Selecting a washing machine

Washing machine technology has come a long way in the last 10 years (in America, anyway). We have gone from 90% top-loading washers to about 60% top-load and 40% front-load, with about half of the top-loaders sold being high-efficiency machines. With the great variety of brands, prices, styles, and features, how is one to make a decision? Please allow me to help.


First, how many people are you washing for? If it's just you, you may want to consider an low water use conventional top-loader. These machines look like the old-fashioned machines we grew up with, and they still have the agitator, but there is no longer a Load Size/Water Level knob. Instead, it has a load sensor that will determine how much water is needed. This saves water and energy. These machines usually sell for around $600. Machines with the Load Size/Water Level knob will use quite a bit more water, and won't clean any better, plus they'll cost more to run. On average, after 3 years you'll have saved enough with the low water model to cover the price difference, and the rest of the savings are just gravy.

With any conventional top-loader, you should maintain the machine by running Washer Magic through it once every 4-6 weeks, to remove detergent, fabric softener, and stain residues. If you don't know where these residues are because you don't see them, carefully run your finger under the metal rim of the opening to the washtub. Feel that goop? See how it's all blackish-green and gross? That's what you need to get rid of. Now that you know your enemy, vanquish him!


Next, we have high-efficiency (HE) washing machines. If you do at least 9 loads of laundry in an average week with your conventional top-loader, an HE machine will make a big difference in both the number of loads you do and the amount of water and electricity (and/or gas) you use.

These machines are also gentler on your clothes, as there is no agitator. Front-loaders wash by tumbling clothes, while top-loaders wash by shuffling the clothes up the center and down the sides. In both cases, the clothes scrub each other clean, instead of just sloshing around in a tub full of soapy water. With nothing to snag on or pull against, clothes like hooded sweatshirts, coveralls, and even comforters pose no problems. With many of these machines able to wash things like comforters, you can save money by not spending $20-40 at the dry cleaners.


For those whose homes don't have much floor space, a front-loading pair may be the best choice. These machines will generally have the capacity -- 3.6 - 5.2 cubic feet) -- to handle at least 50% more laundry than a conventional top-loader. They will also use far less water. A conventional machine uses about 42 gallons of water, beginning to end, for a Normal cycle. A front-loading machine will use, on average, about 14 gallons of water for the same cycle. They also use, on average, 50-75% less energy. Every front-load washer is Energy Star-compliant, and many are Tier 2 or Tier 3 (which may qualify you for rebates from your city or state).

These machines also have high spin speeds, anywhere from 950-1400 rpm. This results in much less water left in the clothes, so the dryer won't have to run so long, which will save you energy. Front-loaders are also appropriate for people who want the storage that comes beneath when pedestals are added (these are not free, however).

Front-loaders are best placed on concrete floors or reinforced first floors, and, when properly installed, can be incredibly quiet. Most are appropriate for second-floor installation.

If the machines are not going above the first floor, the only other considerations would be the dimensions of the machines versus the space you have, whether you want them stacked or not, whether you want pedestals or not, and the features you want in your machines.

Front-loaders have a wide price range, from about $600 up to $2000, depending on the brand and model. Generally, capacity, cycle options, and special features will increase as the price increases.


There is a mind-boggling laundry list (heh) of features available in today's front-load washers and dryers. Here is a run-down of most of what you'll find available:

Internal water heater: gradually heats water in washing machine to 145-155 degrees Fahrenheit for sanitizing and to increase whitening activity in bleach and bleach alternatives.

Steam: In washer: helps with stain removal at end of wash portion of cycle.

In dryer: relaxes wrinkles in clothes that have been left in the dryer too long, removes odors from clothes that are otherwise clean (smoke, perfume, etc.), removes wrinkles from clothes from the closet.

PowerFoam: HE detergent and water are combined in a foam generator that speeds the dissolving process and makes the detergent more rapidly absorbed by the laundry so it can work on stains longer (Samsung exclusive).

ActivFresh (formerly Silver Care): cold water passes over silver plates in washer, carrying silver ions with it, and the natural anti-microbial activity of ionic silver sanitizes laundry without use of fabric-damaging bleach or additional energy to heat water; some people have expressed concern about silver entering the environment, but amounts are minute, and is far less damaging than the large amounts of silver jewelry that gets lost in waterways (Samsung exclusive - discontinued).

Direct Drive: instead of having the motor at the bottom, and having belts drive the drum, the motor is directly behind the drum; LG and Samsung tout this as superior technology, but little evidence supports these claims, and repairs can be very costly for this style of motor, because any harmful movement of the drum goes directly to the motor, instead of just damaging a belt. Most direct drive machines can be installed on second floors.

Filter trap: a place where little bits and pieces of stuff left in clothes (or falling off clothes) gets trapped instead of heading directly into the pump; some manufacturers, like Whirlpool, keep this trap behind the fascia panel at the bottom, while others, like LG, GE, and Samsung, have them accessible from the front without the need for dismantling anything.

Smart-Dispense: a special pedestal that has three dispenser jugs in it, two for detergents and one for fabric softener; the washing machine can automatically detect how much it needs based on the concentration of the detergent, size of the load, and water hardness (GE exclusive - discontinued; replaced by dispensing system in new HE top-loaders).


  1. I am looking for a washing machine for a second floor laundry. IT is now just for my husband and myself and occasional visits from 3 sons. I do a lot of delicate laundry also. I have looked at the SamsungWF218 and the GE WPRE6156KWT top loader. I have heard about the smell issue. Also are the front loaders harder on clothes (delicates), clotehes get tangled? I am totally confused.

  2. Hello! This is a good question. Samsung is an excellent choice for second-floor installation. Between its direct-drive motor and Vibration Reduction Technology, it will be exceptionally quiet.

    Front-load washers are much gentler on clothes, especially delicates. They also clean better, with a more concentrated blend of detergent and water.

    There are no odor issues as long as the machine is treated properly. If you read the section of this site about getting rid of mildew and the "Caveats" part of this section, you'll see how to prevent any odor problems. By the way, absolutely any washing machine can get odor. Front-loaders just accelerate the process by being water-tight.

    Front-loaders don't really tangle clothes; at least, no more than any other washing machine.

    You'd be well-served by the Samsung machines. Good luck!

  3. Hi Randy, great posts. Thanks. We do have a second floor laundry. Which models do you recommend? Is it the vibration that excludes most machines from being an option?

    Also, when I see good posts about a washer, they ususally do not match the dryer that comes with it?!? I REALLY want a dryer that will get out wrinkles the first time (and on day three when I realize I forgot about the clothes.) Should I shop for a dryer first and then take the matching washer?

  4. For second floors, the following are suitable:

    new Kenmore front-load models (other than 48102)
    HE top-loaders (Kenmore OasisHE or OasisHT, Whirlpool Cabrio, or Maytag Bravos)

    Front-loaders that are belt-driven will tend to have greater vibration noise going into the floor. Whirlpool's (including Whirlpool, Maytag, and previous generation Kenmore HE2/HE3/HE5 models) and Frigidaire's machines are belt-driven. For maintenance and repair, they're usually simpler than the direct-drive systems in the machines made by the other brands.

    However, the vibration during the high-speed spin cycles will turn the floor (and the ceiling below it) into a house-wide speaker, broadcasting the vibration noise everywhere. On a concrete or reinforced first floor, it doesn't really matter. But, on the second floor, it is generally not acceptable.

    The HE top-loaders are great, too, because the wash motion is inherently quiet, and the high-speed spin cycle turns the washtub into a gyroscope, with virtually zero vibration noise.

    As for the dryer, if you tend to leave clothes in the washer, I'd recommend using a lower drying temperature, and taking advantage of whatever wrinkle prevention features the dryer you choose may have. Most do have some sort of system to move the clothes occasionally after the drying cycle has ended. This keeps clothes from settling and cooling in one place, which is how wrinkles get set in to begin with.

    And, use the fabric softener sheets in the dryer rather than with the detergent in the washer. It will keep your washer happier, and it will leave much less of the oils in the softener on your clothes.

    Find the washer you like, then get the dryer to go with it. Trying to go the other way around will make things far more confusing and difficult. If you have any other questions, just let me know.

    Good luck!

  5. Hi Randy,
    Thanks for the great info. I would like to know about a good dryer. We are looking at having to replace the dryer and aren't looking at getting a new washer right now. However, I do want to get a dryer that I could maybe match up later. Do you have any suggestions? We currently have a 10 year old washer and dryer by whirlpool. The washer is top loading.

  6. You may want to check out the Whirlpool Cabrio dryers, which offer large capacity, enhanced drying air circulation systems, and an integrated steam system for refreshing clothes and relaxing wrinkles. If you get it in white, you'll be able to match it up with a Cabrio washer later on. You may also want to check out the Maytag Bravos machines, which are basically the same thing at lower price points. Whirlpool makes Maytag now, so the quality is identical, but the Maytag has slightly simpler control layout.

    If you prefer the traditional conventional top-loader, Whirlpool and Maytag dryers in the 7 cubic foot and larger range would be a reasonable replacement. Or, you could go with a Kenmore, which will usually give you exactly the same features at a lower price point without any loss of quality (the Kenmore conventional machines are made by Whirlpool).

    Good luck!

  7. hi
    we have seen 3 front load washers all around the same price at our local sears store
    kenmore he 2 plus
    bosch nexxt 500 plus
    lg 4.0
    they are floor models that are fine,
    just wondering what has the best custumer satisfaction and why should i have to pay $169. for a 3 year warrenty. is it worth it?

    thanks for any help

  8. The Bosch and LG are going to be generally better machines than the HE2 Plus. Both will be quieter, with larger capacities.

    If I'm correct, the Bosch is not the traditional front-load washer, but the version with the buttons on the top and the "U" door. Be aware that this machine cannot be stacked, and that the door is angled so that it will not stay open on its own. Something must be propped between the door and the machine to keep the door open to dry out between uses.

    Also be aware that in order to open the door after the wash is done, you must turn the dial to "Off" first. Otherwise, the door will remain locked. These aren't defects; just different systems that Bosch designed on its previous generation machines.

    I always recommend the Master Protection Agreement for a few reasons. It will give you annual preventive maintenance check-ups. This is great for finding problems before they actually become problems.

    You also get the highest available level of coverage, covering not just defects, but normal wear and tear, rental reimbursement, power surge damage, over-the-phone troubleshooting, and more.

    Besides, should a repair be necessary (it shouldn't, but nothing should ever require repairs, right?), almost any repair will cost at least as much as the three years of coverage. In fact, most will cost much more than that.

    So, it's a wise move to protect your investment. And, if it can't be repaired, it's replaced with a model of your choosing within the NORMAL price range of the model you purchase (so, if you're getting a great deal on a floor model, and it's replaced, you're not bound by the price you paid!). I've got more information about protection agreements in the "Tell me about" section.

    Be sure to read the "Getting to know" section about front-loaders as well, and the "How to select" section about detergent would be a good source of information about the detergents these machines require.

    Good luck!

  9. Is the Maytag MVWC6ESWW washer a reliable machine if used properly? The Bravo won't fit our wasroom. Thanks

  10. Which is better for a front loader - liquid or granule detergent?

  11. Good question!

    I suggest you read the "How to select" section about laundry detergents. Generally, though, if your water is extremely hard, liquid will be the better choice. If your water is not extremely hard, powder detergents tend to leave behind less residue.

    HE detergents are usually the best choice, because they rinse away cleaner. More detailed information is in the laundry detergent link in the "How to select" section.


  12. "Is the Maytag MVWC6ESWW washer a reliable machine if used properly? The Bravo won't fit our wasroom. Thanks"

    Sorry these aren't in order!

    Yes, the Maytag is reliable when the instructions are followed. Add detergent, then add laundry, close the lid, set your cycle, and start it up. Then, just like a cake, just let it go until it's all done.

    It will use around 40% less water than a conventional non-Energy Star washer, and will clean better, on average, than a non-Energy Star washer because there's a higher concentration of detergent in the wash cycle.

    My only main piece of advice is no peeking. It will cause the washer to add extra water (not a full fill, but it will go to the next level, because it assumes you've added a little something to the load).

    If you're unsure how much detergent to use, judge it based on the size of the load only. It's a change to some people's habits, but a potentially small adjustment can result in cleaner clothes.

    Good luck!

  13. I am looking for a washer that can wash king size comforters.

  14. For king-size comforters, 4 cubic feet is barely large enough. I would recommend starting with at least 4.2 cubic feet, if not 4.4 or larger. Recommended models in this size range include:

    Kenmore and Kenmore Elite front-loaders (except the 48102 and the smallest "full size" models)
    Whirlpool Duet (4.4 cubic)
    Maytag Performance Series (4.5 cubic)
    LG (except the lower price point models)
    Samsung (except the lowest priced model)

    Kenmore Elite OasisHE or OasisHT
    Whirlpool Cabrio
    Maytag Bravos

    Which one you choose will depend upon how you have your laundry room set up, what floor it's on, and personal preference.

    If you have any brand preferences, or would like to provide further information about your wants and needs, let me know, and I'll be happy to help.

  15. Randy, I need help in sizing a washer. MY 5.4 cubic ft dryer is fine, but I need to replace my washer. What is the appropriate capacity size for a washer that is compatible with the 5.4 capacity dryer. Thanks for your response.

  16. Good question. At 5.4 cubic feet, your dryer is on the very small side (is it a portable/110v model?). I wouldn't recommend a washer any larger than 3.2 cubic feet for a top-loader, or 3.5 or 3.6 cubic feet for a front-loader.

    Yes, you can get a front-loader, even with a larger capacity, because the spin cycle will leave the clothes much dryer than the top-loader, and the dryer won't have to work as hard to dry that quantity of laundry.

    For models to consider, check out the Kenmore 48102 and the Kenmore 40021. I think you'll be impressed with not just the cleaning performance improvement you'll see, but the water and energy efficiency these machines will bring you. You'll save enough to pay for the price difference within a few years. After that, it's like the washer pays you to do laundry!

  17. Looking for a new washer and dryer. We have had to replace both twice in the last 10 years. Would like to be able to wash king size quilts. Would rather not spend a fortune. Can't find any with very high reviews many people complain about the high speed spinning tearing or knotting clothes. What would you suggest?

  18. Good question. Many people have begun wanting to launder their quilts and comforters at home to save the cost and inconvenience of dry cleaning. Doing it safely is very important.

    High spin speeds really should not be a factor, because you can actually control the spin speeds with the new high-efficiency top-loaders, like the Kenmore Oasis, Whirlpool Cabrio, and Maytag Bravos.

    These machines have the added benefits of being much gentler on laundry than an agitator washing machine, as well as being far more efficient with water and energy. So, not only will it wash your quilts without the trip to the cleaners, but it will cut your bills a bit in the process!

    For a great starting point, I'd recommend looking at the Maytag Bravos (click here to view). The MSRP is around $869, but you'll generally find it priced lower than that. There is also a slightly larger capacity version available with more cycles and a window in the lid. You can also check out the Whirlpool Cabrio and the Kenmore Oasis (only the no-agitator styles).

    With the ability to control spin speeds, a gentler wash motion, and fantastic efficiency, this should be a wonderful machine for your needs. And, keep in mind that while the price may be more than you're perhaps accustomed to, the efficiency and eliminated dry cleaning will more than make up for the price difference.

    Good luck!

  19. Thank you for your help. Decided on the Maytag Bravos, the reviews seemed to be best for it. It will be delivered this weekend!

  20. Hi Randy
    I bought the Maytag Bravo and love it to death. Its like a rocket ship taking off :) But I have a question. I have noticed after washing everything esp Bulk load (blankets, etc) there is a ring around the tub like a soap scud you see on a bathtub. I did try to dry it will not come off, I always leave the top up after washing, tried using affresh then bleach but it is still there. I then used a citrus cleaner put a little on a sponge and boom it came right off with ease. So my question is will this harm the stainless tub. I did purchase borax soda to try but have not tried it yet. Oh as far as soap powder I use the HE first I tried Tide liquid HE now using Sears He soap powder.

  21. It sounds like you may have hard water, if acidic solutions took care of it. Your water may have a high concentration of calcium, which leaves chalky white residues behind. No amount of drying will keep calcium deposits from forming. Bacteria can grow in the crevices of the calcium deposits, causing odor and darker colors, and because the calcium (lime) is alkaline, an acid (like citric acid) will be able to eliminate it.

    I'd recommend switching your machine washing product from Affresh to Washer Magic or Smelly Washer, which are both citric acid-based products that will remove the lime from places you can see it and, more importantly, from places you can't see it. Use either of them once a month.

    In the meantime, I'd recommend using Oxi-Clean with your detergent, if you're not already using the Ultra Plus with Oxi-Clean. Oxi-Clean (and similar powdered products) is made of the same ingredients as Affresh, without the citrusy perfume. If you use it while running a large hot load, such as towels, it will do the job of Affresh without having to use a special cycle just for that.

    Enjoy your Bravos, it's a wonderful machine!

  22. Oh, one other thing: if you're the person who had just purchased the Bravos and received it this past weekend, your laundry likely has a lot of detergent residue in it, and large loads of bulky laundry, like towels and blankets, hold onto that residue especially well. When cleaning these items for the next couple times through, use less detergent than you normally would - perhaps as little as half a scoop. The old sudsy detergent may need to work itself out of the laundry and may be leaving a little sudsy residue in the machine.

  23. Thank you Randy. No that was not me who just purchased the Bravo. I bought mine just before Christmas. You are right on the money my water is hard and I noticed this problem right after washing the towels in the beginning. I have just ordered the Washer magic (6 bottles) and hope that will do the trick. This weekend will run over to Sears for the detergent. thank you again for your help.

  24. Hey Randy, can you explain how the wash plate moves the clothes around in the Cabrio, Bravos and Oasis machines. I have asked two different floor sales people, and they didn't have a clue. Also, which of these HE top loaders have auto detergent despensers.

  25. Good questions!

    First, a video can best illustrate how the Cabrio/Oasis/Bravos washers work:

    All three of these dispense detergent first, and it goes directly into the washtub underneath the basket. This allows the detergent to dissolve and work before any bleach might get dispensed. Just put your laundry chemicals in the appropriate dispensers, and they will go in when they are supposed to.

    Be sure to take advantage of our huge Energy Star sale! It ends 2/16!

  26. I currently have a Kenmore 20702 top load (3.0 cu. ft.) It's still working fine, but is in my basement, and I'm sick of hauling laundry and up and down two levels. I think I've found a spot on the bedroom level that I could stack front loader and dryer in a walk-in closet that is really bigger than I need it to be.

    Questions - Sears guy recommended the Kenmore 40272 (4.0 cu. ft.) for our family of 5. One answer I can't find online - how does a front load washer handle small loads? My family of 5 includes teenagers (lot of laundry now), but they will be gone in a few years. I expect this washer to still be here when I'm down to a "family" of 2. What happens when this machine is only doing the laundry of 2 people? Is that OK?

    Next, is the Kenmore 40272 appropriate for third floor use? (House has basement, main level, and what I'm calling third floor.) Wow, I'd hate to spend all that money and go crazy with the noise. I'm more concerned about the noise on the main level (coming from above) than I am for sleeping purposes. We can sleep through anything. But we want to be able to hear the TV on the main level. :)

    Any other suggestions for what brands/models we ought to be considering?

  27. Good question! Lots of people focus on large capacity, but most don't think about small loads.

    That said, I think you'll find that 2 people produce more laundry than you think. The two of us almost never run a load that isn't full or almost full, and our front-loader is 4.0 cubic feet, too.

    But, if a small load must be done, like a few pairs of pants, the washer will be able to handle it easily.

    And, yes, the 40272 is second-floor (what you call third-floor) appropriate. It has a great vibration control system that reduces, if not eliminates, vibration noise.

    With SmartMotion technology, quiet operation, great efficiency, and a Consumer Reports #1 rating, the 40272 is an excellent choice. If you'd like slightly more capacity, you could consider the Kenmore 40311 (4.2 cubic feet).

    Good luck!

  28. Seriously, I still don't have a washer or dryer. The options OVERWHELM me. . . can you please just tell me what to buy?

    2nd floor laundry so noise is a big consideration.


  29. Hello, Anonymous!

    For vibration control, certain brands excel. They are, in no particular order: Electrolux, Samsung, LG, Kenmore Elite and Kenmore (other than the Kenmore 48102), Bosch, and the HE top-loaders made by Whirlpool (Kenmore OasisHE/HT, Whirlpool Cabrio, Maytag Bravos).

    If you like top-load but want high efficiency, consider the Maytag Bravos, which combines the efficiency of the Oasis and Cabrio at a lower price point.

    If you would prefer front-load, I'd suggest starting out looking at the Kenmore 40311 (white, or 40318 for ginger) and 40272.

    Keep in mind that these are good starting points. The best thing to do is to go to and narrow down the choices by style (front-load vs. top-load), the brands I mentioned above, set the color to white, and choose capacities 4.0 and up. Then, arrange by price. This should give you a fairly simple menu of choices. From there, you can narrow down by a price range you're comfortable with, which will also determine, to a certain extent, the capacity and features available.

    Remember that as you go up the line, capacity increases, cycle options increase, and steam becomes an option about halfway through the list.

    And, give the Maytag Bravos a look.

    If you're still overwhelmed, I'd recommend visiting your local Sears store and talking with a sales associate, unless you're interested in a web-based consultation via chat. I can help you that way, too.

    Just post a request with the type of chat client you use (facebook, AIM, yahoo! IM, MSN Messenger, etc.) and your username. I moderate comments, so I wouldn't publish that information, but I'd be able to privately discuss things with you and help you real-time. Let me know if this is something you'd like to do.

  30. What exactly do you think of the bosch washers and dryers? And do they have a rep. for repairs? The salesman said the bosch dryer is the only one that has air that comes thru the whole back instead of just the small area the the others have. I'm totally lost on which make of front loader is best.I do need both,though. Is there a prob. getting needed repairs/parts on any of the pop. brands?We always seem to doubt our choices,if they are best. This will have to be a one time thing,can you help. There are just 2 of us now &an occ.quilts/blankets and it needs to be energy star. It's going in 1st floor bath,there is an 8in high particle wood floor base over cement floor. Thanks

  31. Hi there!

    Bosch makes a perfectly nice washer and dryer. Very quiet and efficient washer, and a good dryer. I've heard some people try to play up the "full airflow" thing as a major selling point, but the fact is that it doesn't make any difference. A good dryer will do a good job drying clothes, period.

    Sears does have the nation's largest supply of manufacturer parts, but any part can be out of stock at any time, depending on what the demand is. Usually, though, all parts are available for the vast majority of products. So, don't let part availability sway your decision.

    As far as repairs, most brands fall under 5% failure rate within the first couple years. Bosch certainly meets and beats this mark.

    Now, if you're looking to do quilts, the Bosch Vision 500, 500 AquaStop, or 800 AquaStop models would all be good options with an ample 4.4 cubic foot wash basket.

    If you're going to dry large bulky items in the dryer, I do recommend using a low setting, as the dryer is on the smaller side as far as dryers go (6.7 cubic feet). Besides, it will be gentler at a low setting regardless of the dryer. Just a little friendly advice.

    Other options you may want to consider:

    *Maytag Performance 4000-9000
    *Whirlpool Duet 4.4 cubic foot models
    *Kenmore (4+ cubic foot) or Kenmore Elite models
    *LG (4+ cubic foot)

    And, in case you'd consider HE top-load:

    Maytag Bravos/Whirlpool Cabrio/Kenmore Elite OasisHE or OasisHT (all cousin machines, built on the Whirlpool Cabrio platform)

    All of these are Energy Star rated, and I believe all of them have Tier III ratings, the highest level of efficiency recognized by Energy Star.

    Let me know if you have any further questions. Thanks for visiting!

  32. Hi Randy -- Great Blog here. I'm replacing a 13 year old set of w/d due to the washer flooding the house this week! We are a family of 4. We put w/d in the basement.

    We consider ourselves green in living, but not over the top at all, just trying to do the right thing when we can. I am happy to use less water -- we pay for it here in Easthampton. i am happy to use less detergent--and can follow rules!

    so, I've read lots, and need to make a decision. you're strong of the HE-toploads -- I am really not committed either way

    Space is not really an issue -- although getting them INTO the house is a bit tricky with the basement location. We have a bulkhead -- or an internal staircase.

    It seems like you're saying frontload is not necessary for efficiency, water use, cleaning, etc -- even though that is what is marketed like crazy these days.

    I see from your recent post the following list. Is this a good list for me to review? and the HE top loads too? Thanks!!!

    *Maytag Performance 4000-9000
    *Whirlpool Duet 4.4 cubic foot models
    *Kenmore (4+ cubic foot) or Kenmore Elite models
    *LG (4+ cubic foot)

    And, in case you'd consider HE top-load:

    Maytag Bravos/Whirlpool Cabrio/Kenmore Elite OasisHE or OasisHT (all cousin machines, built on the Whirlpool Cabrio platform)

  33. Hi Aime!

    Yes, that list is a good starting point for most people looking to get into the HE market. I tend to see more people going for the HE top-loads lately, as it's a more traditional feel, and their capacity, wash performance, and efficiency are on par with front-loaders. That's not to mention the extremely aggressive pricing that the Maytag Bravos series has had lately. In the HE top-load category, it's extremely difficult to beat the Bravos.

    Some people prefer front-loaders, and there are many great choices available. That list is certainly not exhaustive, but it gives you a good snapshot of the mid-range of the market, and shows what features are common among machines in that category.

    For the delivery crew, the bulkhead would be an easier way to get in, and they're trained in getting machines into crazy places, so don't worry much about them being able to get it into your basement. Unless you've got an obstacle course or a Temple of Doom-type basement, they'll be able to handle it just fine. :)

    If you have any questions about particular models, let me know. I'm happy to help!

  34. So, we purchased a pair last night, and then canceled the order today. It was a Frigidaire Affinity FAFW3577K[W] and a dryer the specs i dont' have on hand.

    Do you recommend extended warranties? I'll check your blog for that too.

    Just seemed like so much $$$ with not enough research. The Frigidaire front loader was recommended to us by friends, they've had one for a few years.

    Any thoughts?

    Thank you so much for your first reply and for this great resource!

  35. Frigidaire Gallery GLTF2940F[S is also in the running.

  36. Hi again, Aime!

    Not to contradict your friends, but I think you might find better performance and quality in one of the new Kenmore models in the same price range, like the 40272, which was recently rated #1 by Consumer Reports. Or, perhaps the Whirlpool WFW9450 or Samsung WF219. These offer greater capacity, greater washing performance, higher build quality, and better projected durability. The Maytag Bravos would also be in this price range, and would give you a huge jump in capacity with excellent washing performance.

    As for protection agreements, I recommend reading my section about them above. I certainly have one on my front-loader (Whirlpool WFW9400SS, which is the direct predecessor of the WFW9450), and highly recommend them for front-load washers (great for peace of mind with the dryer, and getting both gets you 10% off each protection agreement, but at the very least definitely the washer).

    Happy hunting!

  37. Randy

    I have several finalists for a new washer, including the Samsung WF219, Whirlpool Cabrio and Maytag Bravos.

    If I get the Bravos or Cabrio...does it matter if I get a lesser dryer? For example, the matching dryer for the Cabrio (WED6200SW) seems to be very similar to a cheaper dryer (WED5700VW) which is technically not a Cabrio dryer. Any thoughts?


  38. Hi Shannon!

    That's a good question.

    Technically, no, it doesn't matter which dryer you get, unless you are getting front-loaders that you want to stack or put on pedestals. Otherwise, a dryer is a dryer, for the most part. However, be aware that there will be some differences.

    For instance, the dryer for the Cabrio will be larger, which will affect drying time. The more room the clothes have to move, and the more air can circulate between the clothes, the more moisture can be carried away per minute With the Cabrio washer's large capacity, every bit of dryer space adds up.

    And, the Cabrio dryer will be a tiny bit quieter, though certainly not silent, as things like jeans buttons will still be knocking around in there.

    Also, the Cabrio dryer has a better air circulation system, which will accelerate drying without increasing the heat.

    What you may want to consider, for a lower price than the Cabrio dryer, is the Kenmore 800 dryer, which is 7.5 cubic feet. While it doesn't have the better circulation system, its greater capacity will be helpful with the larger loads the Cabrio is able to handle. The electric version is here, and the gas version is here. This is the big sister to the Whirlpool 5700 dryer (the Kenmore is manufactured by Whirlpool).

    Right now, the big Energy Star sale makes all of these washers exceptional values. Enjoy!

  39. Thanks for all the information Randy...I will definitely check out the Kenmore 800 dryer as well.

    By the way...Do you have any updates on those new upcoming HE top loaders you mentioned awhile back?



  40. Hello again, Shannon. :)

    There will be information available about the new HE top-loaders at Sears in the next couple months. I'll be sure to add some information about them here, so everyone can learn about them. Thanks for visiting!

  41. Oh, and I just realized, Shannon, that I referred to the Energy Star sale and to washers. Obviously, I meant dryers, and the current sale on dryers is 10% off. I've had Energy Star on the brain the last couple weeks! It finally ends for me at the end of this week. Then, things get back to "normal." :)

  42. Hi Randy,

    Which is a better option - a gas or electric dryer?
    Any recommendations for a front loader washer/dryer?



  43. Hi RJ. :)

    The better option is the version that matches the power source you already have. Performance is in no way affected by the power source. Heat is heat, and the clothes don't care what makes the heat. As for durability, they're pretty comparable.

    As for front-loaders, I've got a boilerplate list of machines I generally recommend as a good starting point. You can, of course, choose anything you like, but these are very good machines with good performance and build quality.

    *Maytag Performance 4000-9000
    *Whirlpool Duet 4.4 cubic foot models
    *Kenmore (4+ cubic foot) or Kenmore Elite models
    *LG (4+ cubic foot)

    And, in case you'd consider HE top-load:

    Maytag Bravos/Whirlpool Cabrio/Kenmore Elite OasisHE or OasisHT (all cousin machines, built on the Whirlpool Cabrio platform)

    These machines represent a wide variety of prices and features, but you're sure to find at least a few that will fit your wants and needs, as well as your budget.

    Good luck!

  44. Do any of the front-loading washers have reversible doors? All the ones I have looked at online say swing left in the description, but don't mention if it can be reversed.

  45. Hello, Mary!

    Currently, the only manufacturer of front-load washing machines that has a reversible washer door is Electrolux. Their IQ Touch and Wave Touch washers and dryers have been very popular due to their large capacity (4.7 cubic feet in the washer, and 8.0 cubic feet in the dryer), their flexibility for arrangement, and their quiet operation. If this is a feature that your particular needs call for, Electrolux would be the way you'd want to go.

    Thanks for the question!

  46. Hi Randy!

    My Maytag Atlantis stopped working last week in the middle of a cycle. My first inclination was to have it repaired but after reading some stories online I think I'll just be glad it lasted 7 years and move on.

    So, what do you recommend? The washer will be on the first floor above a crawl space. My husband works with dairy farmers so we do a lot of dirty laundry. I have always had a traditional top-loading machine but I am open to change.

    I am looking forward to your suggestions!


  47. Hey Julie!

    I think you're right; repairing a Maytag machine from that era most likely isn't worth the cost.

    Whirlpool just released a new version of its Cabrio washer that might do you well. It's 4.3 cubic feet which would give you a bit more capacity than you're used to, it has a stainless washtub, uses the Cabrio/Bravos washplate, 800 RPM max spin speed, and is as efficient per pound of laundry as a front-loader. It sells for between $500 and $600 at Sears (there are two versions, one with a few more cycle options than the other). Click this link to see the more basic version of the Whirlpool Cabrio.

    If you'd like something with even greater capacity in the same style, check out the Maytag Bravos (click the "Branded Bargains" washer link). Either of these will be very quiet and efficient, and clean exceptionally well.

    If you're thinking of going to a front-loader, you may want to start by looking at the Kenmore 40441, if you are going to get the washer and dryer together. They're going to have a phenomenal sale during the July 4th sale that you might want to take advantage of. If you go to the "Kenmore Bargains" washer page, the 40441 is the steam version of the 4031X machine described there.

    If you need a new washer as soon as possible, you may want to consider the Samsung WF330ANW.

    All of these machines would run very quietly, efficiently, and clean very well. This certainly isn't an exhaustive list of excellent machines, but it's a very good starting point. I wouldn't want to overwhelm with a laundry list (har har) of washers. If you have any questions about these machines, or any others, let me know.

    Thanks for visiting!

  48. Randy,

    I'm way past overwhelmed! So much has changed in washing machines...I've been looking at the Samsung WF448AA, Kenmore 4044, and Maytag Performance series. I am intrigued by the Samsung Silvercare and Vibration reduction technology and that machine, although expensive, is getting great consumer ratings on the Sears and Lowes website. My Mom just got the Kenmore 4044 and likes it...that's what I'm currently using. I am a little hesitant to buy another Maytag given my history and the fact that the name doesn't really mean anything anymore. I can't find any consumer reviews of those Maytag Performance series machines, but the lady at my local Lowes recommended them...

    And I probably should have mentioned that I don't want a white set and even though I am just buying the washer now, I will probably buy a matching dryer within the next year. So while I go check out the machines you already suggested, what are your thoughts on the 3 I mentioned?

  49. The Maytag machines, and their Whirlpool counterparts (the same in almost all meaningful respects), are great machines. Because Whirlpool now owns and manufactures Maytag, the quality is far better than it used to be. Maytag's quality is very much like what it was 20 years ago, and unlike what it was less than 10 years ago. I own the Whirlpool Duet WFW5500SS, which is the Maytag Performance 4000, except 4.0 cubic feet instead of 4.5 cubic feet. It's a terrific machine that cleans really well. However, I wouldn't recommend it to be installed over a crawlspace, as it may cause undesirable vibration noise.

    The Samsung 448 is a great machine. Activ Fresh (SilverCare) is a fantastic feature that sanitizes without bleach or high temperatures. This means you can even sanitize dark clothes without affecting the fabric's integrity or color. And, Samsung's VRT (Vibration Reduction Technology) does an extremely good job at eliminating vibration noise.

    The Kenmore 4044X is also a good machine. It's the 4031X with steam, and I have a write-up of the 4031X under the "Kenmore Bargains" section.

    If you have any other questions, let me know!

  50. Hi Randy,

    I've read your wonderful and helpful comments. I need a new washer, and I am inclined to LG WM2301HW with its matching dryer pair. There's a sale going on this model at Sears, too. I am going to stack them in my laundry room.
    What do you think of this model? I heard that the service provided by LG can be sometimes not very efficient.
    Thank you!


  51. Hi SJ!

    First, disregard LG's service. All service for your washer should go through Sears when you purchase from Sears. Just dial 800 4 MY HOME (469 4663) to schedule an appointment. A repair technician will come out, diagnose, order parts if necessary, and install them. There are only certain circumstances in which you should actually go through the manufacturer.

    LG's washers are generally pretty good. However, you might want to hold off for a couple days and check out the amazing deal coming up on the 40441 Kenmore washer. It's the same capacity, with the same features, plus steam for increased stain-fighting and sanitizing power, and when you see the price for July 2-6 (especially when you use your Sears card), I think you'll find it very compelling! I'd recommend acting sooner rather than later on that set if you choose it, as demand will likely be great.

    You won't see the 40441 on the floor, but the 40318 is on the floor, and that's the same machine without steam. Give it a look. It will have the exact same dimensions as the LG brand washer and dryer you have been looking at, and will stack exactly the same, so if the LG will fit your space, so will the Kenmore.

    In the meantime, take a look at the "Kenmore Bargains" washer section for a write-up about the Kenmore 4031X. Pretty much everything you see on the Kenmore will be on the LG, but sometimes with a different name for the feature. Add steam, and you've got the 40441.

    Happy hunting!

  52. Hi Randy! You're a life saver answering all these questions! My 7-yr old Kenmore front-loader just "died" from a supposed broken back bearing. It was making a horrible noise and the drum now has a lot of play in it when you move it around (is it true that 7 years is "old" for a front-loader?). I just saw your post above about the Kenmore 40441. What are the dimensions, as my washer & dryer are in built-in spaces with a counter on top? Also, my repair man said that my dryer was "shot" because the felt lining on the inside was worn out. He also said that was responsible for gray streaks that I have been getting on my whites. Is that true that once the felt lining wears out (again 7 yeard old) that it's time for a new dryer?


  53. Hello Hilary!

    First, lifespan. Lifespan of appliances varies depending on many factors. Most appliances are tested to last at least 10 years based on simulations. Of course, there's a bunch of variables that can affect lifespan. Some last longer, some shorter. The best I could really say is, "it depends." Most appliances get changed after around 10 years, but that includes replacement for upgrades, moving, natural disasters, etc.

    And, since the machines of 5-10 years ago are very different from the machines of today, the durability has gone up along with the capacity and efficiency. You can reasonably expect 10 years based on manufacturer testing, but I could never say that any particular machine will last any amount of time. Just gotta cover my butt. :)

    The 40441 washer is 27" wide (standard width), 29.75" deep, and though the specs on don't show it, it is around 38.5" tall. I can almost guarantee you won't be able to fit this, or most, washers where your current machines are.

    Now, regarding the dryer, the felt lining doesn't always wear as yours did. The dryer doesn't necessarily need to be replaced when the felt wears out. It can be replaced. I don't know what the cost of such a service would be, but you can always find out by calling 800 4 MY HOME (469 4663) and having a technician check it out.

    If you definitely need the washer and dryer to fit under the counter, you may want to check out the Bosch Axxis series, which is significantly smaller than most machines today, but will have the dimensions that your space demands.

    Otherwise, you may want to rework the laundry area. You could consider adding a work surface, or laundry tower, such as those in Whirlpool's Laundry 1-2-3 collection. Or, you may want to have pedestals beneath the machines for storage space and improved ergonomics.

    Sounds like you've got some thinking to do. Better get to it! :)

    Good luck.

  54. Hi Randy,
    I assume when you say that Samsung and Electrolux are suitable for second floor installations that you mean they have superior anti vibration systems. Of the two, is one better? And, do all models of their respective machines have the same anti vibration systems.

  55. Hi, Joe!

    Yes, that's pretty much what I'm getting at about Samsung and Electrolux, among others. Certain manufacturers have better systems for mitigating vibration.

    If you're definitely choosing between Samsung and Electrolux, I couldn't really say one is better than the other. I can give you some things that set each apart from the other, though.

    Samsung has offerings in more price points, from under $700 up to $1500+. Electrolux has three price points (I'm disregarding color prices for the sake of simplicity). Samsung is subject to sales, while Electrolux is not, but does frequently offer a sizeable rebate.

    Samsung is a direct drive system, while Electrolux is belt driven. Samsung uses VRT, two rings of fluid with ball bearings inside, to control vibration. There is also VRT Plus, which adds a sensor-based spin control system to keep the load balanced. VRT Plus is only available on the new top model, the WF520 PowerFoam Steam model. Electrolux has Perfect Balance to maintain load balance, and a floor sensing system that adjusts spin speeds to optimal levels for the kind of surface it's on. Both are extremely quiet under normal conditions. Yes, all of Samsung's machines use VRT, and all of Electrolux's machines have the Perfect Balance system.

    Samsung now owns the largest capacity at 5.0 cubic feet. Electrolux is the former king of the hill at an admirable 4.7 cubic feet.

    Electrolux's Wave Touch series has a huge built-in stain database that you can use to treat particular types of stains. Samsung has ActivFresh (formerly SilverCare) that sanitizes laundry without using bleach or high temperatures. Samsung has also created a special cycle for self-cleaning that doesn't require the addition of products like Affresh. It uses high turbulence and temperature to clean the machine. I'd assume using a product like Affresh would only accentuate this cleaning ability.

    Some people prefer Electrolux's more sophisticated look and feel; some prefer Samsung's strong and sleek look and feel. That's a preference issue, which you'd have to determine for yourself.

    I can tell you that many people are very satisfied with machines by both manufacturers, and either would be a good choice in most any home. They're very quiet, very efficient, and very good at cleaning your dirtiest loads of laundry.

    Thanks for visiting, and thanks for your consideration!

  56. So after reading your comments - would you recommend a "Direct Drive" LG dryer (that has no belt) or should we stay away from it. We talking with Sears comparing a LG 2050 to LG 2301 to a Kenmore 4027 -
    Really appreciate all of your comments - thank you thank you.

  57. Hi, mguard!

    That's a good question. First, there's nothing inherently bad or inferior about a belt-driven washer versus direct drive. They're different ways of doing the same thing.

    They each have their advantages and disadvantages. Direct drive has fewer moving parts and slightly more efficient transfer of energy as a result. Belt-driven washers have more moving parts, so energy transfer isn't quite so efficient, but they're simpler to repair, and the belt prevents a fail-safe to protect the motor from damage.

    Belt-driven isn't a guarantee of excessive vibration noise. Electrolux, for instance, is belt-driven, but is exceptionally quiet and suitable for second-floor installation. That said, Whirlpool and Maytag are not yet fully suitable for second-floor installation, if that's what you're considering.

    Now, comparing LG and Kenmore front-load washers is apples-apples. LG manufactures the 40272, so the guts are the same (the Kenmore is direct drive, just like the LG). That said, right now, I'd strongly recommend you check out the Kenmore 40441 and 80441 washer and dryer (or 90441 for gas dryer). If you use your Sears card on the purchase, the washer and electric dryer will come out to $749.99 each (the gas dryer ends up a little bit more). This is only about $75 difference from the 40272 when using a Sears card (this special lasts through July 6th).

    The 40441 washer is the steam version of the 4031X, which I have reviewed under the "Kenmore Bargains" section. It's got more capacity than the 40272, and steam for increased stain fighting ability and sanitizing, along with steam in the dryer for static and wrinkle elimination. For a small price difference, you get quite a nice step up as far as capacity and features. It's definitely worth considering.

    I have links to these machines on the page with the description of the 4031X, so feel free to give it a look!

    Thanks for coming by, and thanks for your consideration.

  58. Randy,

    It seems the feedback from actual consumers online is quite different than the feedback from Consumer Reports.

    After doing some research including talking to some appliance repair technicians- it seems Whirlpool is the clear winner. Less hassle in repairing the product, less repairs overall and was the reason the Kenmore brand had such a great reputation... until recently when the changed to LG.

    All that being said, I ordered the Kenmore washer and dryer on sale (40441 and 80441) but now have second thoughts. One repair tech I talked with said you couldn’t pay him to have a front loader. After doing research, I can see why- the mold, their repair prone and the repair expense is high plus they seem to not last as long as the old fashioned top loaders.

    SO I think I am now in the market for a Whirlpool top loader. I don’t care about all the bells and whistles if it means the appliance won’t last as long or need lots of repairs. However, I do want a steam dryer. I do not iron and so the ease of having quick touch ups to make clothes wrinkle free sounds great! I know you can do the whole wet washcloth in the dryer trick but I still want the steam dryer.

    So all that being said… what Whirlpool washer and dryer would you suggest for me?

    By the way, you are one of the few Sears employees that I fully trust to be a straight shooter…. So thank you! ☺

  59. A few things to consider regarding your findings. While I don't suggest you take only my word for it, I also wouldn't suggest taking only the negative word for it, either.

    The failure rate of front-loaders is actually about the same as with any other washer. Folks just raise more of a ruckus when it's with a machine that they weren't familiar with. They took a chance on something different, something bad happened, and they feel like they got burned. It can happen with any product, but when it's something new, people write off that entire brand/product as bad, instead of just seeing it as a dud or a user error. That's just people being people.

    The vast majority of product feedback is negative because people who are happy with their purchase have little reason to shout it from the hilltops, unlike people who feel they've been done wrong in some way. If a manufacturer or retailer asked its customers for feedback on their purchases, I think we'd see drastically different results than we see with the voluntary feedback methods currently used.

    I don't like to sound like "blame the customer," but most front-loader issues involving current generation machines are user-caused, not due to anything defective in materials or faulty in design. Most people simply don't read the manual, and then get upset when the machine does exactly what the manual said it's going to do. We all know that most people aren't going to say "whoops, I screwed up, it's my fault." They're going to say, "I spent $800 on a new machine that's supposed to be better and now it's not!" Human nature is what it is.

    There are the rare cases where folks follow the instructions exactly and something goes wrong, but they are the rare cases. Every product on the market has a few duds out there. Nobody likes to get them, but it's a fact of life.

    I was the biggest skeptic about having LG make the new generation of Kenmore front-loaders, and I used to be hesitant to sell an LG product to anybody, but Sears made sure LG improved cleaning power (SmartMotion Technology, which put the 40272 at #1 in Consumer Reports), improved build quality, and increased parts availability (now less an issue because of improved build quality).

    LG's service is a non-issue; just call 800 4 MY HOME and Sears will take care of it. I am impressed at the turn-around between LG machines of even 2 years ago and the Kenmore machines of today. It's a huge change for the better. I wouldn't recommend anything that I didn't think was worthwhile.

    My best recommendation would be to stick with the Kenmore machines you've got on order, as they're a fantastic bargain and, if you follow the instructions or read my blog, you should have many years of great service from them. I have every confidence you'd enjoy them and be pleased with their performance.

    If you're definitely turned off from front-loaders, consider the Whirlpool Cabrio 7600 or the Maytag Bravos 4.7 cubic foot washer or the Maytag Bravos 5.0 cubic foot washer.

    Or, take a look at the new Kenmore HE top-loader, which shares SmartMotion Technology with the front-loaders and has an internal water heater for stain-fighting and sanitizing. It's built on a platform that's been very reliable.

    All of these machines have steam dryers.

    I hope you come to a decision that makes you happy, whether it's staying with the Kenmore 40441/80441 or jumping to a top-load machine.

    Good luck!

  60. HI Randy!

    Thanks so much for all the helpful info. I am still on the fence but have some new things to consider. Is the Kenmore Elite top loader that you recommended made by Whirlpool? Also, if I wanted to go with a Whirlpool conventional top loader (been reading that the others can shred clothes and cause lots of twisted clothing) which one would you recommend?

    Thanks SO much!

  61. Hi Randy,

    I just wanted to follow up and let you know that over the weekend I went to Sears and bought the Frigidaire Affinity 8000 series front loader & gas dryer for ~$970 for the pair. I think/hope I got a great deal, and by the measurements these should easily fit under my built-in countertop. Washer comes tomorrow so we will see! Thanks again for your answers to my questions.


  62. Congratulations, Hilary!

    I know it's tough to find machines that fit small spaces, and the Frigidaires are pretty good little workers. They're not the biggest or fanciest, but they'll do an even better job than your old washer and dryer did. I think you'll be very happy. Make sure to follow the instructions in the manual (or the instructions on my blog) for the best performance.

    Make sure to review the washer and dryer on after you've had some time to give them a workout!

  63. Hello Anonymous Visitor!

    The new Kenmore HE top-loader is actually made by LG, not Whirlpool. It's based on the GE Harmony platform (LG built it for GE), and it has been proven to be effective and reliable. That is the only washer that LG manufactures for GE, by the way. Everything else is made by GE. This is also why the GE Harmony has such a good repair frequency, while other GE washers...well...

    When/if you see the new Kenmore machine in person, you'll see that the washplate is stainless steel, rather than plastic like Whirlpool uses. The design is also quite different. Neither is bad, it's just different.

    Also, the dispensers are different. Whirlpool uses dispensers around the opening, while the new Kenmore HE TL has a pull-out drawer for detergent and fabric softener, though it does have a dispenser for bleach like Whirlpool's machines have. Again, neither is superior, they're just different. Both are very effective.

    Whirlpool did manufacture the prior Kenmore HE top-loader, the OasisHE and OasisHT. These, too, are good machines, and the Whirlpool/Maytag-branded versions (Cabrio/Bravos, respectively) are also excellent washers, which is why I recommend them as well.

    The Kenmore OasisHT is still available while quantities last, and it's got an internal heater like the new Kenmore HE TL.

    You likely won't be able to get an OasisHE, though, as they're discontinued (the OasisHT is, too, but there's more of them around). There are a few OasisHE models kicking around in warehouses here and there, but they're largely sold off at this point. If you can get one, they're solid machines as well.

    If you choose an agitator washer, I'd recommend the Whirlpool Cabrio agi, which is an agitator-based Cabrio. it's got high spin speeds, good efficiency (though not like the agitatorless machines), larger capacity than any other conventional top-loader, and is widely considered the best washing system for agitator-based washing machines. There is no comparable Maytag machine, and the Kenmore Oasis with agitator is no longer available.

    Even though the Cabrio agi isn't considered an HE machine, I'd still recommend HE detergent, as it will rinse cleaner, eliminating any need for second rinses.

    Make sure, whatever you choose, you read the user's manual (or my blog) and follow the instructions for optimal washer performance. While it's different, it's certainly not hard to use a new style of washer correctly. And, when it's done correctly, it yields better results and great savings.

    Good luck, and thanks for your consideration!

  64. Randy,

    Thank you so much! You are an Appliance Rock Star! I really like the Whirlpool Cabrio Agi. Can you explain the difference between that one and the Whirlpool WTW58ES? I know the WTW58ES does not have an electronic control panel, which I like. It just seems like less things to go wrong. I have been reading about people not liking the electronic for that reason. Also, I am totally enamored with the new cabrio WTW6800W. Even though it goes against all the things I am looking for.. it has no agitator and uses an electronic control panel and is an HE. I have read all of those things can lead to more costly repairs. Can you give me your insights into all this? I think I am gonna go with the WTW58ES, but just wanted your expertise on all of this first!

    Thanks again!

  65. Hello again. :)

    The Whirlpool WTW58ES is the Energy Star (ES) rated conventional top-loader that Whirlpool released about a year ago. It uses a load sensor to determine how much water to add. This is what earns it the Energy Star status, as it will use about 40% less water than other conventional washers.

    The capacity is listed at 4 cubic feet, but it's the same tub that's in the 3.5 cubic foot conventional models. It's just that when it's Energy Star rated, it gets measured with the IEC standard rather than the DOE standard. 3.5 DOE = 4.0 IEC. Just two different measuring systems, kind of like ounces vs. troy ounces. They're both weights, but one weighs more than the other.

    It has conventional washer motions, spin speeds, and controls, except that there's no load size control. This model will, pound for pound, use a bit more water than the Cabrio agi. The cleaning power is better than water hogging conventionals because it uses a more concentrated mix of water and detergent, relying upon the chemical and mechanical action to remove stains. It won't clean quite so well as the Cabrio agi, though. The Cabrio agi has a better agitator with flexible fins to maximize turnover.

    Regarding the controls: every washer runs on electronics. People see knobs and they figure it's not electronics, but it is. Every washer for the past 10 years has been entirely electronics-driven. So, there's nothing more or less to go wrong than there's ever been.

    Now, the Cabrio 6800 is a fine machine. It's got even more capacity, more cleaning power, more efficiency, and it looks pretty darn sharp, too. The window is a nice touch, letting you see the washer in action.

    Again, nothing more to go wrong than there ever was. And, the issues that existed with earlier generation Cabrios do not exist with the machines made from 2008 forward. I sold the Kenmore OasisHT (same basic machine, but with a heater) to a manager at my store as well as her brother, and both of them are thrilled to pieces with how quiet and well they work. I haven't had a single customer have anything but praise for them, and I've sold quite a few HE top-loaders in my time.

    If it's between the Cabrio agi and the conventional Energy Star machine, I'd go with the Cabrio agi. Just a superior machine all the way around. If the Cabrio 6800 is in the picture, and you have the laundry needs to back it up (or comforters you'd like to wash at home rather than at the laundromat/dry cleaners), the 6800 would be a great step up.

    Of course, don't buy something just because I think it's good/better. It's your purchase, your money, and you have to live with it. I'm just here to share my knowledge.

    Good luck, and thanks for your consideration!

  66. Randy,

    What do you think about some of the top loaders making the clothes too tangled or even worse- damaging them?


  67. Hi Amy!

    I've found that the vast majority of issues with tangling occurred with previous generation Cabrio/Oasis machines, before the software in the control boards was changed. When the wash motions were changed, the tangling issues went away. The same goes for damage to clothes.

    There are rare cases where a garment catches somewhere, which is known to happen in any kind of washer, be it top-load or front-load. It is very rare, though, and much rarer with machines that don't have an agitator (nothing to wrap around).

    Good question!

  68. Hi,

    This blog is a great help! I am so confused regarding which washer/dryer to get. I was leaning towards an HE top loader but I have heard and read that they don't get clothes as clean as a top loader with agitator or front load washer. Any truth to this? I will be placing my washer/dryer on the first floor, which is over a crawl space. If I go with a front loader, should I look at the Samsung or LG, which has less vibration issues? Thanks so much!!

  69. Hello, visitor. :)

    The Whirlpool Cabrio, Maytag Bravos, and Kenmore Elite Oasis (all cousin machines) and the new Kenmore Elite HE top-loader (29272) are all excellent washers that clean on par with front-loaders (and better than agitator washers), with similar water and energy efficiency.

    Because they use less water, they have a concentrated mix of detergent, and the wash motions created by the wash plate and the basket produce greater motion and contact between garments during the wash cycle, resulting in washing performance like a front-loader. If you'd like an HE top-loader, these would all be great choices for your installation site.

    If you'd prefer a front-loader, Samsung, LG, Electrolux, and Kenmore/Kenmore Elite front-loaders would be good choices for vibration control and washing performance.

    Good luck, and thanks for your consideration!

  70. Need Washing Help!7/17/10, 7:54 PM

    Hi Randy!
    What can you tell me about the Whirlpool washer Model: WTW6500WW and dryer Model: WED6200SW? Do they use the steam technology? Do these break down very often?
    Thank you for your opinions!

  71. Hello there! I'll see if I can give you some washing help. :)

    First, the HE top-loaders do not, and cannot, use steam. The clothes would block the steam's ability to enter the wash basket, which would prevent it from being able to do anything.

    However, there are some HE top-loaders that have an internal water heater to help with sanitizing and stain fighting. The Kenmore Elite OasisHT and the new Kenmore Elite HE top-loader have internal water heaters.

    Second, the dryer you mention does not have steam, but WED7400 and WED7800 dryers DO have steam.

    Third, regarding breakdowns, they don't break down any more often than any other washers. Older generation Whirlpool HE top-loaders did have some issues that were based on the software in the control panels. When that software was changed by replacing the control panels, the issues went away. I've had lots of customers purchase this and its cousin machine the Kenmore Elite Oasis, and I haven't had a single complaint, but lots of positive feedback.

    I'm sure you'd be very satisfied with such a washer and dryer, as long as you follow the simple instructions in the manual (or if you read my blog).

    Good luck, and thanks for your consideration!

  72. Need Washing Help!7/18/10, 7:54 PM

    Hi Randy,

    Thanks for the info. Which Whirlpool top loading steam washer and steam dryer would you recommend?

  73. Welcome back!

    If you're looking for big capacity, the Whirlpool WTW7400 and WTW7800 are excellent machines. The 7800 has the window, the 7400 does not. The WED7400 and WED7800 are both steam dryers, and just like before, the 7400 doesn't have a window and the 7800 does.

    Just to be clear: the washers do not use steam. No HE top-loading washers use steam. Whirlpool's washers also do not have internal water heaters.

    Good luck, and thanks for your consideration. Be sure to take advantage of the Family & Friends savings online through the banners on my site before 7/19/2010 4am CDT, to save an additional 10% on the washer and dryer!

  74. Can you recommend a non HE top loader?

  75. HI Randy,

    Is an agitator or non-agitator machine less rough on clothes? I have been hearing a lot of people complaining about clothes getting very tangled.


  76. Need Washing Help!7/20/10, 1:05 PM

    Hi Randy,

    I am also looking at the Maytag washer Model: MVWB700VQ and the dryer Model Number: MEDB800VQ. How do those stack up against some to the Whirlpools and other top loads with steam?


  77. Hello anonymous visitor!

    The Whirlpool Cabrio agi (WTW6200V) is the best agitator-based conventional top-loader currently on the market. It is Energy Star rated, has large capacity, high spin speeds, and cleans exceedingly well for a washer with an agitator.

    The Kenmore 600, Whirlpool WTW5300V, and Maytag MVWC400V are cousin machines that are traditional conventional top-loaders. They have smaller capacity, slower spin speeds, and use much more water. Despite popular belief, more water doesn't equal more cleaning power.

    For someone looking for a model that straddles these two kinds of machine, the Whirlpool Cabrio 5500 and 5600 are worth checking out. They are HE, but have the same footprint and slightly larger capacity than an old-fashioned machine, along with better cleaning power. And, they're priced between the Cabrio agi and the other conventionals. I have a write-up about it under "Branded Bargains." Click the "Washing Machine" link there to see it.

    Keep in mind that you get an extra 5% off Kenmore home appliances when you use your Sears card. Good luck, and I appreciate your consideration!

  78. Welcome back, Amy!

    The current generation of HE top-loaders without traditional agitators are much gentler on clothes than the old-fashioned agitator-based washers.

    Tangling issues mostly happened with machines from around 3 years ago and earlier. The software on the older machines had wash motions that caused tangling, but Whirlpool changed the software so that doesn't happen anymore.

    An agitator grabs and pushes clothes down, and anything loose or stretchy can get caught around it and get stretched, distorted, or torn. Because non-agitator washers use an entirely different motion (video here), there is nothing to get caught on. This also allows loading of items like comforters without worrying about it wrapping around an agitator and unbalancing the washer.

    Thanks for stopping by again, and thanks for your consideration!

  79. Hello again, Need Washing Help!

    The Maytag Bravos washer and dryer you refer to are sister machines to the Whirlpool Cabrio machines. They are, for all intents and purposes, the same thing. Cosmetics, the controls, and the display are the major differences. The Maytag does have a slightly smaller capacity, but it's kind of splitting hairs between the two.

    It's just a matter of preference, really. Some people love the Maytag brand or styling, some people prefer the Whirlpool brand or styling. Either would be a great choice for your home's laundry needs.

    Good luck, and thanks for your consideration!

  80. Hi Randy,
    I'm shopping for a front loading 4.0 cu ft (plus or minus a little is okay) washer plus a dryer for a side-by-side under counter installation. Because of an existing window, the units' height can't exceed 38 inches. 36 to 37" would be ideal. This is a first floor laundry room with a tile floor, built over a low (and quite solid) crawl space. Can you suggest a model or two? Nothing too fancy. Thank you! Carol

  81. Hi Carol!

    As I'm sure you know, the maximum height limits your options. There are a couple of Whirlpool machines that would work in that space, a couple Maytag equivalents, and Frigidaire has quite a few models that are 36' tall. Of these, I'd recommend the Frigidaires.

    Frigidaire has made some big upgrades to its line-up, including the largest capacity in its class (up to 4.4 cubic feet) and ReadySteam for maximum cleaning and sanitizing power. And, you're going to get far more bang for your buck with Frigidaire's new washers versus Whirlpool or Maytag.

    I'll give you 3 of the new models to look at. All the dryers below are 7 cubic feet. I've given you the white, but any other available colors will be shown on the website.

    FAFS4474L 4.4 cf washer with steam; matching dryer with steam in electric and gas.

    FAFS4473L 4.4 cf washer without steam; matching dryer without steam in electric and gas.

    FAFS4272L 4.2 cf washer without steam; matching dryer without steam in electric and gas.

    Keep in mind that you can mix and match any of these three washers with the dryers, because they all have the same cosmetic appearance. So, you can have a steam dryer with a non-steam washer, or vice versa.

    Good luck, and thanks for your consideration!

  82. Hi Randy,

    I'd like to start off by saying thank you for posting this incredible blog and helping out so many people! So many of us reading this blog (myself included) are getting a top notch education in appliance selection, use and maintenance because of you! I greatly appreciate your expertise and your willingness to share this knowledge with all of us (as do many others I'm sure)!

    The time has finally come for me to replace our faithful washer and dryer after 20 years of service. We'll be sad to see them go (as they have been great to us) but at the same time we're really looking forward to our new machines.

    After reading about the many advantages of the current front loader washers we have decided to get a pair of new front loading machines. We like Whirlpool and Maytag and know that they are essentially the same machine these days (since Whirlpool bought them in 2007) with a few very minor differences in certain models.

    We've been comparing the Whirlpool Duet WFW9150WW and Maytag 2000 Series MHWE200XW washers along with their matching model gas dryers. I can get both sets of machines for about the same money so cost is not a factor in our decision between the two. I'm leaning more towards the Maytag units for two reasons. The first is that the Maytag washer has a larger door opening than the Whirlpool washer even though inside they are the exact same size and they are both rated at 4.0 cu ft capacity. This larger door opening will make it easier to load this machine with larger items like comforters, large blankets, etc. The second and more much important reason is because they supposedly use "commercial grade" components in the Maytag. My question for you is how much of this is truth and how much is just a marketing ploy?

    I know the Maytag has an extended 10 year warranty on the washer drive motor and stainless steel wash basket so obviously these components are "commercial grade" or they wouldn't offer such a long warranty. They must be confident that they will last 10 years and beyond but what about the rest of the machine? What additional info, if any, do you have regarding these Maytag machines? If you were in my position, are there any reasons you would buy the Whirlpool units instead of the Maytag units?

    I'll be ordering the new machines in the next few days so I would greatly appreciate any info and advice you can give me to help me choose between these Whirlpool and Maytag machines.



  83. Hi Mike!

    This is an extremely good question. First, let me address warranties. Most manufacturers are starting to follow LG's lead by covering motors for 10 years. Guess what component almost never fails? Yep: the motor. Whenever you see extremely long warranties, those components have profoundly rare failures, so I wouldn't worry about those, nor would I put much weight in comparing washers based on component warranties.

    Now, regarding the Maytag Commercial Grade components. They have a legitimate claim, testing core components like belts and motors to 20 years of use (twice the industry standard). They also use synthetic oil in their motors, which they claim holds up better than conventional oils.

    One thing I want to check is, is this for second-floor installation? I'm sure you've seen above my recommendations regarding such an installation. I am always cautious recommending Whirlpool's products in a blanket manner because of second-floor installations. They're fantastic machines, but that is Whirlpool's Achilles heel thus far.

    If you have any other questions, let me know. Thanks for the kudos, and thanks for your consideration!

  84. Hi Randy,

    Yes I did indeed read your recommendations regarding machines intended for second floor use. Again thanks for this useful information as I'm sure many people would not even think about any possible vibrations issues when installing machines on the second floor. Sorry I should have included the fact that the machines will be installed in our basement on the cement floor in my post. So no worries about any vibration noise being carried throughout the house by the wood floor.

    It's good to know that Maytag uses synthetic oil in their drive motors. Cars that use synthetic oil can go longer between oil changes because the oil holds up better so likewise the synthetic oil in the Maytag motor should definitely hold up better than standard oil over the lifetime of the motor.

    So is there any specific reason you can think of that would make you choose the Whirlpool Duet washer and dryer set over the Maytag 2000 Series Commercial Grade machines?

  85. Hi Mike!

    People choose one brand over another based on looks, configuration of the controls, brand loyalty, sometimes it's the only one on the sales floor, or the ever popular, "I just like this one better." They'll both do a perfectly good job, though.


  86. Hi Randy, just found your blogspot which is very informative. I am currently looking to buy a washer and have decided on the Bosch 4.4 cu ft 11 cycle front loader machine. I am hoping that it would last a long time and that I have made the right decision. Please advise. Thank You.


  87. HI Randy,

    Not sure if this got sent so am trying it again.

    We need to replace a washing machine and went into Sears and saw the Kenmore 4.3 cu I.E.C. Equivalent Capacity top loader (without an agitator)model 2600. It is priced for 487.00 with a 250 rebate.

    WE can't find any reviews for this particular machine, there are a lot for the Elite and Oasis but not this one. We were wondering what your thoughts were about it.

    It looks good to us but not sure.



  88. Two anonymous posters in a row!

    Ok, Anon1:

    Bosch makes a perfectly good machine. While not the top performing machines, they do have a strong following, and do a good job. More important than anything is to be sure to use and maintain the machine properly. That is the best way to ensure satisfaction. As with any appliance, I could never guarantee anything to last any amount of time, but they're pretty average for reliability, so the odds of it having a reasonable lifespan are pretty solid.

    Anon2: If you want some information about the Kenmore machine you refer to, check out the "Branded Bargains" washer. The Kenmore machines are the same thing, except the 28002 has a timed oxi release dispenser. They're excellent products, built on a strong platform. Because they've just been released within the last couple weeks, I am not surprised there are no reviews. I think you'll find that if you read the suggested page as well as this page and the "Getting to know" HE top-loader page, you should have a pretty good grasp on it.

    Good luck to both of you, and thanks for your consideration! :)

  89. Dear Randy,

    I've read through your blog and am really impressed, but still overwhelmed.

    We have an ageing Maytag top load agitator washer 745G model LA613, whose agitator has not been working reliably. Not sure if it's a belt or a chip issue or if it's a transmission issue (though the spin cycle does work). It's old and not very efficient so I'm loath to spend money on a diagnostic and/or repair visit, but we're doing a bunch of other costly home improvements right now so cash flow is an issue.

    I looked at the Kenmore 4031 featured today on the site, but at $750+ with no rebates it's a bit steep.

    I'm interested in a front-load washer (if we decide to get a replacement) but since we'll be installing it in a large basement (concrete floor) laundry room, I don't think we need to spend the money on the platform and the exterior size of the washer and vibration are not issues.

    We are very interested in a green footprint, and in fact have switched over to line drying all our linens and many of our other clothes as well, time permitting.

    I guess the criteria for me are energy and water savings, dryness at the end of the wash cycle, delayed start option, large capacity, and low price. Styling is not particularly important since it's in the unfinished basement.

    I'm really interested in keeping the price point down via sales, rebates, etc, though I think we've missed out on much of that. Are there big Labor Day sales coming up? Are there rebates I don't know about?

    We're a family of four, including a 10 year old boy and a 13 year old girl, and a dog who gets rubbed down with large white towels when he comes in from splashing in puddles in the park--despite large quantities of bleach these towels just don't get clean!
    That being said, I'm not sure I care about (paying for) the steam cleaning option.

    What would you recommend? Without looking at the failing machine, do you think we should limp along with the old one for a while and wait for a great deal?

  90. Hello, Sue!

    I know it can be overwhelming. There are so many choices, and it's impossible to judge performance based on just looking at the washers next to each other. Heck, even Consumer Reports doesn't test every scenario (like doggy towels).

    Price-conscious options that I'd recommend are:

    Samsung WF210ANW; LG WM2101HW; Kenmore 49032; Samsung WF220ANW; Samsung WF330ANW.

    Right now, the Samsung WF330ANW (the last on the list) is on a steeper sale than the rest, resulting in a price comparable to the two before it. You get a bigger, nicer machine for basically the same price. If you use your Sears card, you can get 5% off the Kenmore model, which brings it within about $50 of the Samsung WF210ANW model.

    And, keep in mind that if you're looking for efficiency and cleaning performance and price as well, you may also want to look at the "Branded Bargains" section and look at the washers there. Those are HE top-loaders, and currently they're on a better sale than the Kenmore versions (26002 and 28002).

    Regarding your old machine: the cost of fixing it, and the cost of running it, would quickly outpace the cost of a new HE machine and the reduced cost of use. Replacement is very likely the best option.

    Good luck, and thanks for your consideration!

  91. Randy,

    Thanks for your post. I have ordered the LG 2301; it was listed at $899, discounted to $748 and then there was a further 10% sale on that, so we paid retail $673.20 plus tax. We looked at the (discontinued but still available) LG 2050 but decided that the small price differential was worth getting the slightly larger capacity and a few more controls (dirt level, slightly higher spin rate, sanitation setting, and a slightly better energy star rating). I guess price wasn't the only driver! We also benefit from a 0% financing over 12 months, which helps the cash flow.
    I hope this is a good choice! Delivery in 7 days, no charge, includes setup (they will even run a cycle for us before they leave).
    I'll be sure to follow your recommendations and use the right products, etc.
    Thanks again!

  92. I just purchased a Kenmore Elite model 29272 top loader this afternoon. It will replace my old Whirlpool Duet washer which has lasted many years. I hope I have made the right decision to try a new HE top loader over a front loader. I did get tired of the mildew/smell issue, but the clothes got really clean.

  93. Hello, Rita!

    I'm sure you'll be pleased with the new Kenmore Elite HE top-loader. It's a design that's been proven over the last few years and taken under the Kenmore Elite brand this year.

    Just be sure to follow the instructions in the user manual, and/or the instructions found in the "Getting to know..." section above for HE top-loaders.


  94. Katie Walker8/30/10, 3:07 PM

    I don't think my post went through, sorry if this is the 2nd. I love this blog! You are so informative!
    I have decided on a toploader and am leaning towards either the Bravo or Cabrio? Which do you recommend? I've heard that Bravos are sturdier.
    Also, we are set up for an electric dryer and my husband has heard gas is cheaper over the longrun. Any thoughts on that?

  95. Hello, Katie!

    You're right, the first try didn't go through. But, now that it's here, let's get to it.

    The Maytag Bravos and Whirlpool Cabrio are, for all intents and purposes, the same machine. It's like the Ford Crown Victoria and the Mercury Grand Marquis. Little aesthetic differences, but the guts are generally the same.

    That said, the Maytag does boast the best cleaning in the industry with its Power Wash cycle, and Maytag has "Maytag Commercial Technology" which means certain components are a little different (for instance, synthetic oil rather than conventional), and/or are tested for double the industry standard of 10 years.

    Really, though, either is a great machine. You might also want to check out the new Kenmore Elite HE top-loader 29272, which boasts 5.2 cubic feet of capacity and KenmoreConnect, which allows the machine to communicate diagnostic data directly to the 800 4 MY HOME call center to help diagnose issues and make sure technicians are all set to take care of your machine before they arrive.

    Any of these would make wonderful additions to your home.

    Ah, the old "gas is cheaper" thing. If you have a gas car and want to convert it to a gas/electric hybrid engine because it's cheaper to run, you're going to have a huge initial conversion cost. When you amortize that cost over the life of the car, you lose whatever operational savings the conversion gained you. It would take decades for the savings to make a dent in the conversion cost. So, what was the point? The exact same holds true for your dryer situation.

    The cheapest fuel for your dryer is the one you're already set up for. Converting for energy cost purposes is a counterproductive measure that does nothing but cost you more for the dryer (gas dryers cost about $70 more than electric) and give a plumber a nice payday (especially if your state requires a plumber to install gas appliances). If you're set for electric, go with electric. Just make sure you get the right cord (gray = 3 prong, black = 4 prong).

    Good luck, and thanks for your consideration!

  96. Hi Randy - planning on purchasing new washer / dryer for our hew home. We are leaning towards a HE toploader. I have lots of "delicate" clothes and am in the habit of using the handwash and delicate cycle and then hanging things to dry. I do lots of color seperated "small" loads -not many really large loads. We looked at the Kenmore 2800 but this only has the "delicate" cycle, not "hand wash". Should I look for one that has handwash also or is there much difference. Any recs on something that will meet my needs??

  97. Hi CS!

    The Kenmore HE top-loader 28002 should be fine, based on your described laundry habits. The "Delicate" cycle is very similar to a "Hand Wash" cycle. The main difference is "Hand Wash" would have more rest periods and a slightly slower motion. Neither cycle will harm delicate/hand wash garments.

    You can find "Hand Wash" on the Maytag equivalent machines (Maytag 500, Maytag 600, and Maytag 700), but all they've done is replace "Delicate" with "Hand Wash."

    Some larger HE top-load washers, like the 5.2 cubic foot Kenmore Elite HE top-loader 29272, have both. I'm confident that either cycle would be fine for most delicates. There are Maytag, LG, and Whirlpool machines with the same or similar capacities and similar cycles. Some may replace the "Hand Wash" with "Wool." These are equivalent cycles under different names.

    Good question! Thanks for visiting, and thanks for your consideration!

  98. Katie Walker8/31/10, 2:04 PM

    Hi Randy,
    One more thing about gas vs electric dryers. I've heard gas dries faster. True or False? ;)

  99. We are considering the Samsung 448 and the Whirlpool 9750. We have three active boys who go through lots of clothes and towels. We would like to purchase a high quality unit that is dependable, durable, and washes the clothes as clean as possible. We will install in the basement so noise and vibration are not a significant concern to us. What do you recommend? Are there any other models we should consider? Any dryer suggestions?

  100. Hello again, Katie. :)

    Nope, gas and electric dryers don't have any significant differences in drying time. Gas does heat a up a little bit faster, but the temperature control is a little more precise with electric. Any differences in drying time amount to maybe a couple minutes.

    There you go!

  101. Randy -

    What a great blog! Today I went into Sears and the salesman showed me the Kenmore 28002. Once I got home, I went online and saw that there is also a 26002 model which is about $100 cheaper ($611 versus $518). I'm on the fence about buying the HE top loader versus a conventional one. I have 3 little kids and do a lot of laundry (at least 6 loads a week) and it will continue to grow as the kids get older and their clothes get larger. Is the Kenmore 28002 too small a machine? Is it really going to save me money and do a better job than a conventional machine?


  102. Hello Anonymous poster. :)

    If you like the Samsung 448 and the Whirlpool Duet 9750, you may also like the Kenmore Elite 41022, the Kenmore Elite 42192, or the LG 3885.

    These all have steam, plenty of capacity, and are extremely quiet. The Whirlpool may come off a little noisier, as it's belt-driven. However, Whirlpool is releasing its new 5 cubic foot Duet and Maytag Performance front-loaders that feature direct-drive motors and a pair of 26-bearing counterbalancing rings.

    The matching dryers would have suitable capacities to handle the large load sizes these washers allow. They'd also allow you to stack them if you so chose, or put them on matching pedestals, as is popular.

    For towels, be sure to use the Towels or Sanitize cycle, which will clean them thoroughly and get rid of any bacteria. If you use an oxi product with your towel loads, you'll also keep your machine fresh without having to use separate cleansing products.

    Good luck, and thanks for the consideration!

  103. Randy,
    The Mrs and I purchased the Kenmore 26002 HE washer and 68002 dryer set on Saturday at our local Sears. It was somewhat of a hasty choice as we were limited on time and went with a recommendation by the sales man. Looking back, I am wondering if we should have went with a similar priced Maytag as they claim "commercial quality". It seems that these series washers are new under the Kenmore brand and there aren't any solid reviews on them. Does Kenmore usually wait until a product is sound until they put their name on it? How do you think they will compare in cleaning and in long run durability with Maytag? I see they are both made by Whirlpool so I am assuming it's all good. Also we have 90 days to select an extended warranty, do you think this is a good idea? We take delivery Thursday. Great site! Wish I would have found it sooner.

    Todd Z

  104. Hi Jodi!

    First, yes, the HE machines will clean better than conventional washers. Between a more concentrated blend of detergent and better mechanical cleaning action, the HE washers have better cleaning power. In fact, the 28002 boasts the best cleaning in its class!

    And, with relatively large capacity, you'll be able to reduce your laundry loads. I've got a feeling you're actually doing something closer to 10-12 loads of laundry per week. Usually, there's 2 loads per person per week. That counts towels and sheets, which most people overlook when estimating their laundry duties.

    I doubt it would be "too small." It's got the same capacity as many front-loaders! You should see the number of loads per week drop significantly, as well as energy use (and water use, if you're on municipal use again if you're on a well).

    The 28002 has a timed Oxi release, an allergen-reducing cycle, and an "Express" cycle that will take care of a small load very quickly. If you're interested in maximizing the cleanliness of grubby towels and clothes (as one of four kids, I've pretty much seen it all!), the 28002 might be the machine for you. If your immediate budget absolutely demands a lower price, the 26002 would be suitable. Remember, you get 5% off Kenmore with your Sears card.

    Good luck, and thanks for your consideration!

  105. Hi Todd!

    The Kenmore version of this washer/dryer set is a perfectly good set. If it wasn't, Whirlpool wouldn't have the same machines under its own brand name.

    Good question about Maytag's Commercial Technology (MCT). With their version of the washer, it's got synthetic oil rather than conventional in the motor. Technically, that is better.

    However, over the realistic lifespan of the machine, the kind of oil used shouldn't have any bearing on performance whatsoever. The components otherwise are the same across the platform.

    The Maytag dryer has modified belts that are tested to 20 years' durability, versus the standard belts that are tested to 10 years' durability.

    Again, over the realistic lifespan of the machine, it shouldn't make any significant difference one way or the other.

    I would put the Kenmore or Whirlpool models up against the Maytag any day and reasonably expect each to perform well for as long as any of the other two.

    You don't need to be worried about this product being new to the market. It's built on a scaled down Cabrio/Oasis/Bravos platform, which has proven very durable and reliable (early software issues notwithstanding - a lesson hard-learned but also hard-forgotten).

    The 26002 will have comparable cleaning power to the Maytag Bravos 500 model and the Whirlpool Cabrio 5500. The Kenmore 28002 actually has the best cleaning in its class. Pretty cool. :)

    I think you may be mixing dates with the protection agreement, though. You have a 90 day return period, but you have 14 days to purchase the protection agreement at the store. I certainly do recommend protection agreements. If I didn't think they were worthwhile, I wouldn't have purchased one for my front-load washer, my television, my miter saw, etc.

    If you'd like to know why I advocate them for HE machines, check out the "Getting to know your new HE top-load washer" page. It's all there. :)

    Thanks for coming by, and if you have any other questions, feel free to ask!

  106. Hi Randy,
    I just qualified for the new rebate program (70%). I am looking for a top loader washing machine and a new fridge. As I'm low-income, I'm trying to find appliances that have a good record for low and less costly repairs. I want a larger machine to wash comforters and I really need the machine to be quiet. For the fridge the noise level is really important. I would like at least a 20 cu ft. model. I've been looking at top and bottom freezers. I would be open to either. Thanks for your help!

  107. Hello there!

    If you want a good top-loader that will qualify for your rebate program, you may want to look at the machines reviewed in the "Branded Bargains" section. They're priced like conventional top-loaders, but are Energy Star-rated, high-efficiency, clean better than conventional machines, and are gentler on clothes than the old-fashioned water hoggers.

    For a refrigerator, without having the measurements of the space in which the refrigerator would live, I wouldn't be able to responsibly recommend any particular refrigerators. If you could get me those measurements, I'd be happy to provide a few good options.

    Hope to hear from you soon!

  108. Hi Randy,
    Thanks for your response...My refrigerator sits in an open space but the door it needs to fit through is about 34" wide. I wondered if when they deliver the fridge they might take off the doors or handles to make it fit?


  109. Welcome back, Susan!

    Pretty much all refrigerators will be able to get into your kitchen, as they all either come with the handles not yet put on or have handles that can easily enough be removed. And, the overwhelming majority of refrigerators (except the very largest built-in models) will be an inch or two shallower than the width of your doorway. So, from there, it's just a matter of finding a model you like in a price range you're comfortable with.

    As for noise, certain brands will tend to be quieter than others. GE and Samsung bottom-freezer refrigerators will tend to be quieter than comparable models by other brands. But, any of the current models will be considerably quieter than refrigerators from 10 years ago.

    From there, you just need to decide exactly how much capacity you want. You can go up to 29 cubic feet. Are there any particular features you'd like? French doors? Water/ice through the door? Do you know which models qualify for your state's rebate program? Is it all Energy Star models or only particular ones?

    Hope to hear from you soon.

  110. Hi Randy, what a nice helpful fellow you seem to be. I need to replace a failing top-loader and am trying to decide between a Cabrio (5550 is what's in stock locally) and a Bravo. Is a Cabrio a Cabrio in terms of reviews of reliability (in other words, I know they have different bells and whistles, but are reliability reports on the 5500 relevant to someone purchasing a 5550?)? Do you think the substantial increase in price for the Bravo is worth it? Many thanks.

  111. Hello, Belinda!

    I'm not sure what you mean by "locally available." Sears carries three Cabrio models (5500, 5600, 5700) and three Bravos models (500, 600, 700), and all should be available pretty much all the time, though delivery dates may vary depending on whether the distribution center has them on hand. And, Sears will not only match a competitor's price but also beat that price by 10% of the difference.

    I'm also not exactly sure what price difference you're referring to. Without knowing whose prices you're seeing, I couldn't begin to comment. However, Sears has them at pretty close prices, with Maytag's price being lower right now (for comparable machines). There are larger versions of the Cabrio and Bravos, but it's not possible to tell if that's what you're referring to without a model number.

    As for the models, the Cabrio 5500, 5550, and 5600 are separated by cycles. The higher up the line you go, the more cycles you get. If you go to the "Branded Bargains" washer page, you'll find a write-up about the 5500 and the 5600 Cabrio machines. The Bravos machines are simply rebranded Cabrios with slightly differently named cycles and options. The Maytag does have "MCT" or "Maytag Commercial Technology," meaning the belts are heavier duty and the oil in the motor is synthetic rather than conventional. The performance and reliability are virtually identical overall.

    Right now, the Bravos and Cabrio machines are on an outstanding sale at Sears. I think if you follow the links on the "Branded Bargains" washer page, you'll find the prices very appealing, and they should be available fairly quickly.

    From there, just be sure to follow the instructions in the manual and/or on this site.

    Good luck, and thanks for your consideration!

  112. I want to buy a Maytag MVWc5ESXW which is just like MVWC6ESWW without the stainless steel drum. What is your opinion? I need a quick reply. Thanks. Den

  113. Hi Den!

    That's an ok machine. Following the instructions will greatly increase satisfaction, as user error can easily result in less-than-desirable cleaning performance and efficiency.

    This style of machine is actually very likely to become the low-end of top-loaders very soon, with machines like the Maytag Bravos 500/600/700 and its brethren becoming the mid-level top-loaders and large HE top-loaders remaining at the tippy-top of the top-load market.

    For smaller households, this is an adequate machine and a way to dip one's toe into the high-efficiency waters.

    Good luck!

  114. Randy: In the next couple of weeks I will be purchasing a washer and dryer set and would like your recommendations. My husband is a farmer/mechanic so his clothes get very dirty and greasy. What front loading washer would you recommend? I hope to buy this new set at our local Sears store. Thanks for your opinion. Regina

  115. Hi Randy.
    I came across you blog from the Sears sight. I'm been researching washers for days now and now I'm just so confused, can you offer any advice?

    My mom's washer a Kenmore top loading 80 series (which lasted her 13+ years) broke last week. From what she had with the Kenmore, she and I came across 3 products all around the same price Kenmore 500, Whirlpool Cabrio (w/rebates), Maytag Bravo 600 (w/rebates). My mom doesn't require all the bells and whistle features that the higher models have, but with rebates, the cost puts them in the same level as the Kenmore. I realize one is much different from the others, but I'm having trouble finding consumer reviews on the Maytag Bravo 600 and only a few on the Whirlpool Cabrio 5500. From what I was reading, many aren't happy with the non-agitator & the HE soap being used doesn' realy get clothes clean.

    She knows that machines aren't made to last like they used to in the past, but she just wants to make a good purchase given the strain it will put on her financial affairs as she lives paycheck to paycheck.

    What do you suggest? Any advice on how we should proceed would be greatly appreciated. Thank you! Lisa

  116. Hello Regina!

    If you're washing really grubby clothes, I'd suggest a washer that has an internal water heater, which can raise the water temperature beyond the 120 or so that the normal home water heater is set at. This greatly increases the stain fighting power of the washer and the detergent.

    A couple great options to consider are the Kenmore 40311 and the Kenmore 40441. You can read more about these machines at my "Kenmore Bargains" section on the right of the page.

    They're 4.2 cubic feet, which should be plenty of capacity for most people. The 40311 has an internal water heater, while the 40441 has that plus a steam generator which adds another layer of stain-fighting power. Their direct drive motors mean quiet operation and their vibration reduction systems mean very quiet spin cycles.

    Of course, there are a lot of machines that would be suitable, but this would be a great place to start.

    Good luck, and thanks for your consideration!

  117. Hi, Lisa!

    The Kenmore 26002, Maytag Bravos 500, and Whirlpool Cabrio 5500 are essentially the same machine. Same goes for the Kenmore 28002, Bravos 600, and Cabrio 5600 (except the Kenmore 28002 adds a timed Oxi release that the other two don't have). The Kenmore 500 is a mid-range conventional top-loader.

    Frankly, I'd dismiss the 500, as its capacity is lower, costs much more to run because it's very inefficient, and its cleaning power isn't nearly as good as the HE machines.

    I can't say I agree about HE detergent not cleaning. HE detergent just leaves out the sudsing ingredients. Everything else is the same.

    In an HE machine, a little goes a long way, but there's a tendency to overdose because some folks are under the impression that they need more detergent than they actually do. Using too much detergent actually causes worse cleaning. If people use appropriate amounts of detergent, their washer will clean far better than any old-fashioned machine.

    And, products like Oxi-Clean do a great job when used as a supplement. It doesn't hurt that it also helps keep the machine clean and fresh! :)

    Whichever machine you choose will do a great job. Just make sure they're using HE detergent, and only as much as it recommends. They're very nice machines.

    If you'd like more details about these machines, give the "Branded Bargains" section a look. Just click on the "Washing Machine" link in that menu and you'll find an in-depth description of the Whirlpool Cabrio 5500 and 5600. That information is generally applicable across the Maytag and Kenmore versions.

    Good luck, and thanks for your consideration!

  118. Hi, I have a GE Profile Washer - I am having problems with it draining. Initially it was only happening sometimes, however now it is happening all of the time. Do you have any knowledge about this?

  119. Hello!

    Is this a front-loader or a top-loader? If it's a front-loader, there might be something caught in the pump. If it's a top-loader, there may be something wrong with the pump.

    You may want to call 800 4 MY HOME and have a Sears repair technician diagnose the issue. They can repair it or, if you decide against repair, you can get a coupon good toward the purchase of a new washer at Sears to help defray the cost of the visit.

    Good luck, and thanks for your consideration!

  120. Thanks so much Randy for taking the time to answer everyone's questions! I'm thinking about buying a high-efficiency top-load, in particular the Bravos 600 or Kenmore 28002, but one thing that concerns me is how well they handle bulky items like comforters and sheets. I understand that they wash by moving garments up through the center and having them fall back down the sides. But how can that work with a single large item like a queen-sized comforter? I've read a couple of reviews saying the insides of their sheets didn't even get wet. I'm assuming this was just user error, but how can this user avoid that error? Also, can you put pillows in these washers?


  121. Hi Craig!

    Good questions. The new HE top-loaders can most certainly accommodate large, bulky items, up to a queen-size comforter. The washplate at the bottom causes the comforter to move around, eventually exposing the entire garment to the detergent-water mix. From there, the mechanical action makes the comforter scrub itself clean. The same thing happens with sheets.

    To avoid any issues with sheets, I'd recommend putting them in individually (rather than as a clump), and unfurl any sheets that are balled up on themselves. If a sheet is balled up, it's going to take longer to get wet and be trickier for the machine to jostle around. Same goes for a comforter. Don't put it in all wound up on itself. It's fine if it's bunched in a little bit, but you don't want it to be packed in tight, and you don't want to put in a bundle that's like a cocoon.

    For large, bulky items, a liquid detergent would be the better choice, as it will dissolve and distribute much more quickly than powder. In most loads, powder does just fine, but with the reduced motion, powder may end up leaving very small granules behind. The detergent does mix before reaching the clothes, but I'd take the extra step for comforters.

    And, yes, you can definitely put pillows in. They'll come out nice and clean. Just make sure you change them annually. A washing machine can't get rid of all the dust mite "business", and it certainly doesn't kill the dust mites. If you're not using pillow protectors now, get some with your next pillows and use them.

    Good luck, and thanks for your consideration!

  122. Randy,

    Thanks so much for this site. We are also going to buy a new W/D very soon (Sunday) and I have been having trouble deciding, too, with all the options. Front loader, top loader, HE, etc.

    My husband is an oilfield welder and his clothes are nasty, dirty, stinky, etc. They are tough clothes too, like overalls, jeans. I need something to SCRUB THE CRAP OUT OF THEM. We don't have a lot of delicates, but occasionally some, and also king and queen comforters.

    I like liquid detergent and fabric softener, but am open to recommendations.

    We are currently looking at top loader Kenmore 28002 (4.3 cu ft) or front loader Kenmore 49032 (4.0 cu ft) and of course the matching dryer. I don't know if the 0.3 cu ft. makes a difference. (does it?) They are comparable in price. So after writing this, I see I am actually on the fence as to the front loader or top loader. Which do you recommend?

    Again, thank you for your site. I found you on the Sears site and followed your link.


  123. Hello, Dana!

    In your case, I think you'd be better served by the Kenmore 49032. The net capacity will actually be about the same, but the wash motion of a front-loader will do a slightly better job, especially with the very dirty clothes you're going to be dealing with.

    I'd also recommend trying powder detergent, which will not only do just as good a job, but will save you a pretty penny. A lot of the price of liquid detergent goes into figuring out how to keep the detergent in a homogeneous suspension (in other words, keeping it from separating). As they add more and more stuff to detergent, it's harder and harder to keep it all in suspension.

    Powder, however, is extremely easy to add ingredients to without affecting the appearance or function of the detergent. So, while 100 loads of liquid might cost you $20-30, 100 loads of powder will cost you around $9-12.

    My wife uses the UltraPlus detergents, and we've found it to be a good replacement for Tide, which we used to use. You can find out more about detergent here, and you can even order the detergent online to pick up at your local Sears store at your convenience. How cool is that?

    I'd recommend using dryer sheets rather than fabric softener in the washer. It will make it that much easier to keep the machine clean and fresh. Use oxi products, especially during hot loads like towels, and leave the door open when you're done doing laundry for the day, and you shouldn't even need to use special products to keep the machine clean.

    Good luck, and thanks for your consideration!

  124. Randy, looking at a Kenmore Elite washer dryer set with the item numbers 29002 and 69002 respectively. it was in the store last night but upon coming home I cannot find it online. it looks almost identical to the 29272 and the 69272 but the dryer does not steam, the dryer is only 7.1 cf and neither has stainless on it. Both have fewer cycle options which is fine with me as they are bothe at least $100 cheaper. Do you know anything about these? Why can I not find information online about them? your help is much appreciated.

  125. Hi, Amy!

    The 29002 and 69002 are the little brother of the 29272/69272 washer and dryer, with slightly less capacity, no water heating element for the washer, and no steam generator for the dryer.

    They have been released at the store for ordering before their introduction on The LG HE top-loader at your local Sears store would have the same features.

    As you noted, the smaller machines don't have chrome accents, and the washer lacks the window (though the dryer does have one). As with all HE top-loaders, the wash basket is made of stainless steel, and these machines also have stainless steel washplates. They're very good machines and worth serious consideration.

  126. Hi Randy,
    We are in the process of buying a W/D set and since we have had a handful of bad experiences w/ various models from Kenmore in the past, we are looking into investing in the Samsung 5.o VRTPlus-
    but we can't find too many reviews on it. I would love to get some feedback from you on your impressions of the latest model of Samsung. A few comments that i have read state that it doesn't add enough water to clean well. Is there any truth to this?

    Thank you for your time and your wonderful Blog!!

  127. Hi, Anne!

    Good questions. First, it uses plenty of water to get clothes clean. For years, people have been claiming HE machines don't use enough water. And, for years, independent research has consistently and conclusively shown that they absolutely do use enough water to achieve superior washing results versus water-hogging old-fashioned machines.

    Now, it's not a surprise that there aren't many reviews on the Samsung PowerFoam Washer, because it's relatively new to the market.

    It uses a new detergent delivery system ("PowerFoam") that allows the detergent foam to penetrate clothes more thoroughly at a faster rate, which means the detergent can work on the stains longer, to get better cleaning. And, because the detergent is so thoroughly dissolved and spread throughout the load evenly, the rinse is more thorough without needing more water.

    At 5 cubic feet, it is among the largest washers in the front-load segment, and with VRT it's among the quietest, too. Samsung has been proving itself a force to be reckoned with in the laundry market, and their new flagship PowerFoam machine is a worthy carrier of their banner. In fact, it's gotten extremely good ratings from Consumer Reports, too!

    This washer also has some features that we've grown accustomed to finding on premium front-loaders, like steam and sanitizing. These features enhance the washer's ability to remove stains and gets towels and sheets bacteria-free.

    The Samsung PowerFoam Washer is an excellent machine for anyone looking for one of the best washers available.

  128. Hi Randy,
    Thanks for all the great information on your blog. I have learned more here in an hour than in the many hours I have spent trying to sort out all the options. Personally, I think it is more confusing to buy a washer/dryer than a car!

    We are in the market for a new HE washer/dryer. We have heard that the front-loaders get clothes cleaner than a top load HE. I am hesitating to get a front-load due to the bulkiness and also don't want to have to leave the door open when the washer is not in use. If we did purchase front load units, we would also want the pedestals which increases the total cost. Our laundry room is 66 in. deep x 61 inches wide. In order to stack top loads we would have to remove upper cabinets which we hesitate to do. The laundry room is on the second floor of a split level house.

    We are considering a Whirlpool Cabrio but am confused by the differences between all the different models. We would like a steam dryer. Are the 7400 (no window) and the 7800 (window) esentially the same machine? What about the 7300 and the 7600? At one sears store, we were told that the Bravo's were a higher quality than the Cabrios because they had a stainless steel tub. Is this accurate?

    We are leaning towards the 7800 model because we understand it has less moving parts (no transmission, belts, etc.) Is this accurate and are any of the other cabrios the same?

    If we purchase a top-load HE with no agitator are we comprimising how clean the clothes will be? A Maytag 4000 series might be where we would start looking at fron-loads. What is the water usage differences between the Cabrio and the Maytag 4000?

    Thanks for all your help!

  129. Randy,
    One more thing on the Cabrio 7800's. I can't find any reviews on these- do you have any feedback?

  130. Are any top load HE washers manufactured in the USA, including parts and assembly?

  131. Hi Randy,
    Our terrific Kenmore 80 series washer is starting to give up, so we are looking into a new machine. We are not interested in lots of bells and whistles -- just a solid machine that simply gets the job done. The Kenmores 40272 and 49032 have caught our attention. The machines would sit on a wood floor just off the kitchen. Any thoughts on these machines in general and whether the extra $150 for the 40272 is worth it? The GE WCVH6800 also looks interesting.
    Thanks very much for your thoughts -- great website!

  132. Hoooo doggie! That's a lot of questions. :)

    Ok, last in, first out: no machine is absolutely 100% made in America. That is simply a logistical impossibility. However, Whirlpool's HE top-load line-up is made in America (Cabrio, Bravos), as are its new 5 cubic foot direct drive front-loaders.

    There are some differences between Bravos and Cabrio. But, let's start with the similarities.

    They're both direct-drive in 4.5+ cubic feet models. They have stainless steel wash baskets, a plastic tub that encloses the wash basket, and their cycles will be pretty much the same, with tiny tweaks so they're technically different. There are comparable models in each brand at every tier, so features on one can be found on the other.

    As for differences, Maytag uses synthetic oil in its motor for greater oil lifespan, and has a 10 year limited motor and wash basket warranty. That might provide some extra peace of mind. But, as it's direct drive, motor failure is extremely rare. And, wash baskets really don't have problems unless they're abused. So, I'd consider the component warranty icing on the cake rather than a deciding factor.

    The Cabrio 7400 and 7800 dryers are extremely similar. The 7800 has 150 minutes of Wrinkle Control versus 60 on the 7400. The 7800 also has a couple more cycles, a controllable drum light, and it gains a Steam Refresh cycle for up to 4 garments. The 7400 has a Quick Dry cycle. Both are steam dryers. And, you can mix and match the window/non-window versions, as the rest of their aesthetics will match.

    The easiest way to compare the features of all the dryers is to go to > All Products > Laundry > Dryers, select Gas or Electric, and then click the checkbox next to the models you want to compare and click the "Compare" button at the bottom of the screen. It will be confusing if I post all the differences among all the models. Their chart is much easier to navigate. :)

    I do like the water heating feature in the Whirlpool Cabrio 7800 and the Maytag Bravos 850, which can sanitize towels and other garments that can withstand high temperatures. It's a feature we've come to love in our Whirlpool Duet 9400. It also increases stain-fighting power.

    Water usage between front-load and top-load HE is about the same for the same amount of laundry. A full load in a 5 cf Bravos will use more water than a full load in a 4.5 cf Performance, but they'll be using about the same amount of water if the same number and type of garments are being washed.

    However, I wouldn't recommend the Performance series, as it's belt-driven and will cause excessive vibration noise on the second floor. If you prefer Maytag and Whirlpool, I'd recommend these direct drive models: Maytag Maxima 6000 without steam or the Maytag Maxima 7000 with steam, and the Whirlpool Duet 5 cf without steam or the Whirlpool Duet 5 cf with steam.

    Right now, all Maytag and Whirlpool laundry is 20% off the regular price when purchased through the links above (savings applied in cart if not listed on product page, ends 10/27). You can also get a year of TideHE detergent if you purchase the Maytag Maxima series washer and dryer (ends 10/30). So, whichever you choose, you can save quite a bit while you're at it!

    Good luck, and thanks for your consideration.

  133. Hello!

    Good questions. The Kenmore 40272 does have a couple major advantages over the Kenmore 49032.

    First, the Kenmore 40272 has an internal water heater, which lets you run sanitizing wash cycles on things like towels, cloth diapers, and other garments that can handle high temperatures and can benefit from sanitizing.

    The Kenmore 40272 also has improved wash motions, which gives it greater cleaning power without using more water or energy. In fact, because of these motions, its Cold Clean cycle cleans just as well as a warm cycle while giving you even greater energy savings!

    Either machine is appropriate for where it's being installed. Between the two, I'd say the price difference is certainly justified, and the Kenmore 40272 would be an excellent choice. The Kenmore 49032 is terrific if your budget does not allow for the Kenmore 40272.

    Good luck, and thanks for your consideration!

  134. Hi Randy,
    Great Blog, thank you! Looking at front loads, need quiet and will be on first floor tile.
    Considering the Maytag MHWE450WW
    LG 2101 OR 2050, curious what your opinion is.

  135. Hello!

    The Maytag Performance series is generally best installed in basements, where vibration noise won't be noticed quite so much. It's possible that it might not cause excessive noise on the first floor, but I'd rather be safe than sorry and go with something designed for that kind of installation.

    The LG 2050 has been discontinued, and is being replaced with the 2101, which is the LG branded version of the Kenmore 40272, a Consumer Reports "Best Buy" front-load washer. It's a good washing machine, no doubt about it.

    If you're interested in Maytag, you might want to consider the new Maytag Maxima 6000, which is priced very aggressively right now, and it even includes a rebate for a year's worth of TideHE detergent!

    The LG 2101 and the Maytag Maxima 6000 are both direct drive machines suitable for first-floor or even second-floor installation. Either would be a good machine for most people.

    The Maytag will be a nicer machine, with greater capacity (5 cf versus the LG's 4 cf), and an industry-leading vibration control system incorporating a ring of 26 ball bearings surrounding the front and rear of the washbasket. The Maytag's price tag is a bit more than the LG, but it's extremely low for a machine with such great capacity. Definitely worth a look.

    Good luck, and thanks for your consideration!

  136. Hi Randy,
    I am so happy I came across your blog.
    My 13 year old Kenmore washing machine broke and it`s not worth fixing.
    I am sooooo overwhelmed and not sure what to buy next. I do know that I have to purchase a top loader (as a front loader would not work in the space I have).
    Would you be able to recommend a top loader for a family of four? I don`t need anything fancy....just normal regular cycle is what I normally use...the odd time I use the delicate cycle. I am hesitant with the newer electronic technology but I am open to any recommendations you have. I am curious as to what your thoughts are on the newer top loaders that do not have an agitator?

    I`d appreciate any feedback! Thank you!

  137. Hello there!

    The non-agitator top-loaders are a great option when a top-loader is required. They're gentler than agitator-based top-loaders, quieter, and clean better than traditional agitator-based washers. Just make sure you use HE detergent and read the manual. Following the instructions is the most important factor in getting good results.

    If you go to the "Branded Bargains" section on the right side of my blog, and click the link for washing machines, it will take you to a page describing the Whirlpool brand machines, and how the Kenmore and Maytag machines differ from their Whirlpool cousins.

    There's also a new addition to the Kenmore line-up: Kenmore 21302. This model loses the dispensers for detergent and fabric softener (you must use the Downy ball if you want fabric softener in the wash), and gets the old-fashioned boxy body.

    Good luck, and thanks for your consideration!

  138. Hi Randy,
    Thanks for your response yesterday. I really appreciate your feedback. There is so much great information on your blog.

    May I please ask you for your opinion on the Kenmore 26002 model?

  139. Welcome back. :)

    The 26002 is a good entry into the HE washer market. It has a dispensing system, so detergent mixes better than in a machine like the 21302, which has no dispenser.

    It's more efficient than the old agitator machines, and is gentler, too. And, it's quieter because there's less water and weight to work against.

    We've had lots of people get this machine and its sister machines and they're all very pleased with their performance. Any of these related machines are good little workers for people who want improved efficiency with a more traditional-looking machine.

    Good luck, and thanks for your consideration!

  140. Hello Randy, I`ve heard good things so far with the new HE top load washers on the market. The models I am looking at have a plastic slide out soap dispencer. I`m afraid that in time this would break. Have you heard of any complaints about the plastic soap dispencers that slide out like a little drawer?

  141. Good question!

    The dispenser drawers for these machines are plenty strong enough to last a very long time. They don't handle any real weight, so they don't have to be over-engineered to be durable.

    The only thing that would break them would be doing something foolish, like opening the drawer and then throwing lots of heavy laundry on it. But, blatant abuse of just about anything will usually result in damage, so I wouldn't concern myself with those kinds of possibilities.

    I'd trust myself, and you, to not hit it with a hammer, try to pry it in directions it's not meant to go, or open it only to pile heavy laundry on it.

    Good luck, and thanks for your consideration!

  142. Hi Randy - we just purchased a Maytag Bravos set. I have two boys aged 7 and 14. I wear dress clothes to work and my husband has a blue collar job where his clothes get pretty dirty.

    Is the Bravos still designed such that it will "catch" coins and get damaged by them? I don't think in the long run we are going to be able to keep them out of the laundry and it would be better to exchange it now than face costly repairs down the line.

  143. Hi Laney!

    Well, first things first: no washing machine appreciates coins, screws, nails, tacks, pebbles, etc. There is no absolutely perfect system for protecting a washer from these objects. Even the front-loaders with easily accessed traps are not 100% fool-proof, though a trap is a step in the right direction. As I'm sure you know, the best remedy is prevention.

    The Bravos does have a trap for catching small objects, but, as I said, no trap is perfect, and coins are notorious for getting past traps (their shape and size/weight ratio means they can be propelled easily by water passing by).

    As with any machine, the best advice is to empty pockets thoroughly before loading the washer. My mother used to have a policy (back when we lived at home) that anything she found in our clothes in the laundry room became hers. Might be a good way to cut down on change left in pockets. :)

    But, in the end, there's no machine that is going to be totally safeguarded from coins and other debris. It would be nice, but it's simply not feasible. Even the old-fashioned machines got ruined by debris. No amount of money invested in a washing machine will change the simple physics of a coin in water.

    Enjoy your Bravos, and be sure to review it!

  144. We had a Kenmore 900 series that we were always fishing coins and crayons out of without incident. It lasted 13 years until a low voltage problem with the city power caused the motor to burn up. My husband, who often does his own laundry, is one of the worst offenders in forgetting to empty his pockets, and I don't see that changing after 50+ years.

    I have seen some posts from folks who say one dime cracked the pump on their Bravos. Are you saying this has been addressed by the trap, or has the trap always been there?

    Another concern is yes, it does clean well, but I have already noticed two shirts come out of the wash with rips in them. One was a polo shirt with one button left buttoned, and another was a kids tee shirt which now has mysterious small holes on the side. I suspect this machine requires too much "prep" for us. Can you recommend a "throw and go" front loader?

  145. Hello again, Laney!

    Sounds like you were pretty lucky with change. I've heard of coins destroying every kind of washer (I've been in appliances long enough to hear all kinds of stories).

    Basic prep (unbuttoning shirts, zipping jeans, etc.) should be done with every washing machine. Any washing machine can and probably will cause some damage to clothes that are loaded without being prepped appropriately. Old-fashioned agitator machines, HE top-loaders, front-loaders, they all need clothes to be prepped. It's just something we all have to do.

    Keep in mind that higher spin speeds can drive a coin faster than the older machines, which is why coins more often go past the wash basket in HE machines than in the older machines. While the Bravos does have a trap, as do most HE washing machines, no trap is perfect, and coins are more likely to get tossed around by water flowing past them.

    If you want something with a trap you can easily access, you might want to consider one of the new Kenmore front-loaders, which allow you to check for debris. But, like I said, no trap is perfect. And, it would still have to be checked. And, basic prep is still necessary, as with all washers.

    Maybe if you throw hubby in the washer he'd learn to empty his pockets. :)

    You may want to consider a surge suppressor for your washing machine, which would protect it from surge damage.

    Good luck!

  146. Thanks. Can you suggest model #s on the new Kenmore front loaders? What would your thoughts be on the Whirlpool Duet 9400?

    I just changed out a load of laundry with a pair of pants with a pocket full of change. LOL. Hubby is beyond training. Surely the laundromats plan for such things, there must be capable machines out there.

  147. Hi Randy - First, thanks for having such an amazing blog! My washer of 16 years died and I am looking at either Samsung WF330ANW (for $617) or getting a pair Kenmore washer (49032) and dryer (89032) for around $800 total. We are a family of four (husband/wife/two kids) and have normal amounts of laundry. I know the Samsung has an internal heater, which would be great for sanitizing sheets, and has a few more washer settings, but other than that, I am really having a hard time making a decision. Please help! Reliability is important. Thanks!

  148. Hey Laney!

    You might want to look at the Kenmore 40311 or Kenmore 40441 models, which are in the middle of the range. They offer good capacity and cleaning power, along with excellent efficiency and quiet operation.

    I have a write-up of these models in the "Kenmore Bargains" section of my blog on the right side of the screen. Give it a read. There are models up from these that are also excellent washers, but these are a good starting point.

    The Whirlpool Duet 9400 is discontinued, but the Whirlpool Duet 9550 is comparable, though larger and with steam. I've got the 9400 myself, and the 9550 would also be an excellent option.

    Give them a look. I think you'll find these all to be great choices. Good luck, and thanks for your consideration!

  149. Hello, anonymous visitor!

    The Kenmore set you mentioned (which is actually manufactured by Samsung) is a great bargain, but it's not available to order right now, because there's a big Black Friday deal on that set that will be for on-hand quantities only. If you get to the store REALLY early that morning, you may be one of the lucky four people to get a phenomenal deal on that pair. I can't guarantee that, though, as each store will only have four sets, and there will be no rainchecks and it won't be able to be ordered.

    The Samsung machine you mentioned is a great option. You might also want to look at the Whirlpool Duet 9550, if the washer will be on the first floor or in the basement. It's a 4.4 cubic foot steam washer, and it's also an excellent machine. Or, consider the Maytag Performance 4000, which is a 4.5 cubic foot non-steam model with an internal water heater and Fresh Hold ventilation.

    We've found the sanitizing option fantastic for towels especially. They get so clean, and stay fresh much longer than they used to. It's really great.

    Good luck, and thanks for your consideration!

  150. Thanks Randy - just heard about that black friday deal too.... Looks like I will be one of those crazy people waiting outside for the doors to open at 4 a.m. Thanks for your advice and reply! :)

  151. Thanks Randy for maintaining this blog with tons of useful info! I learned a lot! I'm buying a new house and need to select all appliances. I want to go high end. (Not highest end, but high:)
    Since this topic on washing machines, here is my question:
    Could you pls help me choose amonth these 3 washers: Samsung WF520ABP / LG WM3885HWCA / Electrolux EWFLS70JRR ? I'm more inclined to the latter two. However, in Electrolux my concern is the belt and shorter warranty, in LG - service and reliability.
    Pls help!

  152. Hello Vadim!

    First, you shouldn't have any worries about service, as Sears services everything it sells. So, if you purchase from Sears, Sears is doing all the work, not the manufacturer. If you should have any issues arise, just call 800 4 MY HOME. Sears has the nation's largest service organization, and repairs pretty much every brand out there.

    Now, for the main event. :)

    The Samsung PowerFoam Washer is an excellent washer with 5 cubic feet of capacity and an innovative detergent delivery system that creates a foam to penetrate clothes and stains faster, which means it works on stains longer, and cleans better. It also has steam and sanitizing cyles.

    The LG 3885 washer boasts a 4.8 cubic foot capacity, steam, and 6 Motion Technology (the same as the Kenmore SmartMotion Technology, which will be in the forthcoming 4.8 cubic foot Kenmore Elite model). This wash motion system has proven extremely effective at cleaning well, and better than most other machines even at lower temperatures.

    The Electrolux Wave Touch washer has industry-leading 5.1 cubic foot capacity, steam, and the only floor-sensing technology to determine the optimal spin speeds for the kind of floor beneath the machine.

    If you're concerned about belts, stick with Direct Drive motors, though there shouldn't be any need for a new belt for a very long time. I'd also suggest giving the new Whirlpool Alpha with steam a look. It's 5 cubic feet, with direct drive, the most robust vibration control system on the market right now among direct drive washers, and it's one of the few big front-loaders built here in America. And, Whirlpool's premium washers tend to be excellent in cleaning performance. With a few hundred dollars saved, it's also a bit easier on the wallet.

    Frankly, I recommend choosing the machine that suits your taste aesthetically, has controls that you find most usable, and enjoy the machine you end up with. All of these are excellent machines that would give you great cleaning, quiet operation, and good reliability. For peace of mind and to protect your investment, perhaps consider adding the Master Protection Agreement. I have a full description in the "Tell me about" section on the right side of the screen (scroll way up).

    Good luck, and thanks for your consideration!

  153. Thanks Randy for your answer! Yes, I know about Master Protection offered by Sears. I have few Kenmore appliances and MP saved me several times. So, I'm definitely getting it. However, I still don't want the appliance to break. So which one is more reliable and has better cleaning / efficiency performance? Machine will sit in the basement on concrete floor? so floor sensing is not really important. Also, do you agree that direct drive is better, or you think it doesn't really matter? I have to choose somehow and it's tough:)Tnanks for your time!

  154. Welcome back, Vadim. :)

    Reliability among these products is comparable (though the new Whirlpool is a brand new design for that company, but knowing WP's skill for design, it should be very reliable, too). I wouldn't be concerned about one over another regarding reliability.

    The new Samsung has rated extremely highly with Consumer Reports for cleaning performance. That said, I always try to keep in mind that their tests only run the machine on Normal, with no options chosen. So, a particular cycle might be more effective, or a particular set of options might do a better job, but their tests don't take those things into account. Basically, this means most comparably tiered machines will actually likely have comparable cleaning performance when using appropriate options.

    If I were choosing based on cleaning performance, I'd go with the Samsung or the Whirlpool, with the LG in a close second.

    There's really nothing inherently better about direct drive. Its main advantages are that it allows more easily for second floor installations because there is less vibration. Electrolux uses a great system that controls spin speed and mitigates vibration, so its belt-driven system can be installed on upper floors, too. This is the major reason Whirlpool just came out with the WP Alpha and the Maytag Maxima. They've been losing business to other companies that can go into upper floors. But, for reliability, DD and belts don't offer any advantage over one another.

    Since these machines won't be in a suite of appliances together (like kitchen appliances), they don't have to match anything, so I'd suggest following the basic advice above: find the controls and feel you like most, and the look that appeals to you. These machines will be very comparable for reliability, cleaning performance, and quiet operation.

    I can't say which one will appeal to your aesthetic preferences or which controls will be most intuitive for you. That's something you'll most easily be able to figure out by "kicking the tires" at the showroom. Most washers should be powered up, so you can see what the controls are like. Give them a try. See how easily you can navigate the controls. Feel how the doors open and close. When one feels right, that's the one you should go with. After all, you have to live with this machine, not me. :)

    Good luck, and thanks for your consideration!

  155. Thanks a lot! Great advice!

  156. Hi Randy,

    Thanks for all of your wonderful info! I was at a few of my local stores today, and none of the salesmen that I spoke with were very knowledgeable.

    I am looking for a set of front-loaders with steam. Do you think I need steam in the washer too, or just the dryer? I don't need a really large capacity, as it is just my husband and me. It is on the main floor of our house.

    I was looking at Samsung, Electrolux and LG. The salesmen were all pushing Samsung hard. Do you think Samsung is superior to the other brands? Also, we didn't look at Kenmore or Whirlpool at all. Should we?

    There was a sale on a Samsung with Steam for 1200/pair at my Sears. The model were WF419 & DV419 (I think). Is this a good set? I don't want to get it just because of the sale if it is not good. Aesthetically, i did not like it very much, and I am trying really hard not to just buy the turquoise Electrolux because it is pretty. :)

    Can you just tell me what to buy?


  157. Hi Courtney!

    Sounds like you've had a bit of an adventure. I hope I can help you find some clarity.

    First, Samsung is a very good brand, with lots of great bargains right now, with pairs available for under $1200 and $1500.

    The Samsung 419 is a very good washer with steam. The steam in the washer aids with stain fighting, so if you want the best stain removal power in your washer, you'll want steam. Steam in the dryer is really for refreshing lightly worn clothes and relaxing wrinkles from clothes taken out of the closet. For the price this set is at right now, it's a fantastic bargain.

    You're really not going to beat the current prices for Samsung when it comes to steam machines. The prices are just incredibly low right now.

    If you want a machine with capacity closer to that of Electrolux, consider the Samsung 448, which is 4.5 cubic feet (versus the 4.3 in the 419 and the 5.1 in the Electrolux). Both Samsung machines have cold sanitizing (SilverCare/ActivFresh).

    If you're interested in seeing Kenmore machines that would be of comparable features/capacity, give the Kenmore Elite 40511 a look. It has steam cycles, a similar vibration control system, and KenmoreConnect (a diagnostic feature that works in conjunction with the Sears 800 4 MY HOME call center).

    Whirlpool has the new Duet models, with this Whirlpool Duet with steam being the closest in features with the others mentioned above. There's also the Maytag Maxima 7000, which has different styling than the Whirlpool but many similar features (except for the innovative dispensing system, which is a Whirlpool exclusive).

    All of these machines are direct drive and suitable for installation on any floor. The Electrolux is belt-driven, but has systems for handling vibration that make it suitable for second-floor installation as well.

    I'd recommend finding the machine with controls you're comfortable with, and a look that you're comfortable living with. After all, it's going to be in your house, and you have to see it.

    For the money, you're not going to get better than the Samsungs, but ultimately it's up to your personal preferences. All of these are worthwhile machines, so it's hard to just say "here's the one to buy." With some appliances it's easy to narrow it down to just two or three, but in this case, it's more about you than the machine.

    Give these machines some consideration. They're of similar build quality and pretty comparable for cleaning, so give more thought to the controls and aesthetics.

    Good luck, and thanks for your consideration. :)

  158. Thanks for much! I really appreciate your help. Happy Holidays!

  159. Should you not already be aware I believe you may be interested in the two following websites: -
    Whilst both deal with class action lawsuits against Whirlpool for front load washers, the latter, a Canadian one, amongst the other allegations, claims that “Affresh”, which you promote on this site, can cause odours and corrosion of components. I wonder if any of them are aluminum like the spiders?

    Just thought you would like to know.

  160. Hello, Biguggy.

    The Canadian class action does not claim that Affresh in any way causes corrosion (nor does the other one). I read the site thoroughly. What it says is:

    Knowing of the scrud problems, the defendants manufactured, marketed and distributed a front-loading washing machine cleaner in tablet form, to be used in cleaning cycles, called "Affresh", and have marketed it as a solution for washer odour and residue. This product has generated additional revenues for the defendants and has allowed them to benefit further from their own design defects at the expense of the potential class.

    The action makes no connection, explicit or implied, between the use of Affresh and odor or corrosion.

    Oxi-Clean, Affresh, Tide Washing Machine cleaner, Tide stain-fighting pacs, and other products that use the same ingredients continue to be safe for use in all styles of washing machine when used according to the instructions. There has yet to be evidence presented (aside from speculation) that these products cause damage. In the absence of such evidence, and with so many people using these products from which to gather that evidence, claiming it harmful is both premature and, should it be false, alarmist.

    The presumption before a laundry additive is sold is that it is harmful, and it is tested to disprove all the reasonable ways it could possibly cause health or property damage. Only after it's been shown safe to use is it allowed to be sold. This is the safety standard that both the United States and Canada operate under. If you want impartial testing done, Consumers Union might be a good party to contact. They are well-known for being much stricter than the CPSC, and their tests are often much more rigorous.

    Thank you for visiting.

  161. Randy,

    You shouldn't recommend the Samsung WF419 to folks living in cold climates.

    As you know (and Samsung acknowledges in the manual), water colder than about 40F is not effective in cleaning.

    On the WF419 there is no warm/warm option on the normal cycle so you have to move to a longer cycle to be able to select warm/warm. So it lengthens wash time and increases cost by using more hot water than necessary.

    Ironically, I read they don't have warm/warm on the normal cycle so that they can score better in energy ratings.

    The same problem occurs with the "active fresh" feature. No warm option and cold is too darn cold where I live.

    Thanks for providing a forum for info exchange.

  162. Hello, anonymous visitor!

    Where are a few things that I think might allay some of your concerns.

    First, every washing machine mixes some hot water in with the cold when you choose "cold" as your wash temperature. So, even in places where it gets very cold, the water will be warm enough to do laundry and have the detergent perform its work effectively. A few machines have "Tap Cold" as a temperature. This is straight cold water, with absolutely no hot water mixed in. If someone is using this in an area where temperatures get low enough to freeze the ground, then the water will be too cold to wash effectively.

    Second, every washing machine uses warm/cold as the defaults on Normal. It's not specific to any particular model or brand. And, it doesn't matter how cold the water is during the rinse, as the detergent is done working and you're now getting rid of it. So, even if it's tap cold for the rinse, it has no bearing on whether the clothes are clean, because the clothes have already gotten as clean as they're going to get in that cycle.

    Finally, the entire point of ActivFresh is that it does not require heat to sanitize. If you wish to sanitize with heat, you can by using the Sanitize cycle, but for ActivFresh to be used, it requires cold water. Again, though, the machine would be mixing hot water in with the cold, ensuring the water will be at least warm enough to let the detergent function.

    Good luck, and thanks for visiting!

  163. Randy,

    I notice you seem to post quickly, although I'm sure that New Years day is probably the best time to get a quick answer. We want a top loading washer and the ones we are looking at is a Kenmore HE 28002 and the 26002, which is on sale today for $535 & $449 respectively. It seems like a good deal and the reviews for both of these two seem excellent. I am leaning to the 26002 because I don't see a big difference between them except that the 28002 has two more cycle options plus a digital readout as for how much time each cycle will use. Feel free to comment if you feel we need to go up to the 28002.

    However, with all of that said, two issues have come up. 1) My brother-in-law feels that HE is harder on his clothes, and of course, this is an HE. 2) I have a friend who has a background in home make-overs and he said he would look for a washer that has at least 900 rpms on the spin cycle, and this apparently has a spin cycle of 750-800 rpm.

    In my research, I see nothing that indicates that an HE is harder on clothes (in fact your article above indicates no such problem). Would you confirm that? I also see nothing about a recommended rpm spin cycle. The problem is we are reaching our budgeted limit with the machines in the low to mid $500 range and rpms that go over 800 jumps out of our spending limit. So, do you feel there is a significant difference between 750-800 rpm and 900?

    Finally, what else should we be considering?

  164. Hello there!

    The Kenmore 26002 and the Kenmore 28002 are extremely similar. The 28002 does offer a couple perks over the 26002.

    First, the 28002 has a timed Oxi release dispenser. Oxi products work best about halfway through the wash cycle, so it will draw the oxi product into the washer at that time.

    The 28002 also has a sound dampening pad that goes underneath the machine to cut down on noise. Now, obviously the timed oxi release can't be duplicated on your own, but this one can, if necessary. If you get a piece of 1" thick carpet padding and cut it to fit the space under the washer, it will perform much the same function.

    One other advantage the 28002 has is a soak option, which is good for heavily stained clothes or things like washable fabric shower curtains.

    You also asked about gentleness and spin speeds. HE machines, in general, are much gentler than agitator-based machines. GE's current models, and early Whirlpool-manufactured HE top-loaders, have been known to be rough, but these are the exceptions, not the rule. Today's Whirlpool-manufactured HE top-loaders, along with those manufactured by LG (in other words, all brands sold at Sears including Kenmore but excluding GE), are very gentle.

    As for spin speeds, the 800 RPM is a great step up from the traditional top-load max speed of around 600 RPM. Higher speeds will extract more water, but for the load sizes that these machines handle, 800 RPM is perfectly acceptable. In fact, 800 RPM is the usual speed for 1000 RPM max machines when the spin is set for medium. Most cycles on higher speed machines use medium as the default, so 800 RPM should be just fine.

    Whichever you choose, make sure you use HE detergent only, and level it properly before firing it up. And, be sure to read your user manual.

    You might also want to check out this page, which goes over the Whirlpool and Maytag versions of these machines, for more information. Keep in mind that the timed oxi release is a Kenmore exclusive.

    Good luck, and thanks for your consideration!

  165. I understand LG makes the Kenmore 29002, so what is the difference between the Kenmore 29002 and the LG WT5001C, besides the $250? More effiecent motor, Smartmotion/6 motion, etc? thanks

  166. Hello!

    The LG Wave 5001 washer and the
    Kenmore 29002 washer are extremely similar. Of course, there's a small capacity difference (5.0 cu. ft. in the Kenmore vs. 5.2 in the LG), and the LG has a nice window in the lid, but there are some functional differences as well.

    The LG model has a few specialty cycles, like Sports Wear and Pure Color, and has more cycles overall versus the Kenmore. The LG has a "Skin Care" cycle, which is just a Normal/Casual cycle with a second rinse programmed in.

    Now, the Kenmore offers a Delicates cycle, which tends to be popular for things like bras, while the LG has a Wool cycle. These will be fairly comparable.

    The motor is going to be the same, SmartMotion/6 Motion are the same thing, and most functional features will be the same.

    So, basically, you're getting a few more cycles with the LG model and you can watch your clothes wiggling around in a tub that's just a smidge larger. Overall, though, they'll perform comparably with each other.

    Thanks for visiting!

  167. Randy, Thanks for all the info. We have purchased a Kenmore 29002 to be delivered later this month. But since I have read several negative reviews, mostly regarding tangling. Is this still a problem and would you recommend another brand / model over the 29002?
    Thanks, Jeff

  168. Hi Jeff!

    The Kenmore 29002 doesn't generally have tangling issues; at least, no more than any other washer out there.

    Things like jeans or sheets can tangle up a little here and there on occasion, but mostly what people notice is these things tangling around each other rather than around the agitator like in their old machine.

    The only machines that legitimately knotted clothes were the Cabrio and Oasis washers made by Whirlpool around 3-5 years ago. Rest assured that you'll get excellent cleaning and good service from your new washer.

    Thanks for visiting!

  169. I purchased a new Whirlpool top-loading washer last year, which has a manual temp control. However, on the "hot" setting, the water is mixed with cold and it only comes out warm. It is not hot enough and my towels now have developed a sour smell. Are there any top loaders out there that do not interfere with the hot water setting? Thanks.

  170. Hello!

    All washing machines have some form of automatic temperature control, which will mix some cold water with the hot, even when you choose "Hot" for the temperature. This feature is designed to protect laundry from excessively high temperatures, as well as to conserve energy to meet federal energy guidelines.

    However, there are some HE top-loaders that have an internal water heater, which is especially useful with towels, as it will completely sanitize them. The following models have sanitizing cycles:

    *Kenmore Elite 29272
    *LG 5101
    *Whirlpool Cabrio 7800

    All of these are excellent washing machines, with at least 5 cubic feet of capacity, over 1000 RPM maximum spin speeds, and extremely good cleaning power. They cost a little more than what you originally purchased last year, but they'll completely sanitize the towels.

    In the meantime, I'd recommend trying something. Get yourself a package of Affresh, and use it according to the instructions for a machine with odor. Then, try using an oxi product, like Oxi-Clean, whenever you wash towels, using a powdered detergent and the hottest cycle. For the first few times, use the extra rinse (if it has that option).

    If this method takes care of the problem, all the better. It's cheaper than buying a new machine. If not. I'd still recommend powder and oxi with a sanitizing cycle. We do that with our towels in our Whirlpool Duet and it not only keeps our towels fresh for a long time, but it keeps the machine clean without having to do anything special.

    Good luck, and be sure to return with the results. Thanks for visiting!

  171. Thank you for your advice on using powdered detergent and Oxi-Clean. I'll try that. However, I feel that the water temp should still be left up to the consumer and not have the appliance companies interfere for the sake of "energy savings". My old machine used the hot water straight from the water heater (steaming hot) and I had the good sense to only use it when necessary. I feel that I should not have to pay for an internal water heater on a machine that adds cold to the hot cycle (not your fault). Back to the "good old days", I say, and less governmental control on our appliances, etc. Thank you for your response.

  172. What can we do to get rid of the control that adds cold water to the hot water. I want hot water when I want hot water, not when Browner tells me I can have hot water.

  173. Hi there!

    Not to get political, but automatic temperature control (ATC) has been around for quite a while, at least since the previous administration, and likely even before then.

    Undoing ATC is akin to undoing anti-lock brakes. Sure, technically it can be done, but it's not worth the technical wizardry and expense. The only way to get nothing but hot water is to build your own washing machine. :)

  174. Just curious, since the cold-adding feature of water temp control can be undone, how could it be done, do you think that a repairman could do it, and what might it cost? Thanks for your answer. If you can't say, I understand.

  175. Well, you'd basically have to take out everything that controls the washer, replace it with mechanical controls, and at that point the cost would be pretty prohibitive when the goal is getting water that's only about 10-15 degrees hotter, with little tangible benefit, if any. What it would cost I simply don't know. Depends on where you get the parts and who's doing the work. My best guess would be around $300 for a retrofit, give or take $100.

    It would be like trying to retrofit your home with knob-and-tube wiring. Could it be done? Technically, yes. But, at what cost, and for what benefit? If it's for cleaner laundry, I'd suggest trying Oxi-Clean or other related products. If the benefit is sticking it to The Man, it's up to you to decide how much that is worth. :)

    Good luck!

  176. Hi, I am looking for a replacement laundry pair for my Maytag Epic duo that I had to leave behind in a house sale (although I tried desperately to keep them!).
    The new home has a second floor laundry room. I need advice on an appropriate system with at least a 4.5 cu.ft. washer, hand wash cycle, and proven door gaskets that don't build up gunk as bad. I don't care about steam systems.
    I am located in Ontario Canada, not sure if that matters.
    Thank you in advance for any and all advice!!

  177. Hi, Stacy!

    First, I just want to be clear about the gaskets: old designs encouraged gunk because of accordion-style bellows. But, any machine treated improperly will get odor. To help keep a machine fresh, use an oxi product (like Oxi-Clean) when you run the hottest cycle (like towels). And, leave the washer door open when you're done doing laundry for the day. These two things, more than anything else, will ensure a clean and happy washing machine.

    There are three models I'd recommend you look at that will be suitable for your needs. By size, they are:

    Kenmore Elite 40512, Electrolux IQ-Touch, and the Maytag Maxima 6000 (or the equivalent Whirlpool WFW94HEXW).

    The Kenmore Elite has been very highly rated by Consumer Reports. Meanwhile, the Electrolux is one of the best belt-driven machines that is also suitable for second-floor installation. The Maytag and Whirlpool machines are the first direct-drive machines manufactured by Whirlpool, with new wash motions,terrific efficiency, quiet operation, and excellent cleaning power.

    Sears Canada carries all of these machines, so you should be able to get them easily enough. Any of these should be a great choice for you. Good luck, and thanks for visiting!

  178. I've been reading your sight for a while now, and I still have a few questions. I know these might have already been addressed, but I just need to reassure myself before making my purchase.
    I need a new washer/dryer and my biggest concern in capacity. I wash a lot of jeans and sweatshirts, and my current machine only holds a few pair. I would like to condense my loads as much as possible. Will a 4.0 work good enought, or should I go with 4.2? Also, space isn't an issue, so is front or top load better for the price? I don't need a lot of fancy options, but am interested in the sanitizing feature for towels. Is this really better than washing without this feature? If I go with front load, what is the purpose of the pedestals? Are they necessary? Finally, is it worth waiting a few weeks for the friends and family sale that you mentioned is coming soon? Thanks for all your help! Melody

  179. Hello!

    Lots of good questions. First, you'll get the same or nearly equal capacity for your dollar with front or top-load.

    Pedestals are for raising the machines up for more comfortable use as well as storage in the built-in drawers. They usually cost around $200 each.

    Sanitizing towels is great! They stay fresh much longer, with no need for perfumes in the detergent. It's available in either platform, but at lower starting prices in front-loaders.

    Family and Friends night is February 13, so it's not much of a wait. Depending on the set you choose, it might be a great time to buy. Kenmore and Kenmore Elite will be at least 15% off, and you can choose free delivery, 12 months no interest financing on a Sears card, or take an extra 15% off the sale price.

    There are a few sets that will be great bargains, and I'll give you the details at a more decent hour. :)

    Top or front is really a preference issue, but I'll give you some good recommendations. And, remember that the savings are on all day long online, so be sure to visit here on Sunday!

    Thanks for visiting, and check back for more information!

  180. Thanks for getting back to me so quickly! You must be a night owl like me!

    Is the 4.0 large enough or should I pay more for the 4.2? How much larger is the 4.2?

  181. Welcome back, Melody!

    4.0 is pretty big. 4.2 is just a weensy bit bigger. A bit more capacity never hurt anybody. However, this Sunday, you'll be able to get 5 cubic foot front-loader for just a little more than a 4.2! Or, if you like the HE top-loaders, there will be some models in the LG and Kenmore Elite brands around the same price as the 5.0 front-loader!

    To see the models I'm referring to, check out

    Keep in mind that the LG top-loader on that page does have a heater, but there isn't a dedicated "Sanitary" cycle. Instead, just choose the "Extra Hot" temperature option with cycles like "Towels." This will sanitize your laundry. The next LG model up does have a dedicated Sanitary cycle, as does the equivalent Kenmore Elite 29272.

    Remember, the savings on major appliances begin online at 5pm CST on Sunday, February 13th, and go until 4am Feburary 14th. Good luck, and see you Sunday! :)

  182. I went to Sears today to see the models that you have recommended. I have in narrowed to front load, and either Kenmore 40272 or 40311, or the 5.0 that will be on sale if the price is close.
    As for the dryer, I'm looking at the 80272 and 80311 from Kenmore (if I go with Kenmore). The main difference I see with these two models in the stainless steel drum. How important is this?
    Thanks again!

  183. Forgot to add that the salesmen said that I would need to purchase a power cord for the dryer. Is this correct? Do I have to purchase power cord from Sears, or is there any other place to purchase one?


  184. Hello again!

    A stainless steel drum is nice in the dryer, but provides little to no advantage in durability or performance. It's mostly cosmetic. There are a couple cycles that one has that the other doesn't, but it's not a major change from one to the other.

    Yes, purchasing a cord is necessary. There are two different 220v outlet types, so the only realistic solution is to sell them separately. They are usually around $20.

    If you're having the machines delivered and want the dryer set up, a new cord is absolutely necessary, as any damage that might result from using an old cord would become a liability for the people who installed it. That, and the manufacturer's warranty - as well as protection agreement - requires that the dryer be installed according to the manufacturer's instructions, which includes a new cord.

    Will it work with an old cord? Sure. However, it's not the safest move, and $20 for the safety of a new cord along with the coverage you expect is pretty reasonable.

    The cords are also sold in a hookup kit, which includes the cord and a vent kit. For the same liability reasons, delivery crews can't install into old venting (lint build-up, etc.). The kit is usually around $33, and costs less than getting the vent kit and cord separately.

    I'd recommend getting the hookup kit. Just make sure you know whether you need a 3-prong or 4-prong cord. Gray cords are 3-prong, black are 4.

    Good luck, and thanks for your consideration!

  185. Thanks for all the info. I'll wait to see what the sale prices are, and go from there. I'll let you know what I go with.

  186. I probably will be ordering online. Do you know the item # for the 3 prong hookup kit?
    Thanks again!

  187. Hi Melody!

    The three-prong electric dryer hook-up kit number on is 02649926000. In case you or anybody else needs the four-prong electric dryer hook-up kit, that's 02649927000.

    Thanks for coming by!

  188. Hi Randy,
    Well, I couldn't make a decision last night, and when I woke up this morning, the sale was over! Is there another good sale coming soon?

  189. Hi Melody!

    I don't have any advanced info for you right now, but give me a day or two and I'll give you a heads up.

    If you end up deciding on a model, that would help narrow down the best deal, too. Sometimes certain sales favor certain brands.

    Check back in Wednesday and I should have something for you by then.

  190. I'm back with info sooner than I expected. :)

    I'd recommend getting whatever machines you're after starting this Thursday through next Wednesday. Depending on which model you select, it should work out about the same or better than last Sunday night.

    Good luck!

  191. Randy,
    We went to Sears today and our salesman recommended the Kenmore 21302 Top Loading Washer and Kenmore 61202 Dryer. We haven't made a final decision yet. Just wondering ~ what's your opinion on these 2 models?

  192. Hi Beth!

    The Kenmore 21302 is basically the Kenmore 26002 in an old-fashioned conventional washer's body. However, it does not have a detergent/fabric softener dispenser, so be sure to load it as follows:

    1: detergent
    2: laundry
    3: close lid
    4: choose cycle/options
    5: press Start.

    For more information about this variety of washing machine, check out Branded Bargains - Washing Machine.

    You might want to wait until Sunday if you're getting the pair, as the Family & Friends event on 3/20 between 6 and 9pm might yield you a better deal. Based on your delivery needs and other considerations, you may have some math to work out, but I'd definitely recommend checking into it.

    On Sunday evening, Kenmore appliances will be 20% off the regular price, and you'll have the option to take free delivery (if an appliance is greater than $399), 12 months no interest on a Sears card (if an appliance is greater than $399), OR take an additional 15% off the current price!

    This is our most aggressive discount for Family & Friends yet, so be sure to figure out what's going to work best for you.

    Good luck, and thanks for your consideration!

  193. We have 5-6 year old maytag front load washer that gives us error codes and now won't get through an entire load without an error. We have always hated this washer because it contantly walks out. There is a slope in front of where the washer sits due to a drain in the floor so whenever the washer walks out it starts banging and clanking. It seems that every load we have to push the washer back against the wall. I have been told by a few different people that this model is notorious for walking. I am looking to replace it, what type of washer would be the least prone to walking? I am not too worried about noise as it is in the basement. I was thinking that the higher center of gravity of the front loaders on a stand would be a problem but maybe I am wrong.

  194. Hello there!

    First, let me assure you that the machine you bought is no longer sold, and that design has been scrapped since Whirlpool bought Maytag. So, if you decide to go with a Maytag front-loader, this issue will not happen again! Walking is what these boots are for, not your washing machine. :)

    Now, you asked about the front-loaders having a lower center of gravity, and whether that could be an issue. The answer is, not really. With the previous generation of Whirlpool-made front-loaders, and previous generation Frigidaire machines, there was a bit of wiggle during spin, but not walking. The most you'd get is vibration that made the LED lights or numbers appear to wiggle.

    That generation of Whirlpool-made machines is still available in the form of the Whirlpool Duet (with steam and without steam) and Maytag Performance (with steam and without steam) washers in the 4.4/4.5 cubic foot range, and they're fine machines with plenty of capacity and features for mid-line prices.

    If you'd like more vibration reduction in a front-loader, I'd recommend checking out the Samsung, Kenmore/Kenmore Elite, and LG lines, as well as the 5.0 cubic foot Whirlpool and Maytag models. These are all direct-drive systems with similar systems to mitigate vibration.

    So, if you like front-loaders (other than your old machine's traveling bone), give any of those a look. If you'd like information regarding particular models, let me know. All of the above are pretty good machines, some better than others, but almost every model worthwhile.

    And, if you're interested in HE top-loaders, drop me a line, and I'd be happy to help you out!

  195. We need to replace our Maytag MAV5000 that we have had for 11 years. We are looking at HE top loaders. It will be located on the 1st floor, not on a slab. What are your recommendations between the Kenmore 2600 and the Maytag Bravos, also considering cost? We have a family of four and do 14+ loads a week in our current Maytag.

  196. Hello!

    I'm actually going to give you a sneak peek at a HUGE special price that's going to be happening on April 1. The Whirlpool Cabrio 7320 is regularly $849.99, but on April 1 it is going to be...

    Yes, that's right. It will be $300 off the regular price, and in the same price range as machines with less capacity, lower spin speeds, and belt-driven systems rather than direct drive (the Whirlpool Cabrio 7320 is direct drive). It also sports additional sound insulation, to cut down on operational noise.

    At $549.99, it is priced like the Kenmore 26002 or the equivalent Maytag Bravos, but with far better features, capacity, and cleaning power. You will not beat this anywhere. And, it's a Sears exclusive, so it cannot be price matched anywhere, either.

    Make sure you remember to purchase inlet hoses, as this model does not come with them. The hoses are only $10.99, so it's no biggie, especially for the outrageously good bargain this machine is giving you!

    So, definitely come back here on April 1st and use this link to get a fantastic machine for only $549.99!

    Thanks for visiting, and come back soon!

  197. I have a 15 year old conventional Maytag washer that is not working. What HE top loader washer do you recommend as a replacement: Maytag, Kenmore, Whirlpool or LG. I do a lot of washing, usually large and bulky loads. I have owned Maytag for the last 30 years and like them. I ordered a SEARS Kenmore 26002 Washer and a 68002 Dryer but am reconsidering Maytag Bravos. Can you help me?

  198. Hi there!

    I'd definitely recommend the Whirlpool Cabrio 7320, which is on sale right now for $549.88 while supplies last. It's bigger than the Kenmore 26002, has higher spin speeds, the motor is direct drive for reduced vibration noise, and it's got additional sound insulation for even quieter operation.

    There are matching dryers with and without steam, and with and without windows. Any of the matching dryers would be a good choice.

    I think you'll find the price of the Cabrio washer and dryer won't be too far off from the Kenmore models, but you'll be getting much more machine for your dollar. Just make sure you get the inlet hoses with the washer (they're not included, but they're only about $11).

    Good luck, and thanks for visiting!

  199. Hi,

    Thanks for the blog and all the great information. I'm hoping you can help me find an answer that my local Sears can't seem to figure out.

    I have a kenmore 417.44142400 washer that seems to suffer from the dreaded dead spider issue as well as a bad bearing. So it looks like I'll be buying a new washer. So,if I decide to buy the current version of this washer, will my old dryer stack on the new washer?

    Sears sells a washer that looks pretty much identical with the one that just died:

    My dryer, which works great is the 417.83142300. I'm hoping there is a way it would stack. They look exactly the same, I can't believe they would change the stacking specs....but after learning about the aluminum spider I guess I wouldn't put anything past them.

    I would love any information you can find on the subject. If you have any recommendations please let me know as well. If I have to buy a new washer and dryer ( I have to stack them because of space in laundry closet) I would love to find ones that are not designed to fail in 6 years. (I probably don't need a 3000 dollar washer/dryer combo, but will pay to get quality if you can lead me in the right direction)

  200. Hello gg!

    I'm sorry to hear your washer hasn't been working very well. Unfortunately, the older style Frigidaire-built machines (which your machine is) did tend to have the bearings go out after 4-7 years. It's not by design, but it is relatively predictable among those machines.

    I would frankly recommend not going for the same type of machine, and switching to a newer style washer.

    There's actually a great Samsung appliance sale starting May 22nd that will take 25% off the regular price. I'll give you a few models to check out, and what sets one apart from the other. Of course, these aren't the only worthwhile washers (the Kenmore Bargains link has some reviews and descriptions of quite a few very good washers).

    WF511AB: 4.3 cu. ft. (DOE) with steam and Samsung's exclusive PowerFoam technology (see for more information). It has a "Pure Cycle" option that cleans the washer without using any chemicals by using high turbulence and high temperatures to get detergent residues. The sale price will be $974.99. The matching dryer will be about the same.

    Samsung WF330ANW: 3.7 cu. ft. (DOE), this machine drops the steam and a few cycles, but retains the Sanitize cycle (which is great for towels and sheets), as well as the Wool cycle and Pure Cycle option. Sale price will be $674.99. The matching dryer will be similarly priced.

    Samsung WF210ANW: 3.5 cu. ft. (DOE), no steam, no sanitizing, no wool cycle, no Pure Cycle option. This is a very simple washer, but still a pretty good machine. Sale price will be $559.99. Matching dryer will be priced similarly.

    There are a few other Samsung models available which are also very good, and they can be seen here.

    And, of course, there are washers by other brands that certainly deserve consideration. As I mentioned above, you can get information about them on this page and the other pages on my blog that discuss washing machines (Kenmore Bargains - Washing Machine, Branded Bargains - Washing Machine, etc.).

    Good luck, and thanks for your consideration!


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