What are differences between automatic and semi automatic washing machine

Before purchasing any electronics or appliances for our houses, we consider several factors like the size, functions, budget, individual requirements, etc. Something similar is in the case of washing machines. With the several brands competing in the electronics market, it can be very confusing to choose the right type based on your washing needs.

Ideally, we know that there are two types of washing machine categories: semi-automatic and fully automatic washing machines. These are further subcategorized into various types based on their ergonomics and functions.

Experts say that around 30% of Indian households prefer a semi-automatic washing machine over a completely automatic one. However, semi-automatic machines require more effort for washing than automatic washing machines that manage the entire washing task for you.

So, what is the difference between a semi-automatic washing machine vs. a fully automatic washing machine and which one to choose? We decided to take a step forward and research everything about the two types of washing machines to clear the confusion for you. Read on to figure out!!


What is the Difference Between Semi-Automatic & Fully Automatic Washing Machine?

Difference Between Semi-Automatic & Fully Automatic Washing Machine

While a washing machine makes washing clothes an easy process, there are several differences that you need to be aware of when choosing between a semi-automatic and fully automatic washing machine. We have listed all the features that mark the difference between the two.


One of the most notable features to consider between a semi-automatic and a fully automatic washing machine is the price. Obviously, if the functions increase, the price also increases. A primary 6.5 kg semi-automatic washing machine will cost you anywhere between Rs.6500 to Rs.7000, which sounds pretty affordable for a family of two.

On the other hand, if you walk into any store and plan to purchase a fully automatic washing machine, you’d get nothing below Rs.10,000. Moreover, the price increases with the increase in capacity of the washing machine as well.


User friendly

Talk about which type of washing machine is easier to use, then fully automatic washing machines are the clear winners here. You will need to do some manual work in semi-automatic washing machines like shifting the clothes from the washer to the drier after the timer rings, etc. Whereas, in the case of fully automatic washing machines, the washer and the drier are present within a single unit itself. Leave your clothes for washing and forget them.

Moreover, fully automatic washing machines also have a very silent mode of operation that allows you to use them even when you are busy with other work or asleep. It manages the entire washing for you. The fully automatic washing machine controls are also very easy compared to the manual knobs that come with a semi-automatic washing machine.


Water usage

Fully automatic washing machines may offer ease of washing but consume more water than a semi-automatic washing machine. After each washing cycle, a fully automatic washing machine refills water in the washing machine to complete the process. In contrast, a semi-automatic washing machine uses less water and requires just one fill to complete the entire washing process. This means more features and more water usage.


Design and controls

When you look at a semi-automatic washing machine, a separate washer and drier section make it look fairly huge. It may not accommodate in your house and end up eating loads of space. Moreover, it comes with manual knobs that need to be rotated to adjust the wash cycle, which is quite an age-old design these days.

In comparison, fully automatic washing machines look very classy and modern. Their exterior designs not only match the interiors of your household but have a very sleek design. All because they have a combined washer and drier, which does not eat too much space either. Moreover, the control panels can be operated by a kid as they are effortless to understand.

Certain fully automatic washing machines even come with child lock and pet lock features. According to us, fully automatic washing machines are clear winners in style and design and controls.


Different Types of Fully Automatic Washing Machines

Different Types of Fully Automatic Washing Machines

Did you know that fully automatic washing machines also come in two types? They are front load and top load fully automatic washing machines. Front-load washing machines allow you to insert clothes from the front, whereas the top load requires inserting from the top. Several other major differences might influence your purchase decision and knowledge about washing machines. Read the factors to know:

Washing process

The washing process in both types is different as they work on other principles due to their design.

Top load washing machines have a separate drum along with agitators that rotate in opposite directions. While the drum also moves for washing the clothes, the agitators spin in the opposite direction for overall cleaning. The movement of the agitator creates friction that removes all the dirt from the clothes.

Front-load washing machines do not have a separate basket like the top load variants. It is attached to the machine walls along with paddles that move to remove the dirt along with the flow of water.


Water consumption

Top load washing machines: Top load washing machines consume more water as the entire drum needs to fill up with water while the clothes float in it.

Front-load washing machines use less water as compared to top load variants. The water usage is almost 40-50% lesser as compared to top load washing machines.


Washing Quality

Talk about the washing quality; top loaders lack performance when it comes to washing.

Experts prefer front-load washing machines as compared to top-load washing machines when it comes to washing quality. Front-load washing machines offer a paddling movement that helps clean clothes and offer better washing.


Wear and Tear of Clothes

Top load washing machines will cause more wear and tear of clothes than front-loaders due to the agitators rotating in the opposite direction. The friction and pulling caused by the agitators can cause knotting and tear of clothes, due to which the clothes can get damaged if they are delicate.

On the other hand, front-loaders provide a gentle wash as the paddles are attached only to the walls. They help in the gentle cleaning of clothes and keep your clothes safe.


Detergent consumption, capacity, and power consumption

Front-load washing machines consume lesser detergent than top loaders and have a good capacity compared to top load variants. They can wash more clothes in one go, thereby reducing water usage.


Front-load washing machines tend to create more noise due to the rotating drum. In comparison, front load washers have the drums attached and make a lesser noise while washing.


Water pressure

Top load washing machines require less water pressure as compared to front-load variants. If you stay in an area that experiences frequent power cuts, go for top load variants as the water pressure after restarting would also be less.


Features and functions

Top load washing machines are not very well equipped with functions and features as compared to front-load variants. Front-load washing machines come with certain unique features like steam cleaning, reversible washer doors, self-cleaning cycle, etc.


Capacity and Space

Front-loaders have more space in the chamber due to a lack of agitators. Top loaders have less space inside the machine as agitators consume most of the area within. Front-load washing machines offer 20 – 30 % better space than top-load variants.


Spin speed and drying time

Top load washing machines spin at a lower speed and the drying time is higher. Therefore they consume more electricity as compared to front loaders. They have a 30 – 40% higher spin speed than top load washing machines.


Life span and maintenance

Front-load washing machines may have a higher maintenance cost but last for a good 15-20 years, making it worth the investment. In contrast, top-loaders are easy to repair but come with a poor shelf life.



In the case of front-load washing machines, it is not possible to remove and add clothes between a washing cycle. Fortunately, you can add and remove clothes with top loaders at the last minute, even in between a wash cycle. But when it when it comes to convenience and efforts, top-loaders allow you to fetch and remove or add clothes from the top quickly. In contrast, front loaders will require you to bend every time to remove or add clothes. This can get tiresome for older people. But, top loaders require more space in your house than front loaders and cannot fit anywhere very easily.


Advantages and Disadvantages of Semi-Automatic Washing Machines

semi automatic washing machine

Semi-automatic washing machines may sound very old school and not so convenient when it comes to usage. But, most people prefer these in India due to several reasons. We have measures the pros and cons of buying a semi-automatic washing machine for you:

What we Like

  • Easy to maintain and no electronic components involved for repairing
  • Separate drums for washing and drying can be used at the same time.
  • Easy to use with knobs
  • Requires less water
  • Affordable

Our concerns

  • Will require supervision
  • Eats more space
  • Manual opening and refilling requires efforts
  • No child lock or pet safety features
  • It takes time to wash clothes


Advantages and Disadvantages of Fully Automatic Washing Machines

Fully Automatic Washing Machine

Now, we have listed the advantages and disadvantages of a fully automatic washing machine. Read on to know:

What we Like

  • Saves a good amount of space and time
  • Easy to operate
  • Requires no supervision
  • Restarts automatically after power failure
  • Auto switch-off option after completing wash
  • Single washer and dryer dries your clothes up to 30%
  • No need to supervise water flow; automatically switches tap after refilling water
  • No manual water draining
  • Child lock option

Our concerns

  • Highly-priced
  • Repair costs are higher
  • Electronic spare parts may not be readily available
  • Consumes excessive electricity
  • Consumes more water than semi-automatic variants
  • Delicate construction


Semi-automatic vs. Fully automatic Washing Machines: which is better?

While we asked several experts and if you ask us, we would definitely vote for fully automatic washing machines. Sure, you will need to pay a higher price, but it is worth the price as it saves time and cleaning efforts.

Semi-automatic variants sure fit your budget and are suitable for small households. Still, fully automatic washing machines are only marginally priced higher than the semi-automatic variants, while it has quite a lot to offer. Fully automatic washing machines also come in two types being front load and top load washing machines. Front-loaders are way better than top load washing machines if budget and water supply are not a problem.


Final Thoughts

Washing machines make life simpler but choosing one can be very tough. With so many variants and brands available these days, getting a washing machine loaded with the desired features can be quite a task.

Luckily, we have listed the significant differences between a semi-automatic and fully automatic washing machine that can make it easier to choose and influence your purchase decision. As mentioned above, there are differences in terms of price, usage convenience, water consumption, and various other factors.

If you are looking for a budget buy and don’t mind taking some extra efforts, semi-automatic is your thing. However, the market is flooded with automatic washing machine variants, and the price difference between the two is also very marginal.

Secondly, we also give you a clear difference between the different types of fully automatic washing machines. As per our research, fully automatic front load washing machines are the best purchase when it comes to choosing a washing machine. Talk about the price; you may have to pay a bit extra for the convenience automatic washing machines offer you.

Read our article above and tell us which is your ideal choice through the comments section below, semi-automatic or fully automatic?

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