Help choosing between three washers

pat77September 3, 2010

My old washer (10 years old) has stopped working and I am looking for a new washer. The dryer still works fine. We had someone come out and look at it and said that it would be better to just get a new one. This is also what a friend who is into DIY said. The machine is a Kenmore 80 series.

So far I am looking mainly at three different machines with the current labor day sales. All the machines are the same price:

Whirlpool WTW5640XW-

Seems to get generally good reviews, but it is a newer model.

Some have problems properly loading washes.

Samsung WF210ANW-

Mostly favorable reviews from consumers.

Appliance repair professionals do not view as highly (long wait time for parts).

Whirlpool WFW9150WW-

Mixed reviews from consumers on various sites.

Highly recommended by appliance repair professionals.

The space it is going in fits the current washer/dryer perfectly. There is a shelf above the unit, so if I were to get the front loaders, I would not be able to get the pedestal. I am not sure if I would want to have to reach down every time doing laundry.

All of the machines have similar features. I don't think I would need to move up to the next models, since the size that these machines are at seems good and I believe a lot of the options would not be used. The only option that seems really useful is the internal heater and then I would need to get a machine that is almost double the price and larger than I need, or get something like the Maytag Centennial which gets mixed reviews.

I have not really seen it discussed, but is there any useful difference between having the glass lid vs the solid lid? Most models charge $50-$100 just for the glass lid and I am not sure it would be worth it.

Right now I am leaning towards the Whirlpool top loader, but am wondering if anyone has used a combination of these machines and has any feedback. Positive or negative experiences with any of these units. Any other recommendations. Thank you.

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"I am not sure if I would want to have to reach down every time doing laundry"

So your current Kenmore dryer is a TOPloader dryer and you never reach down to load and unload it ;-)

Maybe your 10 y.o. washer has a minor fault that can be repaired with just a few dollars expense. Have you checked it before some hundred dollars will leave your wallet ??

    Bookmark   September 3, 2010 at 6:05AM
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I would not mind reaching down, I am not sure if the rest of my family would mind though.

I have not checked it, just went off what someone else said. But after researching, it looks like the problem could be caused by the lid switch. I will have to look into it.

Now I am not sure if I want to fix it or just buy the new one since the sales are good and they have the state rebates.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2010 at 7:45AM
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I'm in the same boat, trying to pick a new washer after it turned out to be harder to fix the old one than I had hoped. We did try to fix it though (current thread "washer spinning rough and hard" with awesomely helpful folks on this board). But current sales and massive rebates in my state and water district mean that this is the time to buy new.

Bending down is a small disadvantage, but I wouldn't let that determine your choice unless someone has a severe impairment. It is actually good to have to move your joints through a decent range of motion in everyday life.

Glass lids are clearly (haha) not useful. Just a coolness factor, like red paint.

I have been comparing different Cabrio models based on the website. It's a pain because the list of specs is incomplete and vague, and the manuals use the "Not all features available on all models" so it's hard to determine exactly what you can do with each model.

I don't think 5640 is on the site, but moving up from 5700 to the 7300 gets you a direct drive motor = good. Also an automatic bleach dispenser (should get better results than gravity dispenser), and an automatic detergent dispenser. The 7300 has the same msrp as the 5700; I don't know the price on the 5640.

The 7600 appears to have a soak "cycle" which could be a plus for cleaning. I usually soak with oxi manually with my traditional machine. A "presoak" option, like the Bravos have would be better and more convenient.

The 7800 has more options for better washing and rinsing. A "deep water soak," "deep clean option" (=extra water), allergen cycle (more water in the rinse), jeans cycle (also extra water), plus an oxi timed dispenser. I'm a big fan of oxi: when used with hot water and given time to soak, it removes tons of stains and odors.

I'm ignoring differences that are cosmetic (glass lids, color), and even capacity (all way bigger than my current), and cycles that are just presets of existing options ("towels" = warm/medium/whatever). More cycles doesn't matter to me unless the cycle adds some functionality, like a special soak with oxi in a "Sanitary" cycle.

All the Cabrio models on the site (excluding the Vantage b/c too expensive) use automatic temp control for all temp settings. The manual clearly states that the hot water and warm water will BOTH be cooler than in your traditional washer. The hot mixes in cold water to achieve a cooler "hot" temp. This is bad for cleaning and very annoying. When I pick "hot," I want hot! For a reason!

Having more temps to choose from in some models is useless because the temps are
- hot (which isn't really that hot)
- warm (which isn't really that warm)
- cool (whatever that is)
- cold (whatever that is)
- tap cold (!!!)

ALL rinses are always automatically cold. Not "tap cold," I assume! :rolleyes: Sheesh. In SoCal where I live, the coldest tap water is like 65. I bet the "cold" setting is 60, because the manuals point out that detergents won't work below 60.

Also it seems that Cabrios rely mostly on "spray rinses" rather than "deep rinses." I'm not completely clear on this, but seems you might need the top model to get a rinse that uses a bit more water except on "bulky" cycle or so.

So having read those 4 Cabrio manuals carefully, I'm not too keen on it despite its advantages over the frontloader (less vibration, not as deep, no rubber seal to clean).

And having read the Bravos manuals carefully, they have options which are much better for cleaning, especially the top model 850 with the heater. First, "hot" means tap hot, thank you very much. I think they all have "sheets" cycle with a different motion and extra water to reduce wadding. It's clear you can get "deep" rinsing.

HOWEVER, all those good features for cleaning are obviously why NONE of those Bravos models made it onto my list of efficient models getting whopping rebates ($485 in my water district!). There is one Bravos model on the list, the 700XL, and it is clearly a Cabrio with the same features and workings as Cabrio and the same manual as a Cabrio.

So now I'm going to look at frontloader manuals. There seem to be some really good deals on frontloaders, even ones with onboard heaters. For example, Home Depot has an LG with heater on sale for $550 (after my rebates, $77 + about $54 tax).

    Bookmark   September 3, 2010 at 4:07PM
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Our Cabrio WTW6400 replaced an older Whirlpool agitator washer. My wife was skeptical when I brought it home. Within a short time, she really became comfortable with the washer and its capabilities. Especially the very large capacity and powerful spin cycle. It is true, hot water is regulated somewhat. Normal & Delicate seems to be the cycles that have the most reduced wash temperatures. So that leaves many others where you'll the warmer water you are looking for. Note increasing wash time and selecting stronger cycles like Whites, Heavy Duty & Sheets-Towels will result in warmer warm water washes and hotter hot.

You have to remember these machines are meant to wash your clothes with a minimum of energy and reduced amounts of water. The washer works fine with the default settings, but know that you can make adjustments. Using the fabric softener option gives a deep fill rinse. 2nd rinse adds an additional spin spray.

If you want to do a deep fill soak, all you have to do is select the Bulky or Sheets-towels, the machine will fill to a level that will submerge the entire load (just like a standard agitator machine). After the wash action has begun, you can pause the cycle for however long you want. I think better models have the option to do this automatically. Also, if you have some laundry that you would prefer to wash in a deep fill, these 2 cycles will do the job.(Delicate also adds more water) My wife feels like our kids really muddy play clothes, my yard work clothing and greasy work clothes wash best here. Otherwise day to day clothing washes well on Normal or Colors.

Using the recommended HE laundry detergent, you'll find the Cabrio--Bravos cleans just fine. By the way; Color safe bleach, Oxi-clean etc., are added along with the detergent into the dispenser. When the machine fills; the incoming water mixes with the detergent and this detergent water solution is sprayed over & spun through the dry dirty laundry until they are saturated; pretreating any stains. This works really well and would seem to reduce the need for really warm or hot wash water temperatures that non HE top load machines require.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2010 at 8:19PM
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We had a top loader in our hold house, Whirlpool, and loved it. Easy to do small loads, pick water, less electronics. This new home had the previous owner's front loader. Whirlpool Duet. We are ok with the washer, but can't control the water level like our old top loader. This top loader does not beat up the close too much and uses less water overall, but my mother wondered how clean your clothes get with less water.

The dryer seems to take more cleaning of lent too. I disconnect the power, pull the vent and go inside the dryer to clean it out. We use our clothes line a lot so I have not used the dryer in months. That thing should last a lot longer.
When they break I dread calling for repair and if too high I will buy an older top loader because they are much simpler to repair. I always buy from Lowes because they have the best extended warranty. 1 year standard plus 4 year extended for 80 bucks. I think GE usually has that extended warranty contract so I extended it again on the dishwasher and got nearly 800 dollars in repairs over the 2 additional years on the warranty.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2010 at 7:16PM
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I'm not familiar with all Bravos models, but I did want to point out, I haven't seen any with a Presoak cycle. My Bravos 850 washer has a Soak cycle. It also has an internal heater, which I greatly appreciate because our new energy-saving water heater doesn't heat water like our older one did.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2010 at 9:00PM
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Hi we have just bought a house with the newer kitchenaid washer and drier and it is not going very good for us the washer is a energy saver and it does not get the soap out of the cloths very well at all.The best we had was the maytag heavy duty and we had it through six children so if I can sell this fancy junk we will get back to something better.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2010 at 1:07AM
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