As I've said, I'm in the market to buy a new washing machine. The one that is in my place now has seen better days, and I'd like to get something a bit newer. A few months ago I took a quick walk through my local appliance stores just on a fact finding mission. I wanted to see what was out there and to look into costs. At that point I hadn't even considered that a front load washer might be the way to go, in fact, I didn't even consider that you could even buy one for the home.
After a conversation with a very helpful salesperson I was turned onto the idea of buying a front load washer. They require less water, tend to hold larger loads, and are gentler on the clothes being washed. They use less water because instead of having to fill the water to the top of the pile of clothes, the clothes are tumbled through the water at the bottom of the drum. They hold larger loads because the agitator, which is the thing that sticks up in the middle of a normal washer, typically takes up a lot of space, and front load washers do not have one. They are gentler because instead of the agitator thrashing back and forth with the clothes, the clothes and water are tumbled together.
On top of this a front load washer is also more energy efficient than a top load of the same load capacity. Since the front loads use less water, less energy is required to heat that water. Also, a front load washer typically spins faster than a top load, which means clothes will dry more quickly, which reduces power consumption by the drying machine. Studies by the US Department of Energy have shown that homes switching to a front load washer, an energy efficient clothes dryer, and a high efficiency dish washer experienced a greater than 30% reduction in energy usage.
Given all of these facts, I was sold on getting a front load washer. I've been saving up for a bit, now I just need to decide which one to get.