Looking for high-efficiency Top Loader advice

portwestApril 30, 2011

I seem to have been struck with analysis-paralysis. I've been looking at replacing my washer and dryer for nearly two years (found my own posting about it here), but the laundry situation has become somewhat critical now.

I have read through so many postings here and elsewhere, as well as looking at consumer reports and talking to friends and neighbours. I simply can't decide.

I am getting older and I'm afraid I will end up with a machine that leaks all over, tears up my clothes or freezes with an electronic error and that I won't have the energy to fight back about it.

I want a top loader (to best fit the laundry room space), high-efficiency (to save water and energy), with direct gear drive (because, according to what I've read here, that is more reliable and easier to repair than belt drive). Ideally, I would like dial controls rather than an electronic circuit board, but I have only found one TL(he) machine that had that, and it was a belt drive (GE).

I was looking at some of the smaller capacity machines, but there are currently a few 5.0 cu ft machines on sale right now, so I am considering those.

There seems to be a lot of people here who really like GE Harmony TL, but I don't seem to be able to find them in Canada. I have looked at several GE Profile machines, but they are all belt-drive.

Currently, I'm looking at these Maytags, but am hoping someone might come along with a better suggestion:

Maytag Bravos (5.0 cu ft, direct gear drive) (MVWB850WQ )

Maytag Dryer (7.4 cu ft)

Maytag Bravos (5 cu ft, direct gear drive) (MVWB450WQ)

Maytag Bravos Dryer (7.3 cu ft) (YMEDB400VQ)

Any advice or suggestions? I could really use some help.

PW

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curiousshopper

Don't do it. Buy a normal Speed Queen top loader while you can still get them.

Figure out your *real* savings from the reduced water and energy use and compare it to the potential aggravation from one of these machines.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2011 at 1:37PM
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portwest

I appreciate the advice, curiousshopper, but I don't think you can get Speed Queen in Canada. I went to www.speedqueen.com and looked for a distributor, but the system says "no distributor available in this country".

    Bookmark   April 30, 2011 at 2:00PM
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gates1

I have the Lg HE TL since december. It has surpassed my expectatation in all ways. I had a FL for 9 wonderful years, when it came time to replace it, I didnt want to buy the pedistals again so I went to a TL. You can read my indepth reviews on here. Do a search for "My new waveforce washer" Any questions, please ask me. I too considered the Maytag, but I wanted the option to add more water if needed.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2011 at 3:58PM
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portwest

Hi gates1. Thanks for the recommendation. Do you mind letting me know where you got it? I don't seem to be able to find an LG top-loader in Canada.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2011 at 6:59PM
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gates1

Portwest, you can buy them at home depot, HHgregg. You can always go on the LG website and do a search to see who sells them in Canada too

    Bookmark   May 1, 2011 at 9:42AM
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portwest

Gates1, that looks like quite a machine! Even though it has electronic controls, I was still quite interested, due to the positive comments I've found in this and other forums, until I saw the dimensions --- it won't fit in my laundry room.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2011 at 11:36AM
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portwest

I sure do appreciate all the advice I've gotten here.

I went back out to the stores today and had a look at more washers. I found the LG at Lowes --- wow, that really IS quite an impressive machine. But it's simply too big for my space. I noticed that all of the high-efficiency top-loaders are 5.0 or 5.2 cu ft and so they have a large footprint.

Still feeling frustrated. I'm now seriously thinking of just buying a regular old-fashioned top-loader, like these:

Maytag (3.3 cu ft)

Inglis (3.1 cu ft)

Any more suggestions? Seems like there ought to be more choice out there, but there's not.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2011 at 5:58PM
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gates1

Is buying a smaller footprint Fl in your interest? That is a much wiser choice than a old fashion TL? You can wash more clothes in the FL, get cleaner results and save some money too on utilities

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 10:58AM
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portwest

Gates1, it's so nice of you to help me. I find this all so frustrating.

A smaller footprint FL would be okay, but I haven't seen one that would fit in my space. My machine must fit in 30 inches of depth, including hoses. My current washer is 26.5 inches deep and with the hoses, it's 29.5 inches deep. Have you ever seen a FL that would fit that depth (with the door closed, of course)?

PW

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 1:35PM
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mrb627

Here is an LG that will fit your space.

Here is a link that might be useful: LG Front Loader

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 2:07PM
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itguy08

Check out the Kenmore Front loaders. We're also depth challenged in the basement due to a ledge that the appliances sit on....

We ended up with a Kenmore 4044 that replaced an LG WM2277 that we lost in a flood (3.5-4 ft of sewer water). It's 29.75 inches deep so would work for you.

Other similar Kenmore and LG models are the same depth. Whirlpool seems to be deeper.

If you go to Sears' website you can filter by depth to find what you are looking for.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 3:24PM
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portwest

Wow, mrb627 and itguy08 --- now you've opened up more options for me . . . the links you posted were for U.S. sites (I'm in Canada), but I found some comparable ones on the Canadian sites.

Itguy08, have you been happy with your Kenmore? That brand wasn't even on my list, to be honest, because I've had too many "lemon" Kenmore appliances (don't get me started ranting about my pile of @#% Kennmore dishwasher . . . ) ;-)

Like I said, more options --- I appreciate that. Will have to start reading more product reviews, this time for front-loaders.

Thanks!
PW

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 3:42PM
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gates1

portwest, it sounds like you got some good options now to look into. Let us know how it works out for you. I too have a dishwasher from hell, kitchenaid, never again will I buy another whirlpool product, 900.00 piece of SXXX!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 9:36PM
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itguy08

Well, we've had our Kenmores for about 2 weeks now so I can't form a reliability opinion. I can say they get our clothes as clean as our previous LG's. That's probably because they are made by LG now.

We had an LG WM227 since January 2005 that worked well. Needed a couple repairs along the way - nothing I couldn't handle myself. Other than that it was a great machine. We lost it because of a sewer backup during the storms that dumped 3.5 ft of water in the basement. While the washer worked, the dryer was toast and with sewer water all in the machine it put our minds at ease to replace them both with the Kenmores.

Since LG makes Kenmore you could also check the LG versions of the machines - they have a lot that would fit in your dimensions.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 10:15AM
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redstar123

I just recently needed to replace both my refrigerator and my washer. I spent a fair amount of time reading reviews for both, but I discovered that while some brands seemed better than others, none were fullproof by a long shot. I also spent a fair amount of time researching where I bought them. I discovered that was maybe even more important than what I bought.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 11:32AM
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calluses

Portwest, I am also looking into buying a new washer, but I would be careful about the LG FL that you have been recommended here. Google "LG error codes" to find out some of the problems people have had with these machines.

I also noticed too that one of the posters who recommended the LG also said his washer had needed some minor repairs: "nothing I couldn�t handle myself". I believe you are female and you say you are getting older. As an "older" female myself, I DO NOT handle ANY repairs to washing machines!!! A washer that needs minor repairs is one that is not suitable for me!!

Check out this thread:

http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/laundry/msg0209150527646.html?15

Personally I am looking at the Maytag Bravos TL. This thread scared me, though: http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/laundry/msg0809203030822.html?16

I was hoping one of the long-time experts like dadoes or washerman might come along and advise you so I could share in their opinions as well.

Good luck to both of us!!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 7:20AM
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gates1

when reading the complaints on the Bravos, keep in mind most of them are on the older machines, and Whirpool has addressed many of those issues. You rarely find any complaints on the 850 series models, and most of those are owner errors, not reading the owners manual and how to use them

    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 11:26AM
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itguy08

So my issues with the LG WM2277 were:

1. Our water company bumped up our pressure to the "high side" of normal and after about 4 years the valves started to leak. Pop the top off and replace. About $30 in parts, IIRC.

2. The Hall Effect Sensor went. Apparently it was an issue with the early models of LG's. That was a $30 part and took a little bit more effort to do. Probably would have been covered under LG's 10 year motor warranty as it was part of the motor. But I needed the washer ASAP so it was easier to pay $30 and wait 2 days vs who knows how many with the repariman.

Other than that, it was a great washer. If you look hard enough you will find issues with EVERYTHING on the Internet.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 11:35AM
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moonspinner7

I had a similar dilemma. The house I bought came w/ 25-30 yr Kenmore washer and dryer. I knew they would go sooner rather than later, so began researching right away. I must have gone to every appliance store in a 50 mile radius. Then I would look up the reviews and ratings. I was limited by size constraints like yours, as well as the cost. I was disappointed by the reviews of just about everything. When they finally went - at the same time - I was forced to break the paralysis. I had decided upon the Maytag Centennial, when I happened to see the LG top loader at the local box store. When I checked the reviews at the time, they were consistently very high. So I went with, and was fortunate that they were on sale. It's been about 8 months now, and I couldn't be happier.

I will say, tho, that I'm short, and it's a real stretch to reach the last clothes in the bottom of the tub. If you are shorter, or have mobility issues, this may be a problem.

And I will add that I don't recall the dimensions of the Centennial, or what type of belt it had. I imagine Maytags would be available in Canada.

You reach a point where you just have to go for it, and hope that your decision was the right one. It's actually a relief to have the process over and done with.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 9:54PM
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Cavimum

@itguy08 - Water pressure in our area is really high, probably because of so many homes with lawn irrigation systems. We had lots of annoying little plumbing repairs all the time until we had a pressure regulator installed right where the water line enters under the house.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 9:06AM
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portwest

Well, tonight I bought a Maytag Bravos top loader washer (5 cu ft, direct gear drive, Model # MVWB450WQ) and a Maytag dryer (7.4 cu ft, Model # YMEDX500XW). They will be delivered next week.

Like moonspinner, it was a relief for me to have finally decided.

Thanks for all the advice! I really appreciate it!

PW

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 9:49PM
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dadoes

There are no gears involved in the mechanism on MVWB450WQ. It uses Fisher & Paykel's SmartDrive motor and basket drive.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 10:10PM
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portwest

"There are no gears involved in the mechanism on MVWB450WQ. It uses Fisher & Paykel's SmartDrive motor and basket drive."

I can only go by the information given me by the retailer.

This has taken me two years. Please tell me that the F&P SmartDrive system is good. Please.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 7:56AM
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Bravos4me

We got the model mvwb850q, which, I believe, is the same machine with more bells and whistles (glass lid, the internal heater, which we wanted, etc.). Got it in early March and both my wife and I have grown to love it. Went from 12 year old Maytag Atlantis convetional top-loader.

Small water fill bothered me early on, but I now have a much better understanding of how these machines work, with the sprays of concentrated detergent/wash water, etc. Clothes are coming out very clean; finally getting a fresher smell in our towels. That may also have something to do with the added attention we are paying to how we do our laundry, now that we have the new machine. Some darks were showing a bit of white residue, which we think was from using too much detergent, so be careful about that. We are using less than the recommended amount now of Clorox Greenworks (new favorite) and still getting great results.

We would buy this machine again.

Good luck with your new machines.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 9:30AM
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portwest

I just got my new laundry set today. Wow, are they ever quiet. I've processed two loads and am utterly THRILLED by how clean the laundry has come out. (My towels seem fluffier than ever!)

    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 7:44PM
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the_seven

portwest
Glad that you are happy with your new machine.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 9:20PM
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cross_stitch

I don't know about the reliability of Fisher & Paykel components in other-branded machines, but F&P was the most repair-prone top-loader brand in Consumer Reports' March 2011 survey. There are some who don't put much faith in CR but they have never steered me wrong. I received their survey about 4 years ago that asked probing questions about purchases made in the previous year. The reliability question is strictly based upon subscribers' input.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2011 at 5:54AM
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dadoes

CR doesn't take info on machines more than 5 years old, so my F&P washer & dryer & DishDrawer & washer & dryer that are respectively 12, 12, 7-3/4, 6-1/2 and 6-1/2 years old with no repairs needed do not qualify for their statistics.
The reliability question is strictly based upon subscribers' input.And therein lies the flaw. As I recall from surveys I saw years ago, CR asks only if the machine has had a problem that either was or was not repaired. They DO NOT qualify WHAT was the problem ... installation error, USER error/misunderstanding, a blown board due to a lightning strike ... anything and everything is combined as a "repair."

    Bookmark   May 12, 2011 at 3:07PM
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cross_stitch

When surveys poll tens of thousands of users, the numbers are meaningful, even if they include the occasional fluke. The questionnaire I received asked if a particular appliance required repair. Machines needing repair following lightening strikes would be a rather small number, wouldn't you agree? When handling large numbers, the little stuff falls out. That's the value of a large sample.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2011 at 11:27PM
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moonspinner7

Portwest - I'm so plesed that you rec'd your new washer and dryer, and are happy with them. May they give you many years of happiness!

    Bookmark   May 15, 2011 at 3:07PM
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