Front load washing machines use less water than top loaders
Front-loading washing machines can use up to 70% less water than the same size top loader.
That's because they're able to wash clothes by picking them up and dropping them into the wash water repeatedly, unlike top loaders which wash clothes by having them float around in water.
But there is a downside. Because front loaders use less water, the wash cycle usually takes longer.
So if time is of the essence, look for a front loader with a 'fast wash' cycle (but be aware this option may may not be suitable for very full or heavily soiled loads).
Other water saving tips for washing machines
1. Pre-soak or pre-treat heavily soiled items
That way you won't have to wash them twice.
2. Only run a cycle when you have a full load
It usually takes just as much water to wash a full load as it does a half load, unless the machine has auto-sensing options. Most of us only wash around 3.5kg of clothes at a time, regardless of the capacity of our washer, but filling it completely can save you water, as well as detergent – the biggest cost of doing your laundry.
3. Choose a model with an auto load-sensing or reduced-load function
For those times when you do only need to wash a smaller load, these water-saving features let the machine adjust the water level to the size of the load.
4. Use an eco program
Many washers now come with an eco program, designed for washing lightly soiled items by using as little water and electricity as possible.
5. Choose a spray or eco rinse
This typically uses less water to rinse your wash load than a traditional rinse.
6. Check the number of stars on the water rating label
This is a guide to how efficiently the washer uses water. The more stars, the more efficient it is.
It's worth noting that the label is calculated on a very specific program, washing a full capacity load.
Depending on which program you choose, you'll usually get better water economy than the sticker indicates, particularly if you're washing a partial load, and especially if the machine has an auto mode.
Video: How much can you load into your washing machine?