Washing Machine - used instead of new?

ltlredwagonSeptember 8, 2011

Been researching washing machines - a frustrating task as anyone who's done it knows. The way I LIKE to wash clothes is with pre-soaking. I've always had a top-loader, filled it up, added some detergent and a bit of Oxyclean, and let it agitate briefly and then turned it off and let it soak. My own experience is that it is amazing how much cleaner things get with pre-soaking. And I don't need to run the agitation cycle very long or I can use a gentle cycle.

Almost all of the new CONVENTIONAL top-loaders have a locking top and do not allow for pre-soaking. If you let these new machines fill and agitate briefly and then turn them off, they drain. I think there is a GE model (GTWN300MWS) that allows pre-soaking, but there are numerous horrible reviews.

The top-load HE models have a low water level so no good for pre-soaking. I'm not sure about the front-loading HE models. I think they also have a low water level so I'm not sure if you can pre-soak a regular load - but let me know if I'm wrong about that?

I keep thinking that washer manufacturers have all gone nuts - "ve have vays of making you vash how VEEE vant you to vash!!!"

If anyone has a washing machine of any type that they have had for 3 years or more that has been problem-free, please let me know the model# so I can search for reviews.

My thought today was to contact appliance repair places and ask them which of the older conventional washing machines are well-built with good parts and can be restored to a condition that will last for years. Like I said, what I would like is a conventional washer but all the new ones today seem to be complete junk. I know you can find bad reviews on just about anything, but these new conventional washers seem to have LOTS of bad reviews, i.e., 40-60% of users would NOT recommend to a friend.

For what it's worth, I'm in the mountains with a well. No water bill and I can run grey water to the land.

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Fisher & Paykel's agitator model is a full-feature machine that can soak the way you want. It also has a Soak option that adds a 2-hr soak to any cycle (or 1-hr if Time Saver is selected, or you can manually advance it after a shorter desired time, or shut the machine off and soak for hours or days).

The current model is WA42T26GW1.

Whirlpool still produces a few traditional deep-fill agitator machines under their budget brands - Roper, Estate, Admiral, and possibly Amana and Inglis - but they may not be around for much longer.


Speed Queen.

There are *many* Whirlpool, Kenmore, Maytag, and other "old-style" toploaders on the used marked. Trick is finding one in good condition ... or you can get one that's in less-than-pristine condition and refurbish it, if you're mechanically-able or have an able friend or know a professional servicer who might take the job.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 5:06PM
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Thanks much. Will check out F&P. Kenmore, whirlpool, maytag and GE all make conventional washers, but they drain if paused.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 7:30PM
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I agree, there are times when a good pre-soak for whatever reason is nice, but that option those days are gone, mostly.

If shrinkage and color runs/bleeding are not an issue for your soaked laundry, a front-load washer with internal heater can get the water much hotter than what you're accustomed to, and many (if not most or all) have an "Extend" feature for most of the cycles. I use it often on certain things, like sweaty summer clothing.

The "Sanitize" cycle on my FL runs for two hours and heats the water to 70C/158F. It is possible that pre-soaking may no longer be necessary. Just a thought . . .

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 10:12PM
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Soaking simply involves the items being saturated/wet for a period of time, with minimal agitation action. Items don't necessarily have to be floating in gallons of water for the duration. Some frontloaders do have a soak cycle or option, which fills and tumbles a few mins to saturate the load, then sits stationary for the most part but making a brief tumble every few mins to flip the load over and keep everything wet.

Some HE toploads also have a soak option, which fills more than a regular wash and probably works similarly as frontloader soaking ... alternating periods of resting and agitation to keep the load mixed/wet.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 10:18PM
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We recently built a new house in the mountains of NM, on a well. We lived in a little trailer for several summers during construction. I tried the laundromat once and said, we have to get a washing machine. Trick was, it had to be outside the trailer.

We went to Albuquerque and bought the nicest used machine I could find, a Kitchen Aid with manual controls and extra rinse option, for $200. DH made wooden pallets for the washer to sit on, I covered it with a big tarp when not in use. I used Calgon for both wash and rinse cycles, to overcome the hard well water. I could just stop the machine to soak really dirty items.

The washer worked just great for 3 years, never a glitch. I hung everything on clotheslines strung around the forest. We gave the washer to one of our construction workers and he recently told me it's going strong, and cleans much better than his previous washer.

So, yes, I would definitely recommend a used washer. If you live in a metropolitan area there should be several used appliance stores to shop. Honestly, even though I bought a new Bravos 850 set, I think older washers are much better made and more reliable. I wouldn't dream of buying a W/D now without a maintenance contract. Used might very well be the way to go.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 5:41PM
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OP, one of the reasons I bought my Maytag Bravos washer is because it has a Soak cycle. You can set it for more than an hour and a half, but I commonly let the laundry tumble for a few minutes, then hit Pause. The water does not go out.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 2:35AM
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Thanks, Mara. I'll check out the Bravos with the soak cycle. Hope it ends up being trouble-free for you for years. If I can find a "certified" used washer and dryer (maybe my Lexus dealer carries them???) I might go that way. If I get new appliances I will definitely be getting the extended warranty (5 years total) as 1) I'm in the mountains and getting repair people here might be costly; 2) I'm of the opinion that with the economy in shambles, makers are cutting corners; 3) I don't think the computers/electronics of the new washers are fully worked out yet - purely my opinion based on reviews I've read.

The extended warranties on washers and dryers are variable and some quite costly. Lowes has the Fisher-Paykel (and the rep at F-P assures me it's pronounced "Pie-kel", as in "ow much did ya "pie" fuh that wosha, mate?") The extended warranty is $180 for both the washer and dryer.

By the way, read the fine print on extended warranties. In the case of Lowes, it's based on what the original manufacturers warranty covers; if the original covers on-site repairs, then the extended does, and if it doesn't, it doesn't.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 1:07PM
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