I'm gonna sound really old here, but I've been researching washing machines for our new place (the sellers are taking theirs with them). In all the research I've been doing so far, I've come to one major conclusion (ok, maybe a few):
No matter what make, model, top-loader, front-loader, whatever - they are ALL made like junk.
Energy efficient? Better for the environment because they conserve water and energy? BALONEY. They contribute to harming the environment if anything, because like everything else these days, it's manufactured to fail so you're forced to either buy a new one or replace a major component. That means, in most cases, either the entire machine or the component ends up in a land fill. And you're not saving any money because anything you might save from your water, electric or gas bills is going toward the initial cost of the overpriced hunk of junk and for the repair or replacement (or both) of it.
With everyone's efforts to adopt more environmentally-friendly lifestyles in order to make our world a little cleaner, it's those big, money-hungry corporations (don't even get me started...) that royally screw it up. Their ultimate goal is their own bottom line - not by doing the environment or consumers any favors. They've got people fooled into thinking they're doing something good for the environment by buying something that's "High Efficiency" in one way or another. Such a load of crap.
And the worse part is, we're at their mercy because how else will you wash your clothes unless we revert to doing it ourselves in a tub with an old-fashioned wash board? We've gotten too spoiled and busy for that.
But you know, I'm almost tempted... I have to say, I used to LOVE the smell of my Grandma Gordon's basement... She used a washboard and had clothes lines hanging in her basement. It always smelled so fresh and clean down there. And you can find one online for only $8.99...
I've posted this before somewhere on my blog, but check out this video for a real eye-opening, common-sense view of what's really going on when it comes to stuff like this.
PS - I'm open to washing machine recommendations if anyone has a decent one to recommend... Thanks!