The history of a washing machine dates back to the eighteenth century. Ever since, it is continuously diversifying in form, function, efficiency, and mechanism.
There is no rocket science involved in using a washing machine. The ones introduced in the markets today are simple that even your child can do his/her own laundry. However, what really costs you some effort is the choice of the machine that you need to buy. To start with, there are two basic options to choose from. One is the front load machine and the other is the top load machine.
How do you choose between the two? For this, you need to first understand the working of both the type of machines.
How they work
Top Load Washing Machine – A top loader washes your clothes in a vertically-mounted basket filled with water and detergent along with the help of an agitator that spins and rinses the clothes between the paddles.
Front Load Washing Machine – In a front loader, you put your clothes through the front door. The clothes are then washed based on the rotation of the cylinder and the gravity that aids in the agitation of the machine. The paddles lift the clothes and drop them down repeatedly, which helps in the cleaning and rinsing.
Both these types come with a distinct set of advantages. However, the final decision is entirely personal and based on your utility and budget. Public surveys reveal that for a middle-class nuclear family consisting of 4-5 members, a fully automatic front load machine well under 7 or 8 kg capacity does a perfect job.
Factors influencing your shopping decision
Here is a list of factors that can help you with your decision-making when it comes to buying washing machines.
- Different washes for different types of clothes: Laundry items are never the same every day. Thus, you need to pitch in different kinds of efforts. Daily-wears, kids’ clothes, uniforms, and delicate fabrics are some of the clothing that dominates your laundry on most day. On certain other days, you will have to do some heavy-duty laundry that includes bed sheets, blankets, table covers, etc. that demand longer and tougher cleaning programs. The spacious cylinder, adequate water distribution, and systematic detergent access make front-loaders go soft on your expensive fabrics and act tough on the heavy clothes. Detergents and fabric softeners go hand-in-gloves in the machine automatically. Gravity also plays a key role in the cleansing action of a front loading machine. Moreover, its tumble wash mechanism is gentle on clothes thereby increasing the life span of your favourite fabric.
- Ease of use and operation: A front load machine is easy to use. Anyone can operate it, except for the practical difficulty of bending down and transferring the clothes. These days there is a solution even for this. You can easily get a trolley for the machine with stoppers that further raise the height to above 2 or 4 inches. For homes with kids, you can expect laundry to come up at any time, even between wash cycles. You can even load more clothes into a front loader due to the absence of a central agitator present in top loaders.
- Get into the habit of saving: Washing and drying in the same tub as in automatic top loaders is common with front loading machines. You get to save sixty percentage of water in a front loader that comes with higher drier spin speed. The self-regulating capacity of front load machines reduces water consumption by one-third and sometimes almost 50% compared to that of a top-load. According to consumer reports in 2015, a front load washing machine uses less than 50 litres of water for cleaning a load of around 4 kg. The machine takes just enough quantity of water to keep the laundry immersed.
- Doing laundry is more than just removing stains: Clothes come out visibly cleaner and more than half-dried from fully automatic machines. Whereas in top loaders, you will often notice that detergent clumps together and deposits on linen at the end of the wash. With more drum space and efficient circulation, front loaders eliminate this by effective removal of detergent and lint from the cleaned clothes. Front loaders require less detergent and produce minimum lint. Many brands of detergents advise that you require only 60g of detergent for cleaning a single load in a front-load machine while you need 90g for the same load in a top-load machine.
- Manage space: Front load machines are a welcome relief to space constraints in urban homes as they can be easily fitted underneath a slab in the kitchen cabinet or on a side-shelf along the corridor. More floor space for utilization and minimum clutters in the visible vicinity makes home management much simpler. Regular using of a front loader is less likely to choke your drainage system. The trolley of a top-load do give us some mobility but floor space remains unavailable beneath and around it.
For many, buying a washing machine is a one-time heavy investment that needs to last at least a decade. Hence, you need to have some basic knowledge of both the type of machines before you make your decision. Although the initial cost may seem quite high for a front load machine, you will be optimally cutting down on your electricity bill, overall carbon emissions, and the water usage.