miele capacity w4842 seems small

cosmocatAugust 29, 2011

I am in the market for a new washer and dryer. Found a Miele set on clearance because the store will no longer carry Miele. However, when I compared the 4842 to a Whirlpool duet, the Miele seemed much much smaller. Miele's website says the 4842 is a super capacity machine. Does it just look small? The store rep says the capacity is 3cu ft but another online dealer (ajmadison) lists the 4842 with a 4 cuft capacity. Confused. Does this model come in different sizes?

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There are two ways of reporting capacity - DOE (Dept. of Energy) or IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission). The W4842 has a 4 cuft IEC rating and a 3.07 cuft rating on the DOE scale. You have to make sure you are comparing apples to apples. A simple number is meaningless unless you know which rating system is being used.

As far as your Miele vs. Whirlpool issue, what are their rated capacities? Simply saying that it "seemed" smaller doesn't really mean anything - it is your subjective opinion. In order to make a fair, unbiased comparison you must quote the manufacturer's specifications for each model being compared. Your assessment would make sense if the Duet is rated at a 4.5 cuft IEC capacity, but not if it's rated at 3.5 cuft IEC.

Compared to my 2.05 cuft DOE rated Asko, the Miele is absolutely cavernous. I have not maxed out its capacity once, although it will not accommodate my king sized down comforter. Seeing how much of it is left hanging outside of the machine, even a 5 cuft IEC rated machine wouldn't take it. Four cubic feet appears to be the ideal capacity for most households. You want to be able to run your machine as full as possible according to the usage instructions for any given cycle. Buying too much capacity and running it with relatively small loads will not clean your clothes effectively or make efficient use of the machine. Nor would overstuffing a smaller machine. Look at your laundry needs and buy appropriately.

This may be a novel concept to Americans, but why not weigh your laundry? You see, in Europe washing machines are not rated by volume, they are rated by the weight of clothes the machine can handle. The W4842 is an 8 kg machine. It has an 80 liter drum and the usual calculation is 1 kg of load weight per liter of drum volume. That's 18 lbs of laundry! See how long it takes you to accumulate 18 lbs of whites, or 18 lbs of mixed colors, or 18 lbs of pants or dress shirts, you get the idea. Those things need to be washed separately anyway.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 10:33PM
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Which Duet are you referring to? It appears (by their website) that they have a 4.0 cu ft IEC, 4.4 cu ft IEC and a 5.0 cu ft IEC.

My previous FL machine was a Frigidaire that was around 3.6 cu ft. I now have the 4.0 cu ft IEC Miele and have yet to fill it full.

It will handle 2 sets of double sheets, one set of queen sheets or one set of king sheets. It will handle full/queen quilts (and even my king matelass�). I can see it would not handle a king comforter or duvet.

When I was deciding, I was torn between a large LG (WM3885) which is 4.8 cu ft IEC vs. the 4.0 cu ft IEC Miele. LG specifies on their website that this unit has a dry linen capacity of less than 10 kg. Miele is 8 kg.

As @sshrivastava said, it was a decision of how I would use the machine most days. We are a family of 4 (two small boys included). For almost all my regular laundry the Miele is more than large enough.

I decided for the few times I need to wash something larger, I will take it to the cleaners. I opted for the machine I hoped would be built superior and wash superior. I have (so far) been very happy with my Miele W4842.

Laundry should really be sorted properly and that would make most loads smaller than the 8 kg capacity.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 11:23PM
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@ livebetter,

Excellent point - I never thought of it that way. Not using your words, but if you're a dump-and-run type of launderer then the largest capacity you can afford will be the deciding factor. If you're a sorter, then a 4 cuft capacity should be more than enough for a family of four. That's my take, anyway.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 11:42PM
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Another point to consider is how much does 1.0 cu ft IEC equate to in terms of load size. It may not be as much as you think. Although I will say that LG looked huge too.

I found the "opening size" of the washer deceiving too. LG has the "largest opening" and it makes the washer appear to be so much bigger.

@sshrivastava, not everyone is as OCD about laundry as us crazies ... lol ...

I actually find it "disturbing" how some people do laundry but if it works for them ...

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 12:46AM
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YES, as brilliantly posted above...Laudnry MUST be sorted. Each week, I wash a darks/black load, a coloured load, whites (if I have enough), brown and beige bath towels, my kids clothes and then his full size sheets with his bath towels and our CA king sized sheet set.

Once weekly laundry is properly sorted, I do not think each load has ever once been over 8kg.

My W4842 is plenty big. And yes, I think since the Miele opening is much smaller than other Super Capacity machines, it appears smaller. The W4842 can and will handle very large loads. I love my Miele W & D!!!

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 9:39AM
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So if my old non-HE Kenmore 90 series Super Capacity plus was 3.2 cu ft. is that really a bit larger than the Miele 4842? Does that take the presence of the agitator into account? I used every bit of the old machine's capacity and thought the Miele was actually going to be significantly larger, but I am beginning to realize I may not have been comparing apples to apples.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 4:12PM
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When you read a capacity rating, you need to know whether it's DOE (Dept. of Energy/EnergyStar) or IEC. IEC numbers are higher than DOE for the same machine. I may be mistaken, but I believe IEC capacity is the equivalent capacity of a top loader w/ agitator while the DOE rating rates the unobstructed volume of the drum. I used to know this, but I forgot, so I'm going by a distant memory. I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 1:28PM
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Thanks, sshrivastava, that was helpful.

I looked up the DOE capacity for the various machines I am considering and was surprised to find that dealers I've visited as well as many of the online sites that sell Miele list it by it's IEC capacity (4) and Lg, whirlpool etc. by DOE capacity (4.2 for the LG, 4.3 for the largest Duet)! They don't make it at ALL obvious that they are using two different measuring standards. I may end up with the Miele, regardless, but the correct comparison to the numbers above seems to be 3.07, not 4. By IEC standards, the LG ( for example) is 4.8 compared to Miele's 4.0. That is not such a minor difference as I thought at first.

If my late Kenmore top loader had 3.2 of "usable" space, not including agitator., that would indeed make it a bit bigger than the Miele 4842.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 4:59PM
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@ eastcoastmom

The difference in volume between 4 cuft and 4.8 cuft can be represented by a 9.5" cube. That's not very much, maybe 1 pair of jeans and a couple of kitchen towels. If you want one of the bigger machines on the market today, take a look at the Electrolux Wavetouch. I believe that's a 5.1 cuft IEC or 4.4 cuft DOE. The difference in capacity here can be represented by a 13" cube. That's a more significant, and perhaps more noticeable difference.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 8:26PM
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4.8 cu ft is a 20% increase over 4.0 cu ft (4.0 x 20% = 0.8). I'd consider that a significant increase.

The cube root of 0.8 is 0.928, so a cube measuring 0.928 feet (11.1+ inches) on each side has a volume of 0.8 cu ft.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 8:55PM
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I found this article, which suggests that IEC measures equivalent drum capacity of front loaders to top loaders of the same size, but adding in the space taken up by the top loader by the agitator.

If that is the case, then is the correct comparison of my 3.2 cubic foot DOE Kenmore, to the 4.0 IEC cubic foot Miele after all? That would mean more space than I have now, not less. I would then interpret it to mean that although the total drum capacity of the Kenmore was a little bigger ( 3.2 vs. 3.07 for Miele 4842), the usable capacity of the Miele is adjusted to 4.0 because there is no agitator taking up room.

It makes sense that the greatest difference in IEC to DOE numbers and therefore usable capacity, would be in the smaller drum machine, because the agitator in a comparably sized top loader drum would take up proportionally more cubic feet.

If this is true, you wouldn't compare DOE capacity of top loaders to DOE capacity of front loaders, but to the IEC capacity.

Is this right?


Here is a link that might be useful: Comparing DOE to IEC capacity

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 1:20PM
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suburbanmd, thanks for correcting my math. I was thinking about that last night and realized I didn't calculate the cube root. As you correctly stated, a 0.8 cuft increase in capacity is comparable to an 11" cube. The difference between the Miele and Electrolux capacity would be comparable to just over a 12" cube.

@ eastcoastmom

No, as I said yesterday, DOE and IEC numbers are not apples to apples. A top loader with a DOE rating is measuring its usable capacity. A front loader with a DOE rating is telling you the same thing - usable capacity. A front loader with an IEC rating is measuring usable capacity plus the room taken by an agitator if this were a top load washer. Whether you are comparing top loaders or front loaders, you should still only compare either the DOE numbers or the IEC numbers.

In your case, you need to compare your top loaders 3.2 DOE capacity to the Miele's 3.07 DOE capacity. Both numbers represent how much usable room you have for clothes. Your top loader has 4% more capacity than the Miele. However, I believe you are placing too much emphasis on capacity as if that were the only criteria. It's not. Do you sort your laundry? You should. We all should to protect our fabrics. I sort all of my loads, primarily by color. I have never once had a load exceed the capacity of my Miele. If I were to pile all of the clothes together and just dump them in, then sure I could exceed the capacity of the Miele. But I would also exceed the capacity of your top loader and even the largest front loader available. Not to mention the fact that I would end up with piss poor wash results using that method in any machine.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 3:22PM
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Recommend not getting too crazy about this capacity thing. No matter how large the capacity of the machine you buy, you WILL encounter items or combinations that won't fit in it.

FWIW, by six-year-old Duet is nominal (mfg. spec) 3.8cf. All I know for sure is that it washes twice as much as mom's 20-year-old Maytag TL using 1/2 the water and detergent and does a better job. Most of my comforters and mattress pads fit and slosh around OK for a good wash. A few of them have a loft and non-wetting type of batting that don't work at all.

It'll be that way for you, too. You'll still have to send some stuff out.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 3:34PM
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Thanks for spelling it out for me - took me awhile but I finally get it.

Capacity is an issue for me, since I routinely do fill the machine with every type of sorted load you can name. I probably wouldn't be as concerned if it weren't for the longer cycles. Still seriously considering Miele, though.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 11:33PM
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