Best and Worst Agitator Top-Loaders

Kimberly Janeway

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Agitator washing machines aren’t normally the most innovative appliances in the laundry aisle, but they remain the most widely sold type.

They’re often your least expensive option and faster than other washer types. The downside? Performance. In Consumer Reports’ tests, most agitator washers don’t clean as well as high-efficiency top-loaders—the type without an agitator—or front-load washers.

To make agitators more appealing, manufacturers have begun to tweak the machines to be more like feature-rich HE top-loaders and front-loaders. That’s why you’ll see agitator top-loaders in our ratings that have stylish details, such as a stainless steel look and a glass lid. Some now have jumbo capacities, so you can do more laundry at once.

All that drives up the price of the models, undercutting an agitator’s biggest selling point. At the same time, prices on other washer types have come down.

CR members can read on for ratings and reviews of the six impressive agitator top-loaders in our ratings, along with three to skip. As you’re shopping, double-check to make sure you can fit the new machine in your space (and through doors) by noting the dimensions in our washing machine ratings.

The 4 Worst Agitator Top-Loaders from CR's Ratings

These washers earn overall scores of 40 or lower, meaning they rate Fair overall. Speed Queen, however, does garner top marks—an Excellent rating—for predicted reliability and for owner satisfaction, and is the only brand of agitator top-loaders to do so in our survey of CR members. That's why it's too bad the Speed Queen TR7 we tested was the worst at cleaning of all washers tested.

The Worst Washers

You'll see over 100 agitator top-loaders, HE top-loaders, and front-loaders in our ratings. These four agitator washers are lowest scoring of all tested.

3 Worst Agitator Top-Loaders

You’ll see more than 100 agitator top-loaders, HE top-loaders, and front-loaders in our washing machine ratings. These three agitator top-loaders rank lowest of all washers we tested.

For more choices, see our full washing machine ratings and reviews.