In a recent column you said you didn’t buy a front-loading washing machine, as you learned from others’ mistakes. What are the pros and cons of a front loader, and what’s your opinion of the top-loader machines without the middle agitator? Pat, email
Front-loading washers suffer from a unique set of technical problems, due to the drum lying sideways. If the clothes are out of balance or there are too few items in the load to properly balance it, many front-loaders will just shut down, or rock slowly until time runs out. I have received myriad of comments from readers with front loaders who complain about water left behind at the end of the wash cycle, bleach spotting, long wash cycles, excessive vibrations and other complaints.
One issue unique to front-loaders is most troubling of all: mold buildup in the rubber gasket of the door and the resulting odor on clothes, especially towels.
If all of this is not enough, recent studies of consumer-reviews posted across the Internet show a trend of U.S. front-loading washers to have problems with bearing failure usually within the first six years, with the repair costs close to a replacement cost. Read more