Washer died -- need help choosing a replacement fast
We just moved into a new house and the washer the prior owners left behind (Whirlpool Calypso) does not work. We have a 20-month-old child who generates a lot of laundry, so we need to buy a new washer ASAP. I need help choosing a good model for our family. The last washer I bought was in 1999. It was the top-of-the-line (at that time) Kenmore Elite top loader with Catalyst cleaning option. It did a very good job of cleaning clothes for 10 years, although we had a few electrical panel replacements along the way. I like the Catalyst function that premixes the laundry detergent with water before spraying the solution on the clothes. (Growing up, my mom always made us start running the washer with no clothes in it so the agitation would mix up the detergent and water before we added the clothes, to avoid the detergent causing spots on the clothes. The Catalyst option on the Kenmore let me avoid this annoying step.)
My MIL has the Whirlpool Duet washer and dryer with steam (older 9600 series) and swears it gets her clothes cleaner. I can see the advantage of having steam in a dryer to release wrinkles, and plan to buy a steam dryer when the current dryer dies to "freshen" my suits and sweaters without a trip to the dry cleaners. I am not sure having steam in the washer will do me any good if it is true that the steam just heats the water more. I wash most of my and my daughterÂs clothing in either cold or warm water, usually on the gentle or handwash cycle.
I would like to buy a front load washer for the water savings, but am concerned about some comments I have read here that you cannot soak laundry in a FL machine. Soaking seems like a big part of getting clothes clean using the gentle cycle.
Right now, we can purchase the Whirlpool 4.5 Cu. Ft. Duet Steam Front Load Washer (WFW9750WW) for $989 at LoweÂs with a 10% off coupon. MIL can buy Bosch machines with an employee discount if Bosch is better (although we would probably have to wait a lot longer to buy through the company rather than getting next day delivery from LoweÂs.) I would consider buying Kenmore again too.
Basically, I just need advice on choosing a reliable washer, that is water and energy efficient, that can handle large loads on occasion, and that can get kid clothes clean using cold or warm water and the gentle cycle.