washer with Agitator

For many years, the top load washing machine was the dominant style of washers since its inception in the 1920's. The drum of top load washer is filled with water and the agitator moves the clothes around, cleaning the entire load of wash.

Although this style has not really been improved since the 1940's, the top load machine has been extremely reliable. In fact, older top load machines are the most reliable machines ever sold.

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However, top load machines are smaller in capacity at 2.5 cubic feet, use 40 gallons of water, more than twice the electricity, and spins slowly for more drying time.

Front Load Washer

front load washer

The front load washer was introduced to address these issues. A front load washer assesses the size of the load and adds the necessary amount of water. The load of wash tumbles, much like a dryer, washing the entire load evenly without an agitator.

Thus, the front load washer has a greater capacity at 3.5 to 4.5 cubic feet (or larger), uses less water at 11-17 gallons, and spins out at a much higher rate so the drying time is less. You can also have better controls and new features like steam. 

(Read the Best Front Load Washers and Pairs for 2015) 

Many consumers, however, still prefer the ease of the top load washer (less stooping). Additionally, front loaders were expensive and less reliable when introduced in 1997.

This preference led to the introduction of the so called hybrid (convenience of top load and efficiency of a front load) washing machines to offer the best of both worlds.

Hybrid Top Load Washers

hybrid top load washer no agitator Hybrid Top Load Washer with no Agitator 

The hybrid washers are really very similar to a top load machine except with a very small agitator or none at all. Unfortunately, there is not as much movement of the load as in either a top load or a front model.

The results are inconsistent with the clothes on the outside of the drum becoming wet while the clothes in the middle of the drum remain drier.

The hybrid washer needs to be overhauled. Manufacturers have to resdesign to compensate for the lack of the agitator.

Additional Resources

For more information about laundry, read our frequently updated Yale Washer Buying Guide for brands, terms and features. Related guides: 


A few review sites have placed this at the bottom of their articles. So here is our take: Our mission is to find reliable products for you to buy. Other review sites may say this as well.

However, we don’t love every product. Quite frankly, it costs us way too much money in repair costs to support less reliable brands.

In fact, we sell fewer brands than most appliance stores. Here is why:

We feel it is our responsibility to repair your appliances after you buy them.

We now have 30 service technicians, each averaging 8-10 calls a day Monday through Friday, plus another 110 on Saturday. That's over 30,000 service calls logged in one year.

The labor rates of fixing an appliance do not come close to the true cost in any product’s warranty period.

That is why no major retailer has a service department. It costs too much labor, money and time.

Our Blog is a bit different than most others you will read. We cannot write glowing reviews of unreliable products.

Hopefully, the bloggers and organizations who write such glowing product reviews for every brand consider servicing these products first. Only then they will understand the consequences of their marketing.

William Hanley

William Hanley is an appliance sales consultant at Yale Appliance + Lighting. Before joining Yale, William worked for twenty years in jewelry sales and is a lifelong Patriots and RedSox fan.

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Pricing on this blog is for reference only and may include time sensitive rebates. We make every attempt to provide accurate pricing at time of publishing. Please call the stores for most accurate price.

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