Washer recommendations needed: Top-Load super/ultra capacity

topieSeptember 25, 2010

Hi everyone,

Does anyone have any experience with this machine or other super or ultra-capacity top-loading washing machines:

LG's WT5001CW 12-Cycle Ultra High-Efficiency Washer (5.2 cubic ft. drum)

We'd like to upgrade our washer to a super-capacity top loading machine.

I know most appliances aren't made like they used to be, but would like to find a washer for under $1000 that will last many years (like appliances used to in days of yore). We're looking to replace our Kenmore 70 series model 110 washing machine. We've had it since 2004 and have had it repaired three times since purchasing it. Now the washer will no longer spin, or will only spin if two garments are in it, and the water level is set on high. We feel it's just not worth it to have it repaired a fourth time, especially since it is also just too small to wash most quilts, comforters, etc.

Only interested in top-loaders recommendations & sorry, no Miele recommendations please.

Thanks in advance!

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There are owners of the new LG wave force on here that love the machine. Also on Other sites, comments are positive on it as well.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2010 at 9:20AM
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I bought a Speed Queen about a month ago - no bells & whistles, no electronic control boards, just a good basic washer. It is not super capacity, as was the Kenmore Oasis and Maytag Bravos I previously owned, but holds a lot. I can easily wash queen size blankets, sheets, full comforters. I have not yet tried a queen comforter. We paid $549 + tax, on sale at a small local appliance store. This thing is built like a tank and I hope it lasts for many years.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2010 at 2:18PM
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I read a lot of negative comments about LG customer service. LG stands for Lucky Goldstar. You may remember the Goldstar (Korean- I think) brand came out about 15 yrs ago(not sure) as a bottom of the barrel CHEAP ($$ and quality) appliance vendor. They have since rebranded. You may want to google and read everything you can about LG before you purchase their products. Notice that LG is usually the least expensive appliance out there. There must be a reason.
For a top loader,I had to choose between the Cabrio and the Bravos. My friend LOVES her Cabios but I saw several negative posts so I was leary. My mom-in-law bought the Bravos so I got Lowes to price match and purchased a 4.7 cu ft washer. I LOVE it. They also have a 5.0. The dryer is great, too. Hope this helps you.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2010 at 3:13PM
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I have the Maytag Bravos washer and I LOVE it. I didn't want the Cabrio because it lacked the internal heater (not even an option back when i bought it Dec 2009). I use the internal heater EVERY day especially with whites and the OxyClean. I haven't had any complaints at all with the washer and it can wash both top and bottom king sheets with 3 pillowcases at one time. It does a great job cleaning and I love how it remembers all the custom settings for each cycle.

I do wish it had a "permanent press" cycle. I use either the normal or colors and customize them, but you have to keep referring to the manual at first to figure out which cycle to use between those two cycles. I also wish there was a way to attach a soak to the front end of a cycle. I had the previous top loader that had the best customization ever seen in a washer (all touch screen) but beyond the brain of the machine, the actual design of the motor, tub, etc that was all pure crap. I had to exercise the extended warranty to get a new machine. This is made by Whirlpool so it's a totally different animal and after almost a year, I'm happy with it.

One caution, however. The machine is very tall and therefore, at 5'7" with longer legs than torso, I can barely reach to the bottom of the drum. I recommend that any machine you think of buying you actually see in person and try to simulate removing clothing from the bottom of the drum :-)

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 3:27PM
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I think what was said about LG is both unfair and unfounded. First, LG reliability for front loaders is at the top of the charts at Consumer Reports, and they generally score well in owner satisfaction. Sencondly, customer service is deplorable at just about all major brands, there are plenty of examples ripe for the picking on the internet - Whirlpool, LG, Frigidaire, Samsung and even Miele (yes, really). Since manufacturer support is often spotty, it is important to buy from a reputable retailer with a long track record. Lastly, LG products are comparable in price to all other manufacturers. The problem I have with purchasing the new LG TL is that its a brand new product; I'd let current owners of LG TLs be the unpaid test pilots before spending my own money.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 3:16AM
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I would also caution buyers about the plain fact that washer reliability (more than dryers) is pretty bad these days. Long gone are the days of the lonely Maytag repairman (as you notice those ads don't run much anymore). I have had only Maytags in my 32 years of marriage but none of them were the quality of my first one. For $99 per unit, the extended warranties are worth their weight in gold. I put a claim on my last TL Maytag which was known to be trouble-prone but it was before Whirlpool bought them (a think a Korean company had them at the time). It saved me $1300.

I don't buy extended warranties on all my appliances but for a washer, it's the best bet. And shop warranties as well. My local shop had the best price for both the unit and the warranty (better than Sears or Lowes).

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 2:33PM
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I am a very grateful owner of Maytag Bravos. Mine is the 850 model which has the internal water heater -- so important if you want true hot water, as the great majority of current new washers' water temperatures are "dumbed down".

My washer's capacity is 5.2 cu ft. Today I washed two Q-size sheets, 4 X-long Twin sheets, 2 regular-length T-size sheets, and many pillowcases, with no problem -- the washer was full, but not over full.

I can wash a "pouffy" K-size comforter, also with no problem. It comes out beautifully clean every time.

I can wash 2x-3x more laundry in one load than I could wash in my former washer (which was billed as "largest on the market" when I bought it) -- yet with much less water!

This saves me money on electricity too, because I can wash so much laundry in one load. And on top of that, laundry is spun so dry, it dries in at least 1/2 the time -- sometimes more quickly than that. This is especially noticeable when drying towels, but is true for all my laundry.

Whereas I used to wash 10+ plus loads of laundry each week, now I wash 3-5 loads. This is a marvelous time-saver.

My washer has a Handwash cycle for delicates. When I wash clothes I used to wash on Perm Press cycle, I use the Normal cycle and adjust the spin speed to a lower speed. The washer allows for several modifications such as that.

I should add: I am 5'5" and can get laundry out of the washer with no problem. The tub turns freely, making it easy to turn it to where I am. I do have to lean over to get the last couple of items, but that's not a problem for me. As someone here said, take something with you to the store, throw it in, and get it out to see how that works for you.

If you buy a washer of that capacity, your dryer needs to be at least 7 cu ft -- unless you prefer to hang them to dry. :)

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 11:42PM
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Mara, I love my washer, too. I believe I have the exact same model. Do you miss your soak cycle attached to your normal cycle?

Also, I bought the 7 cf matching dryer and I'm not as thrilled with it. Did you happen to purchase that (I'm assuming so by your comment)? First, the dryer shelf is not made well. My previous Maytag dryer had a wonder dryer shelf that had a built in ledge for the back of it to rest on. This is a pain to use.

Also, with the dryer, you cannot change the dry levels w/o turning the power off and then back on to go from normal dry to dryer or driest. That frustrates me every day. The old Maytags (but not Whirlpools, so hence the inherited problem) used to allow for that. So if I open the dryer, find out that i need to set it to a more dry setting, I have to literally power the machine off/on to reset it. I think that's a horrid design and such a customer inconvenience.

Otherwise, the dryer performs well besides those design issues.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 3:04PM
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Also, with the dryer, you cannot change the dry levels w/o turning the power off and then back on to go from normal dry to dryer or driest. That frustrates me every day. The old Maytags (but not Whirlpools, so hence the inherited problem) used to allow for that. So if I open the dryer, find out that i need to set it to a more dry setting, I have to literally power the machine off/on to reset it. I think that's a horrid design and such a customer inconvenience.Just wondering ... how difficult is it really to turn the machine off and back on? :-)

You'll likely learn after some experience with it which loads need to be set for a higher dryness level. I'd also recommend that you let the initial cycle finish to completion before resetting to get a better judgment of how much more drying is needed. I've rarely used anything higher than the Normal dryness level on my dryer ... but it's a different brand.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 5:14PM
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Thanks so much everyone!

That is good to know about LG. I will do some more research on that. Thanks for the info. In general I haven't been really happy with service on our old washer. I thought since we bought it from a major home appliance retailer that it would be easy to get it serviced, but service turned out to be strangely complicated, slow, and expensive.

I was actually thinking about the Maytag Bravo also, so Mara2008 and susane that is good to know that you are happy with yours.

The Maytag Bravo seems to have gotten a lot of good reviews on the various websites I've checked out. Most people's complaints about it seem to be related to the automatic water level sensing feature. That feature may be kind of weird for me, since I'm used to a very basic washer with a knob, where you set the water level to "Low", "Medium", or "High". Have you guys had any problems with the auto-water level thing?

In general I'm not sure I'm ready for a washing machine that has a computer in it! oasisowner, I wish I could get a SpeedQueen but they don't seem to make a washer with a drum over a 4 cubic feet. But I do like those knobs on the SpeedQueen...more like what I'm used to.

I guess I may have to upgrade to a computerized washer in order to get the large drum capacity.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 5:15PM
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I've been using the LG top load wave washer (5101 models) for 2 weeks now. Love it. I was hesitant on getting another all electronic washer and wanted just knobs but couldn't find the features I wanted, not to mention the awful placement of the lint screen or lack therefore in most models. Then I spotted the LG set. What a beauty.

After doing weeks of research on other brands, which I found most feedback disappointing, I came home and read up on the LGs. I couldn't find any negative feedback. Since I negotiate price at the store, I was able to get them for $660 each - a steal for these upgraded models.

Love the large capacity. It senses how much water is needed by the clothes load, and I found the water level to be just fine for each load. So far, I haven't had to add extra water, which you can do, as well as add an extra rinse. It's very quiet when it's in "washing" mode. Some of the cycles are longer than my old Kenmore, but it just depends what I select; I suppose that's standard on most of these newer machines. Love the easy to clean, large lint screen too. Using the HE detergent allows me to save on that as well since you only need a small amount, and it doesn't cost any more to buy than the normal stuff. There's no vibration when it's on, due to the TrueBalance Anti Vibration system. Also like how the dispenser are easy to take out and clean so there's no gunk build-up.

This is a slick machine and appears to be made very well. I purchased a 5-year warranty and I got that at the 3-year price, so that was a big savings as well. For the price I paid for this upgraded duo, I couldn't pass it up.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 7:41PM
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"Have you guys had any problems with the auto-water level thing?"

Not for me. The Bravos is a high-efficiency washer so if you haven't had a HE machine before it is a bit of an adjustment seeing so little water in it. I'm not aware of these complaints, but when I use the bulky setting (rugs, comforters, etc) it fills up with more water to handle those items.

Regarding how hard it is to power a machine on/off, well if I posted it was an annoyance, IT IS AN ANNOYANCE. That is especially true if for 30 years you never had a dryer that required that. This is a design decision of Whirlpool and other dryers (like older Maytags) allowed it. I am getting used to it but I still cannot believe they can't program the ability to adjust it since I know it can be done!

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 9:19PM
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Responding to susanelewis:

I'm glad to know you enjoy your Maytag Bravos too. :)

Since I had only owned traditional washers w/agitators before this, I did have to adjust to Bravos, as it is so different. I read the owners' manual at least twice. To me, this washer is much better than any I've had before (and I had some very good ones, including the excellent '70s model GE w/FilterFlo).

It honestly does not bother me that the soak cycle is not attached to the Normal cycle. One of my specifications, when I was researching washers, was that I wanted a separate Soak cycle, and I love it.

My Bravos dryer is 7 cu ft, and it is 2 years older than the washer. Mine is made very well, does a great job on my laundry. Haven't had any problems with it.

I rarely have to turn the dryer off and re-set it. The few times I've done that have not been an issue for me.

Responding to topie:

I have not had any problems with the auto-water level, at all. The washer adjusts to the amount of laundry in the washer drum. The Bulky cycle does submerge large items like comforters in water, and does a great job of cleaning them. The Handwash cycle uses more water than the other cycles, though not as much as the Bulky cycle. Everything comes out great.

When I was researching washers, I considered Speed Queen. Like you, lack of capacity was a real problem for me, especially considering its cost.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2010 at 1:02AM
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There are so many things to consider. Your kenmore washer that your are wanting to get rid of, is in fact a Whirlpool product and a very good one. As a matter of fact, those top loading machines are easy to repair and have a great service record. So you are getting rid of a machine that generally has great service history and engineering.
I do not agree with 'brand bashing' but there has been a general sense of dissatisfaction with some brands.
You might like to read an article I wrote on choosing a machine as listed below.

Here is a link that might be useful: What Kind of Washing Machine Should I Buy?

    Bookmark   October 2, 2010 at 12:42AM
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Hi everyone,

We ended up getting the Maytag Bravo MVWX500X. Just did my first load of wash and so far so good!

I was kind of hesitant about getting a "digital" washing machine, but just couldn't find the huge drum/high capacity we wanted without upgrading from the old knob-style machine to a digital machine.

I read the whole entire manual a few times and hopefully followed all the instructions correctly. In the end the digital buttons weren't that hard to figure out. I thought it would be a lot more complicated because of the digital thing, but it was really pretty simple. Had to buy some "HE" laundry detergent, but luckily we were almost out of our regular laundry detergent anyway. I'm amazed how little of this "HE" laundry detergent this machine needs.

The sounds of the machine seemed odd at first (quiet whirring and clicking) but it said in the manual to be aware that it makes different sounds than an old-style washer. Overall it is amazingly quiet.

This evening I washed two huge (3 feet x 6 feet) towels and one regular towel all in the same load. I set the machine on "Heavy Duty" and the Spin Cycle to "High". Everything seemed really clean and fresh when it came out of the washer, and the spinning action was amazing. The towels actually looked smaller than they usually do when they come out of the wash, because the spinning was so intense.

I have the feeling that this machine will save on electricity not only because it's more energy-efficient but because I won't have the run the dryer twice just to get things dry like I had to do after washing laundry in our old washer.

This particular Maytag was on sale, and also came with a rebate offer from our electric company, which is great...filled that out today. We also got a rebate from the retailer, so between the combined rebates and the sale, we saved a lot of money.

Will report back a few months from now maybe, but so far I'm loving the Maytag. Glad we didn't go with the front loader since I keep reading about all the mold/mildew issues with the front loaders.

Thanks again for everyone's help!

    Bookmark   October 12, 2010 at 8:04PM
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This model (and several others available now under the Maytag, Whirlpool, and Kenmore brands) is a new mechanical design, different from the "original" Bravos models.

Spin speed for MVWX500X is quoted as 800 RPM on Maytag's web site. Your previous Kenmore toploader, assuming a typical direct-drive/tranmission machine, spun at 640 RPM ... so you're getting only 160 RPM faster spin, but basket diameter has an effect on extraction force and the Bravos may be slightly larger. Note there are other toploaders that spin faster ... Fisher & Paykel EcoSmart and AquaSmart, GE Harmony, and other Bravos & Cabrio models.

Note also that it shouldn't be necessary to run your dryer twice regardless of which washer you have ... a common source of that problem is clogged exhaust ducting. :-)

    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 2:02AM
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It may be of some interest to you that Whirlpool Corporation actually owns or manufactures the following washing machine brands: Whirlpool, Kenmore with model number beginning 110., Maytag, Roper, Kirkland Whirlpool, Duet, Kitchen Aid, Amana, Jenn Air, Estate, and several less known brands. Whirlpool is the number one selling laundry brand in the world and has the largest market share.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 8:52AM
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The jump to 800 RPM from 640 RPM is more significant than it sounds. G-force increases as the square of the RPM's, assuming the same drum diameter.

(800 x 800) / (640 x 640) = 1.56

So it's a 56% increase in G-force at the drum surface.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 10:46AM
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dadoes, thanks for the info. We actually had the dryer exhaust ducting examined to see if the problem was with the dryer (also a Kenmore) originally. But it turned out there wasn't a clog in the dryer exhaust ducting. The issue was that the old Kenmore (100 series) washer's spin was never powerful enough to really spin out enough water from the laundry to allow for drying with a single dryer cycle.

The basket/drum on the Maytag Bravo MVWX500X is 4.3 cubic feet, so yes, it is much larger than the basket/drum on our old Kenmore 100 series washer. The Maytag Bravo MVWX500X also does not have a center agitator, but instead has a "low-water washplate wash system".

This "low-water washplate wash system" is interesting and new to me. I must say, it's nice not to have the center agitator and a larger drum, since I wanted to be able to wash quilts and comforters, and also loads with multiple large towels.

However, I've read that because of how the "low-water washplate wash system" distributes laundry detergent, some detergent could build up on the internal plumbing. We were advised by the installers to run a washer cleaner tablet once a month in this new washer. The manual says this cleaning process can also be accomplished by adding 1 cup of liquid chlorine bleach to the bleach dispenser and running the washer through a wash cycle while empty.

When our new washer was installed, the installers also ran a washer cleaner tablet through the machine while it was empty. The washer tablet's ingredients are sodium percarbonate and sodium carbonate.

It remains to be seen if any detergent build-up will accumulate in this new washer, even with monthly cleaning, and if that will lead to any mold or mildew issues. If so, our choice of a high-efficiency machine may turn out to be unwise.

It also remains to be seen if the electronics and the "low-water washplate wash system" hold up over time, or if there will be technological breakdowns because the machine is digital. We prepared ourselves for the fact that repairs to this machine will likely cost more than a traditional old-style "knob" washer.

So this new high-efficiency washer is kind of an experiment in a way. I will try to report back after some time has passed and let everyone know how it's holding up.

steveomc, our old Kenmore washer was in fact from the 110 series, lol. The 100 series have a notorious problem with the lid switch. We've had to have the lid switch replaced twice. The lid switch part only costs about $31 dollars but of course, the service visit cost much more than that. We also had to have a repair on another element of the machine, for a total of three repairs. Even with the repairs, the machine just never spun efficiently enough for our liking.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 11:19AM
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