Agitator vs Impeller Washer: Which is best for you?

Is it better to have an agitator or impeller washer?

The argument on Agitator vs Impeller focuses on the level of efficiency, performance, cost-effectiveness, and effect of clothes. This detailed review will assist your buying decisions.

In the process of choosing the best loader washing machine for your home, you are stuck between choosing an agitator or impeller washer. When you are going for the best top loader washing machine, there are a lot of factors that you should consider.

Agitator vs Impeller

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What is an agitator washer?

Agitators are usually found in top loader washing machines. Agitator washers are components of vertically fitted columns in the center of the washing machine’s basket/drum. Agitators consist of spindles, vanes, and fins.

Agitator: What it looks like

Agitators spin in a circular motion, with a firm force that makes them a great option for heavily stained clothes.

The circular motion of agitators ensures that clothes are swirled around water. It also handles the process of rubbing them together in a circular motion to break down and remove dirt.

Mechanism of agitator loader washing machines

The model of every top loader washing machine plays a huge role in the way the machine interacts with clothes. However, the basic mechanism for agitators remains the same. 

Agitators wash your clothes by spinning them in a back and forth motion. Agitators apply brute force on clothes, to achieve a certain level of friction to get your clothes clean. 

The level of friction exerted on these clothes by agitators makes users refer to them as aggressive washing machines. This makes agitators a good choice for heavily-stained, not-so-light clothes.

Nevertheless, newer technology and improvisation are ensuring that agitators are more gentle on your clothes.

Agitator washers do not have pulsators so they require more water and more motion to achieve the best wash on your clothes.

The washing operation of an agitator begins with a load of water. Agitator washing machines depict the traditional washing machine design.

What is an Impeller washer?

Impeller washer: What it looks like

Impeller washers are built with an advanced washing technology; a pulsator. Instead of exerting much friction on your clothes rubbing them together, impeller washers use a lesser motion that pulls the clothes to the bottom of the machine with a little amount of water. 

Impellers are low-profile rotating plates/hubs which consist of a disc, cones, fin, and wheels. Instead of simply rubbing clothes against each other, impellers rotate in a dual clockwise direction. 

Impeller washers also have internal movement of the wash basket. This moves the clothes against each other and also around the water.

Mechanism of an Impeller washer

Impeller washers have pulsators. There are different types of pulsators fitted in different washing machines as desired by the manufacturer. 

Some manufacturers build their impellers with double-storm pulsators or center-jet pulsators. The function of pulsators remains the same; to provide an easy gentle wash. The type of pulsator fitted in the machine determines its effectiveness and the level of its deep clean.

Most advanced technologies equip the impeller washers with a sealed inner tube design and an auto-save water conservative technique. This keeps the clothes saturated with water without flooding the washing drum with excessive water. 

The washing operation of impeller washers begins with the rotation of the cones. The base hub pulls in a pressure that draws the clothes to the bottom of the wash basket. The base rotation of the cones/pulsators ushers in a systematic pump of water currents into the tube. 

The clothes rub against each other and with the water, without coming in contact with the pulsator. There is no vertical column, no rotating plastic demarcation in the middle, just a flat plane with vanes. 

This eliminates the possibility of cloth stretching, wear and tears, or clothes getting stuck on vertical cones. Impeller washers are usually referred to as high-efficiency washers.

However, the mechanism of Impeller washers provides a gentle wash making it a less great option for washing heavily-stained clothes.

Agitator vs Impeller: Pros and Cons



  1. Good for heavily-stained clothes
  2. Provide deep cleaning for heavy fabric; bed sheets, jeans, blankets
  3. Lesser wash time
  4. Cost-effective
  5. Traditional design


  1. Can result to wear and tears, or stretches on your clothes
  2. Not good for soft clothing
  3. Longer drying time
  4. Less Capacity



  1. Good for light clothes
  2. Water Conservative
  3. Energy Conservative
  4. Lesser Drying time
  5. Handles bulkier clothes and has a larger capacity


  1. Longer Wash Time
  2. Cannot handle heavily-soiled clothes
  3. Wouldn’t provide high-level effectiveness on heavy-duty clothes

Is it better to have an agitator or impeller washer?

There are a lot of reasons why we need a top loader washing machine. Our individual decisions should act as a base for our choices. 

We might not give you a clear answer on which is better. Agitator or impeller washers are great models. Their functionality differs as well as their efficiency.

Agitator vs Impeller: Which cleans better?

Top loader washing machines with impellers clean better with no damages on your clothes. Agitators offer deep cleaning on heavy-duty clothes, but the level of efficiency is low.

Agitator machines cannot wash the clothes if they do not come in contact with the spinning vertical column. This might result in an irregular washing pattern, leaving some parts of your clothes untouched. 

The rotating system of impellers gives the clothes a massage-like wash. There is enough space in impeller washing machines and the synchronized connection of water and energy enhances the efficiency of the machine. 

These days, most high-efficiency and sideload washing machines are built with impellers. If you want a better cleaning experience with less brute force on your clothes, an impeller is the right choice.

What washing machines should I not buy?

One of the popular questions we have on the web is “Do top loaders clean well without agitators?” We grew up using the agitator washing machine model. It may look like an advanced innovation might not offer the level of effectiveness that we demand. 

Nevertheless, the choice is yours. You know what you want a washing machine for, and we believe this review will help draw a clear line on which washing will help you achieve your home needs.

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