Top-loading washers can be rougher on clothes, especially if the machine is overloaded. Front loaders are, generally much gentler with clothes.
Typically, front-loading washing machines are more expensive than the top-loading ones, but justifiably so. They give a more quality clean and tend to be more energy and water efficient than top loaders.
Although the upfront cost of a front loader is generally more, we think over the long run your total expenses will even out as the front load washer has less energy consumption.