Do you prefer a top loading washing machine? Then you have options to decide between agitator and impeller washer. So, which is better agitator or impeller washer? How to make a comparison between an agitator vs impeller washer? What are the differences between them? Which one is more efficient? Do they both clean usual clothes and delicates equally well? Lots of questions have already confused your mind. Right…?

Which is better agitator or impeller washer
Photo: Top load Washer built with agitator or impeller Photo Credit: Samsung Newsroom on Flickr

Don’t worry. You are in the right place. Here I am going to describe A to Z about both agitator and impeller washer in step by step.

What is an Agitator Washer?

An agitator is a tall column in the center of a washtub. It is equipped with fins or vanes that twist back and forth to ensure that every clothes get sufficient water and detergent. Agitator helps washtub to remove dirt and stain from clothes. And finally makes an efficient wash cycle.

Agitator Washer
Photo: Agitator Washer Photo Credit: Maytag

Some believe that agitator washers clean better. Are they right? Let’s check the pros and cons of an agitator washer.


  • Just drop in and go – So, it’s easy to load
  • No need special detergent
  • Different wash cycles for different clothes like jeans and delicates
  • Agitator’s short and long strokes lose up debris in quick and remove dirt and grime effectively
  • Cleans clothes quickly and more aggressively


  • Agitator works against the fabrics and they break down over time.
  • Risk of fabrics tearing and tagging with agitator itself during the wash
  • Don’t capable of washing big items like blankets and comforters
  • Most of the agitator washers are not HE machines

What is an Impeller Washer?

An impeller is a low-profile rotating hub that replaces the agitator. Like the agitator, the impeller rotates and creates turbulent currents and confirms that every clothes get enough water and detergent to be cleaned. Impeller washer doesn’t create aggressive physical contact with the clothes. High-Efficiency washer uses impellers that use less detergent and also lower the utility costs.

Impeller Washer
Photo: Impeller Washer Photo Credit: Maytag

There is similarity in rotating, spraying the clothes and rubbing against clothing. However, it doesn’t behave aggressively with the clothes as the agitator does.

Impeller washers are different from agitator washers in design. Though both clean clothes, but their working processes aren’t the same.

Now check a washer without agitator pros and cons:


  • Impeller behave gently and preserves your fabrics
  • Comparatively more space as the column is absent in an impeller washer
  • Capable of washing bulky articles like blankets or pillows
  • Washers built with impellers are HE machines
  • Impeller washers use less detergent, less water and cut off your energy bill


  • Impeller creates gentler motion that may not clean dirty clothes properly
  • For high spin speeds, there are chances of twisting clothes that can hamper your washer’s balancing system.

Agitator vs impeller washing machines

Agitator washing machines Impeller washing machines
Wash clothes with agitator’s short and long strokes Wash clothes with impeller’s spin speed
Less room in the wash basket More room in the wash basket
Wash basket rotates for a hard hitting clean Wash basket rotates for a deep clean
Rubs against clothes to loosen up soils and break down stains Spin gently and rub clothes against each other to kick out stain and dirt
Familiar functionality Little bit complicated functionality

Which is Better: Agitator or Impeller Washer?

Now you are known with both agitator and impeller washers. As stated above both wash clothes in their own ways. Now, which is better agitator or impeller washer for your family? Actually, it’s a critical question and there is no shortcut answer.

Agitator washer can clean hard and tough dirt from all types of clothes equally. Comparatively, they are bigger than impeller washers. If you decide to buy an agitator washer then you have to spend more dollars than impeller washer. As they aren’t HE machines, you must spend more on water, detergent and energy.

On the other hand, impeller washer cleans your clothes with the high spin speed of impeller. But they haven’t the same fame in cleaning as an agitator washer. For high spin speed, there is a chance of tagging clothes. Good thing is that most of the impeller washers are HE washers. They save your water, detergent and energy bill. So, the running cost of impeller washer is comparatively low.

If you live in your own house, you have enough space to store a commercial size washer and don’t have a budget problem, agitator washer will be better for you. On the other hand, if you have a limited budget, limited space or limited water supply, you should go for an impeller washer.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do clothes get clean without agitator?

Both agitator and impeller washer cleans clothes but in their own ways. You can use a washer without an agitator. It cleans your clothes also. Besides, its wash drum is more spacious than a washer built with an agitator. So, you can load more clothes.

Do top load washers damage clothes?

It is heard that Agitator top load washers ruin clothes. But it is an old myth. Modern agitator washers not only wash clothes but also care them.

Bottom Line

In cleaning your baby clothes, jeans or bulky items both agitator and impeller washer can help you. They also have advantages and disadvantages. So, which one is right for your family? Your decision may vary on cleaning performance, energy efficiency and capacity. Finally, it’s your personal preference. That’s all.

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