life expectancy for front loaders/top loaders?

sophiesudsJanuary 24, 2007

How long do you think today's front loaders will last? Top loaders? I ask because I am currently using a 23 yr old Kenmore set. I know that front loaders use less water and less energy, but I hear their life span is not very long (not that I think I will ever see 23 years again!). I never knew that selecting a w/d could be so involved!

Thanks, Sophie

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It all depends on the expectation. I had my HE3 hauled away after less than 3.5 years. The washer washed cloth just I can't stands the noise and vibration. If I have a basement laundry then I will still have it now. I think most people gave away FL wasn't because it didn't wash cloth. Most of the reasons are vibration and mold condition.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2007 at 10:41PM
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23 years is a very long time for any kind of washer to last. I think you probably got a little lucky with your set.

Typically, a washer should last at least ten years with five to ten wash loads a week before it starts giving you serious problems. Of course there are exceptions, your Kenmore set for one. Also, there have been washers that have proven to be as bad as your kenmore was good. The Calypso for one, and maybe Maytag's Neptune as well.

Front Loaders & Top Loaders both have their own unique quirks, as do individual brands. For instance, Front loaders can develop leaky door gaskets, and Top Loaders can have problems with humidity and rust.

As a general rule, if you want a reliable set you should buy an established brand that has a good service network, because service techs can be very good at giving feedback to the manufacturer about what needs improving and fixing.

Don't buy brand new technology. Instead lean towards technology that's been on the market long enough to get all the bugs worked out. Whirlpool Direct Drive washers are a good example in this regard, as are Fisher & Paykel's Eco washers, and don't buy top of the line models that are loaded up with features and acessories because even if the underlying washer technology is proven, the acessories may not be.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2007 at 10:56PM
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For some of the older top loaders I think you will see a lot of older models that still work fine - I have a 25+ year old Maytag TL, my mother just replaced her 30+ year set of Maytags and I know others with older Maytag, Whirlpools or Kenmores. But these machines are basic - Like mine has 3 load settings, 3 water level settings and 4 temp options - not very technical. I want to replace it & my 10 year old Kenmore dryer (which replaced a 30 year old Kenmore dryer ) before they die. My kids are getting older so their clothes are bigger - so I do at least 9 - 12 loads a week - a reason I want a bigger washer. I guess I'm having a hard time making the commitment to spend $2k on a new FL w/d, spend more $$ for the extra warranty -- which seems like most do - and then only expect 5-6 years before I'm buying another machine?
I am looking at the Whirlpool Duet 9300 or 9400 at Lowes as I have 10% off there and I will never buy anything from Best Buy again (long story).
Any body have a FL Whirlpool that is older than 6 years without having any issues?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2007 at 9:36AM
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IMHO reliability remains a question with ANY new machine today, regardless of type. Even conventional designs are manufactured using different parts and techniques than they were "in the old days". Different materials and guages of materials, different bearings, fittings and other components. Whether or not they will hold up like the 15-25-year-life machines of the past that so many people report remains to be seen.

I've had Duet 9400 for two trouble-free years. Hopefully my good experience will extend for a decade or more but don't really know. Nobody else does either at this point. I've heard people say that the new machines are designed for "a service life of seven years" (sometimes different numbers) but don't really know about that either. So far, so good. We're all placing our bets as we buy.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2007 at 11:40AM
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Our Kenmore washer is about 12 yrs old and except for one or two maintenance items has worked flawlessly. Funny thing is we bought it from the Sears surplus store. We'd like to get a new one but are hesitant given the seemingly endless stream of issues regardless of the mftr. We've experienced it first hand having recently replaced the Kenmore dryer with a F&P, which included one DOA unit and this one needing service due to some squeaking/grinding issues. Small wonder they have a 2 yr warranty.....looks like we're gonna need it.

So the earlier advice to stick with proven technology is a good one cuz when it comes to new technology they don't call it the bleeding edge for nothing.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2007 at 12:34PM
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All I can say is that I bought the very first Frigidaire Gallery front load set in 1996. They will be 11 years old this year. After 8 plus loads per week these 10 plus years, they both still work like brand new and look like brand new. Never a single problem. I'm looking to replace them with the Bosch Nexxt 700 series machines...only because I want the heater and the additional options (yeah...I looked at the new large Miele...and put a pros/cons list together...the Bosch won). If the Frigidaire had a heater...I'd be using it until it dies (and even then I'd probably repair it since I know could last a long time with proper maintenance).

    Bookmark   January 26, 2007 at 1:05PM
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An even murkier question is will there be parts to repair my machine when it does break down? So many machines get an updo and or complete remake so often that the parts system will be extremely loaded with one offs that only work on one model for one or two years and will become extremely hard to find especially the ones manufactured overseas, which comprises a huge percentage of the total now.

Take the long standing parts avaliability of the Maytag lines that may become completely extinct in a few years should Whirlpool decide not to produce parts for the OLD MAYTAG CORP line.
Companies swapping ownership right and left and dealers dropping out of business like flies and all you have left are Sears and a few companies stocking parts and they sure cant afford to stock everything for every machine ever made.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2007 at 8:41PM
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I agree that in general we'll never see 23 years again, with the possible exception of Miele, which both the manufacturer and owners say will last 20 years. Most sales people I've talked to have said straight out not to expect other brands to last more than 10 years.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2007 at 9:00PM
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Well, my oldest Asko is coming up on 14 years and my oldest Miele is 12. Each of my machines does about 20 loads per week apiece, so none of them owes me a dime.

I think when we hear about very old machines that are still working, and assume that all old machines lasted longer than all new models we forget that many older models which have long since died have faded from out consciousness. And I think it's important to remember than even pricey Mieles are still cheaper, in constant dollars, than washing machines were 20 or 25 years ago. There has been pressure by consumers to get ever cheaper products, and cost and longevity are two intertwined factors, since higher costs can indicate higher quality materials and build. Consumers vote with their checkbooks and you can't blame manufacturers for trying to give consumers what they demand. If we buy quality long-lasting products then they will provide them; but if our collective preference is for cheap, disposable stuff, then that's what we'll have to choose from.


    Bookmark   January 27, 2007 at 12:26AM
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Manufacturers have to cut corners today to keep the prices at basically the same level they were fourty or more years ago. Of course we won't see the same quality.

An old WP belt drive or Maytag center dial timer machine would be upwards of at least a grand to get 20 or more years from a washer today.

A $400 TL washer today is peanuts compared to what people were earning 40 or 50 years ago. Most people didn't make nearly that much in a week.

So for a $1500 MIELE, should last 20 years with relatively no problems.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2007 at 3:17AM
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When our old old Kenmore dryer had an issue (it was 30 years old at the time) Sears actually carried the $15 part it needed. It finally died a more expensive death 5 years later - meaning Sears actually had the parts we needed then too - but it was a more expensive repair. Luckily for me my DH is very electrically & mechanically inclined and saves us $ that way.

I would gladly pay even $4k for a new set if I could get another 25+ years life out of them with minimal cost in repairs. I guess I'm one of the few consumers who would pay more to get more quality. Plus - gulp - I've been married 22 years and never bought a washer/dryer - I inherited my current washer from my grandmother!

    Bookmark   January 27, 2007 at 8:10AM
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Many current generation consumer wont keep a machine 25 years even if they lasted that long. They will buy a new home and get new appliances or simply want something more modern and energy efficient. If a machine purchased 10 years ago, a top loader, is even capable of going another 15 years, then why are so many new front loaders being sold with thier pretty designer cabinets and digital controls? A great many will tell you that thier machine "just died" and it will cost too much to fix it. 2-4 hundred and maybe get 10 more years or 2 or 3 thousand and get a new set. Guess what choice they are taking?

    Bookmark   January 27, 2007 at 9:00AM
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We have a Kenmore HE3t set and have had a variety of problem over the 7-8 years we have had it. Electronic board on the dryer, pump on the washer. But we have six kids and do a ton of laundry. We also live in a sandy area so add that abrasive factor. As we face a new door gasket and installation ($200 about) I am question you out there; A: Would you opt for a new one at this point? And B: If so, what is the most durable, high volume washer on the market?

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 6:01PM
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I have a whirlpool duet front loader. It is 4.5 years old and NOT doing so hot. It has ruined my floors in the laundry room and now I can't wash a little ad of clothes in less then 3 hours. It keeps throwing codes at me. I will never again own another front loader. Uggg

    Bookmark   February 12, 2015 at 7:47PM
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The top loader situation today isn't so great and most of them are riddled with problems too. It's not about front load vs. top load, it's about how well the machines are built! Your old machine didn't last 20+ years because it was a top loader, it lasted because it was built with quality, and a similar machine today would cost thousands of dollars.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2015 at 9:39AM
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Just had a service repairman at our house yesterday, for our 5-1/2 y/o Whirlpool Cabrio Energy Star Top Loader (w/agitator). The bearing in the washer tub has gone bad, and the statement on the service slip -- "bearing bad, not economical to repair." He gave us some advice for looking for new machines (stick to basics, stay away from gimmicks). So, we're off to look for a new machine. Happy Valentine's Day!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2015 at 9:30AM
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So quick and easy to say not economical to repair, get paid well to show up and say so. Pays a lot better than actually repairing and no dirty mess to deal with. SAD

    Bookmark   February 14, 2015 at 10:05AM
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The repair for our six year old Duet was quoted at $1000. We paid $650 for it. The bearings that went out are attached to the tub and the whole tub assembly would have to be replaced. The new Speed Queen comes Tuesday and I'm hoping it lasts much longer.

1 Like    Bookmark   February 15, 2015 at 3:47PM
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