A standard top-load washing machine with a center post agitator uses 40 to 45 gallons of water per wash load. Since the average family washes 400 loads of laundry a year, that's a lot of water (16,000 to 18,000 gallons). Switching to a high-efficiency washer will cut that water consumption by half or more, depending on the variety you choose. That's not all. Most of the energy expended washing clothes is used to heat the water. When your washer uses less water, you use less energy, too.
High-efficiency washing machines come in front as well as top-load varieties. If you go with a front loader, you'll probably get the most water savings. If you opt for a top-load, high-efficiency model, you'll still get water savings, and you'll gain up to 20 pounds of extra washing area over an old style top loader. Energy-efficient, top-load washing machines don't have center post agitators. They use a roiling tossing action to get clothes clean.