It’s official – Aussies prefer front loader washing machines


Woman front loader smilingIt’s a debate that’s been raging for years – but our research finally reveals that front loader washing machines are generally preferred by Australians.

Canstar Blue surveyed 1,250 adults who have purchased a new washing machine in the last three years and found that those who bought front loaders were more satisfied than those who bought top loaders in six out of seven post-sale research categories, including performance, value for money and overall satisfaction. But those with top loaders were more convinced that their model was easy to use.

Both top and front loaders have their benefits and suit different needs. Large families may prefer the extra capacity of a top loader, while those with less space at home might prefer a front loader. Front loaders tend to be more energy efficient, but that saving could be negated by the need to do more loads of washing.

Interestingly the levels of satisfaction between front and top loaders are consistent across all age groups, but there are some variations across the states, with consumers in Victoria showing higher levels of satisfaction for top loaders.

How much do people spend on washing machines?

Canstar Blue found that consumers who bought front loader machines paid an average of $628, while those who bought top loaders spent an average of $600. This varied across the states, with South Australians spending the most for both types of machine, while Queenslanders spend the least on top loaders and those in New South Wales spend the least on front loaders. And the older you are, the more you are likely to spend.

Appliances Online, Australia’s leading online appliance retailer, reports that front loaders account for 64% of washing machines sold on the site. For most states it sells at least two front loaders for every top loader, but in New South Wales it’s about 1.5 front loaders for every top loader and in Queensland there is almost even split between the two.


Why are more Aussies buying front loaders?

Peter Harris, COO of Appliances Online, said consumers could be less inclined to purchase top loader washing machines because they are becoming more aware of the benefits associated with front loaders.

“Australians are savvy shoppers and consumers are increasingly conducting more research before purchasing a new appliance – and this is especially true for washing machines,” he said. “In the last year, two thirds of customers who purchased a washing machine on Appliances Online opted for a front loader model, and the customers who read our Laundry Buying Guides were twice as likely to purchase a front loader over a top loader. Customers have greater access to product reviews, buying guides and other product information enabling more informed purchasing decisions.

“Our sales experts have found that customers are increasingly buying front loaders because they’re more energy and water efficient, compact, delicate on clothes and provide more options thanks to multiple programmes. Government rebates have also incentivised consumers with rebates.”

Couple washing machine shopping


Top loader or front loader: the pros and cons

What’s most important to consumers?

Consumers who purchased front loaders were more concerned about the design and ease of use of their model, while those who bought top loaders were more focused on performance and warranty.

Drivers of customer satisfaction           Front loader       Top loader
Performance 26% 41%
Reliability 18% 16%
Value for money 11% 18%
Design 17% 3%
Ease of use 15% 3%
Quietness  10% 7%
Warranty & service 3% 11%

Source: Washing Machines survey 2015

The survey also found that energy efficiency was of the utmost importance to 43% of consumers who bought front loaders, while price (56%) was still the most important factor for those who bought top loaders.

Most important factor when purchasing           Front loader       Top loader
Price 40% 56%
Energy efficiency 43% 26%
Appearance 5% 4%
Other (including size, capacity, features) 12% 14%

Source: Washing Machines survey 2015.

The majority of respondents splashed out on their new washing machine to replace one that had stopped working, although those buying front loaders were more likely to be upgrading to a newer or better model. Overall, respondents had their old machines for an average of 8.75 years.

Which washing machine brands do Aussies favour?

Figures from Appliances Online show that almost half of washing machines sold on the site are either Samsung or Fisher & Paykel models. And when it comes to top loader machines, quantity relates to quality in the eyes of consumers, with Samsung and Fisher & Paykel both taking out Canstar Blue’s Most Satisfied Customers Award. It’s the third time in five years that Fisher & Paykel has achieved the accolade for top loaders and for Samsung a second time.

Miele was the pick of the front loaders for the second year in a row, scoring a clean sweep of five-star ratings to earn Canstar Blue’s Most Satisfied Customers Award. It’s the third time in five years that Miele has taken out the award for front loaders.

The winning brands this year have consistently stood out from the crowd since we launched these awards for washing machines in 2011. Once again there was no separating Samsung and Fisher & Paykel – having also shared the award for top loaders in 2012 – while Miele continues to impress in an extremely competitive front loader market. Check out our washing machine reviews for more.

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