Canstar Blue’s 2019 top load washing machine review has seen Fisher & Paykel, Samsung, Simpson and LG compared on their performance & reliability, quietness, design, value for money, additional functionality and overall satisfaction.
See our Ratings Methodology.
A home can’t function without a good washing machine, unless you’re still washing all your laundry by hand! The school uniforms, work shirts and trousers all need to be washed before the dreaded Monday morning comes around again. So, to keep the schedule running smoothly, it’s important to find a washer that’s right for your household’s needs. But with so many different brands on the market, where do you start? Canstar Blue’s 2019 customer reviews and ratings is as good a place as any.
We annually survey hundreds of Aussie households to find out which top loader washing machines are keeping busy families happy, with brands rated on factors including performance & reliability, quietness, design, value for money and additional functionality. The idea is to give you as much information as we can before you head in-store or online to buy your next washer. Think of it as like asking hundreds of your friends and family about their personal experiences with their washing machines.
For the fifth year in a row, Fisher & Paykel has received a five-star overall satisfaction review from its customers, meaning it retains its place at the top of our ratings. Our New Zealand cousins clearly know a thing or two about making good washing machines, with Fisher & Paykel earning five stars in all research categories again in 2019, including performance & reliability, quietness, design, value for money and additional functionality.
Canstar Blue’s latest top load washing machine review saw four major brands compared, rated in the following order for overall customer satisfaction:
It was four stars overall for Samsung and Simpson, with LG rating just three stars. Fisher & Paykel was the only brand to score five stars in any category. To help you decide which top loader is best for your needs and budget, here is a guide to the four brands in our 2019 review, as well as some of the other leading contenders available.
One of New Zealand’s most successful exports, Fisher & Paykel has an interesting range of top loader washing machines available in Australia. Like its front load counterparts, the top loaders generally fall into categories – WashSmart, FabricSmart, CleanSmart and QuickSmart – with a clue to their features in their names. WashSmart models from Fisher & Paykel feature super-fast wash cycles, while FabricSmart washers are ‘gentle on clothes’. The CleanSmart units boast particular technologies to help clean tough stains faster, while QuickSmart models are claimed to get a full load cleaned faster.
Its 7kg top load washer (WA7060G2) has six different wash cycles to suit a range of garment types such as woollen items and delicate clothes. Additionally, it’s boasted for a quiet and reliable wash thanks to its SmartDrive technology. Plus, it features self-levelling feet for apparent easy installation.
Fisher & Paykel top loaders are around 8kg in size capacity, while some are as small as 5.5kg, with the largest weighing in at 10kg. The cheapest units cost around the $850 mark, but most carry price tags of $1,000 and up.
Fisher & Paykel was a clear winner in this year’s top loader ratings, earning five stars for overall satisfaction and all other categories.
Fisher & Paykel’s top load washing machine range includes:
South Korean electronics giant Samsung features top loaders that are generally easy to use and boast very large capacities, with 13kg on offer. If you’re looking for something smaller, the options are rather more limited with just one 8.5kg unit available. Quick wash functions are common, as are Eco wash spin cycles.
A good example is the Samsung 8.5kg top load washer (WA85N6750B) which features a built-in pre-treatment sink to pre-treat delicate or heavily soiled items. There are 12 different wash programs to choose from, including quick, bedding and baby care. Additional features include Wi-Fi connectivity for troubleshooting and a rear control panel with an LED display. Its Magic Filters are stated to gather flint, fluff and other particles from your washed clothing, making it an option to consider for pet owners.
Samsung’s top loaders are generally priced $1,000 and upwards, with the larger models sitting around $1,900. The range caters to a number of styles including the black appliance trend.
Samsung was rated four stars for overall satisfaction in 2019, as well as quietness, design and additional functionality, with three stars for value for money and performance & reliability.
Samsung’s top load washing machine range includes:
Australian favourite Simpson is owned by Electrolux, but its focus is still on budget-friendly washing machines, with a penchant for function over form. Sizes start from 6kg and max out at 10kg. Common features include a time delay, so that you can hang out the laundry when you wake up or when you get home from work, plus a soft drum structure for apparent gentle garment care.
Simpson’s washing machines generally feature 10 wash programs or more and aren’t a slouch in the efficiency department either – its 10kg model (SWT1043) uses 102L of water per cycle, which is quite impressive for a top loader of its size, while also being rated 4.5 stars for energy efficiency. It features automatic water level sensing to take the guesswork out of doing laundry, and ActiveBoost technology stated to premix detergent and water in a separate chamber to decrease detergent residue on your clothes.
Simpson’s top loaders can be found from as little as $580, while most cost around $1,000. You can find the 10kg unit from as little as $1,250.
Simpson was rated four stars for overall satisfaction in our 2019 top loaders review, with four stars in most other categories. It was three stars for design and additional functionality.
Simpson’s top load washing machine range includes:
Another South Korean appliance giant, LG has a fairly large range of top load washing machines, with 11 different models at the time of writing. Many of the units sit above 8kg in capacity – maxing out at 14kg – but you can also find a few smaller 6.5kg models. LG’s washing machines feature the LG ‘Turbodrum’ mechanism, which rotates the drum clockwise, while rotating the water anti-clockwise. This, according to LG, results in an ‘agitator-like’ action, able to bust through tough stains but without the wear and tear that agitators can have on your clothes. Other units are equipped with its 6-Motion Direct Drive, based on hand-washing.
Many LG washers also feature multiple wash cycles, with load-sensors to reduce wastage. Its 7.5kg top loader (WTG7532W) comes equipped with 10 washing programs, such as Quick Wash, E-Cotton and Delicate. There’s also a delayed start function, allowing you to plan laundry days around your schedule. Plus, with its Smart Diagnosis technology, you can connect this unit to your smartphone via an app and troubleshoot any issues that may come up.
LG’s top loaders can be found from as little as around $850, while many are priced less than $1,500. Its largest 14kg models are the most expensive, with a $1,899 retail price tag. LG was rated three stars for overall satisfaction with consistent results throughout each category.
LG’s top load washing machine range includes:
Aside from the four major top load washing machine manufacturers rated in this year’s review, there are several other brands worthy of your consideration, including:
Just because these brands didn’t reach the required sample sizes to be included in this year’s review, doesn’t make them any less viable for your next washing machine purchase. So, be sure to compare a wide range of appliances before splashing out hundreds, or even thousands of dollars. We look at the listed brands in detail below.
The Esatto range, with five models on offer, sits on the budget friendly side for top loaders. Prices start at around $500 and max out at $800. Even with the cheap units, you can still expect large load capacities such as the Esatto 9.5kg top loader. As far as features go, the 9.5kg model covers the basics including six programs and a 700 RPM spin speed. It does, however, have an energy efficiency rating of just 1.5 stars.
Others in the range have load capacities of 5.5kg, 6kg or 7kg. All have similar energy efficiency ratings, so you might not save long term on your electricity bills. According to the Standard Test, these models can add anywhere from $100 to $200 to your energy bill per year. However, you won’t be left out of pocket from the low upfront cost.
Australian-owned Euromaid is another brand that caters for those looking at well-designed appliances at affordable prices. Euromaid has three different sizes with its top loader range – 5.5kg, 6.5kg and 8kg – ranging from $550 to $850.
A key design feature of the Euromaid range is the transparent lid, allowing you to keep an eye on the washing. Inside the drum there’s no agitator (the vertical column usually in the centre of a drum), which you may find helpful for fitting in bulky items such as large blankets. All models feature eight different cycles and a delay start option, giving you the ability to make use of off-peak electricity times. All are designed with a spin speed of 750 RPM and have a 1.5-star energy rating.
Major Chinese appliance brand Haier has numerous budget-friendly top loaders on offer. While you may not find extraordinary features, it does pack in everything you’d expect from a regular washing machine. Design features include pulsating wash action as well as a soft close lid.
Starting at around $500 for the 6kg capacity models, its largest 10kg top loaders still maintain prices of less than $1,000. Energy ratings sit below three stars, with the 7kg capacity model (HWMSP70) rated two stars. Nevertheless, the upfront cost speaks for itself. Some models do feature the Delay Start option, so you can make use of the off-peak electricity tariffs during the night, saving you money down the line.
Lemair caters for the ‘small top loader’ segment, with one 3.2kg capacity model. The Lemair washer (pictured) is a fully automatic mini washer with a cold water connection only. It’s said to be best suited for caravans, motorhomes and holiday houses.
With a maximum spin speed of 850 RPM, it doesn’t fall far behind the other brands. It has three water settings – low, medium and high – as well as four process options – wash, rinse, spin and gentle. Coming in at just under $500, you might like to consider Lemair if you’re looking for a portable option.
Panasonic’s top loader washing machines are all large capacity units, sitting between 8.5kg and 9.5kg. At the time of writing, Panasonic has three models on offer, from $999 to $1,199 RRP. The range features Panasonic’s ‘Active Wave Pulsator’ feature instead of an agitator, as well as a rear control panel that can be accessed even if the lid is up.
Programs include Quick wash, Delicate, Bedding and Soak. An additional system that Panasonic washing machines are boasted for is their ‘Econavi’ technology, stated to feature sensors that detect the volume of the laundry and the water temperature to select the most efficient cycle, saving energy and water.
Our 2019 survey of consumers who have recently bought a top loader identified the following insights:
There are naturally pros and cons to buying a top loader instead of a front loader, but with each type being constantly improved and advanced, there’s certainly merit to both. If you’re positive a top loader is right for your home, here are some things to consider.
Typically, top load washing machines are perhaps best suited to large households with intense washing demands. They tend not to boast the same high-tech features as some of their front load counterparts, with more of a focus on providing maximum ease of use, convenience and bang for your buck. Their simplicity is their main appeal and you won’t need to spend a fortune for a quality machine.
Top load washing machines fall into two categories – agitator and impeller:
Whichever type of top loader you decide is your best bet – both should do the job perfectly fine – you’ll need to give serious thought to factors such as capacity and energy efficiency, which will have a direct impact on purchase prices and ongoing energy costs. However, the good news is that, owing to their generally more modest features, top loaders tend to be cheaper than front loaders.
It goes without saying that the larger your washing machine capacity, the more it will generally cost you upfront. But as top loaders are generally cheaper than front loaders, you should still be able to get a lot of washing machine for your money. You’ll find a few brands offering top loaders with size capacities of between 10 and 14 kilograms (this refers to the weight of your clothes), while units around 7kg tend to be the most common.
It’s tempting to buy a large capacity washer just in case you’ll need it, but consider whether or not you’ll really be getting your money’s worth – not just in terms of the purchase price, but the wasted energy of running a half-empty machine. For average households of three or four people, an 8kg top loader should be sufficient.
|Washing Machine Capacity||Household Size|
|5.5kg – 8kg||3-4 people|
General Guide Only
It’s easy to get distracted by an appealing purchase price and forget about an appliance’s water and energy ratings. You can learn how energy-efficient a washing machine is or isn’t by checking out its star rating – the more stars, the more energy efficient it will be, and the less it will cost you in ongoing bills.
There are separate star ratings for water and energy efficiency. However, keep in mind that the higher the energy ratings, the higher the purchase price will usually be. You will need to consider whether you want to save money at the time of purchase, or instead over the course of several years through reduced energy consumption.
You’ll typically find more interesting features with front load washing machines rather than top loaders. Nevertheless, there are still plenty of functions that can be found in the top loader range to entice you, including:
At the end of the day, the decision for many will come down to price. According to our latest research, price was the most significant purchase decision factor. What you’re willing to pay for your top loader is dependent on you and your budget. On average, consumers spend $698 on new top loaders, our survey found.
It’s important to note, however, that you’ll want a top load washing machine to last you several years, so doing your research is key. Our survey shows that the average life expectancy for washing machines is around nine years, which suggests that you should put some serious thought into your next purchase decision.
Sure, everyone wants to bag a bargain, but the last thing you’ll want is buyer’s remorse when something goes wrong with your cheap washer. In addition to this year’s star ratings, we’ve identified the following factors in order of importance for consumers buying a top loader:
If you want a new top loader washing machine that delivers on performance & reliability, ease of use and value for money, our ratings suggest Fisher & Paykel stands out as a good contender. However, be sure to compare a wide range of options before deciding which is best for your family, as you may find something that fits you like your favourite jumper.
This report was written by Canstar Blue’s Home & Lifestyle Content Lead, Megan Birot. She’s an expert on household appliances, health & beauty products, as well as all things grocery and shopping. When she’s not writing up our research-based ratings reports, Megan spends her time helping consumers make better purchase decisions, whether it’s at the supermarket, other retailers, or online, highlighting the best deals and flagging anything you need to be aware of.
*Prices taken from retailer websites, correct as of January 2020
Our latest customer satisfaction research on top load washing machines saw a number of brands rated best in different categories:
Canstar Blue surveyed 3,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased and used a top loader washing machine in the last 3 years – in this case, 504 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 by mean overall satisfaction. 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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See our Ratings Methodology.
*Product availability and price range are current as of the stated date, may be subject to change.
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