Agitator VS High Efficiency Pulsator Impeller Top Loading Washing Machines in San Antonio, TX; How They Work to Clean Clothes & Appliance Repairs Needed

Automatic washing machines are the one appliance that many consumers take for granted. You load the machine, pour in the detergent and press a button. What could be simpler than that? You may not even realize it but your washer is designed to imitate the tried and true method of handwashing laundry using a little elbow grease. Depending on the type of top-loading washer you have in your home, there is one fundamental difference between traditional top-loading machines and the newer high-efficiency models and it all comes down to the type of component that your machine uses to clean your laundry. Agitators and impellers for example, are used to move your clothes around during the wash cycle to get rid of dirt and stains. A traditional top loading washing machine which contains an agitator will rotate clothes within the wash tub. The cleaning begins as the agitator connects with the clothes to move them around in such a manner that the dirt is released. The impeller is a plate that is located in the bottom of the tub in high-efficiency top loading washing machines. The idea behind an impeller is to create turbulence as the device rotates using small amounts of water to help provide the motion needed to get clothes clean.

How Does an Agitator Washing Machine Work Step by Step?

The agitator is the piece of plastic which sits in the center of the washers wash drum. The agitator is designed with a series of plastic fins towards the bottom of the tub which provide a twisting and turning motion during the wash cycle to move clothes through the water. The agitator is a component in the machine that is responsible for removing dirt, grime and stains. The motion of the agitator can be controlled by the wash cycle that is selected, for example a delicate wash cycle will be much easier on the clothing than a standard wash cycle. Washers containing an agitator have a reputation for increased wear & tear on clothing.

How Does a Pulsator Impeller Washing Machine Clean Clothes?

An impeller can be described as a low-profile rotating plate that replaces the agitator in newer high-efficiency washing machines. The impeller creates turbulence in the wash water as it goes through the motion of rotating. The theory behind the impeller is to create a current of turbulence which allows the clothing to move through the water to clean the clothes without them actually making contact with the impeller. Since the impeller takes up much less space in the center of the drum than an agitator, a high efficiency top-loading machine is very easy to load and unload in comparison to more traditional models.

High Efficiency & Performance Compared to Traditional Washers

Impellers are a feature that can be found in high-efficiency washing machines that use less water and rotate at higher speeds during the spin cycles. The higher spin cycle is more efficient because it allows dry time to be reduced by extracting more water from the clothing. The combination of energy saving features makes these washers more efficient than more traditional top-loading machines. While impeller based machines use a gentler cleaning motion making them less damaging to clothing than a model with an agitator, they may not necessary clean clothing as effectively. While an agitator knocks clothing around aggressively with the twisting and turning motion, it is these features that allow dirt and grime to be removed so effectively. Some impeller models can be prone to tangling clothing as it rotates allowing the machine to become off balance especially during the high-speed spin cycle.


Top loading washers have slightly fewer breakdowns and repairs compared to front loaders. But no matter the make, model or style of top-loading washing machine used in your home, the knowledgeable experts at Southwest Appliance Repair of San Antonio can repair and maintain your washer to ensure years of efficient and effective service. Contact us for all your major appliance repair needs.

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