Normally I don't pay much attention to television adverts. But recently I had to go through the process of buying a new washing machine, so it was with interest that I noticed Fisher&Paykel; promoting their Aquasmart machine. The first top loader sold in Australia to qualify for a 4 Star water rating. Impressive, but the energy rating still needs work. Jogged the memory though. "Haven't I seen a hybrid top loader before?" Of course I had. It was the Staber, launched onto the US market a full dozen or so years ago. Inside this normal looking top loader is a hexagonal-like stainless steel drum that opens to the top. Staber reckon their 'Made in America' machines will provide a return of around $300 each year for the rest of their life. Although about twice the price of a standard top loader, they calculate that considering water, energy and detergent saved over just three years of use, you are pretty much making money with their designs. They figure this based on saving a third of the water, a quarter of the energy to heat water, at least a quarter of the washing detergent and a third of the drying time (due to their efficient spins cycle). The company even have some sound reasons why their design outperforms a front loader. Interestingly, for folk on wind and solar power, Staber also claim to have 'the most energy efficient washer available and the best choice for consumers living "off-grid,"' as a result of only needing 110—150 watt-hours of electricity per wash load. Not being in the US, I ultimately made a different choice, but would welcome comments below from anyone with experience (good or bad) on the effectiveness of the Staber design. ::Staber Washing Machines.