If you find that the chore of doing the laundry is too much of an inconvenience for you, then it may be time to invest in a fully automatic washing machine. But owing to its high upfront cost, it may be out of reach for the budget-conscious types. Hence, a lot of people are still opting for the cheaper alternative — the twin tub. This brings us to this question: what is the pros and cons of a twin tub vs. a fully automatic washing machine?
To put it simply, a twin tub is cheaper, easier to use, and does not require a high water pressure to work. However, it doesn’t have a lot of features that makes it less convenient than a fully automatic washing machine. On the other hand, a fully auto is more convenient to use and looks classy to boot – but it is more expensive, uses more water and energy, and requires a high water pressure to work properly.
In this article, we will flesh out our rationale on the twin tub vs. fully automatic washing machine debate to help you decide which model is better for your lifestyle and needs.
The differences between a twin tub vs. a fully automatic washing machine
Washing machines work by passing water and soap through your clothes to loosen dirt and grime as well as by scrubbing your clothes through friction from other clothes, with the drum walls acting as the washboard.
They are categorized into two: semi-automatic (single tubs and twin tubs) and fully automatic (top load and front load). Each of these two categories have their pros and cons which we will flesh out in this article.
While the act of washing clothes is done by the twin tub washing machine, you’ll have to do most of the other tasks yourself; that rangers from filling the water, adding fabric conditioner during the cycle, rinsing, drying, and draining the wash water.
In contrast, a fully automatic washing machine will fill the tub for you, put the fabric conditioner by itself during rinsing, drain the tub, and then spin dry the clothes after – you’ll only have to push some buttons to program it.
Fully autos also allow you to set a pre-soak program immediately proceeded by the main wash cycle, which allows you to have a set-and-forget laundry experience.
You won’t have these features in a twin tub washing machine; you’ll only get to choose whether the cycle is “strong” or “normal”.
Winner: Fully automatic. It’s added features are meant to make the user experience more convenient and hassle-free.
A twin tub washing machine is basically a single tub washer with a separate spin dryer attached to its body. As you can see, this makes its body wide and bulky which takes up a lot of space in the laundry room.
By contrast, since a fully auto washing machine can do the washing, drying, and rinsing in one tub. This makes the entire package compact and thus is easier to place in a cramped laundry room.
Moreover, fully automatic washing machines also have a choice on the configuration of its tub; they can either be top loading or front loading. Twin tubs are only available in the top loading configuration.
Winner: Fully automatic. It’s compact package makes it a boon for tight spaces.
A twin tub is the more economical choice compared to a fully automatic washing machine.
If we take this (rather crude) example, here are the average SRPs of the 7.0kg – 7.5kg capacity category of twin tubs, top loaders, and front load washers in Abenson’s website (taken on 2/13/21):
|7.0kg – 7.5kg Capacity
|Fully Auto (Top Load)
|Fully Auto (Front Load)
As you can see, a twin tub is almost half the price of a top loading fully auto and is a quarter of the price of a front load washing machine.
This is because a twin tub is mostly made out of plastics and because of its lack of additional features.
Winner: Twin tub. It’s simple construction and electronics allows it to be positioned in an entry-level price point.
4. Operating cost
We are going to split this into two sections: one for energy consumption and the other for water consumption.
4a. Electricity consumption
Both an twin tub and a fully automatic have a comparable energy consumption per wash, but the fully auto uses slightly more electricity especially if the pre-soak function and the tub clean function is activated.
However, if the model has an electric heating function (mostly found on front load fully automatics), it jacks the energy consumption way up.
Winner: Tie. Both use almost the same amount of energy, but the twin tub has a slight advantage because of its simpler electronics.
4b. Water consumption
According to Samsung, these are the amount of water consumption of each type of washing machine:
|Water Consumption Per Cycle
|Fully Automatic Top Load
|Fully Automatic Front Load
Both a the twin tub and the fully auto top load washing machine share the same vertical drum design. This makes its water consumption higher as the tub has to be filled up before the cycle begins.
On the other hand, a front load washing machine has a horizontal drum design. With this design, the required water level typically rests just below the half-way point of the tub.
Winner: Fully automatic front load washer. It is more efficient in its water usage owing to its tub design.
While looks won’t matter as much as the laundry area is often tucked away from the prying eyes of neighbors and visitors, it can be an important aspect of the washing machine buying decision process especially for the form and function crowd.
With its plastic parts and its awkward “Hello, I’m entry level!” shape, a twin tub just doesn’t do it for me in the looks department.
Compare that to the sleek design of top loaders and front loaders – metal bodies, LED displays, glass door lids – it just doesn’t compare.
Winner: Fully automatics. It’s not even a fair competition.
Because of it simple design, a twin tub is far easier to maintain compared to a fully automatic washing machine.
Also, there are a lot more things you should do regularly to maintain a fully automatic washing machine.
Since most fully autos have a metal body, you should always wipe water away from the body to prevent it from rusting – this is not an issue with a twin tub’s plastic body.
Owing to a fully auto’s inner-and-outer tub design, it is recommended to do a quick tub clean cycle after every regular cycle to remove the soap gunk from the outer tub. This prevents it from forming molds that make your laundry stinky.
Since twin tub doesn’t have this inner-and-outer tub design, you don’t need to do such rituals after every wash.
Winner: Twin tub. It is easier to maintain, it has cheaper parts as well.
With a plethora of washing machine models available in the market, it can be hard to choose the right model for you.
Always weigh in the pros and cons of a twin tub vs. a fully automatic washing machine. Understand how much you are willing to pay for the added convenience of a fully automatic model.
What is Water Consumption per Wash? (2020, October 13). Samsung India. https://www.samsung.com/in/support/home-appliances/what-is-water-consumption-per-wash/
Miguel Mores worked for 5 years as a member of the product management team for a home appliance company in the Philippines. He started 101appliance to answer the most common customer questions that he has encountered during his time in the industry. He now works in the digital marketing field and manages a small online bookstore on the side.