Consumers in North America have finally discovered front load washing machine. Although new to North America they are standard in Europe, accounting for 90% of market.
The front load (or horizontal axis) washing machine was produced in response to concerns about increasing costs to operate laundry equipment. Efficiency, electrical consumption, and environmental impact were all factors that influenced its development.
With this system clothes do not sit in a tub of water. Rather they tumble through a layer of water as drum rotates. This allows for a tremendous reduction (60% less) of water required. In areas where water is at a premium lower water consumption may be a significant factor for a potential purchaser.
For anyone on a septic system lower water and detergent usage can be an important advantage. Since amount of water being used is so small detergent required is about 25% of a top loader. The fabric softener required is so little that it should be diluted 5 to 1 rather than added full strength.
Another advantage to a front loader is that it can spin very fast. While a top loader only spins at about 600 RPM, horizontal axis washers can spin at up to 1200 RPM.
Increased spin speeds means more water removed from clothing prior to them going into dryer. This means less time in dryer, and a subsequent saving in electrical consumption.
A front loader will also do a substantially larger load. They easily handle loads 50% larger. So washing items like comforters is now possible. Or asking a front loader to wash five or six pairs of jeans at one time is common practice. With these increased load sizes comes additional savings of time since it will lower total number of loads required.