Best Top Loading Washing Machine Buying Guide and Review

There are basically two reasons for using top loading washing machines in the UK.  The first is because you need a portable machine for a small space and the second is because you want a convenient machine for a larger space. 

If you’re in the market for a top loading washing machine, then you can skip right down to our best top loading washing machines review section, where we have a selection of both.  If, however, you’d like to know a bit more about them before you make you decide whether or not a top loading washing machine is right for you, then keep reading and we’ll tell you everything you need to know about them.

Best Top Loading Washing Machine

Top loading washing machines buying buying guide

The main reason why front loading washing machines became popular in the UK is because they slide under counters and so can be easily integrated into fitted kitchens.  It’s also possible to save even more space and/or time by choosing a front loading washing machine which also doubles up as a proper tumble dryer, whereas top-loading washing machines can only spin dry.

The reason why top loading washing machines are so popular across the rest of the world is because they’re much more comfortable to use.  Basically you don’t have to bend and stoop the way you do with front-loaders so they’re much easier on your back.  Also, if you forget to add an item you can just chuck it in while the wash is in progress.

For the most part, the points to check when buying a top loading washing machine are much the same as the points to check when buying a front loading washing machine, but there are a few specifics you need to understand, so here’s a quick run down of them.

perfect loading washing machine

Dimensions

This part is really important.  A standard front loading washing machine in the UK is about 80 cm tall by 60 wide and 60 deep.  There’s a bit of variation, but the key point to note is that you can safely assume that any front loading washing machine sold in the UK is going to fit under a kitchen countertop.  A standard top loading washing machine in the UK is about 90cm tall by 40cm wide.  This means that you can forget about putting it under a kitchen cabinet. 

Portable top loading washing machines can be a bit shorter, but you still need to allow space for the door to open.  This means that if you want to leave one under a kitchen counter, you’d need to cut it and hinge it so you could open it when necessary.  Please note, however, that portable top loading washing machines are only really suitable for occasional use and/or very small households (as in single people or maybe couples, definitely not young children).

If you do want (or need) to install a top loading washing machine in a kitchen, then your best option would usually be to put it at the end of a countertop and just live with the extra height or even put it to good use.  For example you could put a narrow cabinet or shelves above the top loading washing machine (again remember door clearance) for your laundry necessities.  Usually, however, top loading washing machines are either fitted into bathrooms or cupboards or used in places which have a separate utility area.

Capacity

The fact that there are relatively few top loading washing machines in the UK means that you’re going to have a limited range of capacities from which to choose.  Having said that, we still managed to find what we think are good options for tiny households, average households and large households.

Spin-quality

In general, top loading washing machines do just as good a job of washing clothes as their front loading counterparts, but traditionally they have had lower spin speeds.  These days, you can get top loading washing machines with spin speeds of up to 1200rpm, we have one on our list.  This is in line with regular front loading washing machines. 

For the most part, however, even the biggest, strongest, top loading washing machines are likely to have a maximum spin speed in the region of 600rpm to 700 rpm.  That said, you’ll notice that the heading is spin-quality rather than spin speed. 

Basically, there is more to a good spin than just speed and even a portable top loading washing machine can usually do a decent job of getting rid of excess water so clothes are just a bit damp and in need of some time on the line (or in a tumble dryer).  Proper, household top loading washing machines will generally get clothes pretty close to dry even without the heat you get in a tumble dryer.

For the sake of completeness, we should add that the spin function on a top loading washing machine can confuse some people.  Most top loading washing machines will have a safety feature which cuts out the spin if the clothes are getting tangled up with the workings of the machine and/or if the machine is becoming unbalanced.  If you load the machine up properly in the first place, this shouldn’t be an issue, but if it is, just open the door, sort the clothes and start the machine again.

Energy-Efficiency

Top loading washing machines tend to be less energy efficient than front loading washing machines.  This is partly because of the way they work and partly because there are relatively few top loading washing machines in the UK so there’s very little incentive for manufacturers to compete on energy efficiency.  That said, you can still get top loading washing machines rated A+, you’re just likely to struggle to find A++, which is now pretty common for front loading washing machines.

Noise

Similar comments apply here as with capacity and energy efficiency.  Realistically, any washing machine is going to kick up a bit of noise on the spin cycle.  These days, you can expect a decent top loading washing machine to give out about 50db on regular spin and about 80db on full throttle.  The best front loaders can do better, but given that spin is only a small part of the overall wash, we don’t see it as an issue.

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Best top loading washing machines review

Here is our round up of the best top loading washing machine in the UK.  We’ve included two portable ones and three proper household ones.  All have been picked for their combination of performance and price, in other words, overall value for money.

COSTWAY 2 in 1 Portable Washing Machine

COSTWAY 2 in 1

FEATURES

  • Dimensions - 70*42*43 cm
  • Capacity - 3.5Kg
  • Spin speed - 750rpm

This top loading washing machine and spin dryer (that’s the second function) is compact enough to use out camping but robust enough for regular use in a small home.  In fact, a lot of people split the difference and use this top loading washing machine in caravans and live-aboard narrowboats.  It’s also popular for use in bedsits/studios and other small rentals where the landlord hasn’t provided a washing machine and people want to save themselves the hassle of going to a laundrette.

It doesn’t need to be installed as such, you just need to be able to plug it in somewhere near to your sink so you can connect the inlet hose and so that the water can drain away appropriately.  You’re probably going to need to spend a few pennies on an adaptor as, for some reason, the connection is the same one as for a standard washing machine, one you would plumb in, rather than one which would fit on a tap.  It is, however, easy enough to fix this.  We’re not thrilled about the hose pipe, it’s a bit flimsy, but it looks straightforward to repair or replace.

There’s 6 washing modes and three adjustable water levels (although the machine will automatically top up the water if it thinks it’s too low).  This means that the washing machine can cope with pretty much anything you put in it, although obviously you need to be sensible about this.  For example, it’s fine to do a large batch of light clothes such as underwear and t-shirts, but bigger items (such as bedclothes) and thicker fabrics (such as denim) should be done in small batches.

In short, if you accept its limitations, this top loading washing machine could be a very good choice for small homes.

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COSTWAY 2 in 1 Portable Washing Machine - 6 Modes, Adjustable Water...

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FitnessClub Portable Twin Tub Washing Machine

FitnessClub Portable Twin Tub Washing

FEATURES

  • Dimensions - 73*36.5*60 cm
  • Capacity - 7.6Kg (wash) 4.6Kg (spin)
  • Spin speed - not stated but has a 1300rpm motor

With the FitnessClub, you add and drain the water manually.  This is easy enough, you just use a bucket to add the water at the top and then when you’re finished, you put the machine over the sink (or anywhere else the water can drain) and press a button.  On the one hand, this means this top loading washing machine is slightly more effort to use than the Costway, on the other hand, it gives you much more flexibility about where you use it and it’s still likely to be a whole lot less hassle than dragging yourself to a laundrette.

The fact this this top loading washing machine is a twin tub means is part of the reason that it’s quite a bit bigger than the Costway.  The other part of the reason is that it has a bigger load capacity.  In fact it can wash over twice as much as the Costway.  In fact, it can be washing one load while it’s spin drying another.  Please note, however, that the wash and spin loads are slightly different sizes.

The wash timer goes up to 15 minutes and the spin timer up to 5 minutes.  Much to our annoyance, we can’t find the spin speed stated anywhere.  We can, however, say that the spin performance of this portable top loading washing machine does seem to be genuinely comparable to the spin performance of a standard front loading washing machine.

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FitnessClub Portable Twin Tub Washing Machine 7.6 KG Total Capacity Washer And...

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Hotpoint WMTF 722 H Washing Machine

Hotpoint WMTF 722 H Washing

FEATURES

  • Dimensions - 90*60*40 cm
  • Capacity - 7Kg
  • Spin speed - 1200 rpm

It may come as a bit of a surprise that the Hotpoint actually has a (slightly) smaller capacity than the FitnessClub, which is a portable machine, especially since it’s marginally bigger.  A look at the two machines, however, should show you the difference.  The Hotpoint is built to cope with doing family laundry on a regular basis.  In addition to being extremely robust, it has a range of 15 programmes with an automatic washing time of up to 60 minutes. 

Basically, this is a proper washing machine which just happens to be top loading.  It needs to be plumbed in (cold fill) and is definitely not portable.

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Hotpoint WMTF 722 H Washing Machine - White

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Maytag 3LMVWC315FW

Maytag 3LMVWC315FW 15kg

FEATURES

  • Dimensions - 106.7 x 69 x 68.5 cm
  • Capacity - 15Kg
  • Spin speed - 800 rpm

This top loading washing machine from Maytag is described as being “semi commercial” and will probably be way more than the average household would need, but if you’re not an average household, for example you have a large family, then this top loading washing machine could be a great choice.

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Maytag 3LMVWC315FW 15kg 800rpm Semi-Commercial Freestanding Washing Machine - White

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Whirlpool 3LWTW4705FW

Whirlpool 3LWTW4705FW American Top loading Washer

FEATURES

  • Dimensions - 91.4 x 65 x 68.5 cm
  • Capacity - 15Kg
  • Spin speed - 660 rpm

The Whirlpool top loading washing machine is slightly smaller than the Maytag although it has the same capacity.  It’s classed as being for domestic use, but is still probably a bit more than the average household would need.  If, however, you do a lot of laundry, then you might find yourself absolutely loving this top loading washing machine.

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Whirlpool 3LWTW4705FW American Top loading Washer

Last update was on: June 4, 2020 8:03 pm

Best top loading washing machine – conclusion

We can’t really choose a single best top loading washing machine in the UK.  The Costway and the FitnessClub are both good options for someone who only needs a top loading washing machine for occasional use and/or a small household living in a tight space.  The Hotpoint is a good choice for general use in most households and if you really need a powerful machine to cope with serious amounts of laundry, then you would want either the Maytag or the Whirlpool.

Carly James

Previously writing for Which magazine, Carly is an extremely well-experienced home product tester. Always the busiest in the office. Mother of two and serving a life sentence of marriage, Carly is our ‘robustness’ tester and works closely with Katie for the product road testing. Loves the freedom of her work, Netflix and terrible, terrible jokes

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