washing machine agitator

What Is an Agitator in a Washing Machine?

Agitators are not new in washing machines. However, they are fairly rare in the UK.

Why? Well, let’s find out what an agitator is and then look a bit deeper into the subject, shall we?


What Is an Agitator?

agitator on washing machine

Agitators are found in the drum of the washing machine. They are a tall spindle usually made from plastic that has fins or vanes on it.

As the clothes go around the drum, the agitator moves back and forth and rubs against the clothes helping to remove and break down the dirt on the clothes.

Most commonly, agitators are found in top-loading washing machines, as they don’t have fins attached to the drum on the outside.

If your washing machine drum does have fins attached to the drum, then the entire drum is basically one big agitator.


Is It Better to Have a Washing Machine with an Agitator?

agitator in the washing machine

An agitator can certainly help to break down the soil on clothes if the drum doesn’t have fins on the outside.

However, agitators can also twist your clothes and trap them as they move around the machine. This can make the washing machine unbalanced, so during the spin cycle, it can sound like a herd of elephants are in your kitchen. Plus, it can lead to more ironing.

If your washing machine already has fins on the outside of the drum, then an agitator isn’t really needed.

The fins replace the agitator and do the same job. They move the clothes back and forth and help to remove dirt.

In fact, fins on the outside of the drum are more efficient at this task than an agitator and don’t require additional power to do the job.

So, as most washing machines in the UK have fins on the outside of the drum, an agitator isn’t needed. It isn’t going to provide any additional cleaning power. All it will do is lessen the space you have for clothes in the washing machine.


Are Agitators Being Phased Out of Washing Machines?

agitator washing machines out of stock

The most common type of washing machine found in the UK is the front-loading model, which you can buy as a freestanding or integrated type.

Front-loading washing machines have come with agitators in the past, but they are quite rare. In fact, we could only find a few front-loading agitator machines, but they were out of stock at the time of writing.

There are top-loading washing machines available in the UK, and some of these models do likely come with agitators included.

However, the fins on the outside of the machine do the job just as well as a central agitator, and so they are a piece of washing machine technology that isn’t really needed any more, and as a result, are being phased out, at least in the UK.

While agitators in washing machines may sound like a very promising idea to get cleaner clothes, they don’t really offer much when compared to modern washing machines.

If your washing machine has an agitator right now, and you are looking to replace it, a modern washing machine will still be able to get your clothes just as clean without one.

We hope this look at agitators in washing machines has been helpful. For more information about washing machines and the technology inside them, please explore In The Wash further.

We also have a guide to the best washing machines available in the UK right now too.