What is Tumble Wash? Which is the Best Wash System?

October 30, 2021 / RefrigeratorPro Team

Washing machine brands keep coming up with new innovations to help customers in different ways.

Tumble wash and pulsator wash system are two such technologies.

Tumble wash pulsator wash

In this post, we will explain the meaning of tumble wash and pulsator wash, their pros and cons as well as a mini guide to help you choose best one for your home.

In a simple words, tumble wash and pulsator wash are defined here:

Tumble wash and pulsator wash are two most preferred wash systems in washing machines. While front load washing machines come with tumble wash, most preferred mode of wash on top load washing machines is pulsator wash system.

Table of Contents

What is the Meaning of Tumble?

As per oxford dictionary, tumble means to “to fall downwards, often hitting the ground several times…”

I simple words, it means to fall in a rolling manner.

What is Tumble Wash in Washing Machine?

Washing machines can either have horizontally rotating drum or vertically rotating drum depending upon the type of washing machine. Front load washing machine comes with vertically rotating drum.

In tumble wash, the clothes topple over or fall from a small height while the drum is rotating. To achieve such a motion, the motor of the washing machine rotates at a lower speed. As you can imagine, this can be achieved only when the drum is vertically rotating like in front load washing machines.

Hence, every front load washing machine comes with tumble wash mechanism.

Some front loaders also come with separate tumble wash mode. This mode rotates the drum in one single direction as constant low speed. This action achieves the classic tumble motion that drops the clothes from a small higher on the drum surface or other clothes. Needless to say, this is the most common wash setting in a front load washing machine.

Also, even if there is no dedicated ‘tumble wash’ mode in your front loaders, it does not mean that the clothes are not being washed in tumbling motion. Hence all front loaders ‘tumble wash’ clothes.

Also, it is worth noting that most of the clothing brand mentions in their tags that which type of wash method would be ideal for their clothes.

Hence, if your clothing brand requires you to use tumble wash mode, you must follow such instructions.

Benefits of Tumble Wash

Tumble wash comes with a number of benefits. One of the major reasons why front load machines are so popular is because they offer the benefits of tumble wash.

  • Effective Stain Removal: Since tumble wash closely mimics the actual hand washing, it is one of the best methods to wash clothes. This is because process removes clothes by rubbing clothes against each other with the help of gravity, which is quite effective. This also means, with this method, there is no need to pre-treat your laundry in most of the cases.
  • Excellent for Delicate Fabric: Tumble wash is the very good for long life of your fabric especially if it’s delicate fabric. This is one of the reasons why you see so many wash modes in front load washing machines as compared to top load machines.
  • Low Noise Operation: Tumble wash is one of the most silent methods to wash clothes. This is because there it does not work by moving water and clothes together like in top loaders. Hence, only noise it produces is from the motor.
  • No / Minimal Tangling of Clothes: Clothes don’t get entangled during tumble wash and move loosely by toppling around each other.
  • Low Water Consumption: Water consumption during tumble wash is minimal. This because this process relies on washing clothes with its tumbling motion rather than by passing water current through water like in top load washing machines.
  • Less Wrinkling: Since clothes do not get lot of wrinkles, they are easier and faster to iron as well.
  • Low Power Consumption: Tumble wash process consumes less water as compared to top load washing machines. In fact, many tumble wash cycles use only 50% energy as compared to wash modes in top load washing machines. Hence it is very eco-friendly.

Drawbacks of Tumble Wash

  • Longer Wash Cycle: This wash process takes more time, as the clothes continue to spin and tumble slowly. Hence, the overall time consumed during the tumble wash is relatively higher.
  • Costlier Option: Tumble wash comes in front loaders, which are costlier than top loaders. On top of this, they are also costlier to repair and maintain.

Who Should Consider Buying Washing Machine with Tumble Wash?

Whether you want to go for tumble wash or not depends on whether you want to purchase front load washing machine. This is because top loaders do not come with tumble wash.

Some washing machines do come with a dedicated ‘tumble wash’ mode, which essentially rotates the drum constantly at low speed to create tumbling effect. There is nothing new in this type of motion as all front load washing machines have this setting even if it is not listed out separately!

To give you a short answer, the only major drawback of tumble wash is its higher cost of purchase and maintenance. If you are ready to spend more on your washing machine, then you should definitely consider washing machine with tumble wash motion. On the other hand, if you do not want to spend more, then an automatic top load washing machine or a semi-automatic washing machine will be right for you.

What is Pulsator Wash?

Pulsator is the disc attached to the bottom of the vertical drum in most top load washing machines.

Pulsator wash works by washing clothes in 2 different ways:

  • Rubbing against each other: The clothes get scrubbed against each other to produce friction to loosen dirt.
  • Rubbing against the drum: Rotating motion of the drum creates friction between the drum and clothes.

These 2 motions are also present in tumble wash but the tumble wash has a third motion- tumbling motion. This motion is closest to hand washing.

These are most commonly used wash systems in top load washing machine.

Benefits of Pulsator Wash

  • Gentle on Clothes: Pulsator wash systems are gentle on the clothes.
  • More Room: Washing machines with pulsator wash system have more room in the drum when compared to other systems of washing in top load washing machine.
  • Easy Loading & Unloading: Vertical drum means that loading and unloading of laundry is easier than in tumble wash system.

Drawbacks of Pulsator Wash

  • Difficult to Remove Hard Stains: Since pulsator wash system is gentle on clothes, it can cometimes be difficult to wash hard stains.
  • Uses More Water: Pulsator wash systems use more water than tumble wash systems.

Who Should Consider Buying Pulsator Wash System?

If you are planning to buy a top load washing machine, then you have two options- pulsator wash system and agitator wash system

Out of these, pulsator wash system is the most common and the most preferred option.

Hence, if you are planning to buy a top load washing machine, then pulsator wash systems is ideal for you.


Tumble wash allows you to wash the heavy dirt from your laundry without damaging the fabric. Also, there are plenty of more benefits of tumble wash, hence you can consider a washing machine that comes with tumble wash mode.


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