HomeHome OrganizationImpeller vs. Agitator - Which One is Better?

Impeller vs. Agitator – Which One is Better?

When you’re thinking about getting a new washing machine that loads from the top, you should first decide between two types: one with an agitator and one with an impeller.

Even though they both do a similar job, they work in slightly different ways, and one might be better for your needs.

The main difference between an agitator washing machine and an impeller washing machine is how they clean your clothes.

In an agitator machine, there’s a tall spindle in the centre of the washer that rubs against your clothes to get rid of dirt and grime. So, it’s the spindle itself that does the cleaning.

On the other hand, an impeller washing machine has a cone or disk at the bottom of the tub that spins around to move the water and clothes, which helps in cleaning them.

Agitator VS Impeller

DesignThe tall, central poleThe low-profile disk at the bottom
Cleaning MethodAggressive motionGentle spinning and pushing
Water UsageMore water usedLess water used
Cleaning IntensityGood for heavily soiled clothesSuitable for regular dirt
Delicate FabricsMay be rough on delicate fabricsGentler on fabrics
Noise LevelCan be noisierGenerally quieter
Energy EfficiencyMay use more energyMore energy-efficient
Size of LoadSmaller load capacityLarger load capacity
ModernityTraditional designModern and Sleek Design
Popular ChoiceLong-time standard choiceGaining popularity

Agitator Washer:

Agitator Washer
Source: Don’s Appliances

An agitator washer is a type of top-loading washing machine that employs a central agitator column to facilitate the cleaning process.

This column or spindle is usually located in the drum’s centre and features fins or vanes that rotate or oscillate during the wash cycle.

The agitator’s primary function is to move clothes around in the water detergent mixture, dislodging dirt and stains through friction and mechanical action.

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Pros and Cons of Agitator Washer:

Effective Cleaning: Agitator washers are known for their strong cleaning performance, particularly for heavily soiled clothes.


Agitation Impact:  The mechanical agitation can be harsh on delicate fabrics, potentially causing wear and tear.


Faster Wash Cycles:  These machines often offer shorter wash cycles, ideal for quick laundry needs.


Water Usage:  Agitator washers tend to use more water compared to other types of washing machines.


Affordability: Agitator washers are generally more affordable upfront than other washers.


Energy Efficiency:  They are usually less energy-efficient than modern high-efficiency models.


Ease of Use: Loading and unloading clothes from the top is more straightforward for many users.


Lint and Residue: Agitators might not handle lint and residue as effectively as other systems.


Suitable for Bulky Items:  Agitators can handle more oversized items like comforters and blankets effectively.



Impeller Washer

Impeller Washer
Source: Jim’s Appliance & Furniture

An impeller washer is a type of washing machine that employs a streamlined component known as an impeller to move clothes and water in a tumbling motion for effective cleaning.

Unlike traditional agitator washers, which utilise a central pole to agitate the clothes, impeller washers are designed with a low-profile drum and an impeller at the bottom.

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Pros and Cons of Impeller Washers:


Gentler on Clothes:  The tumbling motion of impeller washers is gentler on fabrics compared to agitator washers, leading to less fabric wear and tear.


Tangling Issues: Some users report that specific garments, especially delicate items, can tangle during the wash cycle due to the impeller’s swirling motion.


Higher Capacity: Impeller washers tend to have larger drum capacities, allowing for larger laundry loads in a single cycle.


Limited Cleaning for Heavily Soiled Items: While impeller washers perform well for regular loads, heavily soiled items might require pre-treatment or an extra wash cycle.


Efficient Water Usage: The design of impeller washers, along with water jets, helps distribute water and detergent efficiently, resulting in better cleaning performance.


Noise Levels: Depending on the brand and model, impeller washers might produce more noise than high-end agitator washers.


Energy Efficiency: The absence of a bulky agitator enables impeller washers to accommodate larger loads while consuming less energy per cycle.



Consumer Reports Agitator VS Impeller:

  • Consumer experiences with agitator washers vary based on personal preferences and laundry needs.
  • Some users appreciate the deep cleaning and faster cycles, while others worry about wear and tear on clothes.
  • The choice influences load size, fabric type, and energy efficiency.
  • Impeller washer consumer reports highlight positive aspects: larger drum capacity, gentler cleaning, and improved water efficiency.
  • Some users mention tangling issues, mainly with specific clothing types.
  • It’s essential to research brands and models for alignment with individual laundry needs.

Agitator vs. Impeller: Which is Right For You?

Agitator vs. Impeller: Which is Right For You?
Source: Beacon Services & Appliances

Which one, a washer with or without an agitator, is best for your family?

An agitator and an impeller type can help you finish the job, whether sterilizing baby items, getting mustard out of your favourite pair of jeans, or ensuring her leotard is prepared for tomorrow’s dance lesson.

Your choice depends on your preferences because cleaning performance, energy efficiency, capacity, innovation, and convenience are similar.


In summary, the choice between agitator and impeller washers depends on preferences and needs. Agitators excel in tough stains and speed but can be harsh on fabrics and use more resources.

Impellers suit larger loads and delicate fabrics and save water. Despite some tangling and noise issues, they’re praised for efficiency. When choosing, consider load size, material, and energy efficiency.

Both offer effective cleaning and convenience for diverse laundry tasks.

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Gabriel, is an expert in solving home-related problems, specializing in home appliances and organization, offering insights for optimizing activities and maintaining an orderly living space.


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