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View Full Version : Help me choose a new washing machine.


Lancia
03-17-2013, 08:10 PM
Our ancient Whirlpool washer is on its last legs, and we have made the decision to get a new washing machine rather than fix the old one. We bought this one from a landlord 10 or 11 years ago, and it was old and rusted then.

My wife wants a front-loader. I've looked through several websites as well as old threads here, and am sorta on the fence about these: some who have them love them while others hate them. Mold and mildew plus poor cleaning are common complaints. No point in buying a machine that suffers from either. Long wash times (as long as it doesn't take hours) and noise I can handle.

So I'm looking for reccomendations. We will probably be getting a new dryer (electric) as well since the old one is just as old as the washer, makes a ton of noise and does a pretty poor job of drying.

So advice, stories and anecdotes welcome. For what it's worth, we only have Lowe's and Home Depot here, no Sears or Best Buy etc. I don't want a lot of bells and whistles, but I do want a large capacity drum.

If you have a front-loader, do you like it? No? What make and models are good and which should be avoided? (And yes, I'll be looking at CR, but as always I like Doper' opinions.)

Probably looking at $500 - $700 for each.

Roderick Femm
03-17-2013, 08:38 PM
One small point: you can buy a High Efficiency washer that is a top-loader, rather than a front-loader. The main appeal of HE washers, I think, is that they save a lot of water. I don't know if the top-loaders suffer from any or all of the same problems as the front loaders.

Our old washer is still ok, but I've also been thinking about a new washer at least. My main concern is that it should be as reliable as the old one. It is my impression with almost everything that has bells and whistles is that every single one of them is something additional that can go wrong. Mostly I don't need those extras, what I need is something that lasts with an absolute minimum of fuss.

I wouldn't mind having a dryer with a steam setting, though.


Roddy

kathmandu
03-17-2013, 10:11 PM
I've had a front loader and I currently have a HE top loader. I much prefer the top loader. It has a larger capacity and doesn't get the mildewed smell that plagued my front loader. It uses very little water and cleans well.

InsomniaMama
03-17-2013, 10:13 PM
I've had my front loader for about 12 years now. Works great, takes huge loads. My husband had to put a switch in for the outlet, though, as there was no way to turn the thing off and leave the door open. Don't know what sort of brainiac designed that.

Otherwise, it's fab!

DrDeth
03-17-2013, 10:14 PM
I have to come in and make one other suggestion. there is likely some place in town where they rebuild old washers, often connected to a Non-profit. But a "new-used' on there, the price is very right.

And, I like top loaders.

Ruby
03-17-2013, 10:25 PM
I prefer the top loaders too. Front loaders are trendy but they smell bad and are an awkward height. We use the top of the washer and dryer to fold the laundry. If you set the front loader on the floor, the height is right for folding but not very convenient for dragging out the wet laundry for the dryer. If you put it on the pedestal, you've lost the top surface completely.

That being said, we just purchased a top loader a few months ago. Our salesman told us that the average life expectancy is about 7 years now no matter if you purchase the $1200 bells and whistles model or a $400 basic one. We opted for a low end one because we actually use only one or two settings anyway. It just makes more financial sense.

stui magpie
03-17-2013, 10:25 PM
I've got the top loader and wouldn't change to a front loader. I like being able to throw in that extra sock after the load has already started.;)

I can't remember the brand but the latest one I got has a drum but no agitator in the middle, all electronic working just chuck stuff in, add soap powder and pres "Start". It supposedly figures out how full the machine is and adjusts the amount of water and cycle time accordingly.

Very handy with young adult kids, the refresher training for the son on how to use it so he could wash his own clothes took 10 seconds.:D

Little Nemo
03-17-2013, 10:26 PM
I like front loaders. It's a lot easier to get clothes out of them.

tellyworth
03-17-2013, 10:49 PM
I've had a front loader for years. Never had any problems with mould or smells - maybe that's a climate thing. They never go off balance, use less water and are gentler on clothes.

Hampshire
03-17-2013, 10:59 PM
I've got a top loader HE Whirlpool Cabrio. The inside is massive and doesn't have the typical center agitator but rather a small stump of one on the bottom of the tub. Stainless steel drum. Probably close to 10 years old now. I think I've only ran it's cleaning cycle once since owning it (dump bleach in and set to clean).
The only drawback is that it's really deep and might be hard to remove all the clothes if you're short.
If it died tomorrow I'd get the same thing.

Marconi N. Cheese
03-17-2013, 11:28 PM
We got a Speed Queen top loader a couple of months ago. Three year warranty and made in the USA. It's low tech & that's exactly what I was looking for. You'll see a lot of Speed Queens in laundry mats & other commercial operations. Now I just need to remember to keep plenty of quarters on hand. ;)

Forgot to add: Not sold by Big Box Stores. Is there a local appliance store in your town? That's who sells them.

Enkel
03-17-2013, 11:45 PM
Check with your state and electric company. Some Ohio program right now will give you either $25 or $50 ea for replacing with EnergyStar appliances. In Ohio it is through the electric company. (Google EnergyStar appliances rebate and your state.)

Also, you can buy from just about everyone because they ship to your home. Some ship for free, others don't. BUT, when I was looking, I'd find what I wanted online, then go to the local Home Depot, etc and there they had next to nothing. SO, make sure you do check online because my local stores carried about 6 models (mostly the expensive ones and none of the ones I'd wanted to see) and the online store had like 30 models.

Personally, I like top load because I keep adding stuff in as the machine is filling up.

Lancia
03-18-2013, 12:49 AM
When did these things get so damn expensive?!

We just got back from Lowe's and HD, the cheapest machine - a tiny old-fashioned top loader with a proper agitator - was $500. My wife has her heart set on a 3.6cu.ft. LG machine. Amazon reviews are mixed. I want to go back when we don't have the kids underfoot, make notes, and do some more research.

We have one independent appliance store in town, but they've started expanding into the mattress biz, and from what I hear their appliance inventory has taken a dive, and they mostly sell parts now. I will be checking it out though. [side rant: this is like the 7th or 8th mattress store in a town of 20, 000 people. How can such a small town support that many mattress stores? How can there be that much demand?? We actually have fewer used car lots!]

For those of you that don't like front-loaders, why? What bad experience turned you off of owning them?

chappachula
03-18-2013, 02:00 AM
just a general bit of advice : don't buy anything for daily use at home that looks like a jet fighter cockpit. Life shouldn't be so complicated.

How many of those whistles and bells do you actually need?

markdash
03-18-2013, 02:58 AM
My wife and I bought an LG 4.0 cubic foot front-loader 3 years ago. The exact model is WM2016CW. Bought it for about $700, IIRC.

Haven't had any problems with it whatsoever; clothes get very clean, although the cycle does tend to run a bit longer than I'm used to (90 mins or so). No problems with mildew; could be due in part to the climate here in Northern California, and partly because we keep the door open which is supposed to help with that particular problem.

asterion
03-18-2013, 07:14 AM
I have a relatively basic GE toploader, model WWSE5240G1WW, but I don't think they make them anymore. Something like four sizes, four water temperatures, and four types of washing with further subdivision in each type. Generally happy with it while doing two or three loads a week.

Consumer Reports' Best Buys in the front-loading design are LG WM2650H[W]A, LG WM2655H[V]A, LG WM2250C[W], and Electrolux-IQ Touch EIFLW50L[IW]. The top-loaders are Samsung WA422PRHD[WR], LG WT4801C[W], Samsung WA5451AN[W], Maytag Bravos XL MVWB750Y[W], Samsung WA400PJHD[WR], Samsung WA456DRHD[WR], Kenmore 2600, Kenmore 2800[2], Whirlpool Cabrio WTW5600X[W], Whirlpool Cabrio WTW5640X[ ] (Lowe's), and Whirlpool Cabrio WTW5700X[W]. These are all quite expensive, with the cheapest models being $700.

Lancia
03-18-2013, 09:53 AM
My wife and I bought an LG 4.0 cubic foot front-loader 3 years ago. The exact model is WM2016CW. Bought it for about $700, IIRC.

Haven't had any problems with it whatsoever; clothes get very clean, although the cycle does tend to run a bit longer than I'm used to (90 mins or so). No problems with mildew; could be due in part to the climate here in Northern California, and partly because we keep the door open which is supposed to help with that particular problem.

Cool. I'm in southern Oregon, so if climate is an issue then perhaps I'll get lucky.

I have a relatively basic GE toploader, model WWSE5240G1WW, but I don't think they make them anymore. Something like four sizes, four water temperatures, and four types of washing with further subdivision in each type. Generally happy with it while doing two or three loads a week.

Consumer Reports' Best Buys in the front-loading design are LG WM2650H[W]A, LG WM2655H[V]A, LG WM2250C[W], and Electrolux-IQ Touch EIFLW50L[IW]. The top-loaders are Samsung WA422PRHD[WR], LG WT4801C[W], Samsung WA5451AN[W], Maytag Bravos XL MVWB750Y[W], Samsung WA400PJHD[WR], Samsung WA456DRHD[WR], Kenmore 2600, Kenmore 2800[2], Whirlpool Cabrio WTW5600X[W], Whirlpool Cabrio WTW5640X[ ] (Lowe's), and Whirlpool Cabrio WTW5700X[W]. These are all quite expensive, with the cheapest models being $700.

Many thanks for this. The LG WM2250CW was in stock at both stores, for $799 at each place. I'll have to give this some thought.

We do a lot of laundry, 8 or 10 loads a week, sometimes more. So I'm willing to spend a bit extra if it means getting a functionally larger capacity machine.

Chefguy
03-18-2013, 10:01 AM
We bought an Amana 3.5 cu ft front loader three years ago. No smells, no problems, and was highly rated at the time. Model: NFW7200TW. Plus it's stackable, which was what we were looking for.

Maus Magill
03-18-2013, 10:29 AM
I have a front loader - I wish we had a top loader Among the issues:
After you've started the wash, if you have One More Thing (a common occurrence with three boys), you either have to wait until you have another load, or end up with water on the floor.
Mildew on the seal. We leave the door open and remove the detergent tray after each use, but there is still a mildew problem on the seal. That thing is a major pain to clean.
The spin cycle. We have a second floor laundry room, and each spin cycle shakes the house like you would not believe. I have made sure the machine is balanced, and put a mat under is, yet the shaking the machine causes is unbelievable.
Wash times. I've never before had a washing machine that finishes after the dryer.

In all, the additional folding area is not worth it.

miss elizabeth
03-18-2013, 10:39 AM
I have a front loader and I love it. I live in Mississippi (humid as shit, mold central), and I've never had any smell or mildew problems, but I was aware it was an issue and have always taken preventative care. I clean the seal with disinfecting wipes about once a week or so, and I wash my machine with Tide washing machine cleaner once a month.

Putting in one more thing isn't an issue for me either. I have a Pause button on my machine, and it halts the cycle and drains the water so I can put another item in if needs be. It takes a few seconds, but I've used it and it's not a hassle.

Anyway, my washer is GE Profile (I also have the matching dryer and I'm very happy with it as well) and I love it. My clothes are cleaner and don't get worn out as fast. I think it's lovely.

Gatopescado
03-18-2013, 02:39 PM
We've got a fancy front-loader and I don't especially care for it. Aside from all the other complaints up-thread about them, I'll add that it seems to wad the clothes into tight little knots and makes it near impossible to pull them out without dropping half of the newly clean laundry onto the floor. Its a pain in the ass that I never knew existed when we had a top-loader.

And a second on the Earth-shaking spin cycle.

miss elizabeth
03-18-2013, 02:47 PM
I wonder if I just got lucky or what? I don't have any of these problems with my front loader. In fact, i find it tangles up my clothes far, far less than my old top loader did.

YMMV indeed!

PunditLisa
03-18-2013, 02:55 PM
I got a front loader HE. While I love its capacity and water savings, there are some downsides. The mold issue has already been named. I've also noticed that I can't leave clothes in the washer overnight anymore without them smelling musty by morning.

Also, since it uses so much less water, dog hair doesn't wash away like it used to with my top loader. That's been a major bummer.

I've had to learn how to tweak the settings, too. For instance, I almost always use the pre-rinse and extra rinse features when I'm doing underwear or sportswear. I want those suckers clean! I use the sterilize feature on my bedding to get rid of dust mites for my asthmatic husband.

lieu
03-18-2013, 03:00 PM
I wouldn't mind having a dryer with a steam setting, though.I'll take Counter Intuitive Options for 500 please.

Claverhouse
03-18-2013, 04:04 PM
Miele make the best washing machines, but few can afford them...

It's a British site, so will have no information on machines in the USA, but WasherHelp explains a lot about washing machines, particularly on how in Europe at least, due to Marx's Iron Law of Concentration, most of the makes are owned by a few companies who then stick a different badge on essentially the same machines.

http://washerhelp.co.uk/

ralph124c
03-18-2013, 04:22 PM
Do NOT buy a low end Maytag-we just got rid of ours (3 repairs in 3 months, once warranty expired).:mad:

jasg
03-18-2013, 04:37 PM
Do NOT buy a low end Maytag-we just got rid of ours (3 repairs in 3 months, once warranty expired).:mad:I will never buy another Maytag (or any other Whirlpool brand) again. First pair lasted 20 years, second less than 6 - and after selling me on repair insurance plan, they cancelled it and refused to repair it. Finally after 2 weeks with no laundry, they agreed to refund the insurance.

Very happy with new LG.

wombattver
03-18-2013, 06:23 PM
I have a front loader - I wish we had a top loader Among the issues:
After you've started the wash, if you have One More Thing (a common occurrence with three boys), you either have to wait until you have another load, or end up with water on the floor.
Mildew on the seal. We leave the door open and remove the detergent tray after each use, but there is still a mildew problem on the seal. That thing is a major pain to clean.
The spin cycle. We have a second floor laundry room, and each spin cycle shakes the house like you would not believe. I have made sure the machine is balanced, and put a mat under is, yet the shaking the machine causes is unbelievable.
Wash times. I've never before had a washing machine that finishes after the dryer.

In all, the additional folding area is not worth it.

This is everything I hate about my front loader but I have to add it tangles the clothes up something fierce - to the point that things have ripped being pulled out of the wash. I have to fold and flatten all jeans before they go into the dryer or they will dry with the legs still twisted. Mine hasn't had a mildew smell - we live in AZ - but mold accumulates around the seal and is impossible to remove. It's also not an option to leave the door open because we have to walk past it to get in and out from the garage and there's not much room. I wouldn't buy a front loader again.

miss elizabeth
03-18-2013, 06:32 PM
I'll take Counter Intuitive Options for 500 please.

It's actually really awesome for getting out wrinkles. HOWEVER this reminded me- my dryer has this feature and it doesn't work for shit. It just makes my shirt a soggy lump that never dries. So I still use my old method of tossing said wrinkly item in with a damp (clean) rag.

It's not a huge deal, but it was part of the reason I bought the dryer, and it doesn't work.

asterion
03-18-2013, 06:39 PM
Many thanks for this. The LG WM2250CW was in stock at both stores, for $799 at each place. I'll have to give this some thought.

We do a lot of laundry, 8 or 10 loads a week, sometimes more. So I'm willing to spend a bit extra if it means getting a functionally larger capacity machine.
Glad it was useful. The cheapest you can go appears to be toploaders from Kenmore, Whirlpool, Samsung, and LG all at $700 (store costs are probably higher), with the LG WT4801C[W] being the highest rated (then Samsung, Kenmore, and Whirlpool). What's funny with washers is that, no matter the brand or model, people either love or hate what they bought and the averaged score winds up around 3/5. So I'm not sure you can do better than just looking at the inventory at the store and picking one you want.

jz78817
03-18-2013, 07:05 PM
you can take my Whirlpool top loader away from me, but I'll cause you mortal wounds in the process.

kiz
03-18-2013, 07:43 PM
We inherited my mother's circa 1970s Kenmore washer. I don't remember her ever having any issues with it. We haven't had any issues with it either. The damn thing is tank. It's probably going to still going strong long after we're gone.

suranyi
03-18-2013, 08:19 PM
We have a fairly new top loader HE model from Samsung, very nice. As others have said, the top loader HE washers don't have that old agitator in the middle, they use a completely different washing mechanism that also allows for much bigger loads.

Lancia
03-18-2013, 10:13 PM
What's funny with washers is that, no matter the brand or model, people either love or hate what they bought and the averaged score winds up around 3/5. So I'm not sure you can do better than just looking at the inventory at the store and picking one you want.

This is good advice. I see so much love / hate for the things that I'm pretty much ready to throw my hands up and choose the biggest one with the best warranty. I'm planning on parking a small desk fan front of the machine to help dry out the drum when not in use, and get a extra loud kitchen alarm to remind us to pull out the wash - leaving the clothes in overnight is something we accidentally do on occasion.

deltasigma
03-18-2013, 11:02 PM
Just out of curiosity, aren't front loaders better for fluffy things like pillows and quilts that tend to get lumpy when you do them in a top loader?

Also, can't you get front loader type machines, IOW ones that have an sideways mounted drum, that you load from the top and not the front? I think the drum has a door that slides open to access the interior.

Personally, my next machine will be a top loader (vertical drum) with no central spindle/agitator or one that is unobtrusive so that I can easily handle bulky objects.

cougar58
03-19-2013, 01:12 AM
on front loaders, be sure to clean and drain the filter. On LG front loaders, its the 6 inch by 3 inch door, front of machine, near floor on far left. Open door, place rubber tube into an old plastic 2 liter Coke bottle. Drain it into bottle (water will stink!). AFTER draining, unscrew (1/2 turn to left is all it take) the plastic filter drum next to tube you just drained. Do this only after draining, or you will have 2 pints of stink water on floor. Pull pet hair. etc off of the filter (it is a cylindrical drum shape) and then replace it and turn 1/2 turn to right to tighten it to seal.

the other important tip: Ask if your front loader has a direct drive drum. This means, is the AC motor mounted directly onto the back of the drum, on its same center line. If not, it is offset, and now you have a "transmission" with moving parts - the top service item years later.

Also, note that for $100 more, some offer a dry clean option, like LG.

One other bonus: yes, long wash cycles. But very, very, very high RPM on final dry spin. So less time in Dryer = less energy used = lower elec bill.

if possible, do not put Front loaders on wood floors - the high speed rpm, on a slightly out of balance cycle, will cause it to walk an inch or two each time. Wood floors flex, unless really well made house. Not a huge issue - just slide it back into position after each use. Best in concrete basement or house with no basement on concrete slab.

cougar58
03-19-2013, 01:15 AM
this will give you a better appreciation of the very very high speed rpm of front loaders

DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME

http://youtube.com/watch?v=iXEa034GqFM

lieu
03-22-2013, 02:30 PM
Bwhaaahaaa... warn a guy before making him laugh at work, would ya?

SalGal
03-22-2013, 04:05 PM
Right before Christmas (always has to happen then, right?) our old washer died. We ended up getting a HE top loader, and as many have said, it has multiple plusses: less water, quieter, less soap (a LOT less soap). The only thing I don't like about it is the twisted clothes (again, mentioned by others). There is some diligence involved in shaking the clothes out completely before tossing them in the dryer. It does take a lot less drying time though.

ralph124c
03-22-2013, 05:15 PM
How come we are not using ultrasonic washing machines now? Like those 1950's Mechanix Illustrated articles said?

Claverhouse
03-22-2013, 05:35 PM
How come we are not using ultrasonic washing machines now? Like those 1950's Mechanix Illustrated articles said?

Not quite Ultrasonic so far, but the Xeros (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xeros_Washing_Machine) uses nylon beads to achieve 90% less water usage.


The beads then withdraw back into the bowels of the machine.

jz78817
03-22-2013, 06:01 PM
How come we are not using ultrasonic washing machines now? Like those 1950's Mechanix Illustrated articles said?

same reason we're not driving flying nuclear-powered cars like the magazines in the '50s said we would :p

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