I hear this question all the time, usually someone is disappointed that their newer front or top load washer is beyond economical repair, let me say they really do not build then like they used to.
The older style direct drive top washers were phased out around 2010, apparently these bullet proof machines were not longer up to EPA guidelines, there was a final attempt to try to make the top load direct drives compliant by adjusting waters levels on the rinse cycle but they were still phased out, the direct drive top load washer rarely needed repair or service and had a typical 15 – 20 year lifespan, compare that to the new Vertical modular top load washer which seems to have a 3-5 year life span, the comparison is for every direct drive built you would need at least 3 of the newer machines, i wonder how that is better for our environment.
The simple answer to the question is (the best machine is the one with the longest warranty), most residential washers or dryers seem to have 5 years of use, past that the repairs are often just not viable as the major parts for these machines often cost hundreds of dollars.
To try and give an insight in to direct drive top load washer i will list the faults and our expected repair costs. most common fault is washer not draining or spinning, usually a lid switch,motor capacitor,motor coupler or sometimes a sock in the pump, these are all simple repairs and we charge just $149 out the door
Another common direct drive fault is, washer not spinning, this is often the clutch, we replace clutches for $149,00
Very often the top part of the direct drive washer agitator wont move, this is the agitator dogs, again a $149 repair
These are the most common direct drive washer issues, all these are considered everyday repairs and should be inexpensive with parts on the truck for same day repair.
Direct drive top load washer were built by The Whirlpool Corporation however they carry many brand names, Whirlpool, Maytag,Estate,Roper,Inglis, Crosley,Admiral, Amana and of course Kenmore top load washers as well.
If you can find a clean direct drive top load washer in good condition then buy it.