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In this review:
  1. Best Cheap Washing Machines
  2. Front Loading vs. Top Loading
  3. Washing Machine Features
  4. Washing Machine Reviews
  1. Washer Efficiency and Maintenance
  2. Washing Machine Deals
  3. Discount Washing Machines Features Comparison Table

Top-Loading vs. Front-Loading Washing Machines

When purchasing a washing machine, design may be the biggest decision you'll have to make: Should you buy a front-loading or a top-loading washer?

Top-Loading Washing Machines.

If upfront cost is your primary concern, top-loading washing machines (also called "vertical axis washers") are the way to go. CNET estimates the cost of standard top-load washers ranges between $300 and $650 - a much lower price bracket than the alternative front-load washing machine.
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Research conducted by the Whirlpool Corporation estimates that 75 percent of American households have top-load washers. Many choose top-loading washers for ergonomic reasons, preferring to avoid bending down to deal with the laundry. Users of standard top-load washers also appreciate the ability to pause cycles to soak clothes or toss in an errant sock -- options front-loaders don't offer.

A good top-loading washing machine may simply suit your space. While they lack the stacking advantage of front-loaders, top-load washers, like the Admiral ATW4475VQ (starting at $298) or the Maytag Centennial MVWC6ESWW (starting at $444), are better suited for narrow spaces because they require little to no door clearance and often aren't as deep as inexpensive front-loading washing machines.

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One disadvantage has been that top-load washers are the less eco-friendly option. However, the latest generation of HE top-loaders is designed to close, or at least narrow, the energy-use gap between the two types of washers while preserving the design advantages of top-load washers. High-efficiency top-loaders have successfully upped the "green" ante, but at a high price -- cost typically ranges from $600 to $1600. However, few HE top-load washers fall into the Cheapism price bracket, and those that do are new and largely untested.

Front-Loading Washing Machines.

Front-loading washing machines (or "horizontal axis washers") are the trendier and pricier choice for washing machines. CNET estimates that a front-loading washing machine will typically set you back between $700 and $2,700, but they have advantages that many consumers find hard to ignore. Perhaps the biggest selling point for cheap front-loaders is their water and energy efficiency. The cheapest front-loading washing machines come in at under $650, mid-range washers come in between $650 and $850, and high-end washers can go well above $850. Low-cost front-loaders, like the Frigidaire GLTF2940FS or the LG WM2101HW, are a good option for frugal buyers with eco-friendly aspirations. Even if your motives are purely financial, the efficient front-loaders will cost you less on your utility bills.

When it comes to your clothes, front-loading washing machines have a lot to boast about. Front-loaders feature a large load capacity (a big time-saver if you're washing for your whole family or prefer to only do a large, sporadic load). Recent studies are also showing that the clothes end up cleaner than the more traditional top-load washers. Front-loading machines are also gentler on your clothing, which may be another valid concern for a thrifty consumer. Keep in mind, though, that front-loaders do have longer cycles than top-loaders.

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Another advantage is space related -- if space in your laundry room is limited, you may prefer a cheap front-loading washer, like the LG WM2101HW (starting at $630) or the Frigidaire GLTF2940FS (starting at $538), which can be stacked with a dryer for a smaller footprint.

On the other hand, common complaints about front-loading washers exist at all price levels. Users are frustrated about the hassle of small washables catching between the rubber seal, or "boot," and the door. Your front-loader repairs are also likely to be a bit costlier, and potentially more frequent than if you were to go with a top-load washer. Another common complaint is their tendency toward mold and mildew. This may pose a problem in high-traffic laundry areas. Experts advise leaving the door cracked open between washes to deter mold development.

by Gina Briles (Google+ Profile)

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