When deciding between a top-loading washing machine and a front-loading model, consider budget, space, amount of laundry and number of washings, and energy consumption. For some people, health and physical capabilities also play a part in choosing a washer.
Budget is a key component in deciding on a top- or front-loading washing machine. Generally, front-loading models are more expensive than comparable top-loading machines. High-efficiency top-loaders are closer in price to front loaders than traditional top-loading machines, though the energy and water savings provided may offset the initial purchase price over time.
If space is a concern, consider choosing a front-loading machine. These washers can be stacked with dryers on top, taking up much less space than having the two units side by side. Measure machines and available space before purchasing units.
The amount of laundry a household does is another consideration. Front-loading washers can handle larger loads. Front-loaders also generally clean soiled clothes better, reducing the number of re-washings needed for stained garments. With options such as steam and sanitizing cycles and no agitator taking up space, front-loaders handle lots of dirty launder better than most top-loading models. However, newer high-efficiency top-loaders don't have an agitator either, so they can also accommodate larger loads as well. If bending down is an issue, keep in mind that front-loaders require the user to bend lower than top-loaders.