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High-Efficiency vs. Traditional Washing Machines: What You Need to Know

Posted by Andres Jimenez on
washing machine guide

As technology has evolved, even the way in which we do our laundry has gotten more high-tech over the years.  Today, consumers have a choice between the more traditional washing machines that they’re used to, and high-efficiency models that are quickly taking over the market.  You’ll know you have a high-efficiency (HE) model on your hands since the symbol will be displayed somewhere on the machine.  But, what does this actually mean, and does it really make that much of a difference?

What’s the Difference?

In order for a washing machine to be classified as high-efficiency, it must meet very specific standards and criteria and get approved.  In other words, it’s not like any company can slap “HE” on their machine to make their product look better than it is.  Let’s compare the two types of washing machines to help you figure out which one is right for you.


A high-efficiency washing machine gets its name from the more efficient way in which it washes clothes.  Mainly, this refers to the fact that it uses far less water, while cleaning clothes just as effectively.  It also uses a higher spin speed to make the drying process much shorter, and these things together explain why a high-efficiency washing machine is capable of using less energy overall to operate, while doing just as good of a job.

High-efficiency washing machines tend to use sensors when you load your wash. 

  • Top-loading washers spin your clothes, while front-loading washers tumble them back and forth.
  • Front-loading machines are the more popular choice.

Both models often have a feature that automatically selects the machine settings for you based on the amount of material that you’ve loaded in.  They also do require a bit more maintenance than traditional models – mainly, they need to run a cleaning cycle regularly.  And, keep in mind that they cost more, too.


Then you have the more traditional washing machines, which are only a bit more modern than the ones you grew up with.  These washing machines are almost always top-loaded, and they have an agitator inside that “agitates” the clothing so that your load washes evenly.  They cost less and have shorter washing cycles, but at the same time, they use more water, and the clothes come out less dry when the cycle is over, which can mean more time spent in the dryer.

We also gotta point out another important thing to consider when choosing between the two.  Traditional washing machines tend to be rougher on your clothing and other fabrics, because the agitator “roughens up” those materials more than a high-efficiency washing machine.  This means that over the course of several washing sessions, your clothes may look more worn if you’re using a traditional washing machine.

Because traditional washing machines use more energy and more water, they’re ultimately going to add more to your water and energy bill, and of course, they make more of an impact on the environment.  Overall, in terms of how long they last, it’s about the same – 10 to 15 years, on average, as long as they’re maintained properly.

Which Washing Machine is Right for You?

There are clear pros and cons to both types of washing machines, which is why we recommend that you really consider what it is that you want out of your laundry routine.  From there, you can then choose the right machine type accordingly.  Overall, high-efficiency washing machines are considered superior, but there are also reasons why a more traditional model may make more sense based on budget, maintenance, or simple personal preferences.

Regardless of which washer machine model/type you choose, Grab Green Home’s collection of 3 in 1 Laundry Detergent Pods and 3 in 1 Laundry Detergent Powder, along with Stoneworks Laundry Detergent Pods, can handle any washing machine with total ease.

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