Looking to buy a new washer? Take a look at the key differences between HE (High Efficiency) Washers and Traditional Washers before you decide.

HE (High-Efficiency) Washers

A Maytag HE Washer on a pedestal. Click to view listing.
  • HE washers offer a concentrated clean that penetrates deep into the fibers of your fabrics.
  • They use a special HE detergent with a higher detergent concentration for a powerful clean.
  • HE Washers also use less water, which means less detergent dilution for a more effective and efficient clean. It also simply means you’re using less water per load which is also good.
  • However, expect longer wash cycles because of that lower water level.
  • They use a lot less energy and have more movement so the clothes are constantly kept in motion. More motion means a better clean.
  • HE also produces less suds than a traditional washer. This allows it to works directly on soils and stains. Suds make it harder for the clothes to move around in the machine which leaves clothes dirtier than if they’d been washed in an HE washer.
  • An HE washer costs no more than a traditional washer, per load. However, the detergent itself is a bit more expensive.


Traditional Washers

A GE Top Load, Non-HE Washer with a deep fill option. Click to view listing.
  • Shorter wash time because of the increased water usage.
  • Traditional Washers don’t tumble the clothes like an HE does. They generally have a more monotonous motion process like a clockwise and counter-clockwise motion.
  • This gives you more of a surface clean, and is more gentle on cloths than an HE with an agitator would be.
  • Generally, traditional washers are the less expensive option.
  • Some brands discourage against washing waterproof items in the washer and disallow the use of any detergent except HE at the risk of voiding the warranty and damaging the appliance.
  • Smaller capacity; you may have to do multiple loads.
The HE Washers have an agitator disc that tumbles the clothes. This is from the Whirlpool HE Top Load Washer. Click to view the listing.
Traditional washers use more water to make the clothes float. Then, their agitator moves the clothes through the water in a gentler back and forth motion. This is from the Non-HE Whirlpool Top Loader. Click to view listing.


It’s recommended, particularly with HE models, that you leave your washer and dryer doors open to let the air release and be replaced my clean air. This is to avoid that musky scent that occurs when you’ve left your clothes in for too long. However, some washers have found solutions to this problem. The Maytag HE washer is one. The Maxima Washer is an HE model with a Fresh Hold option that circulates air within the machine for up to twelve hours so accommodate people who can’t leave their washer doors open. Click to view our previous post on Maytag Washers & Dryers for more information on those products.

The Maytag Maxima is a great HE choice and it has tons of features that will prevent your clothes from absorbing odors in the machine (due to moisture) if you leave them in too long via the Fresh Hold Option. Click to view listing.

Here’s a couple of suggestions for you to consider, labeled either “HE” or “Traditional:”

This Traditional model is by Fisher Paykel. Its a 27″ Top Loader, click to view the listing.
This is a Traditional 28″ Top Loader from Whirlpool. Click to view the listing












The Samsung HE Front Load Washer with AddWash in Black Stainless Steel, check out the video below for more information. Click image to view listing.
The 27″ Affinity Top Load Washer by Frigidaire is another HE option. Click to view the listing and more information.


In the long run, the HE washer will bring your water and energy bills down and you’ll get more use out of your detergent. At a steeper initial price, the HE model is more of an investment, but it is a better long term appliance. It delivers a more powerful and thorough clean, despite the longer waiting time for cycles to be complete. However, this also means that you’re less likely to have to wash your clothes again because the stains didn’t lift. Moreover, Non-HE models are increasingly less common so they’re harder to track down on your own.

If you want a Non-HE model, we can help save you time and money by easily matching you with the perfect size for your home and presenting you with great options! Alternately, if you prefer an HE model, or even if you don’t know what you want, we can help. Call us at 1(800)-299-9470. Our experienced staff is more than happy to help!


Visit the Appliances Connection website to view thousands of appliances at competitive prices.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at 1(800)-299-9470 for knowledgeable and professional service.


12 thoughts on “HE vs. Traditional Washers: Pros and Cons

  1. I hate my new washer. The clothes ate still dirty. Long sleeve shirt getting rippex because the sleeves get tsngled around other clothes. And how it is cs efficientvwhen the eash cycles are longer and loads are smaller. I find that if i put more tgan 10 articles of clothing into a load they dont get clean. I have shirts that i hzve had for 10+ years are now ruined because of this new machine. I think of that commercial with the guy and girl where she says you look “comfortable” because the neck of his shirt is all stretched out. This is how my husbands shirts are because they dont get clean. ” Ring around the collar” all over again. As soon as I can afford it, I will be looking into an old style model!

  2. HE washers are hard on clothes – this is the main reason I have come to loathe our new HE washing machine. Say goodbye to buttons, sequins, even seams. It’s the western equivalent of thumping the sh!t out of your clothes on the banks of the Ganges. Must’ve been designed by a) men or b) clothing designers or c) both. I really wish we’d spent the money to repair our old screw washer that floated the clothes – and preserved them longer. >:-(

    1. I have had the same sad and expensive experience. Have you found any washing machines that you like that have not torn your clothes to shreds??? …even when washed on the delicate cycle, which became my “normal” cycle even though it still tore our clothes up which never happened with our old run of the mill regular old washer and dryer.

  3. I’m confused about these top loading HE machines. They barely put any water in the drum. Sure you can fit a lot into the drum, but what good is that if it only washes the bottom? I’m looking into the machine while it’s running. The stuff on top is barely moving. So you can put a giant comforter in it, but does it actually wash the whole thing or only the bottom 2 inches? The load does not appear to get mixed or inverted in any way. How is this supposed to work?

    1. Hello, Michael. If you would be so kind as to provide the brand and model HE washer you’re using, I’d be able to advise you accordingly.

  4. I honestly don’t agree with HE washers, most of the time when I take out items there were not even WET and it’s not because I piled stuff in, then i just have to re run the cycle AGAIN. FRUSTRATING!

    1. Hello, Monica. I’m sorry about your unfortunate experience with high-efficiency washers. Perhaps our expert support staff could help you out. They can be reached at 800.299.9470, Option 2. They are open on Sunday from 9:00AM – 5:00PM, Monday from 9:00AM – 7:00PM, Tuesday through Thursday from 9:00AM – 6:00PM, and Friday from 9:30AM – 4:00PM EST.

      Additionally, your difficulty might be due to the brand you used. In that case, our knowledgeable sales staff would be happy to recommend a high efficiency washer from a high quality, trusted manufacturer. They can be reached at 800.299.9470. They are open on Sunday from 9:00AM – 6:00PM, Monday through Thursday from 9:00AM – 7:00PM, and Friday from 9:00AM – 4:00PM.

      I hope this helps. Your participation in Appliances Connection community forum is greatly appreciated.

  5. Hi there colleagues, its wonderful piece oof writing regarding teachingand completely explained, keep it up all the time.

  6. i can not find an agitator washer that is not he. i dont want a he washer. please list number.

  7. “Some brands discourage against washing waterproof items in the washer and disallow the use of any detergent except HE at the risk of voiding the warranty and damaging the appliance.”

    The above quote was in the traditional washer section. I think you meant to put that in the HE section. No HE washer that I know of will allow the washing of waterproof or water resistant items. That is a huge drawback.

    1. Several HE washer offer a waterproof cycle for things like shower curtains and windbreakers.

  8. We just got a high efficiency washer and so far we are pleased with it. It does take a bit longer to wash (since the loads use less water, as you said), but it does a good job cleaning. We don’t mind waiting a little longer for cleaner clothes. Thanks for the great comparison!

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