Washer - any recommendations?

caflowerluverAugust 18, 2014

My 10 year old Kirkland/ Whirlpool washer just croaked this morning. I did a search and there are too many choices out there. I can't make up my mind. I am looking for a top loader, with the basic choices (regular, PP, delicate). Soak/prewash would be nice. Of course having a choice of water temperature is also a must. But just want a basic washer without any fancy extras.

I have read on this forum that people recommend Speed Queen. I have never heard of that brand. I don't even know if it is available in this area. But am curious, what is the cost of the cheapest model?

Thanks.
Clare

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dadoes

You may be better having your existing machine repaired. What about it is not working? These Whirlpool-built washers are easy to repair, parts are reasonable cost. Something simple as a broken drive coupler (can be found online for less than $20) or a lid switch can seem serious when it's not.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 7:52PM
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hvtech42

Why not fix your current washer? Those Whirlpool Direct Drives are great machines and are usually cheap/easy to fix. What's wrong with it?

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 7:52PM
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hvtech42

LOL

To elaborate more, I honestly don't think Speed Queen is any better than your current machine. It is the best top loader on the market today though, though in my opinion it is not as good as the Whirlpool direct drives before the reduced water levels and dumbed down temps.

I would only replace if you wanted to upgrade to a high efficiency machine, and in that case I would buy a front loader. Otherwise I would hold on to your current machine, they don't make them like that anymore!

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 8:22PM
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caflowerluver

Thanks for the replies. It just stopped working in the middle of the regular cycle. I tried all the other cycles, stopping and starting and I get nothing. It won't drain or agitate. It is completely dead.

If it requires a new motor or transmission (?) then we are talking hundreds of dollars plus a service call charge.I can get a new machine at Sears for around $380. It is 10 years old and something else is bound to break. Life span of washing machine is 8-10 years, so lucky it lasted this long. This is my 4th machine in a 37 year marriage. I seem to replace them every 8-10 years.
Clare

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 8:41PM
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mccommas

In my experience sugar is sugar, salt is salt and a washing machine is a washing machine. I don't think it really matters much other than obviously the more you pay, the better quality and longer life you can expect of it.

We are on our third in 14 years. The 2nd one we picked up used for 40 bucks -- practically stole it.

This new one sings a tune close to Yankee Doddle Dandy when its done!

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 8:51PM
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dadoes

Clare, as I said a dead machine sometimes is not as serious a problem as it seems. I've seen several instances of a wire loose on the motor. A transmission problem won't make the machine dead, the motor would still run (or try to run).

Really, the only reason you're replacing your washer every 8 to 10 years is because you are opting not have them repaired.

My parents had a KitchenAid (same design as yours) that they used for 18 years with a few minor repairs (lid switch, motor coupler, pump) until the timer broke. It was fixable for less than $100 but their machine is in an exterior utility room and exposed to south TX humidity so had developed some cabinet deterioration. I swapped it out instead for a 12-years-old Kenmore (of the same mechanical design) that I had refurbished (a friend gave it to me, they were going to toss it for one of those $15 motor couplers).

I can DIY any repair on these machines, and parts can be had from several online sources at very reasonable prices. Your consideration of course is that you may not have a handyman family member or friend so labor costs would be involved to call-out a service tech.

You are going to find that many new machine will be different than what you have in several ways. Water temperatures are reduced by an electronic sensor that mixes in cold for energy usage considerations. Warm for example may be 75ðF to 80ðF. Hot may be 105ðF to 110ðF (which is more like the warm you're getting now). Cycles are longer to finish. Some machines have crippled rinsing that doesn't fill and agitate but rather sprays the spinning load a few times to flush the detergent.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 9:11PM
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hvtech42

"In my experience sugar is sugar, salt is salt and a washing machine is a washing machine. I don't think it really matters much other than obviously the more you pay, the better quality and longer life you can expect of it."

No. There are many different designs. Even among similarly priced designs, some are better than others.

"I can get a new machine at Sears for around $380. It is 10 years old and something else is bound to break."

I agree with everything dadoes said about repair vs. replacement. Do you seriously think that $380 machine from Sears is going to be anywhere near as good as your current machine? Some of these new ones are just as "bound to break" if not more than your 10 year old washer as soon as they come out of the box!

I can take a guess at what the cheap machine is you're considering buying. Is it the new Whirlpool belt (VMW) design? They aren't bad for what they are but they seem cheaply made and I don't expect them to last anywhere near as long as the direct drives. I have taken one apart and own three for rental properties so you can take my word for it. They do have the dumbed down water temps dadoes mentioned, and the lid locks during the cycle. One of the upsides is they are super easy to repair, but for someone who replaces their machine at the slightest sign of a problem that probably isn't a big concern.

Before you replace it or call a repairman let's start with some basic diagnosis. I'm assuming you've already checked the breaker. If not do so. Assuming it is on, do you hear a humming sound when you pull out the timer or is the machine completely silent? Is the machine currently full of water?

Keep in mind that some of these repairs are extremely easy to do yourself and you do not need to be experienced to complete them successfully. There are so many videos, articles, and forums to help you along. Don't assume you'll need a repairman! The biggest impediment to most people is not their lack of experience but rather their confidence.

This post was edited by hvtech42 on Mon, Aug 18, 14 at 22:02

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 9:46PM
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stir_fryi

To answer your question Clare -- I paid about $750 for my SQ. A lotta dough for a basic washer but I like lit.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 9:23AM
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nerdyshopper

I owned a Whirlpool top loader purchased new in 1992. I gave it to my son and got a Samsung front loader. Long story short: it was still running strong last year when my son's wife wanted a front loader. That's 21 years. I had a previous WP top loader that was still going strong after 19 years, when the outer tub rusted out where the enamel surface was faulty. The newer one had a plastic outer tub. Of course we are do-it yourselfers and fixed every bad hose or once a start capacitor gave out. When I was removing it I broke a wire off flush with the motor and had to replace it. The fix was still cheaper than a new machine. I had paid about $500 for that machine.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 10:44AM
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