top loader hard on clothes--recommendations?

nictDecember 19, 2011

I recently bought a new Samsung HE top loader washer and the coordinating gas dryer. (Don�t have the model number here�maybe 5471?) We did a lot of research and this one seemed to have everything we wanted and good ratings/reviews everywhere we looked. Either I bought a lemon, or this set is awful, so I�m looking for recommendations for what to trade it in for! We were leaning towards a top-loader because we heard many stories about front loaders developing a smell around the door unless you leave them open. (We have 2 small children, so we would not be leaving them open.) It also seemed like the wash cycle times were horribly long on most front load models. I also generally liked the top loader style more. However, our clothes are coming out completely twisted/knotted and pulled apart! Towels with very minor fraying are unraveling. When the washload is finished, my children�s pjs look like a spider web with sleeves and legs stretched out across the drum. And the dryer�the sensor does not appear to work at all, and when I use the manual time setting for 90 minutes, the clothes are still damp. (My old dryer took nowhere near that time!) In addition, it seems the colors are fading much more after drying with this new machine. I have read both instruction manuals and follow the tips for loading clothes and am only using Permanent press and normal cycles with a medium spin. My loads are a mix of types of clothing, but I have tried washing only like size/weights and it doesn�t seem to matter. I also called service and they didn't have any suggestions.

My question to those of you with an HE top-loader-�is it hard on your clothing or would you recommend your brand/model? My question to those of you with a front-loader�is this kind of a machine more gentle on clothes, and do you notice a "funk" after time? Are the cycle times on your machine really long (basic perm press or normal cycle). I wish I had my old center agitator washer back! I could wash AND dry a decent size load in 75 minutes! I don�t care about looks�just want a good size machine that will clean clothes and dry clothes without ruining them. Thank you very much for any recommendations on a gentle and efficient machine.

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We bought our first HE FL this year. The "perm-press" cycle is around an hour if I do not extend the wash time. Same with a 'normal' wash cycle. Time really has not been an issue for us, because my FL holds 50% more clothes than our old CWHTL (Conventional Water Hog Top Loader), so I do laundry less often.

We now have no more of the twisted sheets and slacks/pants that our old CWHTL gave us for sixteen years.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 5:37PM
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All I can recommend is the one we bought which for us at least is great so far. Only had them 2 months though.
Wash cycles range from about 40 min (speed wash) to regular cotton/normal cycle that is 51 minutes.
A HOT wash is "Bright Whites" which is 90 minutes and super hot "Sanitary" will go 2hours 56 minutes.

We personally do not have any problems with any twisting of clothes at all. Although have seen some people having this problem.
The washer uses plenty of water, has I think its 14 wash cycles, has a good spin cycle of 1100rpm.
it is quiet, seems to be well made.
Is large enough tub to handle a King size comforter.

We got ours for $728 each for W/D.

It is a LG WT5101HV TL HE with matching Dryer.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 6:25PM
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Whirlpool FL for 6 1/2 years. Excellent results and no problems.

FL's are demonstrably/inarguably gentler, if that's your hot-button.

FWIW, I pretty much totally disagree with Nunyabiz1.....but hereby announce my refusal to engage.

Get one with a heater.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 8:22PM
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Hard to disagree with what my personal experiences are with a washer that you have not the slightest clue about because you do not own it.

I assume if I said the Earth is a sphere you would disagree also.

I am sure FL are "gentle" as all they do is simply turn the clothes from bottom to top and drop them into a few inches of water.

Some people (75+% of the US) prefer a TL, some prefer a FL.
To each his own.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 9:09PM
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You can find many references that will tell you FL clean better and rinse better than many TL and HE TL. You don't need the opinion of those who've never owned one.

I've been a FL user for 11 years (maybe we Canadians are more advanced than Americans - LOL).

Never any smell or mold. You have to perform minor maintenance to ensure your machine remains clean. I too have two children and leaving the door slightly ajar was never an issue here.

Unfortunately I can't help you with TL as I would never choose to use them again.

You have to narrow down your list of needs and narrow down your choice of washer from there.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 9:23PM
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nunyabiz1: "Some people (75+% of the US) prefer a TL."

Another statement of fact; one assumes that it will be relabeled an "opinion" by the person who stated it. In case it is not relabeled, could you please provide the basis for that statement of fact?

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 10:10PM
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One thing to consider with leaving the door open is how easy it is to do. I can leave my door just barely open by putting a wash cloth over the rubber gasket. My Dil has an LG and you have to leave it wide open which I think could be a problem with small children or in a tight space. It is something about the spring action of the hinge that won't let you leave it barely open.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 10:37PM
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Thanks for the recommendations. I would not be able to leave the door open at all on a front loader. Our laundry area is in the same open room as our kid's play area. They are very small, and one is very into hiding. Can't take the risk, which I'm sure any parent completely understands! For those of you with front loaders, does anyone leave the door closed all the time? If so, what do you do to avoid a smell? That's one thing that I like about the top loader....but not if the result is that our clothes are getting pulled and stretched!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 11:08PM
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My DIL has 4 year old VERY active twins. Their playroom in the basement is right next to the laundry room . It is more or less the same space, separated only by a wall the depth of the washer. She does not leave the door open. Her machine is 2 years old. She does exclusively cold water washes and so far so good. It has been all I can do to keep my mouth shut LOL. I think she is asking for trouble.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 7:43AM
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Herring-maven:"Another statement of fact; one assumes that it will be relabeled an "opinion" by the person who stated it. In case it is not relabeled, could you please provide the basis for that statement of fact?"

OK I was a bit off it is actually 85% not 75.

"""some stakeholders commented that 85 percent of consumers prefer top-load washers as evidence for the need to include a top-load option as part of the ENERGY STAR program. Data
submitted by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) supports the claim that 80-85 percent of all models sold are top-loaders with agitators (the traditional wash system used in topload washers), 10-20 percent of all sales are front-loaders, and less than 5 percent of sales are toploaders without agitators""

I thought that it was common knowledge that TL still have at least a 75% market share in the US.

Yes FL are very gentle on clothes which is why the wash times are so long probably, when all it does is turn over, lift clothes up and drop them a foot.
I have had nothing but top loaders for 35 years and never had them do anything but clean my clothes.
Don't recall a single piece of clothing that was messed up in a TL.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 7:53AM
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nict - I still LOVE my Top Loader. It's a Maytag Centennial model, and is very very gentle on clothes. Still not sold on the FL idea of less water. Washed a load of very very dirty work clothes in a FL once, and they came out mud-streaked. Give me my TL with MORE water, any day!

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 9:13AM
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Google "US market share - washers" and plenty of stuff comes up. Nothing I've found supports Nunyabiz1's 75-85% TL assertion. Almost all come in around 60-65%. Linked one below.

Doesn't much matter, though. Both are available from many different brands. Get what you want. But get one with a heater.

Here is a link that might be useful: washer type / market share

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 9:20AM
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Market share doesn't really have anything to do with washing performance. To the mass market, I would guess people are more familiar with the TLs, and have read about the problems that some FL owners have had.
Let's face it "Energy Savings" is the name of the marketing game right now.

To the OP:

LG now has a magnet to keep the front loader door ajar a bit, so to facillitate some air movement, and I believe that they also recommend leaving the dispenser door open.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 9:22AM
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My parents own a newer LG set with the magnetic door. It is great because it holds the door only slightly ajar (hard to even notice it's open) and the magnet is quite strong to hold it in place.

Think about where mold loves to grow ... dark, damp places. If you leave the door closed on a machine intended to be "water tight" no air will circulate. I too think you're asking for trouble. I think you might avoid issues if you're running the machine everyday and doing several hot washes but if not, you need to allow air into the drum.

Popping out the detergent tray is a way to help allow air to circulate. I do that as well.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 12:14PM
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Well, machines of any kind accessible to the playroom are matter of concern. I can understand leaning toward TL for that reason alone. On the other hand, there's still the dryer, almost all of which are FL. To my knowledge, the only TL dryer available is Fisher-Paykel.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 12:40PM
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A child getting into an empty washer drum isn't the big safety concern, IMO. Besides, a child who could climb into an FL drum could probably also open a latched door. And they'll be able to use a chair or stool or table to climb into a TL tub before long, too. I think the real issue is keeping the machine from being started. Some washers have a "child lock" function that a child isn't likely to defeat by randomly pushing buttons.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 8:47PM
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However, if they seal the door on themselves unnoticed and find themselves unable to open it.....then what?

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 9:36PM
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Hmm, I guess that could happen with the Electrolux push-to-open door. Not with my Miele, I don't think...or any model where you open the door from the outside by grasping a fixed part of the door frame and simply pulling.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 10:14PM
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Thanks for the comments, however, I'm really not interested in hearing debates on the percentage of TL vs FL or comments about whether you think a kid could get trapped in a machine. I'd really like to hear some recommendations of specific units that other people like/don't like and and don't twist clothes. Much appreciated.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 11:00PM
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That is exactly what I did until I was as usual attacked by the FL sycophant squad.
Regardless of what they say a good HE TL cleans clothes just as well as any FL.
They just do it in a different way, FL are basically just a clothes tumbler that turn lifting the clothes up about a foot and dropping them into a few inches of water repeatedly for over an hour.
HE TL use an agitator at the bottom to scrub the clothes back and forth and turning them from top to bottom, in ours it also spins the clothes in the wash cycle while forcing the detergent wash water into the middle pushing it through the cloth. In the end you get clean clothes regardless of TL or FL.

Also FL have inherent design flaws that make them more prone to premature bearing failure, seal leaks and certainly mold.
This can pretty much be considered fact for what ever percentage of FL unless you completely disregard the 100s and 100s of reviews listing these same problems repeatedly along with several class action law suits making that same claim.

Best thing to do is take a general consensus of consumer reviews, repairmen reviews, and to a much lesser degree so called professional reviews.
Throw out the obvious idiotic reviews and the ones that seem to be raving over it profusely.
Pay attention to specific problems that are repeatedly brought up by several different reviewers.

Then start a Pro/Con list with 2-3 possible candidates and ween them out until you feel comfortable with your research.

That is exactly what I did and came up with the LG WT5101HV.

So far (only been 2 months) I feel I have made the right choice as the machine is working flawlessly, cleans very well, quiet.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 8:51AM
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nict - No doubt FL are gentler. I have bottom of the line LG FL that replaced a top of the line conventional Maytag. From the 1 st load I was shocked how much cleaner my clothes were w the FL! I have a 3 and a 1 yr old. I open the door and the dispenser tray after the kids go to bed. My 1 yr old will load it w toys if left open. I've never had a mold or smell issue with it. My average load time is 1.5 hours as I run full loads and always heavy soil. Dry time is 20 mins. My FL can wash 50% more per load than my XL TL Maytag did and leave the clothes cleaner and in better condition FWIW. I can only imagine what improvements come with the better models. My mother has a Cabrio, my sister a different TL HE washer. They both complain or worn out clothes that smell unclean and want FLs. That is after they both swore I'd hate my FL. Hope that helped.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2011 at 10:21AM
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FWIW, I just got a Samsung FL a few weeks ago and I can't begin to explain how much cleaner everything comes out, than when we had our trusty (but small) Maytag (before their quality dropped). I was reluctant to replace it because it worked flawlessly, but we wanted to avoid going to the laundromat to clean our comforters. The Samsung is 4.3 (actually stickered in the stores as "5.0") its the WF520. The one thing I don't like is like most HE FL, the water is not as hot as one might like. I just plumbed in a wye connector at the cold inlet, to bleed in some warm water. In the winter, in the garage, with temps around 50-60 degrees, I just don't feel the wash was getting warm enough. In the summer, I may turn off the hot water line going into the cold inlet. (don't be misled--the incoming water is still only barely warm, at the cold inlet).

Furthermore, I've got a tech coming out this morning to check on the overall operation, as "sanitary" never goes over 134 degrees. Hot-inlet temp is over 140 degrees.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2011 at 12:14PM
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Like Sandy16 and dave1812, when I switched from agitator TL to FL I was blown away by how much cleaner everything came out. Nunyabiz1, I don't recall you saying anything similar about your switch to HE TL.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2011 at 5:36PM
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"That is exactly what I did until I was as usual attacked by the FL sycophant squad."

No ... you were arguing with everyone who doesn't agree with you AGAIN. Bringing up points not relevant to the discussion at hand.

Funny ... I see lots of comments from happy FL users (or the "sycophant squad" as you call them). Where are all your TL supporters?? Where are all the elated TL users (since SO many Americans prefer them)?

@nict, unfortunately you can't dictate how a conversation will flow on an open forum such as this.

I think some posters were merely trying to explain how some FL doors work so you would see that you might not need to fear it with your kids. Obviously, it's your call to make. I'd be getting the best FL I could afford and if I had to open the door when my kids went to bed ... so be it.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2011 at 6:01PM
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Whirlpool with Fan-Fresh.

On the Duet w/ FF, can you remove clothes then close the door and re-engage FF to dry out the machine? Or is FF disabled after opening the door?


    Bookmark   December 23, 2011 at 7:33AM
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After our Duet died we bought a WP TL and it has worked very well for us. (1 year). It is a non-he machine, so you could use any soap you desire. I use Tide on whites and Sun on everything else. (powdered). The Duet came with the house and was 6 years old when it died. We did have that FL smell problem, but I used white vinegar and borax once every few months to cure that issue. I like the soak feature with this TL machine which allows me to open it up and add something while the clothes soak. The TL was cheaper and I think much easier to repair (less electronics) than the FL machines. No matter what machine you buy I would recommend getting the 5 year warranty from HD or Lowes. It was only 100 dollars and well worth it when the machine has an issue.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2011 at 6:44AM
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We all have our faves, I suppose.

Top loaders never got my clothes clean. Well, I thought they were "clean" at the time because I had nothing else to compare with. When I bought my first front loader in 2000 - a Maytag Neptune - I was blown away by how clean everything came out. I had a years-old stain on a white shirt that was obliterated by the Neptune.

When I moved to Seattle in 2002, I sold my Neptune pair to my aunt and bought an Asko set in Seattle. These were smaller units, but perfect for my townhouse. They cleaned amazingly well. I swapped those out in 2009 for my XXL Miele which continues to give me the clean clothes I've come to expect from a front loader.

From the standpoint of twisting clothes, all of my front loaders did it to some degree. The Neptune and Miele have tilted drums, the Asko was a true h-axis design. They all twist clothes. The biggest factor in twisting, I've found, is the spin speed. Maximum speeds tend to exacerbate the problem by plastering the clothes against the drum, making them more difficult to remove even if mildly twisted. It's not a big deal, as everything comes out smooth and wrinkle-free from the dryer. Make sure any machine you buy will continue to tumble the clothes after the wash cycle is completed. That's one feature which is missing from my Miele and it annoys the heck out of me.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2011 at 1:47PM
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"Make sure any machine you buy will continue to tumble the clothes after the wash cycle is completed. That's one feature which is missing from my Miele and it annoys the heck out of me."

You know, I was concerned about this feature when I purchased my Miele. My previous Frigidaire had it and I wasn't sure I'd be happy without it.

I don't miss it one bit.

I've always shaken each item out before placing in the dryer so I find it's made no difference to me personally.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2011 at 2:51PM
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It's far more important to have a feature such as "Wrinkle Prevent" in the DRYER and it is to worry about having a WASHER that tumbles clothes periodically, after the end of a cycle...

    Bookmark   December 28, 2011 at 4:05PM
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darn typos! " the DRYER and it is..." should have been," the DRYER than it is..."

    Bookmark   December 28, 2011 at 4:51PM
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@ dave1812 & livebetter

We shall agree to disagree. My Asko washer tumbled clothes after the completion of a cycle and I liked that the clothes would come out relatively tangle-free after a few tumbles. This feature is nothing more than programming, and should be a feature included in every machine. There is no technical reason why it should not be done, and yes I fault Miele for not implementing this very basic feature.

It's certainly good to have this feature in the dryer as well, but that doesn't mean it should come at the exclusion of having this option in the washer. It's not an either/or scenario - the feature should be in BOTH units. This seems to be an extremely basic oversight on the part of a company (Miele) that prides itself on having invented the automatic washing machine. But I digress...

    Bookmark   December 29, 2011 at 10:43AM
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sshrivastava, what I'd like to see is a feature to get ALL the clothes unstuck from the drum, at the end of the cycle. :) Even with the washer on a pedestal, at 6' 5", it's awkward for me to bend down and in, to get all the items off of the drum. The several slow back and forth spins the Samsung does at the very end, isn't enough to get them unstuck.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2011 at 10:53AM
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I was SO glad to see your post!!! In Dec/2011 we purchased a new washer/dryer b/c we sold our old w/d with our old home. Our new washer is the Samsung WA5471AB; not sure about the dryer, but it was sold with the set. I HATE both of them!!! The washer is ruining our clothes as it twists everything, including sheets, into a big, wrinkled mess that cannot be corrected by the dryer. I have noticed that the clothes are looking 'worn' before their time. I never have dried my clothes - except for socks/underwear/etc - for more than a few minutes. I take them out and hang them up damp. In the past, as they dried, the wrinkles fell out. Not so anymore. Now,everything is so wrinkled that I spend my nights ironing. I thought these were supposed to be 'energy efficient' models. My husband is calling Samsung in the morning b/c he is tired of hearing me cuss out the washer & dryer every time I do the laundry. We are in our 60's & don't need heavy duty cleaning nor large capacity drums. We don't have that much laundry!!! We did our research but we got caught up in the new, high technology & felt this was what we needed. I just want my old washer & dryer - top load Maytags - that were reliable & just did the washing & drying that was needed.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 9:43PM
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I don't know if you saw my thread about the Bravos by Maytag. It is a top load no agitator style of washer and I had the same problems you speak of. The dryer was just as awful with the weird times. It was set for 40 minutes and yet it would run for much, much longer. The steam didn't do much of anything, it certainly didn't take out the spider web like wrinkles from the washer.

I finally couldn't take it anymore and sold them. I almost felt bad selling them. I sold the washer for $100 and the dryer for $300 for a set less than two years old that looked like new.. Like you I had a 1996 Maytag pair that probably would have lasted for another few years but I got caught up in that government rebate thing and that is what pushed me to get rid of them sooner. Dumb...even with the rebate they are cheaper now.

I ended up getting a front load GE GFWN100WW with matching dryer. Very happy with them but still worry about the smell thing and mildew down the road but the function of them is great, quiet, no wrinkles and works so much better.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 9:06AM
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My question to those of you with an HE top-loader-�is it hard on your clothing or would you recommend your brand/model?

nict, I own a Maytag Bravos HE TL, and absolutely love it. I read the washer manual several times when I first got it, as I wanted to be sure I used it correctly.

It is not hard at all on my laundry. I don't have problems with tangling, shredding, or anything else.

My former conventional TL's were much harder on my laundry.

I love its huge capacity, as that means I can wash much less often, and can also wash comforters, sleeping bags, etc.

I also love that it uses so much less water than my traditional washers, partly because we are on a septic tank, also because this has made a noticeable difference in our water bills.

I also end up saving electricity because I can wash far fewer loads than I used to, plus laundry dries much faster in the dryer because the washer spins it out so well.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 4:17PM
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The wrinkling is a deal-breaker for me. I just spent mucho for a Fisher-Paykel combo.

Please...tell me...other than replacing it, is there anything I can do to ease the terrible wrinkles? I have tried cold and warm water, I override the high efficiency and turn on Fabric Softener (although I don't use it, I understand it gives a bit more water to the rinse). Low spin. Still my husband's t-shirts come out looking fractured or, as another poster said, like spider webs. I want to save my investment, but is it worth losing my clothes??

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 1:46PM
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