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How does a front load washer work?

Top Ten Reviews logo Top Ten Reviews 1/2/2023 Louise Oliphant
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If you’re wondering how a front load washer works, you’re not the only one. They’re a relatively new design in the US, unlike their common counterpart, the top load washer, and can look very different, with no agitator and (the clues in the name) a door at the front. 

They’re known to clean clothes better, remove stains easier, and use less water, making them more energy efficient than even top-load eco-models. But it seems many Americans are still choosing top-load washers. Perhaps tradition and not knowing a lot about front loader is to blame.

So whether you’ve invested in one of the best front load washers, or not, we’ve spoken to an appliance expert at  Power Point Stores on how a front-load washer works and broken down the parts, literally.  

What is a front load washer?  

Front load washers may be more expensive than top load models, but they are known to do a better job of cleaning your clothes. They use less water and tend to last longer too. Though there are some similarities between how a front load washer and a top loader work. Both feature a stainless steel drum and use a motor, drain pump, and rotational spinning to rinse water from your laundry.  

How does a front load washer work?  

If you're new to front load washers, or you're simply looking for a few handy tips to help get the most out of your machine, these pointers will explain just how a front load washer works.

1. Loading

The main variation comes with loading your clothes. A front load washer comes with, you guessed it, a door on the front of the machine. The drum inside can come in a few sizes, ranging from 11 lb loads, all the way to industrial-size 26 lb models. 

The design of front load washers makes them easy to stack with a dryer, and doing so will allow you to load laundry without constantly bending down. Despite needing to crouch to empty cycles, front load washers tend to be easier to reach into it which is great news if you struggle with the depth of top load machines. It's also a good idea to throw smaller items, like socks, into the drum first so that they're less likely to get caught up in clothes and bed linen.

2. Components

There are fewer internal components in a front load washer than in a top load model since there are no gears or clutch control. Instead, there's a rubber bellows system that keeps the water and clothes inside the drum when it spins. By comparison, the electrical components can be trickier to navigate on a front-load washer.

Forget simple dial controls, front load washers work with minicomputer systems to automatically select cycles according to load size and pre-sets, like eco, hygiene-care, or fast wash.

3. Water usage

Front-load washers only use around 13 gallons of water, half of the amount a standard top-load washer uses. How? As Sterling at Power Point Stores explains “It will only dose the water necessary for the load which has been put into the machine”. More water may be added to larger loads to maintain the preset level once it's been absorbed.

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