We found this informative article on About.com. If it is time for a new washing machine, do you choose top loading or front loading? Both have advantages and disadvantages:
~~Wear and tear on clothing: Front loading machines tumble clothes in and up and down motion similar to hand washing. Most top loaders use a central agitator to move clothing in a circle causing more wear and tear.
~~Water use: Front loading machines typically use less water per load.
~~Detergent use: Front loading washers must use specially formulated low-sudsing formulas, marked "he" for high-efficient washers.
~~Energy use: Since front loading washers use less water, they are the most energy efficient. Using less water also means less fuel use when using hot water. However, both top- and front-load machines that have an Energy Star use 30% less energy and 50% less water than other current models.
~~Comfort in loading/unloading: Front loading washers require bending to load and unload, just like a dryer.
~~Adding laundry during a cycle: Many front loaders lock while in use to prevent water overflow prohibiting the addition of last-minute laundry.
~~Space utilization: Front loading washers can be stacked with a dryer to fit into closets or small areas.
~~Purchase price: Front loading washers are significantly higher in price than a top loader.
There are savings in energy costs but it will take many years to realize the savings.