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Consumer Reports Puts Washing Machines to the Test

Posted June 7, 2007
Updated June 10, 2007

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— When you buy a new washing machine, you expect it to do the job. But Consumer Reports tests show several of the newest washers are not up to it.

Federal regulations that require washers to use less energy could be one reason why.

Recent tests by Consumer Reports found washers with a center-post agitator, which are less expensive, are mediocre at cleaning.

One of the ways manufacturers are meeting the new energy standards is by lowering the hot and warm water wash temperatures. That tends to lower cleaning ability, the tests showed.

To test washing machines, Consumer Reports washed swatches that had been stained with cocoa, charcoal and sebum, or what is known as ring around the collar.

Several of the top-loading washers didn't clean well, according to Celia Lehrman with Consumer Reports.

If you need a new washer, Consumer Reports said front-loaders offer the best combination of cleaning ability and energy efficiency. But, they're expensive.

The high-rated Whirlpool Duet is $1,200. The top-rated LG Steam-Washer model is $1,500.

If you don't need a new machine right now, Consumer Reports suggests waiting until prices come down or until conventional top-loaders score better in cleaning tests.

When replacing your washer, Consumer Reports said don't automatically replace your dryer. And there's no need to buy a dryer that matches. You'll pay a couple of hundred dollars premium for a matching dryer.

6 Comments

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  • gopanthers Jun 11, 2007

    Suzz - Thank you. Learn something everyday.

  • Suzz Jun 11, 2007

    gopanthers - swatches are small pieces of cloth

  • gopanthers Jun 11, 2007

    Ok call me stupid and slap me upside the head but was is
    "Swatches".

  • Slip Kid Jun 11, 2007

    We bought the LG front loaders 1-1/2 years ago and have reaped the benefits since day 1:

    QUIET, cleans better, gentler in clothes, we use less detergent per load (about half, after experimenting), definetly uses less water, and did I mention QUIET.

    If you need a new washer, get a front loader if you can.

  • Cleanup on Aisle Cool Jun 8, 2007

    LG front loading washer and dryer set - you can't beat it.
    It's the biggity-bomb baby!

  • LWA Jun 8, 2007

    Consider buying a scratch and dent model of the washer if it's available. I bought the Samsung washer/dryer pair for $1800/set. At the time, there were recalls on the Samsung, so asked if mine were being recalled (be sure to ask if the set you are looking at is part of a recall before purchasing). I also, bought the 5 yr warranties for each, which were reasonable in price. I bought the front load because they could hold a comforter or blanket with no problem. Another reason was because the washer was direct drive, meaning it had no belt to turn the rotor in the machine, wich in turn, made it a quieter operation. I will be please with them for years to come.