top loader questions

wannaknow1April 20, 2013

My Calypso 3.5 cubic foot washing machine died after 12+ years of service. I want a top loader, probably a HE. I have been researching and looking at washing machines, as well as reading through GardenWeb Laundry opinions, but still have questions.

1. The new king size machines that are over 4 cu. ft. sound great, but when I went to look at them at Sears, I found that I couldn't reach the bottom of the drum (I am 5 feet) in many. There was a GE that was wider, and the bottom was higher than the others. Has this been the experience of any other vertically challenged people?

2. There are tons of options on the machines that are 4+ cu ft. Those options suggest that you should be doing a lot more loads than we usually do. If you break everything down to sports clothes, sheets, bedding, etc., then it seems you would almost never need the extra capacity machine, and it would be overkill. We usually do a separate whites (only need to do it every 2 weeks), towels, delicates for blouses and sweaters, and combine socks, pants, jeans, my husband's cotton shirts, sweatshirts, pajamas, sheets and any other colors. That is maybe 4-5 loads a week for our family of three (daughter in her 20's). Has anyone opted for the approximately 3.5 cu. ft. machines and found them to be sufficient for their needs, both in terms of size and options?

3. Is it worthwhile to pay for the extra size machine instead of just going to a laundromat once a year to clean down a queen sized blanket or comforter? I have washed and dried twin size down comforters at home in the 3.5 cu. ft. Calypso. Is that still possible with the new energy efficient machines that use less water?

4. Are the patterns on the drums on some of the machines meant to mimic the Miele honey-comb drum which is supposed to be gentler on the clothes? Do you find them to make a difference from the drums that just have the water holes and are otherwise flat?

5. I have read complaints here about the top loading machines tangling and even tearing clothes.However, it is not clear to me if the writers are speaking about machines with full-size tall agitators. The HE machines seem to use the low agitators, such as I am used to with the Calypso. Do the smaller and flatter agitators also tangle and/or rip the clothes?

6. Tangling, according to the responses, seems to be a function of using the higher spin speeds. I know you want a slow speed with delicates. What are the best spin speeds for a normal load - moderate? Does that still extract enough water, yet not set wrinkles in shirts? (I normally dry shirts and pants for about 10 minutes to take out the wrinkles, but take them out so they don't shrink.)

7. I am not clear what is the difference in the motors, nor what would be a better choice, such as direct drive, or something else.

8. Do all the HE machines have a stainless steel drum? I don't see the type listed on some websites. I would hope that they would be stainless steel, but I don't want to assume anything.

Thanks in advance!

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Just out of curiosity, why did you decide on a another top loader instead of a front loader?

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 5:19PM
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I will not attempt all your questions, but will comment on the ones that I feel qualified to provide my opinion.

1. The new king size machines that are over 4 cu. ft. sound great, but when I went to look at them at Sears, I found that I couldn't reach the bottom of the drum...

I'm also five feet and can reach the bottom of my Maytag Bravos. The tub revolves, this makes it easier to reach the bottom.

2. Has anyone opted for the approximately 3.5 cu. ft. machines and found them to be sufficient for their needs, both in terms of size and options?

For a family of 3, maybe soon to be 2, I would think a 3.5 machine would be adequate. Concentrate on choosing a machine that has the features, cycles, dispensers, etc. that work for your laundry.

3. Is it worthwhile to pay for the extra size machine instead of just going to a laundromat once a year to clean down a queen sized blanket or comforter?

Pay more for a machine that can do one special load a year? Not worth the cost, IMO.

5. I have read complaints here about the top loading machines tangling and even tearing clothes.

If I put the maximum amount of clothing into a single load, the arms and legs of items seem to get tangled. I always select slow spin. Not fully filling the tub with clothing minimizes the tangling.

6. Tangling, according to the responses, seems to be a function of using the higher spin speeds... Does [slower spin speed] still extract enough water, yet not set wrinkles in shirts? (I normally dry shirts and pants for about 10 minutes to take out the wrinkles, but take them out so they don't shrink.)

On my Bravos I nearly always use the low speed for spin and it actually leaves my clothing too dry. I dry clothing items for 2-3 minutes to de-wrinkle, then hang to dry. I often have to use a spray bottle of plain water to dampen clothing before drying, this helps eliminate wrinkles entirely.

8. Do all the HE machines have a stainless steel drum?

My Bravos has a stainless steel drum, I cannot comment on other brands. This is a feature I would definitely want in any future washer I would buy.

One final comment, you didn't ask a question about an onboard heater. I love the heater on my Bravos and wouldn't consider a machine without that feature. It seems that only the top models have a heater. It's essential on the Energy Star machines that don't provide truly hot or even warm water.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 5:54PM
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Richard, The front loaders take longer to wash; you have to buy a base (about $250 more) and you can't open it once it has started I am the type who might drop a sock or want to add one more thing five minutes later). I have considered them, and I won't say I am totally committed to a top loader, but I am definitely leaning in that direction. I looked online at the Miele and saw that although it might last twice as long as others (front or top load), it cost over three times as much, and people on GardenWeb were suggesting that sometimes they last only fifteen years. Even though it may be a Rolls Royce, I find it hard in my mind to justify that kind of expense. Also, it seemed that some of their washes could take two hours - tough for someone who is working and away from home over 12 hours a day. I am open to your thoughts, since it seems you prefer the front loader.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 6:25PM
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Thank you Dianne for somethings to think about. I pretty much filled up (loosely, not packed) the Calypso (which by the way is a Kenmore Elite King Size, but still is 3.5 cu ft I think), so maybe I should think about the 4 cu ft ones, which will leave more room for less tangling.

It seems so strange to have things SO dry you have to dampen them again for the dryer!

I looked at the Speed Queen website, and all of their washers are 3.3 cu ft. I didn't necessarily want to go down in size, even if it is pretty close to what I have now, since I want the ability to do a twin size down comforter. I would have consdered a Speed Queen since that seems to come up as a top name here over and over.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 6:35PM
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Wannaknow1, I'm glad you took my question in the spirit it was offered and not as some sort of negative commentary on your preferences. The 15 year life span you mentioned probably came from one of my posts here. I just replaced a 15 year old Miele front loader when the motor failed. I seriously considered repairing it since it was the first problem we ever had with it, but the repair would have cost about 40% of the cost of a new unit. Like all appliance companies, Miele prices big parts high because they'd rather have you buy a new one. And I think even 15 years is pretty good, considering that we're a family of 4 that does 8 to 10 loads a week.

When I realized that we'd need a new unit the first thing I did was look at Consumer Reports on line, and I was also shocked at how long cycle times had become for most front loaders. Most mornings I go running and then do a small to medium sized load while I shower and eat and I don't have time to wait an hour and forty minutes for a cycle!

So I downloaded the manual for the new Miele I was considering and then called their tech support number to ask them about cycle times, which turned out to much shorter than I expected. Now that I've had the new unit, a W3033, for a few days I know that I can do a "Regular" cycle in 66 minutes, which is about a 45 minute wash cycle with the rest of the time for rinsing and spinning. That's a long enough cycle to get even very dirty clothes clean. I can also do an "Express" cycle in 31 minutes, which is about half wash cycle and half rinsing and spinning. A handwash/delicates cycle is 39 minutes. The regular cycle is plenty fast enough for running on weekends or in the evening while the we're having dinner.

The Express cycle is fine for things like my running clothes, which are just sweaty. It's also fine for items like the kids PJ's which aren't really dirty, but could be freshened up a bit. Front loaders spin faster than top loaders,so they extract more water and clothes spend less time in the dryer. My old Miele spun at 1600 RPM, the new one does 2000 RPM. My very thick Lands End bath sheets dry in 15 to 20 minutes in my gas dryer, even with a couple of pairs of blue jeans added.

Front loaders are also much easier on your clothes than top loaders. I have some fairly expensive dress shirts and the ones that are 3-5 years old are hard to tell from the new ones. They use far less water, which saves on both the water itself and the cost of heating it, and there are big energy savings from the reduced drying times.

There's no question that the Mieles are a premium priced product. I'm an engineering/technical type person and the Mieles are just so well built and flexible that I find them a pleasure to use. I don't smoke or drink or have expensive hobbies, so I treat myself with high end appliances. Hey, it beats a lot of other vices. :)

There's also the fact that the old Miele performed flawlessly for 15 years before the motor went. This forum is filled with threads like "Don't buy a Samsung" or threads about companies that sold defective products and wouldn't stand behind them. You won't find any threads like that about Miele. That's worth something to me too.

I'll also echo what Diana said about the on board heater. Maintaining the correct temperatures is absolutely critical for good cleaning performance. Good luck with whatever you choose, and of course I'd be happy to answer any other questions you might have.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 7:57PM
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The spin cycle cannot tangle your clothes. It just presses them against the drum, squeezing out the water. It's the agitation portion of a cycle that can cause tangling.Tangling can occur in every washer. High spin speeds produce wrinkled laundry, that is true.

LG's HE top loaders have all-stainless tubs, GE, Whirlpool/Maytag, Fisher&Paykel have plastic infusors/impellers in the base and Samsung offers both options. Only the Frigidaire HE has a plastic tub.

Many HE top loaders use a Direct Drive, some still belts. Nothing wrong with either.

The design of the drum doesn't affect cleaning performance much if all. Some manufacturers say that the smaller holes prevent fabric strings from being pulled through the drum during spin and that the surface structure channels water faster out of the drum during the spin cycles (both claims are for Samsung's Diamond Drum) but these claims are debatable.

HE top loaders are somewhat rougher on clothes. A front loader lifts and rolls clothes around, a traditional top loader moves clothes floating in water, a HE top loader tries to push and pull clothes from the bottom of a heavy and wet heap to the top.

Personally, I'd rather go with a slightly smaller machine that does a load in 35 minutes (*cough Speed Queen *cough*) on a cycle tailored to the load's needs than dumping everything in at once on Normal and get so-so results.

BTW: a simple press on the Pause button will unlock almost any front loader instantly - unless it's 150°F in there or spinning, of course.

@ Richard, I doubt your Miele does 2.000 RPM - unless you played with its hidden service menu. ;-) The only Miele that, officially, went up to that speed was the Navitronic and you had to call customer service to reprogram* the washer (* meaning someone would come out, press a few buttons in said menu and charge you for it...).


    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 10:26PM
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you have to buy a base (about $250 more) It's absolutely not necessary to place frontloaders on pedestal bases ... pedestals are an option for consumers who want them. you can't open it once it has started I am the type who might drop a sock or want to add one more thing five minutes later) Also incorrect for the most part. Majority of units do allow pausing the cycle and will unlock the door for a period of several minutes into the run. In some cases there's an "Add Garment" light or some such indication during the requisite period ... but the door may unlock even if the light isn't lit. The machine may pause but the door not unlock on some cycles that fill to a higher level (delicate or woolen cycles, for example) to avoid spilling water out the door. Also it won't unlock on high-heat Sanitary cycles once the water reaches a temp that could cause scalding. Either way, a cycle in progress can be canceled completely if the need arises, usually by pressing the pause button twice or pressing a Power Off button, as the case may be.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 11:00PM
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Thanks Alex and Dadoes. I figured if you open a front loader after it began, then water would come out. Dadoes, I misspoke when I said you must buy a base. I understand that it is not compulsory, but practically speaking, I would not buy a front loader without one. I was just looking at the Miele website, and they have two photos of people nearly on their knees. (Here is one: I know that would not work for me. I have an old Kenmore Elite dryer with the base, but have read that you cannot use a pedestal with another model or manufacturer.

Alex, thank you for much useful information. You make it sound like a HE top loader works the hardest as it "TRIES to push and pull clothes from the bottom of a heavy and wet heap to the top."
Do you think a 3.3 cu ft Speed Queen could handle a twin down comforter? I did not think there is anything wrong with a plastic infusor/impeller; I thought that if the drum itself were made of a material that could chip and rust (such as enamel) then that should be avoided. Do you see a drawback to the plastic infusor/impeller? Do you think it might not hold up over time? Thanks for clarifying on direct drive vs belts, spin cycles vs agitators and tangling, and design of the drums.
All in all, very helpful info, even though it has to be digested and used to evaluate the various brands.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 1:33AM
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Richard, Thank you. Of course you have made me go back and look at the Miele website again. I'm not sure why, but I thought their washing machines were $3400. I see the one you selected in about $2000. Although expensive, it is a lot more justifiable when you realize that some of the HE top loaders are $1200 - $1600 list price. I live within an hour of their Princeton headquarters and wish they had an outlet for machines that have a scratch or cosmetic defect.

I see the size of the W3033 is 2.52 cu ft. I took a quick look through the threads and many feel this to be small, a minus especially when there are long wash cycles. Am I correct in assuming that it would NOT take a twin down comforter? Do you think you would only be able to fit only 10 -15 shirts or only one set of sheets (sheet, top sheet, pillowcases) from each bed at a time? Did you consider a larger size? Why did you end up choosing this model?

Could you please explain more about your statement : "Maintaining the correct temperatures is absolutely critical for good cleaning performance."? I will probably draw a lot of condescending criticism, but I am not sure I understand what "correct temperatures" means. We have a lot of Lands End and LL Bean clothes. One says mostly to wash their clothes in warm water while the other says to use cold. I don't want to separate Lands End shirts from LL Bean shirts, so I end up doing them all on cold. ('Tap Cold' is a choice on the Calypso, so I use that during the warmer months.) We also have the Lands End bath sheets, and it is stunning to consider them being dry in 15 - 20 minutes. We have an electric dryer, since the houses in the development were built without without gas during the gas moratorium in the 1970's.

Did I understand the Mieles to be NON-energy regulation compliant? If that is so, I assume it is because they use more water and heat it higher than other manufacturers. It seems strange that they would still save money.

Since the Mieles have high spin speeds, can you comment on Alex's posting that says "High spin speeds produce wrinkled laundry, that is true." ? I am not looking to create an argument between the two of you. I just wonder what you have found in your experience as a Miele owner.

Also, do you find it unusual that they have no 'towels' setting, but there is a program to remove sand from towels? It doesn't sound like a program I would ever use.

Thanks for your patience.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 2:43AM
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It is my impression that it takes a good amount of mechanical force to move clothes in a HE top loader. I think ConsumerReports as well as have said that the HE top loaders aren't particularly gentle. There's just something about it that, to me, makes it look like there's a lot of action going on down there on the impeller: Samsung, F&P.

How wrinkled clothes are also comes down to user expectations. I run my Duet on the highest spin speed for all loads but shirts and delicate stuff. The dryer takes the wrinkles out and I fold items like jeans so any remaining wrinkles disappear as they are stacked (and thus slightly compressed) in the closet.

I suppose a plastic impeller can be more easily scratched by items like zippers creating a potential spot for clothes to become damaged. That's why zippers should always be closed - in any washer, though.

Drum size: I posted a couple of pictures in this thread regarding the capacity of Euro washers. The duvet covers are 53 x 79 inches, pillow cases 31 x 31 inches. There are four sets in this old 1.8 cu.ft. Bosch.

And here's a Speed Queen with a comforter.

RE: temperature. Many washers, these days, won't go above 80 to 90F for a warm wash and people all over the internet are complaining about too cool washes in their machines. This is particularly bad with top loaders as even the HE units use more water than front loaders. More water = worse Energy Star rating = manufacturers cutting back on warm water use even more. A heater *can* help to avoid this problem, if you select a cycle that uses it. On top loaders (besides the TOL Whirlpool/Maytag units) that would usually only be the sanitary cycle.

RE: towels cycle. I don't think all those specialty cycles are too helpful. It seems they are all variations of the Normal cycle: Heavy Duty = Normal + highest soil level, Whites Whites = Normal + hot wash + extra rinse and so forth...


    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 6:26AM
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Having had opportunity recently to use, for the first time ever, a frontloader for several months ... I would absolutely choose a frontloader over an HE toploader (with the sole exception being a Whirlpool or Kenmore Calypso HE toploader, which are no longer on the market).

HE toploaders must fight with their impellers to circulate and roll the "heavy" saturated-wet clothes against gravity pulling the items down to bottom of the drum. That can result in a lot of friction of the items rubbing against the impeller.

Frontloaders by nature are ideal for the HE low-water washing process. Gravity again pulls the items down to bottom of the drum, but the entire drum turns and the drum baffles gently pick up the items and they flop down against the drum surface to "splat" the soil loose. Delicate cycles fill higher for more of a floating effect and to cushion the "splatting" effect. To be sure, there is some friction of the items against each other (which is why it's important to run items such as knits, which may pill from from the rubbing, on a delicate cycle) but it's reasonably less intense than the whirling toploader impeller.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 7:00AM
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@ Alex - you busted me. I used the machines program mode to change the default spin speed to 2000 RPM. The youtube video linked below shows how to do it and cycles through all of the options. This is very instructive for anyone considering the W3030 series as it shows just how configurable the machine is.

Getting it into program mode is not quite as easy as it looks in the video. I had to get the tech support guy at Miele to walk me through it. Here's what you have to do:

- Close the door and power off the unit
- hold the start button down and hit power on, then quickly let go of both buttons
- press start 5 times and on the 5th press hold down until program mode comes up

This all has to be done fairly quickly. If you pause too long anywhere in the sequence it won't work.

The same youtube poster has a lot of other W3033 videos posted, including one of the Express cycle that shows how the Master Care settings menu works and the options it gives you.

Here is a link that might be useful: W3033 Program mode demonstration

This post was edited by richard_f on Sun, Apr 21, 13 at 7:42

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 7:36AM
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@Wannaknow1, in no particular order, here are my responses to your questions. By the way, can you share your first name? It would just make the conversation easier.

I have the stand/base too. It makes the unit much easier to load and unload and puts the controls at a much better height. The stand I bought for my W1926 in 1998 fits perfectly under the W3033.

Another shock I had when I looked at CR was how expensive other brands had become. I paid 2,000 USD for my W1926 in 1998 and 1,950 USD for the W3033 now. That included delivery, setup and removal of the old washer. Back in 1998 though front loaders were just coming into the US market and most of the washing machines available were between 400 and 800 USD. With other high end machines between 1200 and 1500 USD the Miele is not as off the charts pricey as it used to be.

Regarding capacity, they are smaller than a lot of other choices but probably not as small as you think. If you're used to doing 2 or 3 really big loads a week you will have to adjust to doing more loads. As Alex points out, though you'll get better results if you fine tune the settings to the smaller loads. I've attached a picture of a pile of laundry on the floor. In my next post I'll add a picture of the same pile of laundry in the drum of the W3033. I put a sandal next to the pile to help give you an idea of the scale. The sandal is a size 12.

It holds more than you might think given the 2.52 cubic foot rating. It would easily load 15 dress shirts. I'll try a Queen size comforter later, but I think that will fit too. You can fill the front loader fairly full since the clothes will tamp down considerably once they're wet. There's also no agitator taking up space.

[EDIT] I tried the queen sized comforter, and it fits, but you would have to wash it as a single item. And we did think about bigger machines, but I decided that I'd rather change my laundry routine than buy a lower quality machine.

On top of the clothes you'll see the EnergyGuide card for the W3033. It's energy star rated, 139 kWh estimated annual power use and a $15 annual operating cost with an electric heater, $11 if you have a gas water heater.

Regarding the on board heater, what it does is help maintain whatever temperature you need for a particular cycle. Let's say you want a warm or hot cycle. When the washer first starts to fill you get the room temperature water that's sitting in the pipe between your water heater and the washer. Then the hot water hits a room temperature steel drum. Then the water continues to cool due to conductive heat losses to the clothes and drum and tub of the washer.

The result is an ever declining water temperature. A washer with an on board heater will make up for these losses and keep the water at a constant temperature.

Warm on my old W1926 was 105 degrees F and very warm was 120 degrees F. I'm fairly sure the W3033 keeps the same temperatures for those settings.

As to spin speeds and wrinkling, one new feature on the M3033 that doesn't seem to be in the manual is this. After a cycle is done, the drum does a a quarter turn every few seconds while the display shows "crease prevention" as the mode. I assume this is to prevent the clothes from sitting in the same positions, with the same folds to help minimize wrinkling. I've found that if I take things like dress shirts out of the dryer while they're still warm and hang them up the wrinkling is minimal.

I hope I've covered everything. See the next post for the picture of that laundry pile (less my toes) in the W3033 with the drum light on.

I love the drum light. :)

This post was edited by richard_f on Sun, Apr 21, 13 at 10:32

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 8:32AM
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Here's the same pile of clothes in the W3033. It's a little less than half full. I'd try the queen sized comforter, but my wife is still asleep.

The best way to get a feel for the capacity is to find a Miele dealer who has one on the showroom floor and bring a couple of trash bags full of clothes, towels, etc to the store and try loading them.

This post was edited by richard_f on Sun, Apr 21, 13 at 8:41

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 8:34AM
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I can do a full size down comforter in my Speed Queen. No problem with queen blankets or quilts either. I can not fit in a king size comforter.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 10:33AM
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Hi, I am Rebecca

Dadoes, I thought it ironic that you would take a Whirlpool or Kenmore Calypso HE toploader (which is what we have) because so many had problems with them. You guys are making a very convincing case against the HE toploaders.

Thanks Casisowner for the Speed Queen capacity info.

Alex, thanks for the links and the photos. A queen mattress is 60 x 80, just about the same as your duvet cover size, except the duvet would be a double thickness? It is incredible to think about getting 4 of those into a 1.8 cu ft Bosch.You are right, I don't need a 'towels' setting when I now do them as a normal load. On the Calypso I would do non-delicate shirts as 'jeans/colors' instead of normal since it is supposed to be kinder to the fabrics instead of fading them. I see a delicate cycle on many of the new machines, but not too many that have the Calypso's 'ultra hand wash' setting that I have used.

How full should you optimally load a FL? It is encouraging to know the Miele would easily do 15 dress shirts.

Interstingly, the Calypso in the last minute of the wash would move the agitator floor gently so that the clothes would fall from the walls back to the bottom of the machine, somewhat fluffed up. I think this was to help getting out wrinkles and reducing tangling. It is best to get the laundry out just as it finishes, before it compresses again. That sounds like the same idea as the crease prevention feature.

Richard, Thanks for trying the queen size comforter. Are you suggesting it would be better to do an LL Bean laundry and a Lands End laundry because one should be a cold wash while the other one a warm cycle? Thanks for the photos - they are helpful. Do you have any idea how your dirty clothes would translate to something like a Rubbermaid 1.6 bushel basket (Basket - 1.6 bu: (#2965) Size: 10.88" x 22.5" x 16.47" ) ? I have to admit that seeing the first photo was scary - it looked like a very small pile, maybe 3 pair of pants and a few smaller things.

I stopped by Home Depot today and saw 3.5 cu ft front loaders, and I wasn't sure they could handle a twin down comforter. They seemed small. I know in the end the best thing would be to take samples and try them in the machines as Richard (and others) have suggested.

I see NJ has a $50 rebate for anyone in the state who gets a new washer that meets their standards. The W303 qualified. Other than that, it seems from postings that you can expect to pay full price. I assume rebates from Miele are few and far between. Did you take the extended 5 year warranty for $249? What happens after that? It seems strange that they don't or no longer give a long warranty, as if their quality had deteriorated. Do they come out every year and do an inspection/'tune-up'/ cleaning like some other brands? (I know Sears has done that.)

The stand (WTS410) should be the same price no matter where you look? Fortunately you didn't have to replace your old one. Do you find it deep enough to keep anything?

If you keep the door open, does the light remain on? (I would suppose the answer is 'no.') Do you ever have to clean the drum in a cycle if you keep the door open?

This post was edited by wannaknow1 on Mon, Apr 22, 13 at 0:23

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 12:17AM
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Greetings, Rebecca.

I have a Whirlpool Calypso. Bought it used at a garage sale, refurbished it and have been using it since as my "daily driver" washer for 5 years. It's a great machine. The only thing that would make it better is an on-board water heater to boost/maintain the temperature and provide for a sanitary-type cycle. Calypso's continuous water recirculation keeps the load effectively saturated throughout the wash & rinse periods and the bouncing wash action is completely different than the impeller rollover action of current HE machines. As you may know, Calypso was the first HE toploader on the market. Yes, they had some problems but Whirlpool made numerous engineering changes throughout production to deal with that .. and much of the notorious consumer dissatisfaction was due to misunderstanding and misuse of the machine.

The Calypso's fluff period at end of the cycle is mostly to loosen the items from the drum for user unloading convenience.

As I said, being that Calypsos are no longer sold (except on the used market), I would choose a frontloader (*with* onboard water heating!) if buying a new washer.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 8:01AM
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Rebecca, a 3.5 cf front loader should easily take a twin down comforter. I had a 3.6 cf FL LG and had no issue at all washing a queen size down comforter in it.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 10:35AM
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Max load capacity also depends on the cycle length. Example: I wouldn't stuff a Speed Queen with its 40 minute cycle but I can easily stuff my Duet with its very long European cycles. This is a pretty full load of towels on a boil wash starting with very cold water from a well. As you can see, it takes its sweet time. Anyway, if you fast-forward three minutes into the video, you'll see how much tumbling space there still was once the load became saturated.

For a "Normal" cycle, I'd load the tub loosely to the top. Less with bulky items like jeans or delicate items, of course.

Here is a link that might be useful: Full load

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 2:37PM
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Rebecca, I haven't taken the extended warranty but I am considering it. I have never seen their products discounted, but dealers can throw in free stuff, like mine did with the delivery, setup and old appliance removal. There's no annual tune up included, nor should you need one.

As to the capacity question, I don't have a laundry basket but we have a typical laundry hamper - it's 12"x18"x22". When that's full, it's a full load, give or take, for the W3033. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I've attached a picture of a full load, loosely packed in the W3033. The light blue dress shirt is a LE, and I have an 11 year old daughter who loves pink. :)

I'm not going to tell you that it's a high capacity washer. It's what most of the world considers a standard capacity washer, which makes it considerably smaller than what most Americans grew up with. It's not a washer you'd want on a working farm. For us, as a pretty typical suburban family of four it works fine, but it means we had to change our approach to laundry in terms of doing smaller loads more often. Given all of the pro's of the Miele in terms of quality, features and performance this seemed like a pretty minor trade off to make, and it's worked out fine for us. Most nights we do a load after dinner while we're watching the news or whatever and then do the drying and folding then or the next morning, and as I pointed out earlier, drying times are really much shorter than what you're used to with a top loader.

If you can't fit in doing a couple of loads during the week and have to do all of your laundry on the weekends then you need a bigger machine, and I'm sure there are plenty of good ones out there. That's the great thing about about a free market - lots of choices for consumers to meet different needs and preferences.

As to separating your LE and LLB clothes, you can certainly sort loads by temperature. I tend to wash most things in warm if it's a standard fabric even if the merchant recommends a cold water wash. Warm usually cleans better and when someone tells me to wash cotton in cold I suspect that they are just overly cautious and looking for a something to blame if the garment falls apart prematurely.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 8:18PM
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@ Alex - I had to go back into program mode and drop the max spin speed to 1700 RPM. I was getting excessive vibration and shaking at 2000 RPM, but it's rock solid at 1700.

You gotta love program mode.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 8:45PM
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2000 rpm will certainly void your warranty if Miele finds out. It's just for testing purposes at the factory.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 9:01AM
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Thanks for the heads up. I'll put it back to 1600 just to stay within the letter of the law. I get great water extraction at 1600 anyway.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 9:13AM
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Hi everyone, I have not fallen off the face of the earth. I am very grateful for all your time in those very full responses.

Dadoes, your 4/22/13 response was a real eye-opener. I had assumed that the HE top loaders were the same as the Calypso. I had no idea that the Calypso worked differently with continuous water recirculation and bouncing action and fluff at the end were any different than the impeller machines. You make me wonder if mine could be refurbished (I have no idea how to start or whether it is worthwhile to consider it - how long would it extend the machine's life?). Recently, things were getting stuck under the rubber gaskets on the bottom, and the gaskets were also curling. A bath mat got stuck awhile ago (before we knew the machine would die), and we had to have a serviceman come to free it because we could not wiggle it out. I have also gotten a down comforter stuck; fortunately I was able to wiggle that out myself, although after those two experiences, I stopped washing things that I knew were likely to get stuck. Your 4/21/13 response about fighting gravity makes a little more sense. Initially after reading it, I figured the Calypso also was fighting gravity, which is not as efficient as other ways in using the energy.

Richard, I have been struggling with your challenge that it is a minor but worthwhile change in our lifestyle to do a few more loads. I have gotten home between 8:15 and 9:15 every day this week, and I get up at 4:30 AM for work. I work in the city, and like you, live in the suburbs. I have done loads during the week (not THIS week!) before in order to lessen the amount necessary during the weekend. The difference is that it was my choice; with a MIele, it would be compulsory, especially with even the few extra minutes needed for the wash. I wish I could see us doing it your way, but it seems as though it would consistently involve more time and work than what we had before. I am glad you were able to make it work for you. You are obviously thrilled with it, and your enthusiasm is great. I would seriously consider a MIele that has a larger capacity (at least 3.5 cu ft), but is $1000 more than the other contenders. (I hope they are listening! I think they quickly would make up in the number of sales anything that they gave up to make it a more available machine.)

Whirlpool Trainee, what size Duet is that? You put so many towels in it on your video. I don't think I would have that many towels to wash even if I waited a month between loads. Nonetheless, it seems impressive. It is fortunate there is something that can handle your needs.

Now, I need everyone's help again. You've convinced me to get a front loader. What makes one better than or differentiates it from another? What should I be looking for on a well-made (ie one that will perform well and last) model? I now know one thing is an on-board water heater. Where would I need to look to see if something is made of plastic as opposed to metal? I would appreciate suggestions of name brands to consider. Is there anything that should tip us off NOT to buy that machine if it is present? I would like to have the option of a delay up to about 12 hours.

I am also wondering about the Kenmore / Kenmore Elite brand. Often theirs seems to be a copy of another manufacturer, seems to have more bells and whistles, yet is less expensive. I have been told by Sears salespeople when shopping for other appliances that theirs is made by the same manufacturer (as some other model), but they put the Kenmore name on it. If this is accurate, why do people often rate Kenmore lower? Is it just ignorance and some amount of snobbishness on their part?

Do you think these questions would do better with a new thread, and a different subject matter? Thanking you once more, in advance, for all your patience... Rebecca

This post was edited by wannaknow1 on Fri, Apr 26, 13 at 0:53

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 12:33AM
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I am a big bargain shopper and I rarely find that the Kenmore brand is cheaper than whatever brand actually made the appliance although I have not shopped at Sears recently. Since there is no way to price compare a Kenmore I find it is more expensive. Also, for those who like extended warranties, I find the Sears ones to be more expensive than a place like Lowes but I only buy them for certian things anyway.

As someone who has owned a GE Harmony TL w/o Agitator, I rarely use the heater and instead have just been very frustrated with how cold the water is unless I manipulate the water from my faucets. My tap water is hot yet this machine always includes a mix of cold and hot when filling even on a sani cycle! The poster who said the metal tub steals the heat from the water is correct, my prior machine (plastic tub with agitator) kept the wash water much hotter.

Not sure how big my Harmony is, maybe 4.3? but my 5 ft mother in law has no problems emptying it, and we have no problem washing 2 comforters at a time. Looking through the posts, I do remember that it used to wrinkle clothes but does not anymore so it must be something we started doing, not sure what, maybe not filling it too much?! I do not think it is particularly gentle on clothes and has ripped maybe 3 items over 5 years where I notice a problem. However I am not careful about placing clothes so I am not surprised. My clothes could be whiter but I always assumed it was due to certain family members not separting clothes they way they should despite numerous complaints from me! I was surprised to read that people believe it is the low water levels or temps in FL and HE TLs.

Now that the GE may be toast, I am really confused as to what to get. If money were not a consideration I would get the Speed Queen FL but I cannot justify $1700 or more! I would like to stay under 900 including delivery (lots of discounters in my area).So debating on SQ TL or a FL or HE TL

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 2:30AM
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I understand completely why you'd need a bigger machine. You really get home late. You mentioned that you're withing a hour of Princeton. Are you one of those brave souls who commutes from eastern PA to NYC? I'm in Westchester county NY, about 30 miles north of NYC.

I checked CR on line and found a recent article updating their most recent full report on washers and dryers (link below). You might want to use that as a starting point, find machines that meet your basic requirements and then look for discussion on them here. If you have access to CR on line you can also see the full report.

One quick check on build quality is door hinges. If they are sturdy and metal, that's good. If they're plastic or cheap looking metal that's a bad sign.

Here is a link that might be useful: CR Update Quiet Washers and Dryers

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 12:16PM
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I think you should take a serious look at the Duet. CR really liked the performance, they're 4.3 cubic feet capacity and there's a quick wash cycle option that according to CR was just 50 minutes. And Alex (whirlpool_trainee) has one.

I posted a link to the manufacturers product page, but I can't tell what separates the more expensive ones from the cheaper ones.

Here is a link that might be useful: Whirlpool Duet Product Page

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 8:01PM
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I live in Central NJ and commute to lower Manhattan. It is about 45 miles. I get to sleep a little over an hour on a commuter bus. I am not one of those brave souls, although I do work with someone who commutes from Allentown, PA, probably closer to twice the distance. He is the brave soul!

How is your new MIele? Did you take the extended warranty?

I looked at the Whirlpool Duet page. It does not have a hand wash setting, only delicate. That and a delay function are important to me. The Calypso had a delicate and a separate hand-wash setting.

After reading, late Saturday I decided I wanted the Electrolux Wave, EWFLS70JIW. Just about everything that I read about them here and the little I had time to read elsewhere was very good (except about the steam, which seemed to get mixed reviews). We went to Sears to see it. They didn't have it. It seems they no longer have samples of any type of Electrolux appliance. Since they had a sale of 15% off with your Sears card that was ending that night, I didn't want to wait to look around to find a place where we could actually see it, and lose the benefit from the sale. I took a chance (based on all of positive reviews) and ordered it. I don't usually do things like that! The man from Sears said I could cancel if I wanted, since they couldn't deliver it until 8 days later.

Today (Sunday) I went to a Lowe's that had a washer from their 55 IQ-Touch series (EIFLS55I). The dispenser was missing a part and broken so that it would not stay closed.They didn't have a 70 (Wave) one. Neither Best Buy nor Home Depot had one on display either. There is what seems to be a small shop/individually owned store about 25 minutes away that might carry it, but they are not open on Sundays.I got the pedastal and 5 year warranty. I told my husband that if it went bad in a few years (from not being built like they used to be) then I would definitely consider a MIele.

The things I have read said that Electrolux has worked the problems out of the initial IQ-Touch and Wave series. Yet, I thought I have read reviews going back to 2010. Also postings said Electrolux was going to have new machines in 2013 to be compliant with the newest regulations. I get the feeling that this isn't their new machine, which is fine with me, because I would prefer one that has had time to have corrections instituted. Yet, I have read things that said the capacity is 5.1 cu ft, whereas their website says it is 4.4 cu ft. (4.4 cu ft is more than fine!) Maybe Alex (Whirlpool_Trainee) can help me understand these things.

If Dadoes is still following this,what do you say about refurbishing the old Calypso? Who would do it, and how would you find them? As it stands now, Sears will take it away next Sunday.

For everyone, I can't thank you for all of your help, and your patient explanations that made all the difference.

Do you know of anything that explains which water settings to use for various fabrics? I had told you that I had used cold for everything but whites. I am willing to try other temperatures.

Does anyone know why Sears stopped displaying Electrolux appliances?

My husband wants to know how the new machines (especially front loaders) save money if their wash cycles are longer? Also, how do they save money if you end up doing more loads by dividing the colors into a cold wash and another into a warm wash (LLBean vs Lands End)?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 1:52AM
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Rebecca - I'm glad you found a machine you think will work for you.

The Miele is terrific and I plan on writing a post soon comparing it to the old one. There have been a number of improvement so I'm glad we replaced the old one.

The FL's save money because they only use 20-30% of the water the old ones did. So you spend less on the water, less on heating the water and use less energy turning the drum. There's also a huge saving in reduced energy use by the dryer due to the fact that FL's do so much better extracting water during the spin cycle.

I don't wash anything in cold, so I don't divide my loads that way. What's the difference between a hand wash and a delicates cycle?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 6:38AM
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Depends on the design and programming of a given frontloader as to what are the variations between cycles. Typically a handwash cycle is gentler, perhaps longer pauses between drum tumbles, shorter tumbling rhythm (maybe just one or two rotations at a time to flip the items over), or perhaps even a rocking motion instead of a full rotations, or variations thereof.

A 6-years-old Duet I used for a few months recently had choice of Sanitary (heated to 153°F), Heavy Duty (booster heating), Whitest Whites (shorter wash times than Heavy, booster heating, extra rinse by default), Normal/Casual (equivalent to Normal/Perm Press), Active Wear, Delicate/Handwash, Silk, Woolens, Soak, Rinse/Spin, Drain/Spin. Silk & Woolen being the same other than Silk does not run the final spin. Soak Cycle being a stand-alone soak/spin/shut-off vs. the Auto Soak option that adds a soak period to a selected cycle. Also a Prewash option (Soak Cycle, Auto Soak, & Prewash are mutually-exclusive).

Depends on what's all wrong with your Calypso, which I can't diagnose without hands-on access. At the least sounds like it needs u-joint kit, maybe a wash plate. A problem that sometimes occurs (happened in my case) is that the cast-aluminum hub that's factory-clamped/mounted to the stainless steel inner drum tends to corrode over time (like a spider on a frontloader) and may break loose when the machine is disassembled/reassembled, necessitating replacement of the drum (NOT the outer tub). There may be a "lifetime" warranty on the stainless steel drum, but lifetime is defined by Whirlpool and parts availability, and the specific terms of your warranty. Been a couple years since I last checked availability and current prices. Any appliance service should be able to do the job ... but the thing is the Calypso is so (mostly unfairly) reviled that most services won't deal with them. Also be warned that part$ are expen$ive. I actually have two Calypsos and a stash of (some) spare parts. One machine is in-use, the other is itself a spare that needs refurbishing.

The only items I wash in cold are the few things that may shrink or bleed badly, such as an array of cotton t-shirts I have in black or red fabric with decals or silk-screening ... and even those I usually run at 80°F to 90°F rather than "pure" tap-cold.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 7:19AM
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The Calypso had these 3 (amongst other) cycles; the following is the text under the machine cover:

Delicate/Casual: For fabrics blends, garments indicating "gentle" cycle on the care label. Keeps colored items like golf shirts, cotton sweaters and wrinkle-resistant clothes looking new and uses a slower spin to prevent wrinkles from setting.

Ultra Handwash: For garments indicating "hand wash" on the care label. Gently cleans fine washables like lingerie and sweaters.

Wool/Silk: For many washable items normally dry-cleaned. Gently cleans items such as wool, sweaters and silk blouses .

I have used the Delicates on shirts and blouses that said to wash in the gentle cycle. I have used the Ultra Handwash for stockings, bras and sweaters and vests. I might use the Wool/Silk for a wool sweater, with Woolite.

I noticed they were not under the machine covers when I was initially looking at top loaders, and I was surprised, because I think it is a great place to put a summary and cheat sheet.

Thanks for the overview of why the front loaders save money. I will show it to my husband(who is much wiser than I and knows that people should be sleeping after midnight!). I keep forgetting that you have told me the clothes come out of the washer more dry, lessening the drying time.

Sapphire, I hope you find something satisfactory. This researching is a lot of work! I think the Sears Elite washing machine is made by Electrolux. I believe that I read that, but also seeing the way things are arranged seems to be the same as the Electrolux. In the past, the high end Sears models had the bells and whistles (and maybe some additional features that were unique to that model) of the brand name that made it for them, but it was not as expensive as the brand name. However, the Elite did not have the hand wash setting, and so I went with the Electrolux.

I also think that you are supposed to load the HE TL's carefully, around, but NOT IN the center. See a link below to a video (beginning 1:05 in through 1:30). I was used to taking the laundry basket and turning it upside down. I'm nor certain this applies to all, but I thought I had seen that suggestion more than once.

Dadoes, thanks for the specifics. Some manufacturers (such as LL Bean) say on their labels to use cold water. I have noticed this also on many of my daughter's tee shirts. I see that you like using the warm settings. How do you feel about jeans or many tee shirts that are not pre-shrunk and tend to shrink initially if you don't wash them on cold (at least the first few times)? Do you find they shrink when you wash them on warm? Do you think the majority of tee shirts are decals or silk-screened? I don't like the decal shirts that seem to be ironed on by the manufacturer because they make the shirt stiff, heavy and not breathable.

Here is a link that might be useful: How High Efficiency Top Load Washer Work

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 1:27AM
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Rebecca, it took the EPA many years before they started giving FL's energy saving "credit" for the greatly reduced drying times. That's one big reason why my yellow energy star lable (in photo earlier) lists the annual energy cost at only $15. So you're not the only one who finds it hard to remember.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 10:28AM
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The WaveTouch has a real capacity of 4.4 cu.ft. The larger number is an older system that tried to help people compare FL capacity to TL capacity including the space the agitator would take up.

Wouldn't worry too much about temps. These days, most washers try to be super-efficient by reducing temps to the absolute minimum. Usually, a little below body temp is considered warm by many manufacturers. If items don't shrink on your body or when exposed to warm sunlight... don't worry too much about the warm setting. It is the tumbling action, too much of it, that actually causes most of the damage that can be done to textiles when washing.


    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 10:47AM
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This is my opinion here.....Ive had a front loading washer for 10 yrs.....loved it!!!! but when it came to replace it, I didnt want to buy pedistals again and if I didnt use them, Id kill my back as I am a male at 6'1". I went with a HE TL....which in the begining was a very good machine till it showed its butt. I had a LG Wave force....which in the end, had issues with balancing loads, unless the machine was packed full to its capacity. Then it started ripping sheets for some unknown reason. I went through the drum with a pair of panty hose to check for sharp edges. It also had drain pump failure....oh the water drained all right, right on my floor. Lg was of no help with the ripped sheets proplem. So I went out and bought a true old fashion washer...Speed queen....LOVE IT. I have used my brothers Samsung HE TL.....HATE it...uses too little water to clean anything. I used my friends Maytag 950 Bravos....cant balance a set of king size sheets or blanket (washed seperatetly) to save its life... Though i do like the Heater button, which takes cold water to 70 degrees, yes I measured it. and increases the warm and hot water too. Hot water is not smoking hot, around 120. Sanitary cycle was dissapointing at 130 so scrap that machine. If I was looking any HE machine, stick with a front loader...bottom line.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 3:30PM
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You may have never seen your Calypso operate since it doesn't run with the lid open. There are a few vids of them on YouTube. Compare it to the Bravos you linked above. See the continuous water recirculation/shower and the bouncing/rolling action.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kenmore Calypso washing

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 6:10PM
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What is the difference between the Wave and the lower models Electrolux has? Is it just more cycles (not something I care about) or is the more exensive machine fundamentally different?

Also did you look at the Speed Queen Frontloader?


    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 6:35AM
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HI Sapphire,

I did not look at the Speed Queen Frontloader.

I am no expert on the differences between the Wave-Touch and the IQ-Touch. Electrolux has one Wave (the 70) and three IQ (models 50, 55, 60). You can see differences on their website by clicking on the four machines in white, and comparing them. I believe that you can also see the manuals for each by clicking on the individual model. The list price increases by $100 for each of the IQ models and then by $150 for the Wave.

These links (from people much more astute than I am) each offer something different to consider, and are helpful; most are from GW Laundry Forum. The list is not exhaustive, but a good place to start. I don't know if or how you can post more than one link, so I have put them here (roughly in reverse date order) with the initial title and the dates the threads were active. If you find any others, please let me know!
A You Tube explanation from a store sales rep, and his amendment from Jan and Feb 2012.
existing owners of elux washer/dryer iq touch and wave touch... (from Aug 2011 - June 2012)
Any new opinions about Electrolux Wave washer/ dryer? (July - Aug 2011). See a list of the differences posted by jmith on 8/14/1 and note the recommendation of silvercanadian on 8/14 to "download the user guides for both the Wave-Touch and the IQ-Touch and read the sections on the different cycles/options."
Electrolux Wave Touch or IQ? (Jan 2010 - Feb. 2011)
Electrolux IQ Touch pair first impressions (July 2010).

There was also something intersting on eHow on 'How to Self-Clean an Electrolux Washer Basin.'

Finally, a worthwhile reminder from Richard last month on something I never thought about: using a surge protector:
I saw four more threads on that topic when I searched for 'Surge Protectors and GW Laundry Forum. I haven't had a chance to read these yet.

Hope that this is helpful.

This post was edited by wannaknow1 on Fri, May 3, 13 at 10:56

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 10:49AM
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Thanks. Great links

I think I am ok with the IQ60. I like the idea that the buttons are visible. I have a few people in my house who do not follow instructions well, so with my dryer I just mark off where the knob needs to be turned. I like that I can do that with the IQ but not the wave.

The max fill was important to me so I am happy the IQ 60 has it. A store near me is having a big sale on both the 55 and 60 but stock on the 60 is low. No sales on the Wave so would be almost double. If I cannot geta 60 then I can live with the 55 w/steam (some 55s have it and some do not) but I like the idea of adding water. Seems strange that the 60 does not have a hand wash cycle and the 55 does

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 11:44PM
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Ordered the IQ 60 over the weekend. Got a new one as a clearance for under $750 so I am happy! I guess they are making way for the new models!

Thanks for the informative posts Wannaknow, it did help make my decision. Also, two of my friends got this machine in December. One is happy and one is ecstatic! We will see when it arrives on Wednesday

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 1:03AM
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Couple of things, 1) HE top loaders 'act' like front loaders, wash times maybe just as long especially useing sanitize cycle, were you heting water to 160 degrees with 110. Direct driver motors is a must for HW top loaders. Belt will slip with heavy loads( on belt motor machines) thus will effect cleaning preformance.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 10:43PM
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I don't agree tjmwine with your statement about the belt slipping in an HE tl washer. Owned a Maytag Bravos for just over 2 years. The model was the 700X. I washed some heavy loads and I don't recall the belt ever slipping. The machine actually cleaned very well when loaded properly. I think you are right though about DD being better for a HE top loader. They seem to roll the loads faster than the belt drives. No doubt the DD motor is more powerful

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 7:52PM
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