Canstar Blue’s 2020 top load washing machine review has seen LG, Fisher & Paykel, Whirlpool, Samsung, Simpson and Haier compared on their performance & reliability, additional functionality, quietness, design, value for money and overall satisfaction.
See our Ratings Methodology.
Whether it’s seeing white underpants turn pink, finding mystery holes in shirts, or getting sore arms from doing multiple washes, there are loads of problems that come with doing the laundry. But is there a top loader that can help wash away those issues?
To find out, we asked more than 700 Aussies for their feedback on the top load washer(s) they purchased and used in the last three years. Respondents rated brands on performance and reliability, additional functionality, quietness while operating, design, value for money and overall satisfaction. Manufacturers which received the minimum survey sample size of 30 responses are featured in our results.
Our latest ratings took a turn when LG squeezed into the number one spot, causing Fisher & Paykel to fold into second place, ending its five-year winning streak. To see how other brands fared, check out our review below. 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.
Here are the best top load washing machines in Australia, as rated by consumers in Canstar Blue’s 2020 review:
LG dominated the competition in our 2020 top loader ratings, ranking as the best brand for overall satisfaction and for all other categories. Most of the remaining manufacturers landed on four stars for customer satisfaction, except Haier which rounded out the results on three stars overall.
But this year’s champion wasn’t the only one to impress Aussie households. Fisher & Paykel and Whirlpool matched LG with five-star ratings for performance and reliability, with Fisher & Paykel also achieving full marks for value for money and Whirlpool for additional functionality.
To help you decide which top loader is best for your needs and budget, here is a guide to the six brands featured in our 2020 review, as well as some of the other leading contenders available.
South Korean appliance giant, LG sells a fairly large selection of family-sized top load washers as well as a few smaller sized washing machines. Prices for LG’s top loaders start from around $850 and reach up to the $1,800 mark. Most of these machines can handle big loads, typically anything weighing between 9kg and 13.5kg. There are also top loaders with smaller capacities between 7kg and 8.5kg, or an extra large 14kg capacity.
Many LG washing machines don’t contain an agitator. Instead, the top loaders feature an inverter control motor which apparently mimics hand washing motions in order to move the water in the tub. The addition of the TurboDrum is also claimed to deal with stains but without the wear and tear, which the brand claims can be a common problem with washing machines that come with an agitator. This function supposedly uses an agitator-like action to rotate the drum clockwise, while the pulsator pushes the water the opposite way.
LG washing machines also provide both hot and cold inlets, in addition to ‘6 Motion’ technology, multiple wash cycles, delayed start function and load sensors to reduce water consumption. Another common feature is the Smart Diagnosis technology, which allows you to connect your washing machine to your smartphone via an app and troubleshoot different issues.
LG top load washing machines come with a total 10-year warranty. This includes a two-year warranty for parts and labour and an eight-year warranty for the smart inverter motor or inverter compressor parts, depending on which type of washer you get.
Here are a few top load washing machines from LG:
LG rated best in all categories, including performance and reliability, design, quietness, additional functionality, value for money and overall satisfaction.
One of New Zealand’s most successful exports, Fisher & Paykel sells a variety of top loaders in plenty of capacities to suit different households. Like its front loaders, Fisher & Paykel’s 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.
Fisher & Paykel provides a few capacity options, typically ranging from 6kg to 10kg. Although there are smaller 5.5kg units and larger 14kg models alternatively available. The brand’s entire top load washing machine collection can cost anywhere between $850 and $1,640, with most products sitting around the $1,100 mark. Unlike some cheaper brands, Fisher & Paykel offers top loaders with varying levels of energy efficiency ranging between 1.5 stars to 4 stars. But most models have a 4-star energy rating, making it one of the most efficient options for top loaders. For water consumption, majority of the washers have a 3.5-star efficiency rating. Fisher & Paykel top loaders usually come with a two-year warranty.
Fisher & Paykel’s top load washing machine range includes:
Fisher & Paykel earned five-star ratings for performance & reliability and value for money. But it ultimately landed on four stars everywhere else, including for overall satisfaction.
Whirlpool might be considered an underdog in the appliance world, especially when it comes to laundry. Most of its products are designed for the kitchen, with a variety of built-in ovens, microwaves, cooktops, rangehoods, fridges and dishwashers available. But having been around for more than 100 years, Whirlpool still manages to get plenty of recognition for its arguably modest selection of top load washing machines.
The standout feature in its top loaders is the ultrasonic pump, which is said to create vibrations into the wash tub in order to help remove stains and dirt as well as reduce the time it takes to clean the clothes. There’s also a memory function you can use to get the washing started much sooner, and a 24-hour pre-set timer which allows you to set and choose the time when you want the cycle to finish. Whirlpool top load washers additionally have different programs to suit various types of loads, such such as Blanket Wash for blankets and bulky items. Whirlpool top load washing machines generally have a two-year warranty.
The top load washers currently available from Whirlpool currently include:
Whirlpool achieved five-star ratings for performance & reliability and additional functionality. It received a solid four stars in most of the remaining categories, including overall satisfaction. It got three stars for value for money.
Another 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, there is a 8.5kg unit available.
What sets Samsung apart from the rest is its Activ DualWash sink. The built-in sink is designed to offer a space to soak stained or extra-soiled garments before tossing it into the washer, or give certain items an extra scrub. You can also use the sink to hand-wash delicate items. The removable Magic Filters are boasted as being another unique feature, allowing you to collect lint and fluff after every wash. Plus, there’s the Magic Dispenser which supposedly dissolves detergent and water by creating what the company calls a ‘vortex’ to ensure even and consistent washing.
Samsung top loaders usually have a two-year manufacturer’s warranty and an 11-year parts warranty on the digital inverter motor. Samsung’s top load washing machines come with a mid-range price tag, with the cheapest model being around the $1,050 mark. Here are the top loaders currently available from Samsung:
Samsung achieved four stars across most of the board, including for value for money and overall satisfaction. The only exception was quietness while operating, where it got three stars.
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 are generally at least around $1,100. But you can get the smaller 6kg or 7kg units for less than $900. These usually come with a two-year warranty.
The top load washing machine range from Simpson includes:
Simpson achieved a solid four stars in most categories, such as value for money and overall satisfaction. The only exception was additional functionality, where it got three stars.
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.
To suit different budgets, Haier provides a bit of variety by offering a couple of models with the same capacity at slightly different price points. Its cheapest top load washing machine costs close to $600, making it one of the cheapest top load washers on the market. On the other end, Haier’s 12kg top load unit costs $1,249, which is around the mid-price range for many brands listed in our review.
Haier generally provides a two-year warranty on its top load washing machines. Common features include a soft close lid to prevent accidents, and a memory program for convenience. There’s also quick wash functions, hot and cold water inlets, and programs to suit different types of items and material.
Here are some top load models from Haier:
Haier achieved four stars for value for money, and scored three stars for overall satisfaction and in most other areas. It got two stars for additional functionality.
Aside from the six 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.
With five models on offer, the Esatto range, 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.
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*. 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.
Did you know Australians wait nearly 11 years until investing in a new washing machine? People are clearly making the most out of their laundry appliance, and it’s clear why. Our research shows people spend an average of $680 on a new top loader, with price being the main factor helping shoppers decide on which model to get (51%). Plus, one in four (25%) survey respondents said they purchased their machine during a sales period. Energy efficiency (21%) and special features (9%) were considered to have the next most influence on consumers’ decisions, while design and appearance came at the bottom of the list (8%).
Unfortunately, a handful of people wished they spent more on a better washing machine (8%). Another small number of respondents said they should have bought a front loader washing machine instead (5%).
When it comes to maintaining their top loader, 50% of people regularly empty and clean the filter in their washing machine. Almost a fifth (17%) admitted to overloading the washer with too many clothes, while 26% play it safe and use the same wash settings regardless of the type of load. Additionally, 10% of those we surveyed were simply confused about all the different washing cycles.
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.
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. Similar to last year, our latest research revealed price as being the most significant purchase decision factor. What you’re willing to pay for your top loader is dependent on you and your budget. The average amount spent on a new top load seems to be pretty consistent with our previous results, with many spending $680 on the appliance.
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 ten 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 brands like LG, Fisher & Paykel and Whrilpool stand out as good contenders. 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 journalist, Tahnee-Jae Lopez-Vito. She’s an expert on household appliances, grooming products and all things grocery and shopping. In addition to translating our expert research into consumer-friendly ratings reports, Tahnee spends her time helping consumers make better-informed purchase decisions on all manner of consumer goods and services, while highlighting the best deals and anything you need to be aware of.
*Prices taken from retailer websites, correct as of August 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 three years – in this case, 777 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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