top loader questions
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!