Whirlpool WFW96HEAW Review

jdenyer232October 12, 2012

We recently purchased this frontloader to replace our clothes eating LG waveforce. Yes the waveforce cleaned great but it literally shredded our clothing, after many repair attempts by technicians we just had to cut our loses and get rid of it. Now I know some people have and love this machine or other HE toploaders but for us it just didn't work out, this is a review and not a bashfest so we will just move along to the review. We purchased a whirlpool duet model# WFW96HEAW as it's replacement. Here are the features and what we like about it so far.

A large 4.3cuft drum that holds lots of clothes. Build quality seems to be on par with other machines on the market now. Easy to use and understand controls. Temperatures are actually cold, warm, hot, and extra hot. The hot and extra hot are truly what they say, our water heater is set to 130F and on hot the water is hot enough to cause discomfort within a few seconds, the extra hot is well lets just say HOT! This machine is very stingy with water, there is no water visible in the drum yet even a large load is fully saturated with water with no dry spots, large absorbent towels always are soaked as well. During the wash cycle the wet clothes are lifted to the top of the drum and fall with a good hard slap. The only thing we noticed is that the wash time on the normal cycle is to short, only about 7-8 minutes, no big deal we just set the soil level to heavy adding another 10 minutes to the wash cycle.

One great feature on this machine is the precision dispense ultra. Basically you fill a small storage tank in the dispenser and it stores enough detergent to wash up to 12 loads using 2X concentrated detergent, if you use 6X concentrate you can get up to 36 loads on a single fill. You set the water hardness and detergent concentration on the machine and then it figures out how much to add based on the size of the load. We have found it to be surprisingly accurate in dosing. The machine also has a fan dry feature so if you can't unload the machine right away it will tumble and ventilate the load so it doesn't smell. The machine does have a steam feature which we tried and as we suspected this seems to be a gimmick feature. There is no steam generator. It adds a little water in the tub to cover the heating element and then turns that element on, we never saw any steam or condensation on the glass, we didn't buy the machine for the steam feature anyway so no big deal for us.

Rinsing performance is excellent with 2 rinses and 2 high speed spins between. There is also the option for an extra rinse. The spin cycle is one of the most amazing parts of this machine. We deliberatly washed loads that would easily become unbalanced such a a heavy quilt with a load of light fabrics. The machine did spend some extra time getting the loads balanced but in the end it succeded and that spin cycle was amazingly smooth and vibration free. The machine uses 3 methods for balancing, one is an accelorometer and software to help even out an unbalanced load, two is a 6 point suspension system, and three is whirlpools quite spin 360 technology, basically this is whirlpools version of samsungs vrt that uses 2 fluid filled rings containing steel balls to help balance offcenter loads.

The cleaning performance has been great, we are an active family that gets our clothes pretty dirty at times, especially when my son is playing soccer. All clothes have come out clean and free of stains, older set stains on some clothes have lightened a bit but will probably remain, these stains have been set for many months and short of a solvent cleaning they are not gonna come out no matter what machine they go thru. Clothes emerge from the dryer soft and fluffy with no use of fabric softeners at all. Our dryer is a bosch that has worked fine for years so we didn't see any need to replace it just to get a matching set. There is a lot less lint being produced during the drying process as compared to the LG waveforce and there have been no tangled or shredded clothes.

As to how long this machine will last, who knows. We did buy from a local appliance dealer and purchased a 5 year extended parts and labor warranty. They have the own in house service department so all repairs will be thru a local company and not some 3rd party insurance type warranty company. If we don't use the extended warranty then after the 5 years is up they refund us the warranty amount in the form of a store credit towards the purchase of our next appliance.

In conclusion I hope this review was helpful to those looking at new washing machines.

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Thanks for the review and sorry to hear about your experience with the LG. I will tell you that the normal cycle is the most stingy cycle when it comes to water. Even though you're happy with that cycle, you may want to try other cycles and modifiers to see what type of results you get.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 7:41PM
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Great review! I'm currently using a Samsung WF330ANW washer which came with the house I purchased and the only thing I think this washer does better than the HE4t (made by Whirlpool) I'd been using since 2005 up until my recent move is that the Samsung spins out the dirty, soapy wash water really well *before* beginning the rinse cycle. This gives me much better rinse cycle results than I could ever achieve with the HE4t despite always using the "SkinCare" rinse option and only tablespoons of powder/liquid detergent as recommended by the Laundry Room forum experts.

I'm wondering: does this new Whirlpool do what my Samsung and other brands such as, I believe, Miele, do as far as seriously spinning out the wash water (at, say, 500 RPM's) before adding the rinse water? Which the 4t does NOT do?

Given that I can't get hot water over 95F on any cycle except Sanitary and Quick Wash with my Samsung (water heater set at 130 and located on other side of wall from washer) and that it has a heck of a time balancing/spinning out any load with heavier fabrics such as towels, jeans, blankets, etc, I was thrilled to read about the water temperatures your Whirlpool allows AND the reliable balancing/spinning. I read the Owners Manual on line and it appears that both Hot and Extra Hot are selectable for many cycles!

Any feedback is much appreciated as I am eager to replace the Samsung with a washer that rinses as well as the Samsung but has better load balancing technology AND allows a truly hot (120F)wash.


    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 3:04AM
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Yes the Whirlpool does a fast spin between each rinse, clothes come out washed and rinsed very well, and oddly enough are much softer than the LG which used a lot more water. I have never been a fabric softener person so I don't use it. As for the stingy water use, I actually like it, very little water is used but clothes and towels are always saturated. The hot is truly hot, which is kinda weird given it's low energy use, but I suspect they can allow hotter water use by just reducing the amount of water needed. The balancing is just awesome, it does spend some time, sometimes up to five minutes on the final spin to get things balanced but when it does there is no vibration at all. I could always tell when previous machines were almost done as I could hear heavy vibration through the house, and all my machines have been in my basement on concrete. Does your Samsung have the vrt? If not then that makes a huge difference in balancing, the Whirlpool uses the same fluid and ball filled ring scheme as Samsung and it really smothes out the spins. I think Whirlpool and many other manufacturers are now finally starting get things to work well by improving how the software and hardware work together. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 8:30AM
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Hi again. Can you tell me if your machine also does a spin *after* the wash water drains and *before* the first fill of rinse water?


    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 9:59PM
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Yes it does a spin after the wash water drains and between each rinse. It also does 2 rinses by default and a 3rd rinse can be added if desired.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 10:17AM
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Goodness I could not imagine why a FL would NOT do a heavy spin after the wash and between each rinse. Certainly my older Bosch (Euro size) does. I am about to go into Miele and as stated above, pretty certain that will automatically do that. It just makes sense! Interesting thread!

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 9:03AM
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