The different between top loader washers and front loader washers is the design, as the top loader has a lid on top and the front loader has a lid on the front. Lowe's sells many different models and brands of both top and front loader washers as of February 2015.
Top loader washers have an agitator in the middle, which spins the clothes. A front loader washer does not have an agitator. Instead, it uses paddles on the wash basket to pick the clothes up and drop them as the basket spins. Since front loaders do not have an agitator, there is more space for clothes. The washing process of front loaders is also more gentle on the clothes.
Front loaders are known for being more efficient. The wash basket doesn't need to be filled with nearly as much water as a top loaders, since the clothes are being spun up and down. Front loaders also require less detergent. However, front loaders do tend to cost more than top loaders. They can be more difficult to load, as they require the user either to kneel down or place the washer on an object to elevate it.
High-efficiency top loader washers have the traditional top loader design, but most do not have an agitator. Their spin speeds are faster, making them more efficient. They also do not use as much soap or water as a traditional top loader.