Why are Asko and Miele washer/dryer reviews so polarized?

studio460May 30, 2013

We're in the process of remodeling the "laundry room" in a mid-century modern L.A. home, which is really just an open alcove in the 'L' of a kitchen floorplan. The exposed washer and dryer units are the first thing you see when you enter the house, and is also entirely visible from the whole kitchen area, so I thought that spending extra money on premium appliances with upgraded aesthetics in this particular location made a lot of sense.

At first I considered the Miele 24" combination washer/dryer (WT 2789), and in addition to all the caveats I read about combination units, a quick call to Miele USA this morning confirmed that this product isn't even sold in the U.S.

Further reading on separate Miele 24" washer/dryer units caused more concern. When I discovered that the Asko products had nearly the same aesthetics of the Miele units (covered fronts with no donut-hole glass doors), I soon became interested in the Asko models instead (not to mention, their more reasonable pricing). But, I started to find the same frequency of service horror stories for the Asko products, giving me great pause on spending this kind of money on a "premium" brand with such outstanding customer reports. Are these posts mere anomalies? Just symptomatic of a legitimately low defect rate, but exaggerated by the absence of positive reports (because content customers don't often seek further comment about their appliances on the Internet)?

As I mentioned in another thread, these are the Asko products we're considering:

Asko W6884 Ultracare-series 24" front-loading washer
Asko T784 Logic-series 24" front-loading dryer

They both have the plain cover panel over the door, and look very "integrated," and "built-in" when installed. We're planning Ikea Abstrakt high-gloss white cabinets to accompany the washer/dryer units, and will top everything with a 25.5" white/aluminum-trimmed Ikea counter at standard counter-top height (36").

Are the Asko and Miele washer/dryer units really this inconsistent in their quality control, as many reviewer comments would suggest?

Here is a link that might be useful: Gorgeous--but not marketed in U.S.

This post was edited by studio460 on Thu, May 30, 13 at 6:20

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Looks as if there have been some ownership changes at Asko.

This post was edited by studio460 on Thu, May 30, 13 at 7:02

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 2:08AM
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I found some Australian customer posts regarding reports of Asko quality issues in mid-2012. One customer mentioned the recent buyout of Asko (possibly late 2012) by another high-line European company (one I haven't heard of), and posited that the last months of the Swedish-built Asko machines may have been assembled with less-than-committed attitude toward quality by workers who would be soon laid-off. The customer hypothesized that the the new owners are building the machines to an improved standard. I'm now strongly leaning toward the Asko purchase.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 6:18AM
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First, let me say I have a 6 year old Whirlpool FL set and am very happy. I have never had Miele or Asko - I am too cheap.

The Miele owners on this site have for years praised their machines like they were built in heaven. Few would admit to any problems, so it is hard to say if there were any. Recently there have been cracks in the Miele reputation. Stories of early, serious failures and long waits for parts and service are becoming more common. Qualified service people seem hard to find in some areas. These reports may not be large in number but are unexpected in the land of Miele. If I paid that much for a washer I would consider these problems unacceptable.

Many years ago there were a few users of Asko on this forum but I don't think Asko is common in the US. I do recall some sevice problems and long waits for parts.

I suspect that some of these problems are the result of cost-cutting in these companies. Most everyone is doing it, but premium companies have the added burden of maintaining their repuatations to justify the cost of their products. Many of their customers are people who will buy the most expensive, just for the appearance of being able to afford the best.

Me, I'll stick with my $1500 Whirlpool set.

Good luck with your shopping.

This post was edited by oregpsnow on Thu, May 30, 13 at 15:34

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 1:38PM
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Thanks a lot for your comments! That's distressing to hear, but I'm afraid your assessments probably ring true. Thanks again for posting!

This post was edited by studio460 on Thu, May 30, 13 at 14:41

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 2:40PM
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I don't know that Miele owners are reluctant to admit to problems. I had no issue posting here when my old Miele had a motor failure, and I posted just recently (see "whistle while you work") when I thought there was an issue with my new one.

I did get 15 trouble free years out of my first Miele and fortunately the problem with the second now seems like a false alarm. And getting service people to dx the motor failure and do the warranty check on the new unit couldn't have been easier, but I'm in the suburbs of a major city.

I haven't been a regular on this forum in a while, so maybe I missed the stories of early, serious failure. If you can provide links to those threads I'd like to read them.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 2:49PM
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If someone could see my washer and dryer from the front door I would be looking look at the Miele 3039i washer and companion dryer.

I've had all 3 brands and detailed the differences on a couple of threads.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 9:22AM
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Yes! Those are the ones I REALLY want! The Pacific Sales rep said over the phone that the Miele units looked "whiter" than the Askos, but not at white as Bosch. Is that your assessment?

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 9:52AM
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Here's the view from the front entrance (the front door is about six feet behind camera--to the left of the fire extinguisher is a hallway to the bedrooms; to the right is the living room/kitchen):

This post was edited by studio460 on Fri, May 31, 13 at 12:00

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 9:57AM
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I have two Asko sets. I love them both and aside from replacing a drain pump, $45 and 15 minutes, they have both run beautifully. My older set is now 13 and averages 15 loads a week. They are nothing like my old LG FL set and there was a learning curve for loading and detergent dosages. I can't discount the problems others have had with theirs. I have a titanium set and a white set. Both finishes have held up well

An appliance store near me both sells and services Asko and Miele appliances. You may want to find out what a service call would entail in your area. If you have the ability to follow directions you can do simple repairs yourself. My husband replaced the dryer belt and a few other related parts in about 20 minutes with a part bought online for $99. A service call would have been a minimum of $200.

As with any product, disgruntled customers are often more motivated to leave reviews than happy ones.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 12:26PM
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Thank you for detailing your experience with your Asko machines! I like both Asko and Miele: price is pushing me toward the Asko units; the "purer" white, and preferred cosmetics of the Mieles are pushing me toward those.

We live in Los Angeles county in the South Bay, so there should be ample local support--the main concern would be waiting several weeks for parts which need to be imported from Germany, or from whatever Eastern-European country Asko products are now manufactured (no longer Swedish-built as I understand).

I did just visit repairclinic.com and found out how easy it is to replace the most-common parts on our existing LGs, but I wasn't sure if they would also stock parts for premium brands such as Asko and Miele. Thankfully, as you mentioned, the repair process for Asko models are simple enough for handy do-it-yourselfers to manage. Thanks again for your comments!

This post was edited by studio460 on Fri, May 31, 13 at 14:16

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 2:12PM
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As with any boutique brand, directly call (in your case) ASKO (866) 223-5549; tell them where you reside; ask for the closest competent service technician. My wife and I have owned ASKO, and we were fortunate to have had a technician who knew ASKO well and was able to get warranty issues taken care of quickly and without question.

One of Miele's main service centers is in Long Beach, so you have some the best possible factory access to service for Miele products. Something to consider.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 2:44PM
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We have had an Asko washer and dryer for over fifteen years, probably closer to seventeen. The dryer has been relatively trouble-free and had only minor repairs during that time. The washer has been a different story although the washer we currently have is probably eight to ten years old and has been trouble-free. This washer is the third we have had. BUT, I would do it again. When we bought the washer and dryer, there were maintenance concerns so I got the appliance dealer to agree to give us a "loaner" if the wait for parts was inordinately long. The first two washers developed fatal problems and were replaced promptly with new machines. And, the warranty began again with each new washer. I don't know if that was due to Asko or to our local dealer which also has a terrific maintenance department.

The washer and dryer both function beautifully.

When we bought the washer and dryer, our electric, natural gas (we have a gas hot water heater), and water bills all went down. And we have a septic system so water efficiency was very important to us.

If I were to buy machines today, I would talk to this dealer and get their opinion regarding the machines in which I was interested and give great weight to their opinion. In our experience, the Askos have been wonderful machines, but having a good dealer who would stand behind the product and had a terrific maintenance department made the difference.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 2:51PM
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Great advice! Thank you all!

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 3:25PM
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Re Miele parts, they warehouse them in Princeton, NJ (and possible elsewhere, but Princeton is the mother ship) so nothing should have to come from Germany.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 3:28PM
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Thank you for taking the time to post Asko's phone number--I just called them: you're met with a recorded greeting which says, "Thank you for calling Asko appliance spare parts department. Consumers wishing to purchase spare parts, or needing spare parts information, contact our spare parts partner, repairclinic.com."

At least I now know that repairclinic does support "premium brands!"

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 3:40PM
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Thanks! Good to know!

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 3:41PM
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studio460 -- I'm an interior designer so if you ask me about "white" I need to know which of the 10,000 different whites you are talking about.

My suggestion is to take a cabinet panel with you to the appliance store and see which set matches best. I'd try to make that trip around noon on a sunny day and hope for natural light.

Even then, it's likely you will see color variation in everything in a room with 6500K lighting.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 4:10PM
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Now, I'm deciding on brand: Asko, Miele, or (surprisingly) GE. I happened to see the white 24" GE units mentioned in another thread, and they don't look too look bad. They're also very positively reviewed (many customers commented on how quiet they are). Plus, they're only $899 each.

For the Asko units, I would pay a $1,398 premium over the GE units, but I would gain the "solid door" aesthetic I'm looking for, rather than the donut-hole, glass-door look. Put that way, the Askos don't seem that pricey of an alternative (for getting something I really want).

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 4:31PM
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Thanks for your reply--my preferred "white" would be the "purest" white, without any other added hue. In an RGB colorspace, it would be R=255/B=255/G=255. In CMYK, it would be 0/0/0/0 (i.e., K=0%). Although "white" isn't included in the Pantone process color swatchbook, I found a "standard PMS color chart" at a design firm's site defining "PMS 1801" as a "primary color." In other words, the whitest white possible. Here's the color chart I mentioned (it wouldn't link in the gardenweb URL for some reason):


    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 4:56PM
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Yes, I was planning to take an Ikea Abstrakt high-gloss white panel (which are pretty darned white) to a local retailer. However, neither Snyder-Diamond, nor any of the Los Angeles-area Pacific Sales showrooms (the two largest premium appliance dealers in Los Angeles) happen to have any Asko products in white in their showrooms!

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 5:01PM
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Not having a product in major LA showrooms would be a red flag to me.

If I was as concerned as you seem to be, I would not purchase anything that I couldn't match to the panel -- with allowances for the difference in the lighting.

You might try the ikeafans website to see if anyone there has used the same panels with any particular brand of w/d.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 5:33PM
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Ah, yes, Ikeafans! Good idea! Weird about the showrooms. I mean, this is Los Angeles! Kind of a big city!

This post was edited by studio460 on Sat, Jun 1, 13 at 1:56

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 6:25PM
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Well, our "Plan-B" is to go with Ikea Abstrakt high-gloss gray for the laundry-area cabinetry (to avoid the white-white mis-match). I wouldn't mind as much if the off-white was neutral (i.e., gray), but appliance manufacturers tend to soften their whites with yellow pigment, making them warm whites.

When we remodeled the kitchen a couple of years ago I was pining away for the ultra-slick Kraftmaid Venicia modern cabinetry line in high-gloss gray (which are apparently discontinued?), since Ikea didn't offer an Abstrakt gray at the time. So now our entire kitchen is Abstrakt high-gloss white (which I actually ended up preferring!).

This is the order that a Pacific sales rep seemed recall, which he had to cite from memory since Bosch was the only product they have on the floor in white (from whitest to off-whitest): Bosch, Miele, Asko.

The other option is to proceed with the Abstrakt high-gloss white cabinets, and go with Asko "titanium" on the appliances. The Pacific showrooms do have some Asko floor samples in titanium. He described titanium as a dark, matte gray. Though, I couldn't determine over the phone from him if it was a metal covering or some kind of plastic laminate. But, he said it wasn't "shiny" like metal. So, I assume it's some sort of metal-looking plastic laminate, or otherwise "metalized" surface.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 6:45PM
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My apologies for getting this thread so off-topic (I thought I was still in my "which machine is whiter?" thread). Back to brass-tacks. Now it's down to Asko or Miele. Leaning toward the Asko now since they're almost as pretty as the Mieles, but a lot less money.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 6:57PM
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Thanks again for everyone's replies! I now feel much more comfortable about both brands. Knowing that Miele has a major parts distribution center in the US, and that Asko parts are available at repairclinic.com makes me feel better. Looks like it's Asko for us. I'll have to drive to all the way to Pasadena to see one (only in titanium, however!).

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 7:11PM
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I purchased my ASKO set in 1994, almost 20 years ago.
They have been wonderful, I had to replace the washer belt
once ($12.00) and ;the motor brushes once ($22.00) at
the fifteen year mark.
I had to replace the dryer belt six months ago.

All in all, not bad.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 7:40PM
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Thanks for your report, relic! Yes, thanks to repairclinic.com, it looks like I could easily replace a worn belt or roller myself, if and when it comes to that (more likely, "when," since these seem like normal wear-and-tear parts, regardless of brand). Good to hear!

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 7:45PM
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I was much more concerned about the "leaking" detergent drawer issue reported by several customers on some other site. From reading those reports, those 2011-2012 Asko models appeared to have a design defect in the molded plastic drawer, which would overflow too quickly, and thus "leak." Apparently, in machines shipping after January 2013, the "problem" has been "corrected."

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 7:49PM
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Here's the Australian website where I read about the "leaking" Asko detergent drawer (scroll down to "Avoid this product" thread group, and click "view all 4 comments."):


    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 7:56PM
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Asko...Don't do it! Terrible product in my experience. We designed our laundry room knowing that we would be installing an ASKO washer and dryer, so like you are planning, we installed a countertop that is standard height so that we could fold laundry, etc, above the units. In the year and half we have owned them, the repair man has been out 6 times to fix our ASKO dryer. And the last 3 were unsuccessful. They have replaced the belt in the back because the drum stopped turning, the main circuit board because it would stop before the clothes were dry, the pulley on the back that turns the drum, etc. etc....and it STILL doesn't work. Now I am torn between tearing out my countertop to install a full size dryer that hopefully works better, or buying another one that will fit...none of which I have seen have great reviews compared to a full size. So..my advice...plan for the worst and don't limit your future options by installing a low countertop....hope things work out.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 2:03PM
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Wow, CPK! Sorry to hear of your troubles. I know there are probably many happy Asko customers out there, but stories such as yours scare the pee outta me. I decided just last night--no fancy euro washer for me. I'm going with a 24" LG combo washer/dryer (model no. WM3455HW) in order to gain more base cabinet space (plus, I'm ultra-lazy).

I scared myself out of the decision a few hours ago, but thanks for the head's-up!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 6:38PM
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You could get the machine of your choice and install a sliding venitian blind in front of the laundry pair to conceal them when not in use. Something like you would find on a sliding glass patio door. They make them in many styles and colors and even wood grained.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 6:40PM
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Good idea, Fordtech! I've been toying with the idea of engineering a type of "cabinet door" to cover the LG unit out of a 27"W x 30 3/8"H Ikea Abstrakt cover panel. A little short on height, but I think it has possibilities!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 8:25PM
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Something like this would be nice

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 9:33PM
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Avoid Asko Washing Machines. These washing machines are manufactured in Korea (see packing box) not in Europe as the sales person explained. Purchased the 6311XXL 24 months ago. After 25 warranty service calls over a 12 month period, replacing the door sensor (3 times), main computer panel (2 times), the 4 barrel support shocks (2 times - 8 new shocks total), motor (twice); Asko replaced machine with the WL6532. Escalating up the service chain at Asko USA, they 6511 XXL has a design flaw causing extreme vibration (so great it "walks" forward 1-2 feet) during the spin cycle. This vibration causes failure in the electronic components.

The new WL6532 has lower vibration; but, suffers from electronics failures; especially the door sensor. We've had two door sensors fail. When the door sensor fails to register, the machine will not begin a cycle. The door sensors are plastic and somewhat malleable. The softness of the plastic eventually expands where the sensor no longer contacts the door latch...sending a "door open" signal to the washer's control panel. The WL6532 door sensor is failing every 6-9 months. In Houston, out of warranty door sensor replacement will cost you ~$250 and two weeks of down time.

Avoid Asko Washers. When our warranty is up, we're buying a new machine and dumping the Asko. It's cheaper and faster to buy an new low end machine than keep this Asko going.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 11:33AM
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Wow! That's one scary story. Yes, I read somewhere here that some models were made in Korea, and some were made in Eastern Europe since the buy out. Sorry to hear it.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 12:46PM
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My Wife's theory is that when you spend that much on a washer or drier, you expect perfection. Anything less than perfection is an outrage, because you could have gotten that for about half the amount of money. So by definition, you have two groups of people. Those who believe that Miela's are the heart of perfection, and people who feel they were ripped off, and it shows up in the reviews.

That said, we are very happy with our Meila washer and drier, but we probably wouldn't have bought them, given the price if it wasn't for the fact that all the alternatives would have been as expensive or involved renovating the laundry room.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 4:46PM
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