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Shopping for a new washing machine
Old 06-17-2013, 07:04 PM   #1
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Shopping for a new washing machine

Our washer is a 22 year old Maytag and it's time to replace it. The laundry room is in the basement so this does not need to look spectacular or up to date or match anything.

Washers have changed so much. The last time we bought one (1991) we didn't have online reviews at Amazon. I've been doing some learning online and browsing in stores.

So far, I'm leaning toward a top loader. The front loaders look cool and I'd love to watch if it had a window, but the prices start much higher than the top loaders and then I'd need the pedestal, adding another $200-250.

Here's what I've learned about top loaders. You can still get a standard washer with an agitator and buttons or dials to select cycle, temp and load size. Simple, proven design, like a newer version of what I have. Then there's the energy efficient top loaders that sense the load size, and adjust for the most efficient water usage. This type does not have an agitator, instead it's a wash plate. Some models have options and dispensers, etc. Reading reviews, some people love their washer, it cleans great, saves on water and better spin cycles decrease time in the dryer. Many reviews complain about cycles that don't advance, long cycle time and general problems with machines that are electronic lemons.

So I'm looking for recommendations. Do you have one of the newer top loaders and are you glad that you got it? Have you had repairs? I've been satisfied with my old fashioned top loader with an agitator but less water usage would be nice. Part of me says, Keep It Simple, it's just a washer, then again, I love hi tech, as long as it's not a lemon.
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Old 06-17-2013, 07:16 PM   #2
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Last month we took the plunge and bought an LG toploader (he). DW is the primary user, and she really likes it. DW said it is easier on the clothes, appeared to get them cleaner, and likes the digital panel with all the choices. But it was more expensive.
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Old 06-17-2013, 07:45 PM   #3
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In considering the cost of a top loader versus a front loader you need to also consider energy cost savings from a front load machine. I think you will find that over the long life of a washing machine you will end up financially ahead by using a front load machine and you will get better overall performance.
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Old 06-17-2013, 07:46 PM   #4
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Back in June of 2012 our 19 year old KitchenAid washer broke. We shopped for a new washer and matching dryer. We did not like what we saw. We spent $218 to have our washer repaired. As of today, it's doing great.

I realize we are living on borrowed time, so if the washer or dryer breaks again we will buy new. Maybe we will be mentally prepared for the new washers/dryers and the prices.

We did buy a new Maytag range and a Maytag French door refigerator since then. Maytags (also KitchenAid) are made by Whirlpool.
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Old 06-17-2013, 07:50 PM   #5
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Newer refrigerators are big $$ savers vs old tech, but IMHO new washers have been a bust. When our old one gave out after 20+yrs of faithful service, we did our homework & bought a top rated big-name HE washer/dryer combo. Our new dryer is fine, but the HE 'wonder machine' has NOT saved significantly on either elec nor H20 bills. And, apparently typical of HE machines, has been tough on our clothes (e.g. much higher spin speeds). Moderately soiled clothes that cleaned up fine with old machine now require 2 loooong cycles (& yes we use brand-name HE detergent & "bulky" setting to get more H20 per load). DW wants to kick the damn machine every time she looks at it.
Our advice----- RUN, don't walk, to a good used appliance store and find a gently-used old school (NON-HE) washer.
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Old 06-17-2013, 07:51 PM   #6
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I would stay away from Front Loaders...I have one now and it leaks-but it does a GREAT job cleaning and uses less water than a top loader old fashioned washer...

It is High Efficiency..and that means special HE detergent!!!!

When the time comes, I will replace it with top loading HE washer because of the water usage and the great way non-agitator washers seem to clean....


Mine is in the basement so the small leak is not that detrimental. At one time I was going to have it moved upstairs to a room with hardwood floors thank goodness I didn't do that!

Google front loaders "gasket/bellows" to see how many complaints are there about front loader leaks. That gasket runs about 125.00 now, new, and one must take the whole washer apart practically to get to it. ( Sears Kenmore Elite HE washer).

Hope this helps!
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Old 06-17-2013, 07:55 PM   #7
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One more thing with the front loader they recommend leaving the door ajar when not in use because they tend to develop odors.....

This is OK if in the cellar like mine, but wouldnt want it gaping open if upstairs in a wash room...


I see others do not like the washing ability of HE, but I LOVE that the clothes are wrung so dry when done....but I only wear denim pants and cotton shirts so I am not too worried about clothes getting ruined by being wrung out so dry....
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Old 06-17-2013, 07:58 PM   #8
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Our laundry is also in our basement and to us the most important factor is will the appliances fit down the stairs and make the turn through the door.
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Old 06-17-2013, 08:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Do you have one of the newer top loaders and are you glad that you got it?
Yes and yes.

Two years ago we replaced a Maytag top-load agitator washer with a Whirlpool Cabrio top-load he model. It is a major change in the washing process, uses far less water and is gentler on the clothes. The spin cycle on the old Maytag would put major wrinkles in jeans that drying only worsened. The new washer does a much better job of removing water with far fewer wrinkles.

It does take some getting used to. Our research before buying led me to believe a large number of those who were unhappy with how the new he models were performing didn't follow the loading instructions. You can't load this washer the same way you loaded the old agitator models.

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Have you had repairs?
Yes, about 8 months after buying it we had a warranty covered repair. Nothing wrong with the electronics, the bolt holding the pulley attached to the drive motor was loose and needed to be tightened...
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Old 06-17-2013, 08:07 PM   #10
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I guess I'm just cheap, but I've had 3 washing machines over the last 20+ years or so, and never paid more than $100 for any of them. Bought all of them used (used washers and driers are easy to find around here....some of them are very lightly used), and each of them lasted for quite a few years before I had to look for another one. I'm pretty sure I've come out way ahead, compared to buying anything brand new. When the one I have now (which has lasted me 7 years now, and still runs great) finally needs major repair, I'm sure I'll just buy another used one.
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Old 06-17-2013, 08:33 PM   #11
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You don't have to get a pedestal for a front loader. It probably would be easier to unload if on a pedestal but I really haven't had a problem. I've also heard that some people will build a simple platform for it to sit on, a lot cheaper than the pedestals they sell.

I bought an LG, which I think consumer reports had by far the best ratings 5 years ago. Not sure if others have caught up today. No leaking, no problems. Clothes get clean. HE detergent seems pretty commonplace now. I can't really judge wear on clothes, but I can certainly believe that without an agitator they take less of a beating. I don't have that much laundry to do so the long cycle doesn't bother me. I wouldn't go back.
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Old 06-17-2013, 09:27 PM   #12
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No leaking problems for our front loader. We occasionally leave the door ajar and often don't. No problems. We've had it for about 6 years.

We used a pedestal originally for both the front load washer and dryer. However, at our new house we chose to stack the washer and dryer so no pedestals. We love that we were able to expand the room in our utility room by stacking them.
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Old 06-17-2013, 09:50 PM   #13
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Ah, it's that time again!

Consider a Staber washing machine. It loads through the top, but functions like a front loader (i.e. it has a horizontal spin axis). Uses little water, gets the clothes very clean, and doesn't beat them up with an agitator.

It's not perfect (I've had to replace bearings in mine now), but everything in the machine is designed the easily serviced and replaced if necessary. Here's a link to my previous (long) writeup on the machine.

No flashy LCD displays, no beautiful cabinet colors. No chrome at all. It just washes clothes efficiently, is built strong, and is designed to be fixed easily when something breaks.
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Old 06-17-2013, 09:53 PM   #14
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Thanks for the responses, keep 'em coming!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bestwifeever View Post
Our laundry is also in our basement and to us the most important factor is will the appliances fit down the stairs and make the turn through the door.
Good point. We're good on this issue as we've had a number of deliveries. May have to take off the door leading in from the garage as the doorknob takes up a few inches when the door is open.

As for the pedestal, I think I'd need it as I already find it difficult to reach into the back of the bottom of the refrigerator (top freezer). This is due to aging knees and tri-focal glasses. Like most folks here I'm getting older every year and if I keep an appliance at least 15 years, I better plan for ease of reaching and minimal stooping.
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Old 06-18-2013, 03:49 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Katsmeow View Post
In considering the cost of a top loader versus a front loader you need to also consider energy cost savings from a front load machine. I think you will find that over the long life of a washing machine you will end up financially ahead by using a front load machine and you will get better overall performance.
I've also been led to believe that a front-loader is better for the clothing, causing less damage and therefore having a small but significant positive impact on costs, there, too. (However, my understanding is that that benefit comes from not having a central agitator, so I suppose a top-loader without a central agitator would afford the same benefit.)
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Old 06-18-2013, 06:48 AM   #16
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My daughter has a front loader,gunk builds up on the big heavy sealing gasket,smelly moldy type stuff, I would never buy one. I will also never buy GE, again ever,this is from my own experience with GE appliances.
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Old 06-18-2013, 06:49 AM   #17
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I tend to research (a lot) before buying. Sometimes it drives my wife crazy but she usually appreciates the end result. We had a Whirlpool for a couple of decades or more which was still working fine but my wife was really wanting a new machine. I was not interested in a front loader due to the higher cost by a few hundred, having to leave the door open between washes to avoid odors, and potential leaking. I wanted something that was cost effective and high value for the dollar. After surveying companies I found that what was true years ago was not necessarily true today. Maytag and Whirlpool were not the leaders they once were. I finally decided on a GE model with SS basket, quiet with numerous cycles, and a modified (smaller) agitatior from what was standard years ago. GE washers also had some of the highest ratings. I bought it at a large nationwide hardware store chain and after the sale price, the additional discount for a holiday special, and a military discount the purchase was about 60% of retail. I have been pleased with the wash results which take a little longer but the clothes are rinsed cleaner with none of the damage that used to happen on occasion with the old machine.

Cheers!
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Old 06-18-2013, 07:05 AM   #18
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Although I am not a great believer of what Consumer Reports has to say, here are their ratings on washers:

Top Loading: LG has the top rated machine at $1100. Following that are 17 other "recommended" machines with $720 being the lowest price.

Top Loading: LG again tops the list with a machine at $700. Following that are 7 other machines . The top rated LG is also the lowest priced machine.

In our house, the washer and dryer were the only appliances we did not replace in our renovation as the kitchen was completely replaced. The 10 year old Kenmoore washer and dryer are still going strong.
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Old 06-18-2013, 07:08 AM   #19
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Like REWahoo we also have the Whirlpool Cabrio. While under warranty we had a problem where it would stop before finishing. They were out twice to try different fixes and finally replaced the electronics board. I dislike the chimes it makes as it goes from cycle to cycle. We have it in the basement and can hear it on the main floor.
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Old 06-18-2013, 07:09 AM   #20
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My daughter has a front loader,gunk builds up on the big heavy sealing gasket,smelly moldy type stuff, I would never buy one. I will also never buy GE, again ever,this is from my own experience with GE appliances.
Old Mike
Like someone else already said, on many front loaders you have to leave the door cracked open when not in use to prevent exactly this problem. Have her give it a try after cleaning it.
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