Semi-Automatic vs. Fully Automatic Top Load Washing Machines

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Long gone are those days when laundry was manual work. Thanks to the innovation in technology, we can now invest in washing machines that make laundry a cinch for us.

However, when you set to buy a washing machine, you are inundated with numerous options. And if you plan to buy a top loader, you will definitely have to make a choice between automatic and semi-automatic options.

In this article, we discuss the pros and cons of various aspects of semi-automatic vs fully automatic top load washing machines to help you make an informed choice.

What is a Semi-Automatic Washing Machine?

semi-automatic vs fully automatic top load washing machines- controls of a semi- automatic washing machine

As the name implies, a semi-automatic washing machine requires some amount of manual work. You can’t completely rely on the machine to do its job from start to end on its own, as you will have to manually transfer the clothes from the washing tub to the drying tub.

How Does Semi-Automatic Washing Machine Work?

A semi-automatic machine is equipped with two tubs namely a washing tub and a drying tub. It requires the user to fill a certain amount of water in it either via a pipe or bucket. You are then required to add detergent as well.

Once the wash program is selected, the washing tub agitates and cleans the clothes. You have to then, manually transfer the laundry from the washing to the drying tub to rinse and dry it.

Comparatively, they don’t have many settings. They usually have just three wash setting- normal, gentle and strong. The timer can be set for up to 15-20 minutes. Similarly, spin timer can also be set for upto 5 minutes.

Advantages of Semi-Automatic Washing Machines

  • These washing machines are relatively cheaper.
  • They have a small duration wash cycle to save you waiting time.
  • Their lightweight design makes them easy to move around.
  • They consume less power and less water.
  • Lesser maintenance

Disadvantages of Semi-Automatic Washing Machines

  • They can take up a lot of space which may be a problem for smaller houses.
  • They require manual work, and therefore, supervision.
  • The wash quality isn’t that great as cleaning stubborn stains can be difficult for these machines.
  • They have limited wash programs.

Related reading: Fuzzy logic in Washing Machines- What It Means?

What is a Fully Automatic Top Load Washing Machine?

semi-automatic vs fully automatic top load washing machines- water filling in a top load washing machine

A fully automatic washing machine is 100% reliant on technology. As opposed to the semi-automatic washing machine, it doesn’t require manual work at all except for loading the clothes and choosing the wash program. In a nutshell, these machines allow you to unwind your hectic week while they do all the strenuous work for you.

How Does a Fully Automatic Washing Machine Work?

A fully automatic top-load washing machine has its door on the top of the machine. Unlike the semi-automatic machine, this one has just one tub and performs all functions right there. It comes engineered with several different functions and wash cycles to accommodate all kinds of washing needs.

For instance, you can find wash programs for cotton, jeans, synthetic woollen and so on. The higher-end top loaders come with multiple functions such as pre-soak, soak, quick wash, rinse or dry. 

Related reading: Detergent Powder vs Liquid- Which Is Better?

Advantages of Fully Automatic Top-Load Washing Machines

  • It doesn’t require any manual work.
  • They come with exceptional technology and innovative features.
  • They clean clothes way better than semi-automatic washing machines.
  • Comparatively, lesser storage space is needed.

Disadvantages of Fully Automatic Top-Load Washing Machines

  • The excessive consumption of water can be a problem.
  • They can take comparatively more time than semi-automatic washing machines for completing a wash program.
  • They can be on the expensive side.

Difference between Semi-Automatic and Fully Automatic Top Load Washing Machines

You must be wondering now how a semi-automatic machine differs from the fully automatic one? And how do you know which one is right for you? Therefore, the factors listed below and their differences can determine which kind will best suit your needs.

Water Consumption

semi-automatic vs fully automatic top load washing machines - clothes in top loader

In terms of water consumption, both semi-automatic and fully automatic top loaders consume a huge quantity of water. This is mainly because they both need to have clothes completely immersed in the water to start operations. And filling a 6-10 Kg tub requires a hell lot of water.

To get an idea, they both take around 16-18 litres of water per Kg load. So, if you are washing full load in a 6 Kg washing machine, it consumes about 96- 108 litres of water.

In comparison, a front-load washing machine takes just around 50-60 liters of water for a full load of 6-8 Kg.

Power Consumption

Contrary to popular “opinion”, fully automatic washing machines do not consume more power than semi-automatic ones.

In-built heater and motor are the components that consume a major portion of a washing machine’s energy. Semi-automatic washing machines do not have heaters. In India, only a few top loader models have in-built heaters. To make a more sensible comparison, we can assume that both wash clothes in normal temperature water.

The next energy-consuming component is the motor. In semi-automatic washing machines, the motor spins the tub to 1000-1300 RPM in the drying cycle. Fully automatic top loaders, on the other hand, have a maximum spin speed of just about 780 cycles. 

Because of this, semi-automatic washing machines consume higher energy than a top loader.

For comparison, here is the BEE label of an LG semi-automatic and fully automatic top loader with 8 kg capacity.

As you can see, the fully automatic top loader uses 0.0093 units per kg per cycle, while the semi-automatic washing machine consumes .018 units per kg per cycle.

So, for a full load of 8 Kg, a fully automatic washing machine uses 0.074 units and a semi-automatic washing machine uses 0.144 units- close to 100% difference.

Related reading: All You Need To Know About Washing Machine’s Power Consumption


With an exceptional level of care and maintenance, both semi-automatic and fully automatic machines can last up to ten years and even more. However, fully automatic machines come with several parts and sensors to perform various programs. Thus, fully automatic machines are more susceptible to getting damaged. 

Semi-automatic washing machines, on the other hand, have hardly any electronic components. So, they have minimal maintenance costs.

Related reading: LG vs Bosch Washing Machine Comparison

Ease of Use

semi-automatic vs fully automatic top load washing machines- requires manual transfer of clothes

A semi-automatic washing machine requires you to pour water and detergent into it. And then you have to move the load from one tub to another for spinning and drying.

On the other hand, fully automatic machines do all the work for you without any supervision. 

This is why fully automatic top-load machines are more convenient and hassle-free to use. If you’re a senior citizen or you have a pretty busy schedule all week round, you should definitely take into account this factor.  

Wash Cycle Duration

As fully automatic washing machines use different kinds of modes to match varying washing needs, it can take a bit longer to wash and dry. Most of the wash programs take anywhere between 30-90 minutes.

Semi-automatic machines are a bit quicker to perform the same task. The timer for soaking can be set from 5 to 40 minutes, the actual washing takes about 15-20 minutes and spinning takes less than 10 minutes.

But, it is vital to note that the semi-automatic machine also requires your time to shift laundry from one tub to another for drying.

Wash Quality

If you don’t want to spend extra time hand washing the clothes even after running the machine, a fully automatic top-load washing machine would be your best bet. As it works efficiently to remove stains and dirt, you wouldn’t have to fret about it.

Although you should note that a fully automatic top load machine uses an agitator at the bottom to rub the clothes for cleaning and this may slightly damage the extra delicate clothing. So, choose the right wash program.

On the other hand, a semi-automatic machine doesn’t always guarantee 100% removal of stains and you may have to hand wash the stains at times.   


Generally, semi-automatic machines are noisier than fully automatic machines as they vibrate a lot while spinning at their maximum speed for drying clothes.


The upfront cost of fully automatic top-load washing machines is more than the semi-automatic ones because of the superior technology and innovative features they offer. Nevertheless, a fully automatic washing machine is worth the money.

Storage Space

As semi-automatic washing machines come with two tubs, it takes more space to store them.

Fully automatic machines are compact than semi-automatic machines as they have only one compartment and can easily fit into a small space.

Quick Comparison Between Semi-Automatic And Fully Automatic Top Load Washing Machines

FeatureFully Automatic
Top Load
Water ConsumptionBoth consume around same quantity of waterBoth consume around same quantity of water
Power ConsumptionConsumes lesser energyConsumes more energy
DurabilityLess durableHas Better Durability
Ease of UseEasier To UseNot As Easy To Use
Wash Cycle DurationTakes More TimeTakes Lesser Time
NoiseLess NoisyComparatively More Noisy
AffordabilityMore ExpensiveLess Expensive
Storage SpaceTakes Less SpaceTakes More Space

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