Agitator vs. No Agitator in a Top Load Washer – Which Is Better?
Which type of washer is best? The debate over which type of washer has the upper hand in cleaning clothes can be heated, but in truth, it comes down to personal preference. If you’re in the market for a new top-load washer, you have two options: one with an agitator or one without. Both types come with pros and cons you should consider before making your purchase.
In this article, we will cover the following:
- What does an agitator do?
- Agitators vs. impellers in top load washers
- Advantages of a top load washer with an agitator
- Disadvantages of a top load washer with an agitator
- FAQs about agitators in top load washers
What Does an Agitator Do?
An agitator is a rotating arm that sits in the middle of the tub. It’s usually attached to a motor that rotates it at high speeds and has propeller-like paddles that create movement and churn the laundry during the wash cycle. This causes the clothes to mix and tumble within the tub, breaking up the dirt and grime so they can be rinsed away with water.
While modern top load washers with agitators aren’t anywhere close to your grandma’s up-and-down models from the 60s, the cleaning action is the same. However, today’s washers are more advanced, and clients have more choices, including washers with removable agitators.
And for clients who want something different, there are countless options for no-agitator top load washers that use impellers.
Agitators vs. Impellers in Top Load Washers
The newest models of washing machines don’t have agitators, and the ones that do are typically found on older washers. The new models use impellers instead, which look more like fins inside the drum than an upstanding pole.
One key difference between agitator and non-agitator washers is how they clean clothes: while the agitator turns the clothes and rubs them against itself, impellers work by spinning quickly in a circle and creating movement in the water. The back-and-forth movement of water creates friction, causing the clothes to rub against each other. For the most part, the clothes do not even touch the impeller.
Advantages of a Top Load Washer with an Agitator
The use of the traditional top-load washer with an agitator is on the rise. According to consumer reports, top load agitators accounted for 44% of washer shipments in the US in 2020, and the numbers are expected to continue rising. Reasons for that include familiarity, effective cleaning mechanisms, and affordability.
Familiarity: Washers with agitators are what most people grew up with. Most customers have been using this type of washing machine for years, so they know how it works. This may be different with newer models, which are more technologically advanced and offer different options, such as cleaning cycles and extra programs like steam or stain removal cycles.
Plus, the mechanics of this type of washing machine are tried and true, and some customers may choose to stick with what’s already familiar to them.
Affordability: The most obvious advantage of washers with agitators is affordability. While there are pricey options in either category, agitator units typically cost less money upfront than non-agitator models. They usually start at as low as $400 and can go up to $1,300 for newer models. Because they’re relatively inexpensive, even those with lower incomes or tight budgets can afford one.
Effective cleaning: Agitators offer a powerful cleaning mechanism that can remove stains and grime better, especially on heavy-duty articles of clothing. The rotating motion of the agitator creates an effective force that allows the clothes to rub against each other and the rotating arm, breaking down soil and grime easily.
Disadvantages of a Top Load Washer with an Agitator
Top-load washers are generally cheaper than their newer counterparts, but they also have several shortcomings. These include lesser capacity, decreased efficiency, longer dry times, and increased wear and tear.
Less capacity – A major drawback of the top loader with an agitator is probably the lack of space in the drum. The area occupied by the agitator means the washer has less capacity, which could result in needing to do more loads to wash your clothes. This may make it unsuitable for people who have a large family or do many loads of washing per week. It’s also harder to wash large loads like sheets or comforters.
Decreased efficiency – This type of washing machine uses more water than other types of washers because it needs more water to work its magic. As a result, it will cost more money in terms of both water and energy consumption to function correctly. Although you might have bought it cheap, in some cases, your top-load washer may actually cost more to operate.
The Agitator’s Effect on Clothes – Although clothes are more likely to be cleaner in a washer with an agitator, they’re also more likely to be damaged. Some fabrics get caught and pulled around by the spinning arms or tumbling clothes during washing. That agitation may lead to the tangling of delicate fabric items like lace or silk.
Longer dry times – Top load washers with agitators usually use more water during the wash cycle, which often means you have to dry your laundry for longer. This may mean running your dryer longer, increasing your energy bill.
They’re noisier – Generally, washers with an agitator are noisier than other washing machines. This can be pretty loud, but that shouldn’t be a problem if your laundry room is not next to your living room or bedroom.
It’s 2023, and washers are no longer the same as they were back in the day. Today, washing machines come with a variety of options that allow for more customization when it comes to water temperature, spin speeds, and even cycles.
Agitators are primarily used on older models because newer machines tend to be made with more efficient impellers. If you want to save money on energy bills and reduce your environmental impact, it’s best to use a front-loading or no-agitator washing machine instead. There’re also water-saving, high-efficiency removable agitator models at lower prices.
Looking for a new washer? We have lots of high-efficiency models, traditional top-loader washers, and even modern front-loaders at different price points. Browse our catalog to see our full selection of washers. And if you need more assistance before deciding, here’s an in-depth washer-buying guide to help you.
FAQs About Agitators in Top Load Washers
Are washers better with or without agitators?
There is no right or wrong answer as to which type is better—it all depends on what you want out of your washing machine. Agitators in a washing machine do an excellent job cleaning dirty and grimy clothes, but they can also be tough on certain types of clothing, such as delicates and knits. Non-agitator washers are typically more expensive but more efficient and have a larger capacity.
Most machines in the non-agitator washer category are high-efficiency, meaning they use less water and energy. They also have more capacity, allowing you to do bigger loads of laundry. The lack of agitators also means that less wear-and-tear occurs on your clothing.
Do top-load washers clean well without agitators?
Top-load washers without agitators can clean clothes well, depending on what you need to wash. They are excellent for delicate, bulkier, and larger items. The machine operates based on fins inside the drum that make the water spin really quickly, causing the clothes to rub against each other for a faster and more thorough but gentle wash.
How does a washer with no agitator get clothes clean?
A top load washer without an agitator is designed to work differently than a traditional one using low-profile wheels, fins, or cones known as impellers. The impellers cause the water to move at high speeds, moving the tub back and forth, like it would in a hand washing cycle, but at high speed and with less water. This saves energy and money by not using as much hot water or electricity as a regular top-load washer and guarantees a thorough, clean wash.
Do I want an agitator or an impeller?
The type of washer you purchase largely depends on your personal preferences and needs. Agitators are known for providing excellent cleaning power because they use motion to help break up dirt particles. This makes them great for heavy-duty cleaning and ideal for people who are always outside. Non-agitator models have a larger capacity, are more efficient, and are gentler on delicate clothes.
With which type of washer the cycle lasts longer, the impeller or the agitator?
Agitator washers typically have a shorter wash and longer dryer cycles. On the other hand, non-agitator models have longer wash times because of the gentle cleaning cycles. This is beneficial, too, because as the machine is spinning, it can rinse out more water than the agitator model. This makes the drying time shorter for this model than for an agitator model.
Do agitators make a difference?
Agitators make a difference in the cleaning mechanism of the washer. An agitator-type washing machine uses some form of mechanical agitation to break down dirt particles, making it perfect for heavy-duty clothes that require more effort to clean.
But if you’re looking for the most effective way to clean your clothes, you’ll want a non-agitator top-load washer. These models work by churning the water around in the machine to get your clothes nice and clean with less scrubbing. The motion of the tub is better suited for getting dirt out from in between fibers, plus it’s excellent at reducing fabric abrasion.
Agitator vs. Non-Agitator Washing Machines: Which is Better?
At a Glance:
Washing Machine Price
Washing Machine Cleaning Capabilities
Non-Agitator/Front Loader Pros and Cons
Agitator Pros and Cons
Our Top Choices
Why Trust Us
You’re at Boulevard Home shopping for a washing machine. The first question your salesperson will most likely ask is, “agitator or non-agitator?” If you are unsure as to which washing machine best fits your lifestyle and home, you’ve come to the right place. While there is no right or wrong answer to which is better, there are certain attributes one washer may have that the other lacks. Let’s see which washing machine best fits your needs.
Washing Machine Price
Most washing machines are priced within the $800.00-$1,300.00 range. You can find expensive agitator washers and expensive non-agitator washers. But in general, top load/agitator washers tend to be less expensive. Though top-loaders may be less expensive up front, they are more expensive to run.
Washing Machine Cleaning Capabilities
Possibly the biggest debate concerning front loaders vs top loaders is which cleans better. There are a lot of factors to consider such as load size, detergent, if the washer is HE (high efficiency) or not, and other factors. But in general, washers that have an agitator provide a more heavy-duty and thorough clean.
Non-Agitator/Front Loader Pros and Cons
The lack of an agitator frees up a lot of room in the drum, creating the opportunity to clean larger loads and big comforters. Non-agitator machines use much less water which leads to less waste, cheaper water bills, and “greener” laundry. Front-loaders have the ability to be stacked which takes up a lot less space in the laundry room.
While non-agitator machines will give you trusty clean, they are not as tough on dirt and grime and agitator washers are. If you frequently work outdoors or just get really dirty, a non-agitator machine may not give you the clean you are looking for. These machines are usually a little more expensive than agitator machines.
Agitator Pros and Cons
You can add clothes to the load once it’s already started. They usually take less time to clean your clothes. In general, they offer a deeper clean than non-agitator washers. Top load washers are generally better for people who have a hard time bending or stooping to load and unload laundry.
They can have a difficult time cleaning pillows and comforters due to the agitator taking up a lot of space in the drum. The agitator can sometimes be hard on clothes, cause tears, or stretching. They use more water which can be an issue if you do a lot of laundry.
Now that you have the facts, which washing machine is best for you? Whatever appliance you are looking for, you can find it at Boulevard Home!
Our Top Choices
Still deciding? Here are two of our top picks of washers, one with and one without an agitator.
LG 4.3 Cu. Ft. White Top Load Washer
Shop the LG 4.3 Cu. Ft. White Top Load Washer
The LG 4.3 Cu. Ft. White Top Load Washer is a reliable and efficient laundry appliance. With its generous 4.3 cubic feet capacity, it can accommodate large loads, saving you time and effort. The top load washer design offers easy access and convenient loading and unloading of your laundry. Equipped with advanced technologies and features, this washer delivers powerful cleaning performance while being gentle on your clothes. Its sleek white finish adds a touch of modernity to your laundry room.
GE® 5.0 Cu. Ft. White Smart Front Load Washer
Shop the GE® 5.0 Cu. Ft. White Smart Front Load Washer
The GE® 5.0 Cu. Ft. White Smart Front Load Washer combines advanced technology with a spacious 5.0 cubic feet capacity to deliver exceptional laundry performance. This smart washer allows you to control and monitor your laundry remotely through your smartphone, providing convenience and flexibility. With its front load washer design, it offers efficient cleaning while being gentle on your clothes. The white finish adds a sleek and modern touch to your laundry room. Equipped with various wash cycles and customizable options, this washer ensures optimal cleaning results for a wide range of fabrics.
What is the benefit of no agitator?
The benefit of a washer with no agitator is that it can accommodate larger and bulkier items, such as blankets and comforters, more easily. It also tends to be gentler on delicate fabrics.
Which is better washer with agitator or impeller?
Choosing between a washer with an agitator or impeller depends on the specific laundry needs. An agitator is generally better for handling heavy-duty and heavily soiled loads, while an impeller is better suited for lighter loads and gentle fabric care.
Why use an agitator?
Agitators are used in washers to create a vigorous motion that helps to remove dirt and stains from clothes. They provide a more traditional washing experience and are particularly effective for tackling tough stains and heavily soiled items.
Why Trust BlvdHome?
The roots of this family business began as early as the pioneer settlement of Southern Utah. One descendant of those 1861 pioneers was Lester Wittwer. In 1928, he started a trucking business with other family members, delivering homegrown fruits and vegetables to many outlying areas. The story of BlvdHome began in 1974, when Lester’s son Tony decided to venture off into the furniture world – with two full-time employees and a small showroom of only 8,000 square feet. Today, BlvdHome has 5 retail locations with over 160,000 sq. ft. of showroom space, located in St. George, Utah, Hurricane, Utah, Cedar City, Utah, Mesquite, Nevada, and a new Las Vegas location. With over 230 amazing team members, BlvdHome continues to deliver on a commitment to customer service that started over 90 years ago.
Shop Washers at BlvdHome
At BlvdHome, we provide quality name-brand appliances, furniture, and mattresses for great prices. Shop washers online or visit us today at one of our locations in Utah or Nevada. In the meantime, browse our website to shop BlvdHome Bargain Barn and check out our flooring selections to increase your home value. More available than ever, our experts at BlvdHome are always happy to help you find a washer for your home, whether you call us or use our online chat feature. Contact us today!
Learn more: 6 Best Washer and Dryer Sets This Year
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How to Choose a Washing Machine | TOP 8 Mistakes When Choosing
8 Mistakes When Choosing a Washing Machine
Choosing a washing machine is a complex issue that must be approached responsibly. The first step that leads to the purchase of any appliance, in particular a washing machine, is considered to be pre-planning. You need to be aware of your own needs and take into account how much time you plan to spend on laundry. And also do not forget to take into account when choosing such equipment the number of people who will use the machine. For example, a large family needs daily laundry. Consider where exactly the washing machine will be located. Living in an apartment, most likely there will be problems with free space. Therefore, it is worth paying attention to the dimensions when choosing future equipment.
But most buyers choose home appliances based on brand first, rather than on function, economy and ergonomics. The second criterion is design, and the third is the type of drive. However, the issue of choosing a washing machine should be taken seriously, since it is easy to make a mistake in important details and then it will cause a lot of inconvenience in use. Consider the main mistakes that buyers make when choosing washing machines. After that, choosing a washing machine will be much easier.
Washing machine: choose and make no mistake. Top 8 Buyer Oversights
Pay attention to the features that many buyers ignore when choosing a washing machine. If you don’t know how to choose a washing machine, these recommendations will help you make the right decision.
1. Front loading or top loading?
One of the important questions that many buyers are concerned about is what type of load should I choose? Loading the washing machine can be frontal and vertical. Each type has certain advantages and disadvantages. Standard top-loading AGRs are often much cheaper than front-loading ones. Things in such machines rotate with the help of a central mixer. This applies to machines that will not have high hopes. But choosing appliances that will be used in the long term, they can cost more because they consume more energy and water.
Newer models are not equipped with a stirrer, which may not have the best effect on the quality of the clothes. But such a machine allows you to load a lot more things for washing. This option is optimal for those who are not recommended to load the back or knees. To get underwear with such SMA, you do not need to bend much.
Loading the front loading CMA washing machine does not have an agitator and is much more expensive. These washers are distinguished by strong drum revolutions, due to which they extract much more water and thereby reduce the drying time. They are more energy efficient, consume less water and electricity, and this makes them environmentally friendly. Frontal washing machines are convenient to unload, they are compact in size and are suitable for small spaces. Washing a large number of things, front-loading SMAs do a much better job of doing this.
We recommend LG Electronics front loading washing machine. They are elegant models with an anti-vibration system, due to which the equipment works quietly and does not interfere with household chores. Washing machines of the South Korean manufacturer have wide functionality, offer various washing modes.
2. Standard dimensions of the washing machine
Before purchasing, measure the space in which you want to place the washing machine. Typically, SMAs are 50 to 60 centimeters wide. For easy loading and unloading, you should leave some free space. By installing the equipment at a height of about 40 centimeters from the floor, you will make loading and unloading much more convenient. Look for durable stands specially made for your washing machine models. If you want to additionally purchase a clothes dryer, then you will need to allocate more space for it.
But when space is limited, consider a washer-dryer combination. These are efficient devices designed specifically for small spaces. Stacked washers and dryers typically take up less than 2 sq. meters of floor space and can be more accessible for people who find it difficult to bend over or squat. But it is better to consider a more practical option.
3. How much laundry to load into the washing machine: choose the capacity
When choosing a CMA, consider how much laundry it can hold. A 5 kg washing machine is the more common option that can be found on the market. The capacity depends on the size of the drum. Families with children who make multiple downloads a day may enjoy the convenience of a large capacity CMA to reduce the number of downloads needed. Models that have a smaller capacity can consume much less water and electricity, this is a profitable option for singles and couples.
But when choosing the volume, many are sure that 4 kilograms will be enough for them, the main thing is that the machine is narrow. As a result, if the load is calculated incorrectly, the washer will inevitably break down due to overload. In addition, if you do not want to frequently update equipment when buying a new one, remember that sooner or later replenishment may occur in your family, which means that the number of things will increase. Therefore, in order not to buy a washer for a year or two, consider this fact. Also keep in mind that for bulky items made of wool, as well as items with fluff, bathrobes and towels, completely different loading rules work. This is due to the fact that these things and materials absorb water much more and thus become heavier. To date, a fairly large range of narrow washing machines with a large load. For people with allergies, a small load is not at all suitable, because they often need to pay attention to washing pillows and blankets, and this requires a machine with a load of at least 5-6 kg.
The capacity of the washing machine can be:
1. For 4 kilograms.
2. For 5-6 kilograms.
3. 8 kg or more.
A washing machine of 8 kg or more is large, so you need to allocate enough space for it. Keep this in mind when buying equipment.
4. Energy efficiency
Energy-efficient CMAs can significantly save energy and water consumption, as well as increase the life of things. Look for energy efficient CMAs with any type of load without agitators. The most preferred machines with frontal type. They are characterized by minimal consumption of water and electricity, compared with models with a vertical type of loading. In some models, you can use special highly effective detergents for washing. The amount of laundry detergent will depend solely on the size of the load and not on the amount of water used, so check with the manufacturer’s manual.
5. Refusal of smart technologies
Modern washing machines are equipped with “intelligent” features that can make life easier for the user. In addition, they can significantly extend the life of the washing machine and help save water and electricity. These technologies include:
1. Inverter brushless motors with a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty. It should be noted right away that there is practically nothing to break and inverter machines work very quietly.
2. Automatic laundry weighing. The machine is able to calculate the amount of water needed, the duration of the wash, the number of revolutions during the spin cycle.
3. Unbalance control. When things begin to clump, the drum will perform short multidirectional rotations, thus distributing things.
Although the smart wash is more expensive, it is also more efficient. What is the delayed start timer worth. Many people wonder why it is needed at all, because when it is necessary, then it will be possible to wash it. This is a useful feature that allows you to save on nightly electricity tariffs. It’s easier to schedule laundry.
Basic SMAs have one to four speeds. Some top models offer additional options. Preset wash cycles combine different speeds, temperatures and agitation levels to wash specific types of clothing. A washing machine in the middle price segment may have a delicate wash cycle. High-end models may include additional cycles such as a heavy duty cycle for work clothes, jeans and towels, as well as pre-soak and pre-wash cycles to remove tough stains. The built-in steam cleaning system removes stains and wrinkles without pre-treatment. Steam is also helpful in reducing allergens. Think about what clothes you will wash most often to make a decision.
Water saving options recycle water from lightly soiled items. Water temperature options typically include hot/cold, warm/cold, and cold/cold. Some more expensive models may have additional temperature combinations for more fabrics. Quick wash settings make clothes cleaner. Control details can be mechanical, with knobs and buttons, or electronic, with features such as digital displays or touch screens that allow for further customization of cycles.
6. Ignoring all levels of security
It is important that the machine is equipped with all necessary protection. Leak protection can be complete (for the hose and body) or partial (for one or the other) and it is in every model of modern washers. Protection is a sensor that turns off the water supply in certain situations. It is best when the protection is complete.
No less important is the protection against power surges, when the machine automatically turns off during sudden changes. In the absence of such protection, it is recommended to immediately additionally acquire a voltage monitoring relay. In particular, this is true for residents of country houses, where power surges are the norm.
Child lock. This is a mandatory point to consider when buying a washing machine. When there are kids in the house, there must be a lock.
7. Refusal of the machine with drying, although finances allow
Having already bought a new machine and started using it, you can often hear comments that it was necessary to take a washer and dryer. You can often hear this from new parents or from those who have problems with a place to dry things. Despite the fact that this type of equipment, which performs two functions at once, is much more expensive, you will be able to find models in the middle price segment. There are even narrow models for which the problem with limited space is relevant. Pay attention to models from manufacturers such as LG, Samsung, Candy. Drying will definitely come in handy, you can be sure of it.
8. Pursuit of the maximum set of programs and functions + inconvenient interface
Many people prefer to buy a car blind on the Internet, but this is a dangerous decision. This is due to the fact that in the pictures you see one thing, but in reality it can turn out completely different. It may not be entirely clear what a particular model is. It may turn out that the control of the washing machine is not the most convenient, and making friends with the parameters and the display is very important. This can affect whether you can wash your favorite item in the optimal way.
The presence of a display is an excellent indicator for a washing machine, since it must be borne in mind that a text display is more informative than a digital one.
As for the functionality, as a rule, we use 3-4 modes, and the remaining 20 will remain unaffected. For example, the presence of a regime for neutralizing stains is quite controversial. This is often referred to as a direct injection of detergent onto the laundry, as well as a sufficiently intensive rotation of the drum to remove stains due to increased friction. To remove food stains, it is much more useful to use powders with enzymes, and the presence of a bio-phase in the main washing modes is also important. In this washing mode, the temperature is maintained at about 40 degrees for 15-20 minutes so that the powder with enzymes can neutralize the stains.
Other features worth paying attention to
Before buying a washing machine, read the reviews of the selected model and compare prices with analogues from other manufacturers. You should also consider additional functionality. For example, a delay start allows you to turn on the laundry at any time, for example, at a time when utility rates are lower. You can also find smart washing machines on the market that are equipped with an internet connection so you can control your laundry remotely.
The automatic water level control system allows you to select the right amount of water for each load to prevent overfilling. Internal heating elements improve the quality of washing. A high spin speed means that the clothes are almost dry after washing. Now knowing how to choose a washing machine, making a decision will be much easier.
How to Clean a Top Loading Washing Machine
If you’re wondering why you even need to clean a machine that only exists to wash your clothes, you’re not alone. Surprisingly, detergent residue sticks to the agitator and washing drum, harboring bits of debris and dirt, especially above the water line.
So, after washing cloth diapers, dirty clothes, or bedding that was ruined by your sick dog (hey, we know this happens), your hard-working clothes washer will need some love. In fact, no matter what your typical laundry looks like, you should clean your washing machine once a month to keep it in top condition.
Top Load Washing Machine
A Top Load Washing Machine requires different maintenance than a Front Load Washer.
The user manual contains specific instructions for cleaning and removing the dispensers on your washing machine. If you don’t have a manual, you can usually find a copy online by searching for the manufacturer’s name and model number of your machine. Some washing machines are made with a self-cleaning cycle; however, most washing machines still require this simple monthly maintenance.
Items you will need:
Toothbrush or small cleaning brush
Your choice of detergent: specialty detergent for washing machine, bleach or white vinegar and baking soda
Washing machine outside
Wipe the top, front and sides of the machine with a soft, damp cloth. Use a damp cloth, not a wet one, as this turns the dust into dirt that is harder to remove. Use cotton pads or a toothbrush to clean along door hinges and around handles. Cotton pads will pick up dust, lint and dirt faster than a toothbrush. Also, wipe under the lid and the apron that supports it.
If your detergent, bleach and softener dispensers can be removed, remove them and clean them with warm water and a cloth or toothbrush. Do not run the washing machine without these parts in place. If your dispensers are not removable, it may be easier to wipe them down after cleaning the internal wash tub because the steam will loosen the grime.
Under the lid and above the waterline, special attention is required because a regular wash cycle does not clean this area.
Washing machine inside
To clean the interior, you will either run a clean wash cycle or a long hot wash cycle. Generally, manufacturers recommend using either a specialized detergent or bleach, but natural alternatives like Vinegar and Baking Soda are also effective. However, when using vinegar and baking soda after a wash cycle, you will need to thoroughly wipe down the entire stirrer and inside with a microfiber cloth to remove any residue.
Also note that bleach disinfects the washing machine but does not remove limescale.
- Before starting, make sure that clothes and other items have been removed from the wash tub.
- Select either the clean wash cycle or the longest wash cycle, the largest load setting and hot water settings. (Use the Clean Wash cycle if available because this program fills the drum with a lot of water.)
- If you are using Specialty Detergent , place it on the bottom of the drum. If you are using bleach as an alternative to detergent, add 1 cup to dispenser of bleach . Close the lid and start the cycle. If you are using White Vinegar and Baking Soda, start the wash cycle so that hot water fills the washer. As it fills, add four cups of white vinegar and half a cup of baking soda. Once the tub is full and the stirrer is dispersing the baking soda, stop the washer and let the hot water stand for one hour to loosen mineral deposits and dirt.