Pulsator Wash vs Tumble Wash: What is the Difference?

Tumble wash and pulsator wash are two different types of techniques used in washing machines world over to wash clothes.

However, not many people are aware of the differences between the two.

In this post, we will clearly explain the difference and we will discuss different types of pulsators and similar technologies present in modern washing machines as well as pros and cons of turbo wash.

Biggest difference between pulsator wash and turbo wash is that pulsator wash is used in most top load washing machines, while tumble wash is used in all front load washing machines.

Pulsator Wash vs Tumble Wash: Which is better?

Pulsator WashTumble Wash
Present in top loading washing machinesPresent in all front load washing machines
Consumes more waterConsumes 40% less water
Consumes more energyConsumes 50% less energy
Gives decent washGives better wash by mimicking hand wash
Gentle on clothesLesser damage than pulsator wash
Wash by rubbing among clothes and drumUses force of gravity to tumble clothes
Inexpensive as compared to tumble washCostlier option
Clothes can be added anytime into the washing machineDifficult to add clothes mid wash

As you can see, tumble wash is better than pulsator wash in terms of water consumption, energy consumption, wash quality and life of clothes. On the other hand, pulsator wash wins when it comes to affordability and ability to add laundry into the washing machine any time.

What is Pulsator Wash?

Pulsator Wash

Certain washing machines come with a disc-shaped pulsator at the bottom of the drum to wash clothes. Pulsator wash is used in top load washing machines where the wash drum is positioned vertically and rotates on a vertical axis back and forth continuously to loosen the dirt from clothes.

The pulsator is a propeller that rotates back and forth to create water current.

This turbulent water current moves the clothes from outer portion of the drum to inner to the center creating friction between clothes and water resulting in gentle and efficient wash.

This is aided with the help of cones, discs, fins and wheels on the body of pulsator/impeller . All of these rotate together to create current in the water.

Advantages of Pulsator Wash:

  • Biggest benefit of pulsator wash is that it does not damage the fabric of clothes.
  • Since the water current is responsible for cleaning, the end result is an even wash.
  • Pulsator wash system allows most number of clothes to be added because it does not take much space.
  • Loading and unloading of clothes is the easiest in pulsator wash.
  • Shorter drying cycles as compared to other technologies in top load washing machines

Pulsators mostly come in high-end top load washing machines, to ensure lower water consumption than conventional top load washing machines and have high spinning speeds.

Disadvantages of Pulsator Wash:

  • Since the clothes are pushed towards the center, the clothes can sometimes get tangled together. This may result in disbalance of the machine.
  • Gentle wash action results in higher duration to clean clothes.
  • Since the clothes get cleaned by rubbing against each other, it is not the most effective when it comes to removing hard stains.

Pulsator Wash Systems by Washing Machine Brands

Wobble Pulsator

This pulsator is present in high-end Samsung top load washing machine. Wobble pulsator comes with 2 large rollers that create friction which cleans clothes without tangling clothes. Plus it has a wave-like structure to create upper and lower flow in water. This causes what Samsung calls 3D Dynamic Wash.

One big benefit of this technology is that it reduces the tangling of clothes.

Center Jet Pulsator

Samsung washing machines with center jet pulsator do not have rollers like wobble pulsators. This is a basic type of pulsator without wheels or rollers or discs. Hence most center jet pulsator washing machines are slightly lower priced than wobble technology.

STS Pulsator

STS pulsators are other types of pulsators present in Samsung washing machines. What’s special about this pulsator is that it is made of stainless steel. However, in terms of design it is basic with 6 blades. One benefit of stainless steel pulsator is that it is more hygienic as compared to plastic pulsators like most other pulsators in the market.

Roller Jet Pulsator

Semi automatic LG washing machines come with Roller Jet Pulsator. This pulsator comes with multiple rollers and discs that rotate together to rub and scrub clothes and creating friction to remove dust and mites, to deliver a decent wash.

Most fully automatic top load LG machines have normal pulsator with blades only.

What is Tumble Wash?

Tumble wash is used in all front load washing machines where the washing drum is positioned horizontally that rotates on a horizontal axis. Hence, in a tumble wash system, the clothes fall down from a small height slowly while the drum is rotating. This causes the clothes to tumble continuously in the drum. During a tumble wash, more concentration of detergent enters into the laundry. This washing process takes more time because the tumbling/spinning is slow.

Tumbling of clothes results in more effective washing because it closely resembles washing by hands. The continuous dropping of clothes from small height create the most efficient wash experience as the dirt loosens quickly and more effectively.

On top of this, it can wash with much less water as compared to any other type of wash.

Advantages of Tumble Wash

  • Biggest benefit of tumble wash is that it gives effective wash by closely mimicking hand wash.
  • Tumble wash uses very less water as compared to any other type of wash.
  • Clothes that are tumble washed witness less wrinkles because this was process is gentle on clothes.
  • Tumble wash also consumes low power as compared to any other type of wash.

Disadvantages of Tumble Wash

  • It has longer wash cycle because for tumble wash to be effective, the spin speed of the drum should be quite slow.
  • Tumble wash comes only in front load washing machines, which means that you will have to spend more money to tumble wash your clothes.


Impeller vs Pulsator- What is the difference?

Pulsator and impeller are very similar technologies and the terms are used interchangeably by most washing machine brands.

Pulsator vs Agitator: Which one is better?

Pulsator is better than agitator because it is more gentle and gives more space for laundry. However, these washing machines might be more costly compared to agitators. (Pulsator and agitator are present only in top load washing machines).

STS Pulsator vs Wobble Pulsator- What is the difference?

Main difference between the two is that while wobble pulsator is made up of plastic, STS pulsator is built with stainless steel. Steel pulsator is considered more hygienic and is more durable.

Center Jet Pulsator vs Wobble Pulsator- What is the difference?

Wobble pulsator comes with 2 rollers and blades, while center jet pulsator only comes with blades, hence, it is a basic pulsator. Hence, wobble pulsators are considered better than center jet pulsators.

Pulsator Wash vs 3 Smart Motion- What is the difference?

3 smart motion is a technology developed by LG wherein the pulsator rotates in 3 different motions with varying speeds for a thorough wash. Pulsator wash is any wash that is done with the help of a pulsator. Hence, 3 smart motion is a type of pulsator wash.

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