Front-loading washing machines are the most eco-friendly, and thankfully, they're becoming easier to find in the average appliance store. They may cost more than top-loading washing machines, but in the long run they will be less expensive in terms of energy use costs and water savings: Front-loading machines may use as much as 38 percent less water and 58 percent less energy.
Still, don't go trading in your perfectly good top-loader just to get a front-loader -- that would be wasteful. When you are in the market for a new washer, you want to be sure to look for the most energy-efficient washing machine to meet your needs. Another priority is that your new washer should carry the Energy Star certification, which means it has been held up to an international standard of energy efficiency. Do research on your upcoming purchase through Consumer Reports magazine or other consumer-based organizations. There are many online resources that can help you determine what size and type of washer is best for you, including the Energy Star database at www.energystar.gov.