Agitator vs Impeller Washing Machine | Which is better option?

Agitator and impeller are found on top-loading fully automatic washing machines. They are helpful components as they help to clean your dirty clothes with a high level of efficiency. However, the question is which of the two is the better option.

We shall now compare both these functions and help you decide which is the better option for you.


Agitator washer
Agitator washer

An agitator is a spindle-like attachment fixed to the center of your wash drum that twists back and forth, rubbing against your clothes to remove the toughest stains. Agitators come with vaned or finned patterns.

Spraying Action: Soaks garments in water that has been recirculated from the wash and rinse cycle.

Wash Basket Action: Rotates for a powerful clean.


Impeller washer
Impeller washer

On the other hand, impeller or Pulsator are cones, wheels or discs placed at the bottom of the washtub that spin to rub the clothes against each other gently to remove stains.

Spraying Action: Soaks garments in recirculated water from the wash/rinse cycle.

Wash Basket Action: Rotates for thorough cleaning.

The Similarities

The similarities between agitators and impellers are as follows.

The Differences

Apart from the shapes, they differ in the way they function. For example, the agitator rubs against your clothes to remove dirt, whereas the impeller rubs clothes against each other to eliminate dirt.

Rubs against clothesRubs clothes against each other
Agitates the clothes, hence the name agitatorsIs gentle on your clothes
Ideal for removing stubborn dirtNot as efficient when dealing with highly soiled clothes
Uses more waterUses less water to reduce friction between clothes
Clothes can get entangled at timesGenerally, clothes do not get entangled
The improved technology available today ensures not to damage clothesImpellers do not damage clothes anyway.
Not the best attachment to use when washing delicate and expensive clothes like silk sareesEfficient when dealing with expensive clothing
Shorter washing timesMore extended washing times, but clothes dry quicker
Agitator occupies more space in the machine.The impeller does not occupy much space. Hence, a washing machine with the same capacity can wash more clothes.

Let us look at the pros and cons of agitators and impellers

Agitator – Pros

  • The agitators are efficient at removing stubborn dirt from clothes like sportswear, socks, and other soiled clothes.
  • The agitating motion rubs the spindle against the clothes to loosen the dirt and remove it.
  • The agitator-equipped washing machines have faster washing cycles.
  • Efficient agitator models are available to cater to all kinds of clothes without damaging them.
colthes in agitator washer
Agitator Washing Machine

Agitator – Cons

  • Agitators consume more space inside the machine. Hence, it can be challenging to wash heavy clothes like bed sheets and blankets.
  • Agitator-equipped washing machines consume more water than their impeller-equipped counterparts.

Impeller – Pros

  • Impeller or Pulsator preserve your fabrics as they use a smooth action to rub the clothes against each other to remove dirt.
  • The impeller do not occupy much space. Hence, you can comfortably wash blankets and bedsheets in such machines.
  • Impeller-equipped washing machines use less water than agitator-equipped machines.
Diamond Drum Impeller Washer with No Agitator
Samsung’s Diamond Drum Impeller Washer with No Agitator

Impeller – Cons

  • As impellers use gentle washing motions, they are not ideally suited for washing heavily soiled clothes.

Related: Front Load vs Top Load Washing Machine

Agitator vs Impeller – Which is the better option?

If your laundry consists of heavily soiled clothes, you should choose a washing machine with an agitator. On the contrary, if your demands are not heavy, the impeller should be the right choice.

Anyway, both impeller and agitator are equally valuable and competent for washing your clothes. The primary difference is in the way they operate.

Almost all washing machine manufacturers offer top-loading washing machines with either an impeller or agitator. Depending on your preferences, you can choose the machine you want.

Related: Inverter vs Non-Inverter Washing Machine

Geetha Srinivasan
Geetha Srinivasan
Geetha Srinivasan, a retired homemaker, holds a Bachelor's degree in Food Science and Technology From Anna University. She is a culinary and kitchen appliance expert with an impressive 30 years of experience in testing kitchen appliances like Mixer Grinders, Juicers, Food Processors, Air Fryers, and Ovens, Beyond appliances, she excels in kitchen organization, cleaning, and cooking, delighting family and friends with her culinary skills. At 55, her passion for all things culinary burns bright.


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