Top loader washing machines are really popular in America, Australia and Asia, but they're a rarity here in the UK.
This is largely due to how little space we have. In the UK, we tend to fit our machines under a bench; in other countries, a dedicated laundry room, a basement or even a balcony is more commonplace.
Some Brits still prefer them because they can offer faster cycle times, their design means you don't need to bend down (great if you've got a bad back) and you can add things into the wash mid-cycle.
Here are our top 5 top loaders on the UK market in 2020.
The Best Toploaders of 2020
Last update on 2021-01-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Features To Consider
These appliances do the same job as font-loading machines, but there are some key differences you need to look out for.
Capacity - As there is such a low demand on the UK market, the capacity tends to be around the standard 7kg.
There are one or two bigger ones (such as this one) but they are much more expensive.
Dimensions – Top loading machines are much more slimline and slightly taller than regular washers.
Front loaders are usually around 60cm wide by 80 cm tall.
Top loaders are usually around 40cm wide by 90cm tall.
This means they can get into narrower gaps, but probably won't be able to go under a counter. You also need to leave some clearing distance for the top to open.
Energy-Efficiency - Due to their design these appliances tend to be less energy-efficient that front loading machines.
You can expect "A+" to be an average rating, where for front loaders it would be "A++".
That's not to say there aren't any "A+++" models - we've included one on our list. Just that they are a bit more expensive.
Spin Speed - The spin speed is usually slower than front loaders.
If you shop around, you can still find some that are 1200 rpm, and this rivals quite a few "regular" washers.
A slower speed doesn't necessarily affect washing performance, but it does mean clothes will be wetter after the cycle is complete.
This results in more time and energy spent drying them.
Noise - As a general rule, you can expect top loads to be slightly louder during regular spin - but there's not much in it!
The best top loading washing machines should produce under 80db during high-spin and around 50db during regular spin.
Washing Performance - You can expect the washing performance to be pretty similar. After all, millions of people use this style and have only used this style.
One thing worth noting is that washing cycles can be faster with top loading machines.
Top Loading Washing Machine Reviews
Here are our reviews of the best 12KG washers on the UK market in 2020.
Another well-know brand offering top loading washing machines for the UK market is Whirlpool. And their TDLR 602010 has a lot to like - regardless of the design.
A great feature about this design over regular loaders is it's much easier to get your washing out. You can open the door with one hand and you don't need to bend down.
Whirlpool have also added a "Drum Up" feature which moves everything higher. So you don't need to go head-first looking for that long lost sock!
This model also comes with Whirlpool's "Sixth Sense" technology". This intelligently measures the size and type of loads and makes adjustments to the water and cycle time.
There's also "Colours 15", a programme which lets you wash colours at 15 degrees and get the same performance as a 40 degree program. This saves energy and money from not having to heat the water.
Even though this model isn't described as a "Washer/Dryer", it does have a "Freshcare" tumble cycle. This helps reduce your drying time and ensure your clothes are nice and fresh when they come out.
The big downside with this model is it's pretty expensive. I'm not sure if it's because they're so unique in the UK, but in general top loaders cost much more than front-loaders.
No review of UK household appliances would be complete without Hotpoint, which has been one of the most popular brands for many decades.
The Hotpoint WMTF 722H is a top-loader with a 7 kg capacity.
That’s enough for a smaller family or a couple, though a larger family may struggle.
It comes with a massive 10-year parts and one-year labour warranty; that is, believe us, very impressive.
What we particularity like about this one is it's easy to load and the digital controls are easy-to-use.
With dimensions of 60cm by 40cm by 90cm, so it is slim and compact. Just be aware you do need to leave around a foot-and-a half clearance for the top to open.
Here is a short video from Hotpoint to show you more.
Another plus for this model is it's been awarded "A++" for energy-efficiency and only uses 9,600 litres of water a year.
On the noise front, it puts out 76db at high-spin which is reasonably quiet.
There's also a nice range of features, including the choice of three fast washes (15,30 and 60 minutes) and a wool program which keeps your delicates soft and gentle.
Overall, this is a solid choice for a freestanding washing machine and it's sensibly priced, too.
Bosch is one of those brands that seems to have a product in every single area of the household appliances arena, and it is also a brand you can trust.
As you would expect with German engineering, this freestanding washer is rated A+++. It uses just 174kw / h - exactly the same as the Whirlpool model we reviewed above.
It is quite louder during regular spin though at 59 db for low spin and 76db during fast spin.
This Bosch Serie 4 model does excel in washing programmes though.
There are some nifty features like "ActiveWater", which intelligently weighs your load and makes adjustments to save water and energy.
There's also an allergy-setting (the only model on our list to have this) which washes clothes at high-temperatures to kill more bacteria and allergens.
And if you're the forgetful kind (or your kids are!) there is an "Add on" feature where you can stop the cycle and add in more clothes. There is an auto-lock feature to prevent opening during high-temperature parts of the wash as well.
Other features include a variable spin speed, a 24-hour delay timer and a fast wash.
Bosch provide a 2-year parts and services warranty with all there appliances, too.
One final note if you're interested in this one. The Serie 4 is 90cm tall, but you need to leave another 40cm (i.e 1 meter 30cm in total)
Montpellier is a new UK appliance brand and they were established in 2012 in Gloucestershire.
First - the similarities. Both have a 6 kg capacity, a 1200 rpm spin speed and are a slimline 40cm in depth.
The big difference is this Montpelier model is only rated A+ for energy efficiency. That's 2 whole grades below Whirlpool's A+++.
This means it will be more expensive to run and use more water. The extra energy expenditure is not great. But from a financial viewpoint, the lower retail price will offset several years running costs.
You also get the standard 15 washing programmes which include a 30-minute fast wash. There's a 24-hour delay timer, a child lock and an LCD screen that's easy to see and operate.
An interesting feature with this particular model is it will stop if the load is unbalanced. This does annoy quite a few users. However, it's a safety feature designed to prolong the life of your appliance. Which is no bad thing at all.
All told, this is a great toploader available at a sensible price. We just wish it did a bit better in the energy-efficiency stakes.
We round out our list with an older design given new life by modern technology.
The Thompson Twin Tub is a top loading washing machine with an attached spin dryer.
If you haven't come across twin tubs before, you need to know they are not "automatic" washing machines.
This means you don't need to plumb them in. You can just fill them from a tap with the hose that comes with it.
There is a draining pipe so you obviously need either a drain or a sink in close proximity,
At just 24kg, it's quite light when empty and can be moved to make things more convenient.
A couple more things you do need to know about this particular model.
First - the size. It's slightly shorter than the other freestanders on our list at 86cm, but the extra tub means it's almost twice the width at 75cm.
It's capacity is 6kg, so that's a bit less than the standard 7kg on our list.
However, users report they can get washing done and on the line in just 15 minutes, so it's quick if you need multiple loads.
It also has a fast, 1400rpm spin speed, so will get your clothes dry enough to iron.
On the down side, there is a lot of plastic with this design and this could put people off.
Being a lesser-known brand, spares are harder to come buy. There is a 1-year guarantee included and you can contact the manufacturer direct on their website here.
Our Toploader Pick!
There's not a lot of choice for a great toploading washing machine in the UK.
However, one model that stands out is the Hotpoint
Still, one design than has the specs and programmes to rival any of it front-loading friends is the Hotpoint WMTF 722H.
We love how it has 3 different fast washes, easy-to-use digital controls, and a 10-year parts guarantee.
- 12kg drum capacity
- A+++ energy rating
- 1400rpm max spin speed
Last update on 2021-01-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API