Top Loader Washing Machine Reviews

Compare leading top loader washing machine brands with our customer satisfaction ratings.

* Overall satisfaction is an individual rating and not a combined total of all ratings. Brands with equal overall satisfaction ratings are listed in alphabetical order.
Canstar Blue research finalised in May 2016, published in May 2016.

See our Ratings Methodology.

2016 Award for Top Loader Washing Machines

Most Satisfied Customers | Fisher & Paykel

Each of the four brands in this year’s top loader ratings have taken out top spot at one time or another going back to 2001 but in recent times, Fisher & Paykel has emerged from the pack, scoring five-star reviews for ease of use, performance and reliability, warranty and service, design, quietness, value for money and overall customer satisfaction.

Fisher and Paykel stays on top (for top loaders)

There’s nothing like the weekend. Time to kick back, relax and… get the washing done! It’s one of those inescapable chores – something that not many of us want to do, but begrudgingly accept it has to be done. If this sounds like you, then you need a quality washing machine that’s easy to use and does a good, hassle-free job. So that could mean you need a top loader washing machine.

Australians are divided when it comes to washing machines – you’re either a top loader or a front loader person. But which is really easiest to use? It depends on personal preferences, of course, but our latest survey of Aussies who have recently bought a new washing machine found that 92% of top loader owners believe their machines are easier to use, and only 35% would consider purchasing a front loader. That’s quite an endorsement from those on the top loader side of the fence. Just 66% of front loader owners believe that type of washing machine is easier to use, but again just 39% would consider switching to a top loader. We’re a stubborn bunch.

With that said, not all top loaders are created equal, and some models will be easier to use – or deliver better cleaning results – than others. That’s why Canstar Blue’s annual review of top loader washing machines gets to the bottom of the matter, as we survey hundreds of consumers across the country to see how they rate the brand they currently own and use, to help you get a better idea of which would be best for your home.

Each of the four brands in this year’s top loader ratings have taken out top spot at one time or another going back to 2001 but in recent times, Fisher & Paykel has emerged from the pack, scoring five-star reviews for ease of use, performance and reliability, warranty and service, design, quietness, value for money and overall customer satisfaction. LG and Samsung also earned top scores in some areas but for the second year in a row, Fisher & Paykel is tops for top loaders.

Why choose a top loader?

The first decision you need to make when buying a new washing machine is whether you want a top loader or a front loader. As we know, this can be a divisive issue, with our survey revealing that consumers who own a top loader are more likely to stick with what they know. More than three-quarters (78%) of front loader owners have previously had a top loader, but less than one-third (28%) of those who now own a top loader have tried the alternative. It’s difficult to say a top loader is better than a front loader, or vice-versa, as there are pros and cons to both types of washing machines. When you compare the positives and negatives of top loaders, it’s easy to see why many Aussies won’t be turned.

Compare Washing Machines

Top loader pros Top loader cons
  • Generally cheaper to buy than front loaders
  • Easier to load
  • Can add clothes mid-cycle
  • Faster cycles
  • Larger capacity
  • Less gentle on clothes
  • Generally use more water and energy
  • Use more laundry detergent
  • Typically louder

What to consider when buying a top loader

Okay, so you’ve decided to buy a top loader – what next? Before diving in, there are a few other things you should consider to make sure that a particular model is right for your needs.

Types of top loaders

There are two types of top loader washing machines, each with a separate method of washing. They are the agitator and impeller.

  • Agitator: These top loaders have a round, plastic column in the centre of the machine, which will twist and turn, helping to give a better clean. While the technology has come a long way, agitator machines have been criticised for being rough on clothes.
  • Impeller: These models are less common, but have increased in popularity in recent years. Instead of a central column, these top loaders have a propeller-like device at the bottom of the barrel. While some claim it is a gentler option, it’s also said to compromise on washing quality.


Top loader washing machines generally have a greater load capacity than their front loader counterpart, ranging anywhere from 3kg up to 10kg (the weight of clothes it can wash). The capacity of your washing machine is an important consideration – if it’s too small, you’ll have to do extra loads, and if it’s too big, you’ll be unnecessarily adding to your energy and water bills. The capacity you need will of course vary depending on the size of your household, and frequency of washing. A standard family of four should only need a capacity of 6 to 8kg, while singles and couples should need no more than a 5kg machine.

Water and energy ratings

The energy and water star ratings systems are an important indication of how efficient a washing machine really is. This is important because the less water and energy your appliance needs, the less impact it will have on your power bills over time. Canstar Blue found that, while less energy efficient washing machines are cheaper to buy, they are likely to cost you more in the long-run. So consider whether you want the savings now, or later down the track.


Most washing machines come with a myriad of features which can help produce better cleaning results, or just make the process a little easier. Here are a few you should keep an eye out for:

  • Dispensers: Some people will just throw laundry powder and any liquids onto their clothes in a top loader. A dispenser hatch will insure a more even distribution.
  • Stainless steel tubs: Cheaper washing machines will use porcelain coated steel, which can chip over time. Stainless steel barrels will usually last well beyond the rest of the washing machine.
  • Adjustable spin speeds: The faster a washing machine spins, the dryer your clothes will be at the end of the cycle. Alternatively, you can lower the spin speed to better protect delicates.
  • Wash settings: Certain washing machines have access to a range of washing options. Some notable ones include fast wash, hand wash, anti-crease, cold wash, warm wash, and heavy wash.

How much does a top loader cost?

Our survey found that Australians who have purchased a new top loader washing machine in the last three years spent an average of $680. This compared to an average of $879 reported by those who have recently bought a new front loader.

The price you pay for a top loader will generally increase with the capacity of the model. Using prices advertised on Appliances Online as a guide, the cost of different capacity washers range as follows:

  • 3 to 6kg – $329 to $706
  • 7kg – $587 to $809
  • 8kg – $455 to $1,199
  • 9kg+ – $659 to $1,607

Quality at all cost

Washing machines are by no means a ‘one size fits all’ appliance. But to help you understand what factors are worth giving serious thought to, our survey highlighted the following drivers of customer satisfaction (i.e. the things that matter most to consumers once they start using their new washing machine):

  • Performance and reliability: 39%
  • Warranty and service: 17%
  • Ease of use: 15%
  • Quietness: 12%
  • Value for money: 9%
  • Design: 8%

When it comes to major household appliances like washing machines, it’s crucial they live up to expectations and don’t let you down. This is why the feeling of getting value for money is not as important as you may have thought. Aussies are happy to pay a reasonable amount for a new washing machine, as long as they get what they were promised. Keep in mind that a good washing machine can last over a decade – so plan ahead.

If you’re looking for a new top loader, we hope our customer reviews prove helpful.

Frequently asked questions

Canstar Blue commissioned Colmar Brunton to survey 3,000 Australian consumers across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased a brand new top loader washing machine in the last three years – in this case, 581 people.

Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then alphabetically. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.

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