Top loading washing machines offer numerous benefits, including longer lifespans and a smaller footprint. They aren’t as easy to find in the UK as they are in other parts of the world, but we’ve found several excellent machines that provide energy efficiency and affordability.
A top-loading washing machine is exactly as it sounds – clothes are loaded and unloaded through a lid at the top. They have a vertically aligned drum and an agitator (although some have an impeller) to move your clothes during the wash cycle.
Generally speaking, top loaders use more water than their front-loading equivalents as your laundry needs to float freely. This is unlike the former which uses gravity and tumbling action to wash. On the upside, the extra water gives them superior performance and quicker results.
Why choose a top loading washing machine?
As we already mentioned, top loading washing machines are a lot less popular among in the UK, partly due to space limitations in many kitchens.
There are six key advantages to a top loading machine:
1. Space-saving designs– Top-loading washing machines come in various designs, some featuring a slim and tall body while others have a tapering shape. The compact design saves space and is a godsend when you have a small house with no dedicated room for laundry.
2. Easy maintenance – The motors of top loaders are generally easier to access compared to front loading machines. If you’re the do-it-yourself type, you will find it easy to troubleshoot most issues and ultimately save on repair costs.
3. Less wear and tear on clothes – This only applies to top loading washing machines with a base impeller plate (instead of an agitator). They have a minimal tumbling effect on clothes, this translates to less stress on clothes and consequently minimal wear and tear.
4. Compatibility with powdered detergents – Most top-load washers have no problem with powdered detergents, which are quite affordable yet powerful. This is unlike their front-loading counterparts which are better suited to liquid detergents to prevent jetting failures in their inbuilt faucets.
5. Affordability – Compared to front-load models, the cost of acquiring or replacing a new top-loading washing machine is way lower. Couple this with the reduced maintenance cost and you’re looking at massive savings in the long run.
What should I look for when buying a top-loading machine?
When buying a machine, figure out exactly what your requirements are in advance. If you know what you need before you begin your search, the process is much easier.
Most top-loading models come with drum capacities of between 5 and 15 kilograms. Be sure that your machine can hold enough for your household. A 5kg machine won’t hold enough to wash the clothes of a large family. Similarly if you are single a 15kg drum will be way too large. Remember, under-loading the washer will likely lead to water and energy wastage while overloading increases creasing and damage.
The more functions a washing machine comes equipped with, the more versatile it is. Check for a device with suitable programmes. For example, if your wardrobe has plenty of delicate fabrics, ensure your pick has programmes such as cotton, woollen or delicates.
We also recommend models with intelligent sensors that detect your load type. These automatically set an appropriate wash programme, water and time. This will help to save water and electricity.
Top loading washers are not known to be the most energy-efficient, which makes energy rating an even more critical factor when choosing. In 2021, the Energy Rating system was changed; now appliances are rated between A to G instead of A+++ to G.
Other features to look for include:
Safety features such as child lock, leak shutoff and overheating prevention
Type of control panel
Best top loading machines
The following are our top four picks for the best top loading washing machines available in the UK.
No 1: Hotpoint WMTF722U Aquarius
Hotpoint WMTF722U Aquarius model details
A+++(Hotpoint have not yet revealed the rating according to the new system)
Spin speed (rpm)
Load capacity (kg)
Quick Wash, LED display, Delay Timer
1 Year Labour/ 10 Years Parts
H90 x W40 x D60
Hotpoint WMTF722U Aquarius
Hotpoint is unquestionably one of the most recognisable brands in the UK. For several decades Hotpoint have been producing excellent and reasonably priced products. This is no different with the recently released WMTF722U Aquarius top loading washing machine. This washer delivers comparable performance to some of the best front-loaders around. With the added convenience of a slim design and an easy-to-access door.
If you live in a flat or a small apartment where space is a premium, this machine may just be what you’re looking for! For starters, you get a standard 7kg load capacity, which is enough space to wash to fit enough laundry for a small family or a couple. You can also choose from 18 programmes which makes the machine incredibly versatile. Whether you want to disinfect your delicate baby clothes or clean a few shirts before rushing out to work, there’s a suitable programme.
When it comes to economy, the Hotpoint WMTF722U does quite an impressive job thanks to its A++ energy efficiency rating. The company estimates that this model will use just 174kHw per year (approximately £30) and about 8900 litres of water based on standard usage. A few other notable features that caught our eye include the 24-hour timer delay, a great-looking LED display for easy setting and a fast 1200rpm spin speed.
To top it off, Hotpoint gives a 10-year parts and one-year labour warranty. Overall, a solid choice if you’re searching for a compact and affordable freestanding top-loader.
The Aquarius WMTF722H from Hotpoint is almost identical to the WMTF722U. However, it’s a slightly older version and is slightly cheaper. Both models have a 7kg drum capacity but this version is slightly less energy and water-efficient. Its annual water usage is 9200 litres and the power usage per year is just less than 200kWh. If you want to go with Hotpoint and are looking to save a little cash then it could be a perfect choice.
Fast Wash, Bulky/Sheets Function, Automatic Load Detection
1 Year Parts & Labour
H106.7 x W69.9 x D68.6
Whirlpool Atlantis 3LWTW4705FW Top Loading Washer
Whirlpool is another popular brand. Their Atlantis 3LWTW4705FW large washer comes with a 15kg dry load capacity, which makes it suitable for large families and commercial premises too. Whirlpool also equips this device with 11 different washing functions. The options include “Jeans”, “Delicate”, “Quick Wash”, “Whites” and “Bulky Items/Sheets”.
Like most modern Whirlpool washing machines, the Atlantis 3LWTW4705FW features the company’s proprietary “Sixth Sense” technology. As the name suggests, this is a super-intelligent technology that detects the weight and type of fabrics in a load and makes adjustments to the amount of water, time and energy needed to wash them.
When it comes to the hardware and overall design, this machine is impressively designed and boasts several best-in-class features. For starters, its Quiet Spin suspension system helps to keep noise levels low. Whirlpool uses a high-end white porcelain drum that offers strength and durability, whilst ensuring your clothes always come out unscathed. I also like that safety is well taken care of with an automatic lid lock to keep the powerful washer tightly closed until the cycle is over.
Other features you might find useful are the three automatic dispensers for bleach, detergent and fabric softener, an LED control panel for easy tracking of cycle status and a spray rinse feature for flawless cleaning.
The only two significant downsides with Whirlpool Atlantis 3LWTW4705FW are its steep price and a comparatively slow spin speed that’s capped at 660rpm. Other than that, it’s an excellent pick if you have a big family or need one for commercial purposes.
ElectriQ is a fairly new brand but one that seems set to give its more established competitors a run for their money. Especially if they continue to manufacture machines as impressive as the EIQWMTL75.
The first thing we liked about this washer was its slim design. With a width of 39.5cm this machine can fit into the tightest of spaces. The EIQWMTL75 can handle loads of up to 7.5kg. The equivalent of 40 shirts or a queen-size duvet. This is enough capacity to power through laundry for a medium-size family with a couple of playful/messy children.
This top loading machine is rated D for energy efficiency and will cost you only about £26 per year in electricity. Its estimated annual water consumption rate of 9900 litres is also quite commendable for a machine this size.
There aren’t many standout features but it does its job efficiently and without fuss. However, you do get an excellent range of settings, including a delicate program to keep your sensitive fabrics gentle and soft, a sportswear mode for those sweaty jogging pants that need a more exhaustive wash and a 15-minute fast wash cycle when you’re pressed for time.
There is a 1-year service warranty included, so that offers some comfort in case you’re still on the fence. All told, the EIQWMTL75 is an excellent pick if you’re low on budget but still want a slim top-loader with numerous functions that is big enough for a family.
In a market with so few options finding the right washer can be a challenging task. Before spending your hard-earned money, think carefully about what you need, the reason for buying and the must-have features.