Washers With An Agitator Vs No Agitator: Which One To Choose?

Thanks to technology, washers have simplified the tiresome activity of cleaning clothes. Over the years, washing machines have evolved to suit people’s various wardrobe choices, making this activity more hassle-free.

But even though these machines are very convenient, this doesn’t mean that they’re immune to eventual wear and tear. It’s important to gain basic knowledge about a washer to carry out basic maintenance. In some cases, you might want to do DIY repairs but a Whirlpool Cabrio repair will likely need the expertise of a professional service.

Further to being knowledgeable about washers, it goes without saying that you must also use the right one for your needs. In this guide, we compare two types of washers: a washer with an agitator and a washer without one. 

Take a look at their differences below and the factors you must consider in order to come up with an informed decision: 

Factors To Consider When Choosing Between Washers 

1. Mechanism

  • With Agitators

Washers like these contain a large, vertical spindle located inside the middle of its bowl. This is called an agitator, which moves back and forth while the machine is running. It moves your clothes in a manner that allows every surface of your dirty linen to receive even amounts of water and detergent. Its setup mimics the action of handwashing clothes.

  • Without Agitators 

These provide an alternative mechanism in cleaning dirty linen. They have low-profile wheels, discs, fins, cones, or plates known as impellers at the bottom of the basin.

The impeller tumbles clothes against each other, enabling an even distribution of water and detergent. The cleaning takes place when the clothes rub against each other. 

2. Type Of Clothes Involved

  • With Agitators 

Washers with agitators have an aggressive mechanism approach compared to the gentle cycle of washers without agitators. Clothes that are very dirty or those that require aggressive and thorough cleaning or heavy-duty clothing items like canvas, jeans, and blankets need washers with agitators. Also, materials with lower stretch fabrics and high tolerance for wear and tear are preferred to avoid tangling with the agitator. 

  • Without Agitators

On the other hand, light material clothes like silk or Kashmir, which require gentle cycles and rinsing, should be washed by washers without agitators.

3. Cost

  • With Agitators

The initial cost of buying washers with agitators are comparatively cheap to the cost of washers without agitators. The maintenance cost varies for washers without agitators based on the different type of materials, basin space, installation of the appliance, and the amount of energy or electricity consumed during cleaning. 

  • Without Agitators

Washers without agitators will see you dig deep into your pocket to acquire them initially. Although the maintenance level is low compared to the maintenance cost for washers with agitators, this also depends on whether the washer is an entry-level or high-level machine. Differences in maintenance and the initial value of the investment can range from $200 to $300. 

4. Environmental Friendliness

  • With Agitators

A washer that contains an agitator, initially referred to as a traditional washer, can consume a lot of water, which might not be suited to those who are concerned about their energy and water consumption. Often, they require up to 5 times the amount of water to supplement the aggressive washing and the type of linen that they handle.

  • Without Agitators

New and improved high-performance washers without agitators don’t consume much water compared to traditional washers simply because their gentle cycle feature does not require much water to carry out this function. You can also increase this machine’s environmental friendliness by making your laundry eco-friendly

5. Time Consumption

  • With Agitators

Washers with agitators rotate at a higher speed while washing clothes, implying that it takes a short amount of time to do the cleaning. However, the number of spins per minute and the amount of water per unit used makes drying clothes more time-consuming.

  • Without Agitators

Washers that use impellers as a propeller to wash clothes take more time to get the work done. Nonetheless, when it comes to the amount of time required to dry the clothes, they have an advantage. The number of spins they make per minute extract more during the cleaning process. The fact that they use less water to clean clothes is the cherry on top. Therefore, when it comes to drying, washers without agitators save more time. 

6. Washing Performance And Cycles

  • With Agitators

Washing cycles involve the number of rotations required to remove dirt from clothes altogether. Washers with agitators can do up to 50% fewer cycles than those without agitators. This is because more water is used by a washer with an agitator.  

  • Without Agitators

High-performance washers that make use of impellers use less water, hence require minimal rotation to wash clothes thoroughly.

7. Specifications From The Manufacturer

  • With Agitators

Traditional washers with agitators only require a simple adjustment by setting the type of washing motion you want, allowing you to choose between vigorous or gentle cycles. After separating light from heavy clothes, set the rotation after, pour in the water and detergent, then sit and wait for it to finish. 

  • Without Agitators

Washers that use impellers are more technologically advanced, as well as more user-friendly. They can be easily configured for household use or business purposes. However, it requires you to strictly follow the specifications provided by the manufacturers in order to take advantage of the washer’s full potential. This may become tedious as not all users might be able to operate the machine properly. 

8. Add-Ons

  • With Agitators

Significant improvements have been made to washers with agitators so they can work more efficiently and suit different clothing materials. These improvements include dual-action to increase home cleaning efficiency, soft-close hinges to cater to soft material clothing like silk and cashmere, and stainless-steel that can wash heavy materials like jeans and blankets. 

Not only do these increase the efficiency in washing different types of cloth, but they have also provided a sense of sophistication in the art of cleaning dirty linen. 

  • Without Agitators

With improvements in technology, laundry has been made more fun and easier to do. Washers without agitators can even be controlled from phones, tablets or computers, enabling settings to be operated without being present. These machines are the latest in the market and have been incorporated with technology, allowing for multitasking. 

9. Load Capacity

  • With Agitators

Manufacturers place the agitator right at the core of the basin. This covers the space from the bottom to the top, which may reduce the machine’s load capacity.

  • Without Agitators

Washers without an agitator have a larger capacity. The impellers are strategically placed at the bottom of the basin, which does not take up much space, therefore leaving this space to be utilized for cleaning clothes. Thus, in terms of space utilization, washers without agitators are mostly preferred. 

10. Detergent Differences

  • With Agitators

Traditional top-loading machines with an agitator are not picky when it comes to the type of laundry detergent that can be used. 

  • Without Agitators

With a washer that runs on an impeller, you need to be a little more specific according to the stipulated guideline. High-efficiency washers do not use regular detergent. Instead, you’re required to use the detergent created for that type of machine. Using the wrong type of detergent can lead to excess suds that can cut down on cleaning power or even make the machine overflow. 

Further, high-efficiency detergents work exceptionally well in small amounts of water, which is important because they only need as little as a fifth of the water used by traditional machines.

Questions To Ask Yourself When Choosing A Washer 

1.  What Features Are Important?

This all boils down to individual preference. Different companies come up with different appliances and models that suit different lifestyles and functions, from families to individuals, businesspeople, and rental houses. The kind of linen being washed also plays a key role in choosing. Assess which of the different features mentioned above work for you so you can narrow down the most favorable washer for your needs.

2.  What Kind Of Warranties Are Available?

Like most machines, washers can still malfunction. Thus, it’s important to consider the kind of insurance coverage that comes with the washer. Most companies have a one-year warranty up to a lifetime warranty with different return policies.

3. Can You Add An Agitator To A Washer Without One?

If a washer doesn’t come with a built-in agitator, then you can’t add it. Only manufacturers can add agitators to a washer through a complicated process. So, it’s better not to try on your own, otherwise you may damage your washer.


Despite the potential risk in damaging clothes, washers with agitators provide a better cleaning performance. Even if washers without agitators may be gentler to clothes, they really aren’t as effective at cleaning compared to those with an agitator.

There are many options you can choose from between these two types of washers. Before deciding on which washer to pick, consider these factors mentioned above in order to maximize the machine’s full capacity.