Quick W/D recs please (lots of weekly laundry for a family)?

babs711March 25, 2012

Our seven year old Kenmore He front loaders are finally biting the dust. The dryer isn't drying like it used to (despite my cleaning out the vent) and the washer is doing this error code thing that's forcing me to keep unplugging it to reset it. We're about two months away from finishing our build. So I guess the timing is fine. I was just hoping to NOT have to purchase a washer dryer also. Oh well.

I don't care if we get He top loaders or front loaders. I just want good capacity machines that WORK, that have heat and various cycles and that won't cost a fortune and won't make my laundry smell. I've heard decent things about Samsung and LG.

I've been doing nothing but researching appliances, countertops, light fixtures, hardware, etc. I'm just burned out. This wasn't something I'd planned to research so any input would be greatly appreciated as this is a last minute decision that I'll have to make...one of a thousand others! Thank you so much!

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My favorite is Maytag Bravos. I've owned this for almost 4 years and have had nothing but good results. Mine is a huge capacity (5.2 cu ft), which enables me to wash 2x to 3x as much laundry in one load as I used to. It's also great to be able to wash a king-size comforter, and lots of sheets/pillowcases at once.

I wash for a big family too, and this has cut my number of loads per week from 7-10+ down to 3-5 loads per week.

My washer does have the internal water heater, does have the Sanitizing cycle. I can use the heater on almost every cycle, not just for true hot water but also for true warm water.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 5:06PM
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I got my samsung 520 for the bargain price of $850 at Pacific Sales, and the dryer was $800!! they work well, as the cleaning results are astoundingly excellent. the dryer also works well, but the difference between dryers is far less, IMO, than between the washer and my old top loader. I didn't realize how CRAPPY TL are at cleaning until I got a FL.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 5:10PM
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OP, you'll get differing opinions. Some TL's (like mine) clean very well. Some FL's clean very well. Other TL's and FL's don't clean as well. I did lots of research, for several months, before making my purchase. The main thing that helped me was reading user reviews at store websites (like Sears, Home Depot, Lowe's, etc.).

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 5:36PM
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Mara, what did you end up with?

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 10:54PM
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babs, my Maytag Bravos washer has the numbers 875 in its model number -- I don't think this model is being made anymore. I absolutely love my washer, am very grateful to have it.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 3:07AM
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Babs, I totally get the decision burnout--we finished a massive renovation/addition to our home recently. I'm sorry you have to pick one more thing that wasn't even planned.

That said, my recent choice was not inexpensive, but if you have a lot of weekly laundry and can stretch the budget just a little, it may be worth considering. It's the Electrolux front loading pair. I have the Wave Touch, and I'm really, really loving them. They're big. I only have two teenagers and a husband to wash for here, but we seem to generate a lot of laundry, especially towels. I can now easily keep up without having to do a load every day, and I absolutely love that. They do a good job of cleaning, use enough water to get the job done, and best of all, have some features that leave the laundry pretty much wrinkle free, a benefit that thrills me to no end. They have some bells and whistles that I thought were a little 'much', but now that I'm using them, I've changed my mind and have decided that they're well thought out and actually have benefit. I know you said 'budget', and these definately aren't, but vendors can run rebates on them, so if you can find one of those you'd get a better price. Just thought I'd throw that out for consideration.

Best of luck,

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 11:23AM
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I almost bought Electrolux also, but after hearing about the problems with the doors (high repair rate), I decided to go with the Samsung, which was on sale for almost 1/2 off. I've got an Electrolux dishwasher, which we love.

Not only did I hear about the door issues on line, but a tech that came out to my house also said they have lots of problems with the luxes.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 1:34PM
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Dave 1812, can you be a little more specific about what kind of problems your tech was seeing with the 'luxes? What did he say they were having trouble with, and were they the original "55" series or the more recent IQ Touch 60 series and Wave Touch 70 series? I'd be interested to hear a little more detail, as you have mentioned this tech more than once. I heard that the door problems were fixed with the newer models, and a recent poster had no trouble with doors after 5 years on the IQ Touch 60 pair, so I'm wondering if that was an 'old problem' that was also addressed in the newer versions. I'd appreciate hearing more detail on what else tends to go wrong with these.


    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 3:09PM
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Thanks guys. I was thinking LG, Samsung or Electrolux but leaning more towards LG or Samsung. I'm over the Kenmores. I think we lucked out having ours last as long as they have actually. I forgot to mention the random rising water level we get in the washer when the machine is at rest...

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 11:30PM
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People seem to like their LGs and Samsungs--but I've also read reports of very poor customer service when things do go wrong, so you may want to research that specifically. That was what swayed me toward the Electrolux pair. I have other Electrolux appliances and have had occasion to call on their customer service. I've had a good experience with them. If you are buying from a local store with good customer service, you might be in better shape. A very helpful thing for me was to download the user manuals from websites. Manufacturers tend to lable features with buzz words that aren't necessarily very descriptive. The manuals can help with translation.

It's early days yet for me--only 3 weeks of use with the 'Lux set, so I can't report on reliability yet, but so far I feel as though these machines work for me, not the other way around. I don't have to tweak/coax/work around quirks to get the results I want, and I like that.

As to techs warning people to stay away--I've also had that experience with this and other brands. You need to ask for details. In the case of the Electrolux pair, I had to dig a little and ask the salesperson to actually go look at what the problems were. It turned out that it was a problem with the installation crew hired, they were damaging the gas units, so they were needing repair calls and were often returned. Thus, the reputation of the brand was that they were prone to problems. Since then, unless I can get details, I take claims of 'my tech/salesperson warned me away from this brand' with a grain of salt. Just my experience.

Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.

Good luck with your purchase. I know you're burnt out on researching things, but it looks like you've narrowed it down to some good choices. Let us know what you end up with and how you like it!


    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 12:00PM
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cj47, the tech didn't specify which year models were having the problem but I also heard about it at the appliance store (and they sell them!). I don't have ANY personal knowledge--I'm only repeating what I was warned about. let me tell you, I was lusting after a pair of Electroluxes for more than a year, so it's not like I have anything against them. But with complaints about the doors and the fantastic sale on the Sammy's I had to agree with my wife that the Sammys were the better choice. I bet I'd be happy with the luxes too, if they operate without issues. They are nice and roomy, which is what initially drew me to them.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 4:43PM
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Dave1812, I realize that you don't have anything personal against this set. :-) I do realize that your intentions are good, you are sharing something you heard. My point is that I've heard the exact same thing from an appliance salesman, and when I pressed for details, I found out that the "problems" had nothing to do with Electrolux. I've had a similar experience with another appliance I was researching. It's made me wary of warnings without details. I'd hate to see this set earn an undeserved reputation for unreliability. I heard about the door problems on the prior models, but from what I can tell it's been fixed on the current model--and, in my manual, it tells you what to do if you start having trouble with the bellows on the door, so apparently they do have that figured out. Other than the door, I have not heard tell of these units wearing out prematurely, no bearing failures or other major complaints. I've read of a few units that were defective on delivery--I'd sure complain, too if that had happened to me, but there have no complaints about things not being fixed once the problems were known, so I'm not too concerned about that. I'll come back and report after a year or so. So far, though, I'm really pleased.

I'm glad that you are happy with your Samsungs, they're nice machines. I hope all of our machines remain problem free for at least the next 10 years!


    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 10:02PM
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Babs - I'm curious what you've decided. My washer went out yesterday morning, and I've spent my weekend reading reviews and checking out washers at several stores. Not the most restful weekend.

I'm leaning towards an LG front loading washer. Trying to decide how important the sanitizing/hot water feature is to me. I have it down to LG 2250CW (no internal heater) and LG 2650 (heater, costs $100 more).

I'll try to decide this week since my dirty laundry piles up with everyday that goes by.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 12:19AM
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I have no input on manufacturer or model but I do advise researching thoroughly once you've narrowed it down. What is "hot"? What does the machine consider warm and will the heater kick in on cycles other than sanitary? How hot do you think a sanitary cycle should be and how long should the water be at the sanitary temp to disinfectant? I know that sounds like nit picking but these are huge factors if your incoming water is very cold.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 10:03AM
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Sandy, the samsung 520 uses the heater only for sanitize and pure cycles.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 10:27AM
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time4tea spend the extra and get the heater. I had a Neptune FL and now a Samsung with a heater. It will make a difference when you wash your whites and use the heat function.

CJ I wouldn't worry about your Electrolux washers. They seem to make a quality product. Have their oven and have no issues that others have reported. My only complain is it has that beautiful bright blue interior. Shows all the spill overs and splatters. Guess I shouldn't be such a messy cook! The only reason I didn't buy their washer/dryer were they are so huge. We are empty nesters so are not generating the laundry of old. My Samsungs are a basic unit with heater and were a great sale price. I have been so impressed with the washer/dryer that I've bought a TV and just last month their dishwasher.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 10:28AM
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Just got the LG 5170 series and loving them! it is TL energy efficient. Washer is 4.7 cu ft. I previously had a front loader, it had mold galore. We have a large family, do wash all day every day, so the front loaders are wet all the time, which is a haven for mold growth.

Here is a link that might be useful: LG washer

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 9:50PM
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I haven't been forced to make a decision yet. So I haven't. As our clothing keeps coming out musty I'm seriously contemplating going to he top loaders instead of front loaders. But then I read about the exploding LGs. And until this thread I wasn't aware manufacturers did away with heaters. Why on earth would they do that??

I need a washer that will give me a hot wash when I want it, not just on sanitize. I have kids who play sports and get stains. I like to wah my sheets and towels in hot water. Now I feel like everyone is walking around slightly dirty! Lol!

Why can't this stuff be easy?

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 2:45PM
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"...manufacturers did away with heaters."

That would be news to me....and I suspect almost everyone. Where did this information come from?

Whatever you decide on, do make an on-board heater a requirement....along with at least two cycles besides "sanitary" that use it. The manufacturers are serious into obfuscation about this kind of thing, so you'll have to get past the euphemisms in their promos and find out what they really mean. Annoying, IMHO, but really must be done. Otherwise you'll be living with dissatisfaction for many years.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 4:13PM
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Babs, I think you're a better candidate for a Speed Queen top loader than you realize. I wouldn't try to talk you into it. I'm not into product evangelizing, but since you asked for recommendations...

The SQ doesn't have a heater, but you can select HOT wash temperature on any cycle. SQ hot is tap hot, meaning no Automatic Temperature Control. It opens up the hot valve and fills directly from your hot water heater supply. You can make it as hot as you want to run your water heater with safety and energy cost limitations, of course. If you plan to run a heater in a HE machine much of the time anyway, you're already foregoing the much of energy savings.

SQ washers have a 3.3 cf tub, which seems small compared to some of the gargantuan washers on the market. In practice, the thinner flex vane agitator takes up less room and a decent size load fits (and washes) fine. A king comforter will not fit, however. The REGULAR/HEAVY/HOT cycle is probably the longest on the SQ because of the extended wash period and the slower hot water only fill. I haven't measured the time of that cycle, but I'm convinced you can easily run two of those loads in the time it takes a FL to complete one. Maybe even three when compared to a FL sanitary cycle.

Washers with 5.5 cf tubs sure seem like a win for a large family, but consider the weight of 5 cf of wet jeans and the centrifugal force of spinning them at over 1000 rpm. No washer should ever explode, but the damage is not surprising when a defective or poorly designed one lets go. Using a modest tub size and running a few more loads on the busy days will go a long ways toward extending the life of motors, bearings, belts, and everything else that moves in a washer.

My kids were also active with sports and other outdoor activities. They've moved on to college and beyond, but I still like bright whites and clean clothes. I've found a combination of plenty of water (hot/warm/cold as appropriate), proper pre-treating, good detergent (properly measured!), bleach or Borax when appropriate and avoiding overloading the machine has produced consistently clean laundry.

SQ washers are at the opposite end of many scales compared to the high tech HE washers on the market. They have switches and electromechanical timers instead of a computer board. I have the AWN542 model with the fabric selector switch (DELICATE/KNIT/PERM PRESS/REGULAR) that overrides the agitation/spin speeds of the cycle timer. There is a separate switch for selecting HOT/WARM/COLD water temperature. Used together, you can select any water temperature, any agitation speed, any spin speed (actually, either spin speed as there are only two), and any cycle length for a wash load. Don't bother with plugging it into a surge suppressor.

If you live in an area where water is in short supply, it's hard to make an argument against HE machines. Water is readily available where I live and isn't especially expensive. That doesn't mean we should waste it and we don't. The EPA energy guideline sticker on my washer indicated it costs about $43/year to operate the SQ deep fill top loader, $26/year if you have a gas water heater. I have gas. They are hardly energy hogs.

The SQ washer has a 3-year "bumper to bumper" warranty. It also has 5 years on the motor and 10 years on the transmission. It's built in the US for lots of cycles and I've never had a musty smell from it.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 5:11PM
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My Duet FL (seven years, now...has a heater) does the best job of any machine I've ever had.

On the other hand, my mom's conventional Maytag (19 years, if I recall correctly) is still working fine and does a perfectly acceptable job without a heater.....as has every machine I've ever owned or used in the last four decades. Certainly no musty smells at any time.

Seems to me until the "new" stuff came out, most folks were quite satisfied with way things were. Accordingly, I can easily understand the appeal of SQ assuming the reliability is there.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 5:51PM
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A traditional top loader will give a hot wash without a heater due to the quantity of water and the constant fill. FL use little water, most start filling on cold then switch to hot, all in short bursts.

I owned a FL washer without a heater and had no issues. But, my cold water was room temp due to an indoor pressure tank. When we moved to our current home with a city hookup I couldn't get a hot wash. We reversed the hot and cold lines, ran the nearest faucet, etc. Big PITA to get to warm.

When researching a new set it quickly became apparent that having a heater only helps so much. 140 for 10 mins is enough to kill a lot. 200 is needed for total kill. If a washer boasts a 140 degree sanitary cycle and only guarantees it within 10 degrees it is useless. Then there is the whole issue of washing in basically lukewarm or cold water for all other cycles.

Capacity is misleading as well. How much clothing can actually be washed in the washer? Loading it to the top or capacity would provide very poor results and nonexistent rinsing. My little Asko can be loaded to the top and perform beautifully. So, my true user capacity on my Asko is the same as my LG.

Cycle times vary greatly from model to model and time affects cleaning. I state all of this because of the number of posts I read from folks who purchased their washers without really understanding how it is designed to work.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 12:24PM
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"....folks who purchased their washers without really understanding how it is designed to work."

Well, there's certainly a big factor in the overall equation. I've encountered very few people who know what their water quality is or what their actual temperatures are, let alone how the machine works or is supposed to work. Most don't even read the manual.

On the other hand, the mfrs seem not to want anybody to know. They drown us in euphemisms rather than providing useful information.

"A traditional top loader will give a hot wash without a heater..."

Still depends on what is considered "hot". Depends on your water heater, length of pipes and ambient temps of machine and clothes. With mom's old Maytag TL, with 130F water from the WH, the actual "hot" wash temp is 110-115F....which is an absolute maximum. One thing I really like about the on-board heater on my own machine is that when I choose a cycle that uses the heater, I KNOW I'm going to get 130F in there regardless of other factors. I like being able to depend on that.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 1:19PM
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asolo - I believe the manufacturers are being intentionally misleading. It is insanely difficult to get answers to specifics like cycle temperatures. I also agree that 115 isn't scalding but aside from sanitary cycles how "hot" is the average front loader washing? 110 should be sufficient unless sanitizing is needed. Really, your dryer is your best bet for sanitizing. It's just amazing to me that washer manufacturers are not at all interested in improving their products. Why not give an option for heat on all cycles? I get that it would not be energy efficient but a water heater tank never has been.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 1:37PM
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Suspect that in the process of being required to jump through gov't-mandated hoops to get their "energy star" ratings, every other consideration for the mfgrs. took a back seat.

I understand what they've done and why but I VERY much resent the intentional non-disclosure of even the most basic information for consumers.

Also agree that 110-115F isn't bad. That's about all anybody EVER got in the many decades of conventional TL's before the advent of gov't-mandated HE machines.....although back then most water heaters were kept at 140F rather than today's more-typical 120. That would typically yield 120-125F in the machine. Everybody was satisfied in those days. My mom's old TL still does just fine.....although I much prefer my own heat-boosted FL....once I figured out what my actual temperatures were.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 2:09PM
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Debbi Branka

I've had a GE front loader for 7 years. It replaced our Kenmore Elite garbage! It washes the clothes well. It's my first FL, so I don't know if this is the same on all FL models, but it takes a long time to wash (from 1 hour to 1 3/4 hour, depending on the cycle and extras you choose). We also have had a small leak down the front - like coming out of the door. Just a trickle and not constant, but does it with every load. I believe the door gasket needs to be replaced. My DD and SIL bought the same W/D combo when they got married almost 6 years ago. They also had the same leak in the front, but he replaced the door gasket (not an easy task) and it's been fine. Ours sits on an indestructible tray that catches any leaks (and the amount is so small it evaporates). I'm very pleased with the capacity and the washing ability of this model. I would buy GE again, but hope I don't have to for another 10 years or so :)

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 3:34PM
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I really like my LG, FL. I have had the LG washer about 3 years and the LG dryer for one year. I have repaired my LG washer twice in 3 years. I have very strong water pressure and they recommend turning off the valve after using machine. Since my valve handle is not easily accessible (behind the machine and near ceiling), I only turn it off if we are going away. When the washer needed repaid, the washer would get some water in the machine when I was not using it.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 10:22AM
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Hi everyone! I wanted to post an update. We were forced into buying the new washing machine as the Kenmore finally gave out on us. And you know it's about a month before we're moving into our new build. Isn't that how it always goes??

I ended up with the Samsung WA5451ANW. I went in for the WA5471 in the gray color. But they were out of stock and I needed it delivered on Monday. So white it was. I'm ecstatic with this machine! My clothes smell nice and clean! It's getting the dirt and grass stains out of my kids' clothing. I read up on how to load the HE top loaders to be sure to do it properly. I've watched through the glass door to see it fill with water and cover the clothing/items and swish the laundry around. I'm enthralled with this washer!

I got a little giddy this morning because I wanted to run a load but needed to hop in the shower. We're living in this older rental house that doesn't allow us to do two things that require water at once or things slow to almost a trickle and the temperature gets really erratic. I remembered the "delay wash" cycle and used it and had it start an hour later. It can start anywhere from an hour to 24 hours later. That's something my old Front Loader didn't have!

And the drum is enormous! I thought I might have to sacrifice some capacity with the HE top loader since I'd read that you need to load the items in loosely (not pack them in) so they can tumble around and be shuffled as they wash. But I can fit a ton of stuff in here. I think the drum (4.7 cf) is bigger than my Kenmore FL was. I can't remember the capacity but it was the top of the line model.

Another thing I've noticed is that I used to have to hit the "touch up" button on the dryer some to get some dampness out of the waistband, collars and pockets sometimes. But I haven't had to do that at all since getting the Samsung.

I refused to buy a set since the dryer is still working fine. So as of now I have a crisp white washing machine and a charcoal gray dryer. Oh well!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 12:34AM
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