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Standard vs HE Washing Machines – Differences Explained

October 26, 2023

Ever stared at the different washers that they have at the store and wondered which is better?

Because they’re not all the same. Take high efficiency washers, for example, they’re more energy efficient compared to standard washers.

But how are they different exactly? Should you invest in a high efficiency washer? Or will a standard model suffice? For the answers, be sure to keep reading. We’ll be going over everything that you need to know below.

Understanding High-Efficiency Washing Machines

standard vs he washing machinesHE washers offer numerous benefits over traditional machines and can make your laundry routine more efficient.

How Does a High Efficiency Washer Work?

An HE Washer doesn’t use a central agitator. Instead, they rely on high-speed rotations and water jets to clean your clothes.

The absence of an agitator means that HE washers deliver concentrated cleaning by maintaining constant motion within the rotating tub. Ultimately, it’s this action that allows these washers to clean clothes thoroughly while using less water and energy.

The Type of Detergent Matters

The secret to a HE washing machine is in the soap – or rather its lack thereof. Unlike standard washers, they require special HE detergents that have minimal soap suds. This allows them to be washed away with less water.

Standard Front Load and Top Load Washers

Regular washers are familiar to many and are generally more affordable compared to their HE counterparts

Differences in Wash Cycles and Spin Cycles

A major feature that sets standard washers apart is their varying water levels and cycles. Unlike high-efficiency (HE) washers, these washers let you adjust the water level based on your load size.

Not only that but their spin cycles differ too. Unlike a HE washer, a traditional washer uses what we call an ‘agitator’. This central piece moves back and forth causing clothes to move around for effective cleaning.

Standard vs HE Washing Machines – Comparing Water Usage

How does a high efficiency washer stack up against a standard washer?

The first thing you should know is that high-efficiency washers use 20% to 66% less water than traditional agitator washers. This significant reduction makes them the champions of H2O savings in the laundry room.

Standard or regular washers also fill their tubs completely with water during each wash cycle. In contrast, HE washer models are capable of adjusting the water level based on load size.

Energy Usage Between HE and Standard Washing Machines

energy efficiency between standard and he washersHigh-efficiency (HE) washers are your best bet if you want to use less energy. Here’s what you need to know.

Energy Consumption: HE Washer vs Regular Washer

The key difference lies in their design and operation. For one thing, HE washers use less hot water than traditional ones, leading to significant energy savings over time.

Not only that but they also use less water compared to traditional washing machines.

Comparing Effectiveness Of HE and Standard Washing Machines

Both high-efficiency (HE) and standard washing machines are effective at cleaning your clothes. However, they do work differently.

The Role of Detergent

Detergents play a huge role in how well your washer washes your clothes. For one thing, using the correct detergent for your machine type is crucial.

type of laundry detergent mattersWe mentioned this earlier but a high efficiency washer require special HE detergents. These are low-sudsing and quick-dispersing to ensure proper cleaning with less water usage.

Traditional laundry detergents, on the other hand, produce more suds – way more than what’s acceptable for an HE washer. If you were to use them for an HE washing machine, it would not be able to rinse out all of the soap and you would be left with residue on your clothes.

Popular Brands of HE and Standard Washing Machines

When it comes to top-rated washing machines, there are a few brands that consistently receive high marks from customers.


Maytag offers both HE and traditional washers. Known for their innovative design and efficient cleaning abilities, they’ve become a go-to brand for many households.

Speed Queen

If you’re looking for a traditional washing machine with robust features, don’t overlook Speed Queen. Their washers give clothes clean finishes by using water levels appropriately based on the load size.


Samsung’s line of high-efficiency washers have also earned positive reviews. Their smart technology allows control right from your phone.

HE vs Standard Washing Machines – FAQs

What is the difference between HE washing machines and standard washers?

HE washers use less water, energy, and detergent. These types of washing machine also lack a central agitator for more delicate washing but require specific detergents.

Are HE washers worth it?

If you value long-term savings in water and electricity bills, as well as gentler treatment of your clothes, then yes, they are worth it.

What happens if I use HE detergent in a regular washer?

The detergent will product too many suds, which can hamper the cleaning efficiency of the washer. Not only that but it can also potentially damage the machine over time.

What are the pros and cons of HE washers?

The pros include energy efficiency and gentle care for clothes. Cons involve higher upfront costs and need for special detergents.

Traditional Washers vs High Efficiency Washers – Overview

And there you have it – a guide on the differences between traditional washers and HE washers. As you can see, they both differ in terms of their wash cycle.

While the former is more affordable, the latter uses less energy, which makes them better for the environment. Not only that but HE washers are also easier on your clothes.

The takeaway? Both types have their place depending on what matters most to you—be it cost savings over time or simplicity in operation.

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Ethan Clarke

Ethan Clarke is a seasoned expert in appliances and household waste systems. Referencing his extensive experience as an appliance repairman, Ethan shares his invaluable knowledge through detailed maintenance & troubleshooting manuals. Ethan’s insights help homeowners understand and maintain their appliances efficiently, ensuring longevity and optimal performance. He’s here to provide practical, easy-to-follow advice for all your appliance needs.

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