Washers & Dryers

Parent Q&A

Best Place to Buy Washer/Dryer Nov 16, 2016 (11 responses below)
Installing a washer/dryer upstairs Aug 25, 2016 (1 responses below)
  • Best Place to Buy Washer/Dryer

    (11 replies)

    We are going to be in the market for a new washer and dryer in the next month. Any recent recommendations on best play to buy? (We will need delivered and installed also.)

    RE: Best Place to Buy Washer/Dryer ()

    I've been buying all of my appliances at Fry's or HomeDepot.  Fry's will have some great deals day after Thanksgiving.  Bought an energy saver Samsung front loader for around $450   As for brands I would go with LG over Samsung.  Be sure to check with PG&E as they offer rebates.  This last summer I received a $200 rebate from PG&E for buying an energy saving appliance.

    RE: Best Place to Buy Washer/Dryer ()

    Costco's service and their warranties on appliances are better and more comprehensive than anyplace else I investigated (Sears, Home Depot, Best Buy, Lowe's, Pacific Sales, online companies, local appliance stores, etc.).

    RE: Best Place to Buy Washer/Dryer ()

    Many of the outlets and bargain-hunting places have gone out of business. The best way to shop for these big ticket appliances is to join Consumer Reports online, review their general tips on appliance purchase, and then review the ratings according to the features that you want. The Consumer Reports website links to retailers, local and online, with the appliances that you choose. You can also check at Galvin's Appliances on San Pablo in El Cerrito once you have made your list. At least Galvin's (unlike Best Buy) is a local, well-respected business that services what it sells. (I bought appliances at Best Buy about ten years ago, and NEVER got the promised rebate). Do your homework and good luck.

  • Installing a washer/dryer upstairs

    (1 reply)

    we are interested in installing a washer/dryer on the top floor our our house where the bedrooms are. Although there is a water source upstairs, we will need someone to build out the space for the machines, and install them. Can anyone recommend a contractor? And, any words of caution about or firsthand experience with an upstairs washer/dryer installation? 

    My washing machine was moved from the basement to the first floor. I had to reinforce the floor (from below) because of the horrible vibration from the washing machine's spin cycle. (My old Asko washing machine spun at 1,600 RPM, but even our new LG's 1,200 RPM spin cycle is annoying.)

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Installing a 2nd Floor Stacked Washer Dryer

Nov 2012

We are planning to install a new stacked washer/dryer on our 2nd floor. Does anyone have advice about how best to minimize sound and vibration as well as what models perform best (quietest/least vibration) for this type of installation? Thanks. New Homeowner

This is a little off topic but please be very aware of your washer if you're putting it upstairs. We got a brand-new, top-of-the-line washing machine from Samsung in July. We got this machine because our old one was ruined when a pipe broke upstairs in our house and flooded it. We had to live in an apt for 5 months while our house was rebuilt. You can imagine my dismay when, less than 3 months after we moved in to our rebuilt house, our new washing machine flooded our garage. All of the water drained out the bottom and ended up in our garage and there was a lot of it. We spent the entire day moving everything out of the garage, drying it out, and then moving it back in. We've spent the last 5 weeks trying to get Samsung to fix the problem. Apparently a part broke and that part is on back order. We are supposed to have a new washer delivered this weekend but I'm not holding my breath. I'm also very apprehensive that the same problem could happen again.

The saving grace was that this flood happened in our garage on a sunny day. If it had happened upstairs, I would have lost my mind. There was a lot of water and I'm sure that it would have ruined the flooring and drywall again. Please make sure that you have a pan with very high sides under the machine and that you never run the machine unsupervised. Tired of flooding

I own a duplex and have lived in the upstairs unit and the downstairs unit. Both have stackable washer/dryers. From my experience I can tell you that if you get the smallest stackable version, the noise is minimal. Downstairs, we hear them doing laundry, but it's not a nuisance (and we have kids napping directly under their machines). If you get a larger combo unit (as we have in our downstairs flat), the noise can be significant and they are extremely heavy so the spin cycle can rattle the house.

Also note that the small stackable offers top loading washers. The larger units only offer front loaders. We've been beyond dissatisfied with our front loader as it requires meticulous maintenance to avoid a strong mildew smell. We discovered long after buying and installing that this issue is very common with front loading washers. Do yourself a favor and look into it before buying! anon

Dryer Vent Installation

July 2012

The dryer in our laundry room needs to be vented. It was previously vented with a small diameter vinyl duct into the crawl space below the floor, which we are afraid may be a fire hazard. We would like to install something safer (a larger diameter metal duct straight through the wall to the outside?). Has anyone had similar work done recently? Any recommended contractors? I am not even sure if I should be looking for an HVAC specialist, or just a general contractor. One concern is that the house is stucco, and if we need to drill a hole in the wall, we do not want to damage the stucco siding in the process. Thank you! Kristen

You should be concerned about structural damage. I just visited a friend who has a 9 year old home where the dryer was vented the same way as yours. One day they noticed the floor buckling and called a floor company to get it repaired. They floor company pulled out the floor only to discover the moisture from the dryer vent had rotted several of the structural beams in the house. The cost to repair the damage is $30k.

Their insurance won't cover the repair because the house was built with the dryer venting the way the house was built. The builder isn't taking any responsibility since the city signed off on the installation. I guess you know who's stuck paying the $30k? - Yup the home owner. (And they are the nicest people. Before getting someone to replace, you might want to see if you have any structural damage. I hope you don't. ANON

Full size stackable washer and dryer

March 2012

Hi We would like to buy a full size stackable washer and dryer that can also be side by side, space is not so much of an issue in their size. Any recommendations are appreciated. Also, if you have any recommendations about where to buy, would be great. Thanks Lesbeth

We have been very happy with our Bosch front-loading, stackable washer/dryer. They fit in a tiny closet in the house on top of each other. Great quality, environmentally better. We got ours at Galvin Appliance, a family-owned business in El Cerrito. Happy customer

I really like my full-size LG stacked washer/dryer. It holds so much! Check out Consumer Reports for ratings - it rates highly.

New washer & dryer questions

Dec 2011

We have several older appliances (2 giant, heavy TVs, refrigerator, and washer & dryer) that we are going to replace over the next couple years because just the ELECTRIC part of our PG bill is $300/mo, with very minimal use of our central heating. First up, washer & dryer (15 yrs. old). Questions: front or top loading? Do front loaders have drainage and mold issues? Is it worth it in savings to hook up a new gas line for gas dryer? Priorities: Energy Star, energy efficient, good quality; low maintenance. Generous size (3 kids). Appearance and extra options not important. Simple is fine. Thanks for any advice! Goin' Greener

Front loading washers use a lot less water so you'll save heating that water and then getting rid of it during the spin cycle. You'll save a ton of money if you put in a gas dryer. We haven't had mold problems with our front loading washer. We leave the door open between loads so it can dry out. The only downside to a front loading machine is that you can't put in 'one last thing you forgot' after it has started. Make sure you get pedestals for them to sit on so you aren't stooping over. --energy saver

High efficiency top loading washing machines?

Jan 2011

I may have to replace our old 10+ year old top-loading washing machine soon. Due to space and layout limitations, I do not have room for a front-loading washing machine, so I am mainly looking for top-loading washer. I would like to get a high efficiency one to save electricity and water, but after reading all the complaints online about HE top-loaders, I am getting rather worried. The major complaints I hear are that clothes don't get properly cleaned, clothes come out tangled or torn, washer often gets unbalanced. Washers that are highly reviewed by Consumer Reports are often panned by user reviews, so I am at a loss as to whom to trust. I wonder if minds greater than my own can explain to me whether a HE top-loading machine really conserves that much water? I was not able to find statistics comparing them to a regular washer with an agitator. Are the complaints online just grumpy consumers, or is there something inherent in the design of these washers that tears and tangles up your clothes, and/or leaves them a little dirty? I understand that polling BPN is kind of like reading random reviews online, so I am mainly hoping for someone who's looked into these machines or has worked with them, and can explain to me what I should be looking for, what to avoid, and how I can buy a good one. I don't need advice on front-loaders, because I really can't fit one in my laundry room. Thanks!! --Just want to wash my clothes

I know you said you aren't interested in a front loading machine but have you considered a compact front loading machine (smaller footprint than conventional top loader)? We bought a Bosch 'under counter' front loader that we're very happy with. Clothes get very clean and it sips water. You do have to have clearance to open the door on the front. The capacity seems to be about the same as our old top loader. in case you hadn't considered this...

One drawback about the Bosch undercounter washing machine that I forgot to include in my previous post! It requires 220V (because it's built to stack with an electric dryer) and a special outlet to fit a air-conditioner-like plug. That being said, I LOVE how compact it is and that it fits under the kitchen counter! Sally

Front-Loading Washer -- RELIABLE brand?

April 2010

We did a ton of research before buying a front-loading washer from Sears (Kenmore) a few years ago. Since then, the machine has broken 3 times (the first time it had to be replaced entirely) and, even when it's ''working,'' it gets stuck every third time we use it. We realize that we've had nothing but trouble with Sears for years and have finally learned our lesson. Can anyone recommend a reliable front-loader that will actually complete a cycle and has a long life expectancy? Thanks! Drained & Spun

I love my LG front-loader. No problems in over a year. Before that, I had a Frigidaire front-loader that lasted over 8 years. Check reviews at Best Buy and other places online. Happy front-loader

We bought a Bosch front loading washer and dryer when we redid our kitchen 2 years ago. We bought it primarily because it was the only unit that would fit the particular space we wanted to use. Overall, it's been good - nothing has broken in the 2 years we've used them (we're a family of 4 with 2 young boys so we do a fair amount of laundry). One gripe is that the washer is loud, very loud, sounds like a jet engine taking off during the spin cycle. But if I were to be in the market for a new washer/dryer, I would buy Bosch again. We bought from Expo (the one in Emeryville before they closed). rockridge mom of 2

We also had a lot of problems with our Sears Kenmore washer and ended up having to replace it last year. We were told by the repairman that Sears was aware of the problems but didn't disclose them. In any case, we replaced it with a front loading GE that was top rated in Consumer Reports for about $700. It's been great so far and it is used by a very active family of 5. gc

We use a LG from Best Buy... It was on sale due to it's color (dark green)... we have had it for years and never a problem. Happy Washing/Drying! Keri

i bought a front loader in october 2009, and i haven't had any problems with our LG WM2301HW. (funny, i got it from sears.) the LG brand was not recommended by a local washer vendor because to get it repaired is virtually impossible due to the lack of parts from LG themselves - it's not a streamlined process by any means.

but i still went with it anyway because LG seemed to have the lowest breakdown record than other brands. (who needs access to repair if it doesn't break down, you know?) we use it at least every other day due to cloth-diaper washing, and for a month, we used it maybe 2-3 times/day for reasons i won't go into - i'll just say that we had a lot of stuff to wash often. thankfully, we haven't had any problems at all.

oh, another reason why i went with an LG is because my parents bought one few years ago for their dry-cleaning business where it gets a lot of use - it has yet to break. so i ignored all the reviews and got the LG, and it worked out.

get it from a place you can return easily - i actually ordered a lower-end model first, but returned it because i wanted the sanitary wash and baby wash functions. good luck. - washer user

2007 - 2009 Recommendations

Washer Dryer-gas, front loading

Nov 2009

We are in need of a new washer/dryer. Ours are at least 20 years old (since we've lived here). We want gas, and we want front loading. Not a lot of fancy electronic do dads...just your basics. My husband has been researaching, checking consumer reports, looking at store ads, researaching some more....and yet...we still have no washer adn dryer. So, my dear BPN washer/dryer users...what do you have that is relatively new that you like. What don't you like? What stores have great service? Lousy service? I'm on a mission...WE WILL GET A NEW WASHER DRYER. Thanks in advance Woman on a mission.

I did a lot of research too and was kind of overwhelmed. I ended up buying a pretty simple LG front-loading machine -- I think it was the 2016 model. I purchased it at Pacific Sales in Emeryville -- a great price, with free delivery and haul away of my old washer. I've had the washer since September and it has been great. It uses less water, and I think it is easier on our clothes, and the dryer time is shorter. I also applied for a rebate from PG and EBMUD - this model qualifies for $200 back! Happy with my LG

Our family (mother in law, me three times, and my ex and his wife) have all used Galvin Appliances on San Pablo Ave. north of Solano Ave. for all our appliance purchases. They may be a bit more expensive than OSH, etc. but they are very knowledgable and their installation and removal of old equipment have been done expediently and by very nice installers. Most recently I purchased the Maytag Bravos Quiet Series 300 washer and dryer. The dryer is gas and a front loader. The washer is HE and a top loader. I love it because I can wash big things like quilts and sleeping bags in it safely. It is also quite water conservative. Get thee to Galvin's! kathryn

All in one washer dryers (ventless)

Sept 2009

I live in an apt. without laundry or laundry hookups. As I approach my due date I am thinking about moving to avoid having to take my baby to the laundromat (I'm a single mom so I won't have help). I recently saw an ad for all in one waher/dryers that can be put on wheels and hooked up to the kitchen sink- and the dryer plugs into a regular wall outlet. They are rather expensive and the reviews I read were somewhat mixed. Does anyone have experience with one of these? Would I be better off moving than shelling out about $1400 for one of these?

I had a ventless all-in-one washer/dryer about 3 years ago and it was the most frustrating, useless product I'd ever spent so much money on. I bought the top-rated one at the time. I suppose it is possible that there have been improvements since then, or that I had a particularly bad experience, but we spent ages trying to use it and finally gave up altogether. My advice is to save your money! Here were the problems: first, it leaked in various ways, so once you had it fixed in one place, a new problem would arise. Sometimes user error (the drain in the sink would slip into place so the sink would overflow, someone would trip on the connection and it would pull loose from the faucet spraying water everywhere, for a couple of examples), and sometimes machine/design failure-- but so many problems! Then, to get it looked at was a pain. It was under warranty, but no one was familiar with it (we lived in Chicago at the time) and it was hard to get knowledgeable service. It was also hard to hook up to the sink and it took a very long time to go through a cycle-- a time during which you could not use the sink. Also, even when it was working, it didn't work. Loads were tiny-- a set of sheets was too much for it-- and even when I kept loads very small, the wrinkling was unbelievable. Even washcloths came out in a bundled, super-wrinkled mass. I am not what I would call a fastidious person, but my clothes looked like they had been slept in and then tied into a ball and left that way. I thought maybe adding more fabric softener, as I saw recommended online, would help and added so much that I was worried I was making my baby super-flammable, the clothes had a super-strong smell and they had a nasty coated feeling, but they were *still* comically wrinkled. Clothes come out damp, so you will have to hang things up to finish drying. I would recommend using your money to pay a laundromat to wash your clothes or moving someplace with a real washer/dryer rather than buying one of these machines. We ended up at the laundromat AND owning this machine, which sat unused. I'm sorry to rant-- this was my most frustrating purchase of all time. -Hate Laundromats, but Hated my Ventless W/D More

I lived in an apartment for five years, with two small children, and I wouldn't have made it without my wonderful washer/dryer combo. It's one of the best purchases we ever made, seriously. We finally moved to a house (for other reasons), and I was actually just going to post it for sale on BPN, so if you're interested, please email me. But first let me tell you about it:

It doesn't need installation (we hooked it up in one of our bathrooms). The washer works beautifully, it washes really well, it calculates the right amount of water for each load, so it saves water and energy. It uses HE detergent, which we bought in Costco. The dryer works well for small loads, especially for smaller clothes (baby and kids stuff, underwear, etc). For larger garmets, it does leave them somewhat wrinkled, but if you take them out a bit damp to airdry, it does the trick. The dry cycles do take a long time, though. Email me if you want more info and/or if you're interested in mine. It's in great shape. toni

I have an all-in-one washer/dryer - front loader by LG. Yes - it is pricey... but I like it.

Pros: You put the wash in, set it to dry and walk away! No transferring! No musty forgotten wash! It gets clothes REALLY clean. Small and power efficient.

Cons: The drying function isn't air - so clothing doesn't come out so fluffy and more ironing is needed than with a regular dryer - clothes come out pretty wrinkled... but I think it's less hard on clothing. If you take your clothes out right away and fold it or hang it it's better, but still be prepared to deal with wrinkles.

There isn't a lint screen, so getting the lint out is scraping the lint off the inside with your hand. And large objects can get stuck in the pump motor(matches, dimes) - I've had the technician out to fix ours 3 times in 2 years- so buy the extended warranty.

All things considered, I love having a washer/dryer in my house - and I really like having the all-in-one. I would spring for one again - no problem. Jennifer

I don't have a ventless but I am in the process of trying a ''green'' laundry system while lacking indoor hook ups. So maybe my experience can add some more layers to your decisionmaking. For several years now, we have been using a hand-cranked, ''amish washer'' which we got from Alternative Laundry (actually called the Wonder Washer) despite the complaints of poor customer ordering experience, because it had a drain spout unlike the one at Lehmans (I emailed to see if they had it in stock first before ordering). Mind you, we had a newborn and cloth diapers. The amish washer with Oxyclean and Charlies Soap gets our diapers very clean and can also do delicates. It's only a little bit of work cranking, which also tones your arms, but if you prefer not to be so involved or burn calories while doing laundry this def is not for you. We line dried diapers and continued to go to laundromat once every week or two.

This year we decided to get a Haier portable washer, a Charming spin dryer, and a Lehmans indoor clothesline to reduce the laundry pileup. We decided against the ventless or getting a clothes dryer because of space/energy use issues (it takes a very very long time for a ventless to dry wet clothes). After lots of consumer research, we got the Haier XQJ50 portable washer from Amazon which got rave reviews everywhere. I cannot comment on the usage of the darn thing because it came to us with a faulty door sensor and for the last two months we have been dealing with warranty-authorized craptastic A factory (Sears) trying to get it serviced. I'm still hopeful that once it gets serviced, that it will run smoothly.

On the other hand, we've been getting a lot of use from our spin dryer. I would highly recommend the Charming spin dryer for sheer efficiency (clothesdrygreen.com). It's sole purpose is to centrifuge out the water from wet clothes in 2-3 minutes similar to the bathing suit spinners you sometimes see at public pools. It gets up to 3200rpm and gets clothes almost dry which means less time in the dryer or on the clothesline. Cloth diapers now dry in a few hours, even indoors, which is going to be important in the winter. Even if you use a dryer, this is a major time/energy-saver.

We've yet to install the retractable, indoor pully clothesline from Lehmans because the shower head gets in the way so we have to cut the poles shorter but not having wire laundry racks obstacles for our now toddler is going to be worth it this winter. green launderer

Need a new energy efficient Washer Dryer

Sept 2009

We are moving and I finally get to leave my 50 year old monster washer and dryer (that will NEVER break) with the old house. I need a new washer and dryer. Anyone have a recommendation? Energy efficient of course and would love something that comes in colors! Nina

Go to Galvin's Appliance on San pablo Ave., north of Solano Ave. I got the Maytag Bravos 300 quiet series washer and dryer. Very efficient. High capacity and no agitator vanes, so will wash quilts and sleeping bags. kl

I've used front loading and top loading energy efficient washers (Miele, Maytag Neptune, Fisher Paykel). I LOVE my Fisher Paykel top loader and have purchased two of them. Excellent machine.
- I'm just not into bending over with front loaders and prefer top loaders, but I do a lot of washing.
- Some of the european front loaders take a long time (approx 1.5 hr) to do a load (ex Miele). Will that bother you?
- I'm the type that likes to open the lid now and then to either add an item or just to look at the water swish. Once you close the door to a front loader and start the wash, it's a done deal.
- There was a problem with my Maytag Neptune that it tended to get moldy and smelly around the inner rim... don't know if Maytag corrected this defect.
*Recommend Airport Appliance in Hayward. They have good warehouse sales, if you can wait. Signed, a Fisher Paykel fan

Installing a washer and dryer in a condo

March 2009

Does anyone know someone or some way to have a washer and dryer installed in a condo/apartment unit? There is plenty of room to add a stackable near a water source, but I am not sure about how, air venting, permits and opening walls. Should I start with a plumber or electrician? anon

Our whole extended family has used Galvin Appliances on San Pablo in Albany. I recently bought a new washer and dryer from them and have purchased stacking units for previous homes which were great. Don Robinson did a great job for us on the last purchase. Great installation, removed old unit. Galvin is at 619 San Pablo Ave, 510-527-2244. kathryn

You might check your HOA rules first. Sometimes you have to have permission, or there are guidelines for where and what type of W/D you can put in. Lost in the CCRs

Kenmore vs. Maytag frontloader and dryer

Aug 2008

We need to get a new washer/dryer and want a quiet but highly water and energy efficient one this time. We don't need all the bells and whistles but want a reliable and efficient machine. Also where to buy them for the best deal? anon

I have a Kenmore front-loading washing and dryer and like them, though they are my first FLs so I have nothing to compare them to. Check out the Sears Outlet in San Leandro before you buy elsewhere -- they often have good prices. No Complaints

About two years ago we purchased a Maytag front loading washer. It was the only available US product that would fit into the custom cabinets the previous owner built around the washer/dryer space. The washer itself has operated fine - it's very quiet, holds a surprising large load for it's size and gets the clothes clean. However, when one day I missed some change in a pocket a quarter got lodged in the pump and I needed it repaired. This is where the nightmare began. The service received from Maytag was without a doubt the WORST I have ever experienced for any item in my life. It took them 7 visits over 4 months to replace the pump and fix all the problems they then caused themselves (replacing control panel for one). Thank goodness it was still under warranty or I shudder to think of the cost. There were scheduled appointments where no one showed up; they sent the same repair man back after I specifically requested they not send this person (I gave his full name). ! They were very unresponsive to my requests and frustration. In short, I will never purchase another product from them for fear of having to have it repaired. I recommend you do some research to see feedback not only on product performance, but on vendor service as well. ConsumerReports.com might be a good place to start. Good luck! -Not a fan of the Maytag repair man

LG Washer/Dryer

July 2008

We are considering buying an LG Washer/Dryer (front loading) or the Whirpool Duet washer/dryer(no steam). I was wondering if anyone had one of these two models and if so, how you like them? Would you recommend them? Thanks!

I have an LG front loading washer and dryer. We chose it because we got a great deal on a floor model and it was on my list of OK models regarding energy and water use. I think it is a good washer/dryer combo, but didn't research compare too much. The washer holds alot! The controls are great and easy to use. I have never used the steam feature. The manual says that the steam feature is not for cotton (most of my clothes) and I'm too paranoid to try it and maybe ruin my clothes. What I don't like is the seal on the washer holds water and it gets gunked up a bit and starts to smell musty. I have to leave it open to help it dry out and wipe it down after use -- and try to get the gunk from under the seal. This may be an unfortunate design problem with all front-load washers. It has a special tub-clean feature to clean it, but the manual says to run it with bleach. I feel that running a special empty load to clean my washer wastes energy and water! I also try not to use bleach in my household. I've tried a couple of different things (bleach, bac-out, baking soda), but the funky odor persits. Read the manuals on the models you are getting, maybe this is an LG problem and you can be musty-odor free. satisfied, but not thrilled with my LG

We just bought the new LG steam washer and we LOVE it. I am amazed at how little water it uses and HOW UTTERLY clean our clothes are! Very very happy. AND, we bought it that Sears Appliance outlet in San Leandro so we got it for about $940 which is way cheaper than if you buy it normally. It supposedly has scratches or dents but I couldn't tell. And, you get a rebate from EBMUD as well. washer woman

I've had my LG front loading washer for one year now and it works great. It gets very loud during the spin cycle (sounds like a jet!) and shakes quite a bit. We keep ours in the garage on cement, so that's not a problem for us. Could be a signifincant noise problem for a second story laundry room.

Uses little water and does a good cleaning job. no smell in washer (some people complain of this) but I wipe down the gasket around the door and leave door open when I'm done. It needs to air out. hope that helps. Windy

Stackable washer dryer

April 2008

My husband and I are looking to replace our old clunky washer and dryer with a new set. We would like something stackable because we are really tight on space. We're looking for something reasonably priced, but we're willing to pay for great quality. I'd really appreciate any recommendations. -can't wait to do laundry!

We love our stackable Frigidaire. It's a high-efficiency, full-sized, heavy-duty model that uses very little detergent and a lot less water than top-loading machines. I think it washes well, too. If you get the vanilla models, they tend to be less expensive than the fancy colors with all the bells and whistles. Look for manual buttons and knobs, not the computers.

Down-side is that it has a shimmy that we haven't been able to completely get rid of. It was serviced once under warranty when the internal electric connection to the motor worked itself loose (because of the shimmy), but that was many years ago. It's almost 10 years old and still goes great!

You may want to do more research on it, but I have been told that you can stack the front-loading washers and dryers. I know they are a lot initially, but your clothes last longer and you save energy (not to mention dry cleaning expenses since you can wash your big quilts etc. in them). We bough ours at the Sears outlet in San Leandro. Most of the appliances only have a small dent or scratch. Actually, it is the only place my husband will let me buy appliances, but so far I have been happy with our purchases from there. Outlet shopper

Front loading washer and dryer

April 2008

I am going to buy a front loading washer and dryer and am overwhelmed by all of the choices! So far, I am leaning towards the Whirlpool Sport Duet (Costco, $699 each), the Maytag Epic, or the Frigidaire Gallery $1299 for both at Aiport Appliance). I will need to stack the dryer on the washer, so if you have any experience with this configuration, I would appreciate your advice. In shopping for these products, what should I be looking for? I like the idea of larger capacity and less energy and water, but I am not sure what else to look for. Thanks! Karie

We had Frigidaire's in our last home, though not the Gallery series. We had a full size drier (separate component) stacked on our washer, stuck in a closet with the water heater. They were fine -- better than most, not as nice as what I have now. I have top-of-the-line LGs right now which make me a lot happier.

Just a thought for you...one of my girlfriends bought some side-by-sides and then had her husband build a cabinet around them. Believe it of not, they were in her living room. The cabinet became a tv stand and also gave her space for folding, etc. Another friend did the same thing in her kitchen. It seems weird, but front loading washers are so much quieter than standard fare. Also, I had one when I lived in Europe and I am sure that they must sell them here now, but there are washers that are also driers...it is a great space saver and if you only have a closet, at least you can still have some trappings of a laudnry room... jan

Sears delivered my dryer but couldn't install it becuase my gas line didn't have an on/off valve. I had to call a plumber but got lucky and called Erik Westergard at 510-828-2956. Erik and his brother Ken fixed a gas line in my laundry room and hooked up my drier. They are happy with jobs big and small which is great since lots of us have small plumbing jobs. NT

Front loading washers?

Sept 2007

We need to purchase a new washer/dryer but I'm flummoxed by all the choices. We're interested in a front load washer, but the BPN reviews are from 2001. Has anyone had good experiences with the Frigidaire Affinity, Whirlpool Duet Sport, others? Any recommendations or warnings for us? Thanks. Clueless

I have a Frigidaire, which I bought at General Appliance on Shattuck. It has been great. I was told by someone, that eventhough you can buy the same machine at Home Despot, and other outlets, that supposedly the finish on the SS drum is better when bought at an appliance store. Can't back that up, but I've had no problem with mine in the 3-4 years I've owned it. I leave the door open so it will dry out. My brother had the same machine, but after the drum support bearing went out he bought (1-2 yrs ago)an LG, supposedly they're better. Happy with a Frigidaire

We bought a Frigidaire front loading washer, don't remember the model, at Best Buy a couple of months ago. It works great, gets the clothes very clean, uses less water and energy, and is very quiet. I'm really happy with it. It's not much of a track record but I hope it helps. Rebecca

We bougt a Kenmore Elite frontloading washer from Sear's and I would highly recommend against it. I had to have repair people out countless times because of flooding issues and because the rubber came off the front door. The problems started only a few months after buying it. Sears sent out totally inexperienced people and then on the umpteenth time, I finally got an ''expert'' repair person. He said that personally, he'd only buy a top loading machine as he's had nothing but problems with the front loading ones Sears sells (he had 15 years' experience repairing washing machines). He also said that Sears delivery people routinely get promoted to repair person but have no idea how to do repairs. He DID fix the thing and then we sold our house and left it there and I have no idea if problems persisted (we bought the people that one year appliance warranty with new homes) but I was happy to see it go. Never buying Kenmore or from Sears again

Did you check out Consumer Reports, to see what they recommend? http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/appliances/laundry-and-cleaning/washing-machines/reports/cr-quick-recommendations/index.htm
--Always Checking with C.R First!

I have the GE front loader and love it. However, there are 2 things I would change: add a timer (Bosch has it) and reconfigure the rubbery lip around the opening. Little things like nursing pads and toddler socks get stuck in there! susan

I got a GE washer/dryer a year or so and I would not purchase one again. First, it has a smaller capacity than a lot of the other frontloaders which is a bummer for us. I have to do just as many loads as I did with the top loader. Second, about every 2 months or so, the ''filter/drain'' or whatever it is gets plugged up with gunk. I know, I should probably be better about searching pockets on pants before washing them...but it gets filled up with a few coins, and then gunk builds up. The result is that the washer doesn't drain properly and you end up with stinky gross clothes. there is no easy access way to empty the drain/filter. You have to open the washer below with a screwdriver. Then take the filter cap off and all the built up water/gunk drains onto the floor (its too close to the floor to get a good size bucket under there. So its really a design flaw. And once you have the front off, its really hard to screw it back on...it takes two people, one to hold it up and ano! ther to screw it in place.

Also, its impossible to clean out the lint drawer in the dryer too (there is a ton of sand, etc at the bottom of the lint filter that I can't even reach with my vacuum cleaner.)

So I generally feel like my clothes are just not as fresh as the used to be, and I don't feel like I am getting the ''huge capacity'' that I expected. But it was the cheapest one, so I guess I should have expected it. unhappy with my GE frontloading washer

Just a tip for the poster who said little items get stuck in the rubber gasket - throw them into a net lingerie bag. They are cheap and readily available at Longs, Target, etc. R.K.

Need a new Washing Machine/Dryer

April 2007

Our workhorse of a washer has died on us. It was a 15 year old Kenmore & was fabulous. I've heard that the newer models are not as durable. I'm looking for recommendations on brands for good washers/dryers (preferably from someone whose had theirs for a while) & perhaps which brands to stay away from. Also, interested in good places to purchase them. Thanks.

My main suggestion is to select a front loader. They use much less water, detergent and energy, are gentler on clothes, and leave the clothes drier, so your dryer won't have to work as hard. We've had our Kenmore for about 5 years, with no problems so far. R.K.

2004 - 2006 Recommendations

Maytag Washer Problems which Maytag Will Not Honor

Aug 2006

Two years ago, I purchased a Maytag Neptune front load washing machine. A year or so ago, I received notification that Maytag was sued in a class action lawsuit. Apparently, there are many defects in the Neptune front loader, including development of mold because it does not drain completely. At the time, my machine was fairly new and the mold had not yet developed. And so, I didn't qualify under the class action lawsuit. Now, one year later, mold has developed. I tried calling Maytag. After dialing 4 times and speaking with 4 different people, the story I finally got from Maytag is, the class action lawsuit is over, and so is the one year warranty. There is nothing that Maytag is willing to voluntarily do. If I want the mold out of my machine, I must arrange for a service call, and it will cost $250.00 I called the appliance store, and what they told me was that Maytags have problems, and that next time, I should buy a German made front loader because it has better engineering, and is much more durable and well made.

Euro Washer/Dryer

May 2006

Does anyone on the list have one of those Euro washer dryers? We have only a washing machine, and for various reasons are thinking about getting an all in one unit than can dry things as well. When the weather is fine, we hang things outside, and in the winter, we dry things inside in front of the woodstove. I would at least like the option of having a machine do the drying, and for space and environmental reasons, this seems like a good option.

But, I'd like to find out how people like them AND to find out if they suck the lint off of clothes like a normal dryer. The one drag of line drying is that there's no lint sucking-off, and clothes wind up with dog hair on them forever, it seems. I know my clothes are lasting longer for the line drying, but every once in a while I'd like to have a good lint sucking... I'm aware from previous postings that they don't quite all the way dry things, and that's fine. What about the lint? Thanks, Merrilee

Sorry to say this, but my experience of the washer/dryer combos in Europe was un desastre from start to finish. It took forever to wash clothes, they didn't seem to come clean unless put on the ''boil'' setting which destroys many American items, and the dryer... Well, four go-rounds in the dryer failed to dry our towels. This was in France, I can't remember the brand, but I vote ''non.'' usually a Euro-enthusiast

I don't have one, so can't advise, but I suggest you check the ''appliances'' forum at gardenweb.com/ You can do a search, and join (for free) to ask specific questions R.K.

Front-load skinny washer & dryer

April 2006

We would like to buy a 24'' wide washer + dryer (stackable) of the front-loading or ''European'' variety. I've seen Bosch, Maytag, and Eurotech, which get varied reviews and have a very wide price range. Any current advice on these or other models? I already know the broad advantages of the front-loading washers, so am really just looking for the right brand. Thanks -- Letitia

We have an ASKO. In the 6+ years that we have had ours, we have had to have it repaired three times; the most recent repair involved a brand new motor. 'Nuff said

Best portable washer/dryer?

Sept 2005

We're moving from our house to a small apartment and can't bear the thought of being without dishwasher and washer/dryer. Unfortunately, they will need to be portable, with no vents for the dryer. Does anyone have experience with what the good brands/models are? Anyone have bad experiences with something that we should steer away from? Any good ''consumer reports'' websites we could check out that review portables? Hooked on Appliances

i have friends in small apts both in SF and UK, that use the combo washer/dryers that can hook to your faucet. i think the cycles are fairly long, but they work just fine.

If you are considering purchasing a ventless washer/dryer, I would NOT recommend any of the units by the company Thor. Three years ago I purchased one of their ventless washer/dryers and it is a piece of junk! It is poorly designed, has not worked properly since I got it, and was expensive. Now that we are moving, it is going to the dump. A great website to gather information on washer/dryers is http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/laundry/ Good luck with your search. Charlotte

Stacking Washer Dryer

Dec 2004

I'm interested in ideas about what stacking washer-dryer to buy -- I liked the Maytag Neptune when I saw it, but then read there was a consumer suit (settled) about it. Has anyone had happy/unhappy experiences with this, or other stacking washer dryers. I'm fairly short, and wondered if this is a problem with any models. Carol

We have had a regular (i.e., non-energy-saving) Maytag stacking washer/dryer for about 17 years. I am 5'4 and we have employed shorter people, and no one has complained that it is too tall. We needed the model because of lack of space and have no complaints. Francesca

We bought a Frigidaire stacking front-loading washer and gas dryer 6 years. They are separate units, not a single machine. I think other brands (e.g. Kenmore) carry virtually identical machines.

They wash and dry very nicely. The dryer's coils died a few months ago, but I was able to replace them myself for about $50. I'm tall so I can't comment on the height issue, but you could check it out in a store, perhaps.

As a side note, front loading washers are nice even if you don't need to stack them because they are more efficient and they are gentler on your clothes. We wash many hand wash only items in it with no ill effects. David

Portable washer/dryer

May 2004

I am expecting and live in an apartment. I would like to have a washer and dryer in my apartment so I do not have to go to a laundromat. Do any of you have any recommendations for which type would be best? Thanks so much for any info you're able to provide.

We have the Equator combo washer-dryer and LOVE it. We bought it when we found out that we were expecting also and lived in a small apartment. We bought the ventless one and it is great. It does take a little but longer to dry than a regular dryer, but it is more energy eficient (uses 3 gal. during 120. mints) and takes up very little space (aprox. 17x 23X 33B4B4). You can use it even if you have to use the kitchen faucet to get your water from. It has the possibility of having one or two water intakes. It also has many different cicles. It is more expensive than a reagular washer-dryer (around $1200), but it is better for the environment and very convenient for small spaces. You can buy it al LoweB4s, Equatoronline.com or ajmadison.com (where we bought it). Happy washing mom

2003 & Earlier

Fisher Paykel GWL11 washer?

August 2003

My 20 year old Kenmore washing machine is nearing it's end and am looking to replace it with a Fisher Paykel GWL11. Looking for feedback from anyone who has tried a GWL11 and what you like/don't like about it. Thanks in advance, Elai

I own Fisher and Paykel washer for a little over two years. In general I love it very much. I do not own a dryer, so I hung laundry outside. Since the washer spins water out so well that laundry dries in about two hours if sunny. Sometimes I can do two or three loads of laundry per day!

However, 10 days after a manufacturer's warranty ended, it stopped working. Although out of warranty, I wanted to negociate with Fisher and Paykel to cover the repair cost. It was a bit hard to deal with their customer service. Actually they were rude, inpatient, and very unhelpful. In order to have it repaired for free, I needed to get authorizatio from their technical customer service (not regular customer service.) However, the only person who can talk with tech. costomer service is a person from a repair company. I needed to ask repair company's person to negociate on behalf of me with Fisher and Paykel's tech. to get authorization.

Afterall my repair was covered (no charge), but I felt somewhat betraid by them since their customer service treated me so badly in spite of my faithful love to the washer. (too attached to it?)

The person from a repair company said that it seldome breaks down (so I guess I was an unlucky one?), and their customer service is great. Obiously he seems to have different kind of experience with them from me. So,,, I do love this washer still, but I do not like Fisher and Paykel's customer service. mom of two little boys

In the market for a washer & dryer

April 2003

Hi there, I am in the market for a washer and dryer and would love to here some recomendations. It is important to me to have energy efficiant appliances, the other most important thing is something that washes really good. Noise dosnt matter to me as they will be in the basement, and of course im on a budget. thanks, cris

We had to buy new w/d last summer when we moved into our new house. I did a fair amount of research at the time, first by going to Galvin Appliance on San Pablo and finding out what I could. Essentially, the front loading washers can have a larger capacity because the agitator stick isn't taking up all the room. At the same time, it is incredibly water efficient. We ended up getting the Maytag Neptune system which was a little spendier, but it came with the Maytage service warranty (which has turned out to be pretty nice, since we called them last month, they came out in 24 hours ON A SATURDAY, figured out the problem was our dryer duct, and helped us with it even though it had nothing to do with their product). We got it at Home Depot during an appliance sale, and there was about $225 worth of rebates from PGE and EBMUD available at the time. I am IN LOVE with my washer dryer. It is quick, flexible, and quiet. I think now Kenmore (Sears) and some others make the same kind of efficient system, but I haven't heard too much about them. Good luck Shahana

We love our Kenmore (Sears) compact stackable low water using energy star washer/dryer. We went w/ gas for the dryer. It's front loading. It fits in a closet. We junked the old one and added a baby to our household at the same time. Even w/ additional laundry intensive resident our water usage remained the same and is occasionally lower than w/ previous monster washer. you have to either use sparing amounts of liquid detergent or a special low sudsing powder. We are doing fine w/ all free and clear. If we note too many suds in the window of the front loader, we just set it for extra rinse. Jessica

I haven't bought a washer lately, but recently bought a Kenmore refrigerator and dishwasher. Several years ago, we replaced our dryer with a Kenmore dryer. I have been very satisfied with all of these appliances and will continue buying Kenmore; While not terribly glamourous, the appliances work well and mine have never needed servicing. You can find them on www.sears.com. (saving yourself trips to the store). If you can't decide between their products, you can get additional information from a special department in sales which I found quite helpful when buying my dish washer. Deborah

I just bought a washer and dryer at Bay Appliance on Broadway in Oakland and had a great experience with the salespeople and the men who came to install the appliances. If you go, talk to Gene or his son. They are both extremely helpful. I too wanted a water-saving washer, but after doing research and talking to Gene found that they are twice as expensive, have problems rinsing well (often requiring another rinse, thus eliminating any water-saving benefit), and break down more often, making them even more expensive. However, they did have a variety of energy-efficient appliances, and I'm sure they would be able to tell you which ones are best. Good luck! clean and happy

We can recommend our front-loading washer by Frigidaire, which we've had for a couple years now. Front loaders are more water- efficient, and the spin cycle removes more excess water than top- loaders, so your drying time goes down. Supposedly, there is less wear and tear on your clothes, too, but I have no way of verifying this in a head-to-head comparison.

Maytag also makes front loaders, and there are a couple different European brands, I think. Frigidaire was one of the least expensive, but, even so, front-loaders do generally cost more than top loaders. I think we paid around $600, after rebates and all, but we feel it was worth it.

One more thing-- you do need to switch your detergent to what's called a high efficiency (HE) type. We've only seen this made by Tide and one other well-known brand, whose name is escaping me at the moment. Some newsgroups say that you can use regular detergent, but you need to reduce the amount drastically, because front-loaders create much more suds. Who knows- it may be only market-hype that you need to buy their special HE detergents. I'd be interested to hear if others can de-bunk the HE recommendation. Jim

We recently got a washer and dryer set. We did a lot of research- spent an hour in Sears learning about all the features, got the latest copy of Consumer Reports and headed down to the Sears outlet store in San Leandro where we bought a Kenmore set at a definite discount. You'll need to go and play with them- do you need front loading to have more space? Or will you need a top loader. Do you need gas or electric? Some are quite low do you want to invest in a riser or build one before getting your machine? We found the outlet place to be a great value we bought our fridge and washer and dryer there and haven't had any problems. Good luck. Juliette

Another reason to buy a frontloading washer, even though they are more expensive ''up front'' (ha ha), is the money you can save on drycleaning. I can machine wash things I used to have to dry clean - the wash is so much more gentle w/o the agitator. Not only cheaper but the clothes smell so much better too! Fran

We bought the Kenmore energy star stackable washer and gas dryer set in February and have been very impressed. We can even fit in a full size comforter in its deceptively small size (no agitator makes a huge difference). We use all, tide, or safeway brand free and clear regular detergent and have had no problems (just use 1/3 to 1/2 the amount) and the clothes come out CLEANER than in our old washer. Thought about trying the high efficiency suds but decided its really hype and besides haven't seen a no dye, no perfume option in this sud type. We DO use woolite instead of just dish liquid though for handwashables as the dish liquid does sud up way too much in the new washer.

In February, Sears had sale prices, free delivery rebate (worth $50)and true ''no interest for a year'' (ie. only pay interest on outstanding balances, if any, at end of year, not on entire purchase amount). In addition we got rebates from PG and EBMUD totalling another $250!! I admit the Kenmore doesn't look as cool as the European models, but its in a closet anyway so who cares? Karen H.

Someone asked about detergents for front-loaders. Regular detergents create lots of suds, which front-loaders don't do well with (note that the presence of suds is not an indicator of cleaning ability; they add sudsing agents). However, you are not limited to Tide and the other one (Wisk?). I find that the Tide HQ is very expensive, is NEVER on sale with the other Tide versions, and it doesn't come unscented (which I really prefer), so I did some research and found a few alternatives. Trader Joes sells its own brand of powdered detergent, in a greenish box, which is low-sudsing, fine for front-loaders, unscented and CHEAP. I use just 1/2 scoop in my front-loader (as recommended on the box), and our clothes come out plenty clean. TJ's also sells another brand that is fine for front- loaders (and quite inexpensive), but it is too strongly scented for me. Sears also sells an acceptable detergent (at least, used to), but I can not always find it in unscented (it may be discontinued), and it is not as convenient to buy around here. So now my regular is Trader Joes. There are also some European brands you can get online, but TJ's works fine for me. R.K.

I would like to make a commentary as well as contributing my own recent experience with washers and dryers.

It's very tempting, and a common practice, to get a slightly lower price by purchasing an item, such as an appliance, at a large chainstore (like Home Depot) while using advice and information sought at a smaller store (like Galvin Appliance). But I think it's important to support the stores who provide this information.

The stores that offer personalized and knowledgeable service are usually smaller, established, family owned ones that are struggling to hold on in this world of chain megastores, and the competition is killing them off. If we don't support our community stores, they'll all disappear and we'll be at the mercy of the chains. And I have never once found anyone at Home Depot who actually knew anymore about the products than I could read myself off the shelf. And, they don't offer the kind post-purchase support that a store like Galvin does.

About washers. I got my Maytag Neptune (at Galvin) several years ago when it was first on the market, and wish I had chosen a regular style. First there was an awful problem with it holding water in the front gasket which would get rank and stinky (you were supposed to regularly run an empty load through with bleach to prevent this, thereby losing your supposed water savings). I called Galvin, and they told me that the manufacturer knew about this problem but that the consumer had to call the company directly to get it remedied. I did, and eventually Maytag came out and retrofitted it with a new style of gasket. I thought it was outrageous that Maytag wasn't proactively contacting consumers to offer this fix (and they were prohibiting the retailers from doing so!).

The machine really twists and tangles my clothes worse than an agitator machine, and I haven't noticed any water savings. I'm really disappointed in it and wouldn't recommend spending the extra money. I am however happy with the Maytag gas dryer, not the matching Neptune model, that I purchased at the same time. anon

Concerning low suds, high effeciency detergent for front loaders....don't bother. We just recently purchased the Kenmore Elite HE3 set (very impressive by the way!), and the manual says if you use regular detergent, just use half of the amount you typically use. We've been using our regular detergent, only half the amount, and it works just fine. I found the HE soap to be very difficult to find. Not all markets carry it. 3loons

A great place choice is the Kenmore front loadingn washer (& matching dryer). The front loader uses 40% less hot water and has other energy saving attributes that I can't recall. A great place to buy washers & dryers is at the Sears Outlet in San Leandro off Davis Street - I think its on 144th or something? Call Sears and ask for the phone number for the outlet. They sell current styles that are slightly damaged (dinged side, missing dial) for great discounts. We bought ours there and love them. Chris

I just bought a washer and dryer for my 2-person condo, so had to make compromises. The other person did not want a front loader, so I was limited. I picked a Fisher & Paykel (from Australia, I believe). It's a top loader but water-efficient enough to be the only top loader on the recent energy efficient rebate list -- I think it's even better than the Neptune! Energy efficiency is also great. And it's got everything and more in the way of options. Cost -- $600, but (at least in SF) we were able to get 2 different $75 rebates. I hear the Fisher & Paykel Dryer is just a GE under a different label, so if you don't need matching appliances, check out other dryers (I got a Maytag). wbrown

Rebates from PG They were offering a variety of rebates including certain energy saving washers & dryers until the end of March, but the program had money left and was extended until funds ran out. Funds are probably gone now, but you might call and check. I got the impression that PG does these programs once in a while if you want to wait. I don't know when the next round is though.

BTW, we ended up buying the non-energy saving washer & dryer. We did the math and it was cheaper to buy the regular appliances even after the rebates. It would of taken 10-15 years before we broke even with the energy savings. It also saves a lot more money utility-wise to have a gas dryer (if you already have gas hookups). I've heard from 35 to 46 cents a load with gas. (Might be worth getting a plumber to put the gas line in, esp if you have a gas water heater already and the dryer will be near that-get a plumber quote first.) Of course, to save the most money and energy: nothing does the trick like a clothesline ;) if it's compatible to your situation.

I purchased my stuff from Home Depot. I went on a week night when it wasn't so crowded and got sufficient help. Also check out, Lowes.com. They have information to help you pick a washer that suits your life in their ''how to buy a....'' section. Unfortunately, Lowes.com didn't have half the products they listed on their website and you don't know unless you call the store with the product number. Home Depot also has a rebate on delivery & installation if you spend over $399 ends in June (you should double check this info too). mt

If you are looking for a good source for reconditioned washers and/or dryers, I have a contact for you. His name is Jamie Caseber and he is located in Berkeley. He specializes in reconditioned washers and dryers (spec. Kenmore and Whirlpool) and will deliver to your home. He also has a storefront on 10th street in Berkeley. For more information call him at 510-548-4419. Happy laundering Jennifer

Sears Calypso

Sept. 2002

People really love their Neptunes, but at the Sears Scratch and Dent we can get a Sears Calypso washer and dryer for the price of just the Neptune washer. Does anyone have any opinions or advice about the Calypso. It is an Energy Star rated top loader with a large capacity, well rated by Consumer Reports, but it has that odd little agitator or washer plate. Is it effective and easy on your clothes? Can you wash a down comforter without destroying it, does it do well with heavily soiled clothes? Any info appreciated. Eleanor

We bought a Sears Calypso top-loading washer last spring and we are mostly satisfied with it. (We love the energy rebates and lower cost water, PGE,and detergent bills).

We have washed king-sized comforters and sleeping bags with good results,although we've had to do an extra rinse cycle to get soap residue out, even after using the recommended amount of HE (High Efficiency) detergent. I notice that even when washing on the Delicate cycle, clothes come out of the washer highly wrinkled. Once out of the dryer, clothes seem O.K. I'm curious if anyone else experiences this. One other glitch for us is that we need to use unscented products, and the only unscented HE detergent on the market is the Sears brand, which is sort of a pain to procure. It is possible to use regular unscented products, but you need to use about a third of the normal scoop, and you're never really sure if there is too much sudsing for this washer.

In terms of buying from the Sears Outlet, I'd recommend getting the 5 year extended warranty. When my new washer was delivered from Sears, it had what looked like only a cosmetic dent on the side, and although I was willing to take the offered 10% off the price, our appliance person recommended against it, saying the washer could have fallen off the truck or been hit with a forklift and that the balance of the drum could be off. So I sent it back to Sears for a replacement, and maybe our original washer will end up in your house! It could be perfectly fine, but I'd advise buying the warranty. Anne

We bought the calypso washer at the Sears outlet a few months ago and have been very happy with it. It does a good job cleaning the clothes (but I haven't tried to wash a big comforter yet) and is quiet and very easy to use. I like the the fact that it has a different washing system that doesn't require the big spiral in the middle. There's nothing for the clothes to get trapped on and the loads don't get unbalanced. Karen

Front-Loading Washers


I'd be much obliged if anyone who has purchased a frontloading digitalized Maytag Neptune 2000 rated #1 in consumers reports this year could share your experience(s) with it. It's very expensive and I hope to hear your feedback before getting it. Also what is your experience with toploading vs frontloading? Any experience with longevity and low maintenance of some washer brands? Susan

I'm not familiar with the Maytag washer, but I have a Kenmore front loader. My husband and I absolutely love it! It is more water and energy efficient than the front loaders and it is stackable. Our model has two settings for the spin cycle-fast or slow. The fast cycle wrings out so much water that the drying time is cut in half. But, some of the seams on some clothing items have unraveled. So, I don't use the fast spin setting for everything. We chose the Kenmore because my parents, aunts, and inlaws have always sworn by Kenmore. Plus, my husband's cousin is an appliance repairman who works for Sears. He services all brands and makes of appliances and says Kemore washers and dryers have better track records. On our machine, though, there are some limitations. For instance, the washer has a very loud end-of-cycle signal that cannot be turned off (a problem which has been corrected in the newer models). The other thing, the water level is not adjustable. Now, according to the literature, the amount of water used is about 50% less than in toploaders. The only other complaint I have is poor bleach dispensing. I've noticed that if you fill the bleach dispenser with more than the recommended amount, it is dispensed directly into the drum without being diluted first. For me this is a problem because I use an awful lot of bleach when I wash. On the other hand, there is a setting for an automatic second rinse cycle. This is handy if you need to do second rinse cycles for baby clothes or for anyone else who is soap residue sensitive. Overall, though, I must say we are very happy with our washer and dryer set. Well, not quite the information you wanted, but I hope it helps. Jeanette

We have had the previous version of the Maytag Neptune (not digital) for two years and have really liked it a lot. We got ours at the Sears outlet (tiny dent) which saved enough to buy a matching dryer too all for the price of just the new Neptune washer. I really like the front loading machine ... uses a lot less water, less soap, and really does a great job at cleaning. It's great to be able to simply stuff in a huge comforter or even very delicate items and in both cases it works great. We've had zero problems with it, but probably only being two years old is not really yet a test of any future maintenance. So far I think it's been well worth the extra cost. -Mike

I have had a Creda for three years. I find that it washes very well, spins the clothes to nearly dry, and is supposed to be very water and energy efficient. However, it is high maintenance. I have had the motor brushes replaced twice already, the pump replaced, and the door handle parts replaced. Luckily I purchased it with my VISA card, so my warranty time was extended to three years. I would not recommend the Creda. The appliance repair person (who I now know too well) recommends the Maytag. Ruth

We do not have the +latest+ Maytag front-loading model, but one bought 3 years ago. But I must say that I actually ENJOY doing the laundry now with our Maytage Neptune. The front loader is like the European washers, which use a lot less water and soap to do a really fine job on your clothes without mangling them in the process. I can wash hand-washables and many dry clean only items without fear of wrecking them. Even unwashable stuffed toys, like my son's 4 year old teddy bear, have benefited. My tenants, based upon my recommendation and their own research, waited almost 6 months to get the stackable models, they were so sold on this type washer. Finally, although you did not ask about the dryer, it too is a marvel. I never use softener and nothing ever gets overdried and wrinkled, unless I forget and let the clothes stay several hours after the drying is done. The best prices, we found a few years ago, are at Circuit City. Nori

We recently purchased a Sears front loader and love it. Our water bill is a fraction of what it used to be with the old top loader. EBMUD and PGE offer rebates (or did six months ago) for frontloaders. Darcy

I haven't used a Maytag frontloader, but I did buy a frontloader a few years ago. I was persuaded to by the fact that they used less water (up to two thirds ess) and can be more reliable, because the motor spins the tub directly, not through a 90 degree turn. They are generally also more efficient with electricity for the amount of washing you do. Also, my Mother claimed it made clothes cleaner because the water was forced through the clothes (by gravity). I looked around for a while, then picked up what I thought was a bargain machine in a closing down sale. What I discovered is that not all frontloaders are equal. This one was not particularly energy efficient, and in particular it had problems with sucking baby socks into the filter arrangement if I didn't go through every piece of washing and put small things into washing sacks- a single coin left in a pocket could completely incapacitate the machine and require an hour lying on the floor trying to clean out the filter without flooding the entire laundry. I got quite experienced at this. The particular machine (my nemesis) is no longer made, for good reason, and most repair people hated it. It ended up costing me more than a much more expensive machine, plus the hassle. I began to have fantasies about finding cliffs to tip it off the edge of, or bombs to explode it with. Not all frontloaders are like this, of course. The main thing that's annoying about them is that the washing programs take so long. Also, it turns out that frontloaders, on average wash LESS well than toploaders, which surprised me. I would check on whether all underwear has to be separated and washed in sacks or not. On the plus side, it fitted into our rather small laundry, didn't use much water and I thought it washed okay. There are much better machines out there - Europeans use pretty much nothing else. I've heard good things about the Miele. Fiona

The most striking features that we experience are the massive capacity and the extraordinarily miserly soap consumption. Oh, and the dryer's auto-shutoff feature. With our landlord's old, smaller top loader, laundry was a weekly task that seemed to take all day with lots of interruptions to check for imbalances, and drying was keep checking 'til it's dry or set it for 15 or 20 minutes longer than you expect, so that you'll be sure it'll be done when you come back. Now we just cram scads of clothes in the washer, add a quarter cup of liquid detergent, run the wash, transfer to the dryer, and wait for the buzzer. Mounds of clean clothes come out, we used less water, less soap, less energy, and spent less time. The laundry chore that used to be a high-maintenance production now consists primarily of the folding & putting away. (I don't think they'll ever automate that.) We're happy campers. Greg

I purchased the non-digital Maytag Neptune front-loading washer last October. I think it is a terrific machine. If the claims about water and electricity usage are true, it is much more efficient than any other washer of its size. I have found it to do an excellent job of cleaning clothes and to be much gentler on delicates (I have even washed some hand wash cotton sweaters on its delicate cycle with excellent results). You can also get quilts and large blankets into the machine without worrying about unbalancing the machine or getting them wrapped around the agitator (since there is none). Since I've had it only a few months, I don't know anything about the longevity, but Maytag machines in general have excellent maintenance records. It is very expensive, but I think you need to take the lower energy usage into account in determining the real cost to you (especially in this energy environment!). As another note, you don't say where you are considering buying it from, but I bought mine from Sears, who gave me an extremely short delivery window, showed up right at the beginning of it, installed the washer and dryer in 15 minutes and were done. I couldn't have been more pleased. Stephanie

We purchased a frontloading Maytag Neptune 2 years ago and absolutely love it. If you can afford it, I think it is worth it. It does a great job, saves water, washes big loads...With kids, you do not want to mess around with a broken machine or one that is not going to hold up. We just had a repair done and it was covered under warranty and hassle free. Scott

We purchased a new Maytag Neptune washer in November 1999. Overall, I have been really happy with how it washes the clothes and, especially, how little water it uses. I have to say, however, that we have had a few problems (covered by warranty) with a few of the electric components. That said, Maytag service is excellent and they sent out a repair person immediately. We had to have two components replaced within the first 9 months, but haven't had a problem since.I would still buy the same washer, you just need to be aware that sometimes with all the digital parts, some piece will malfunction. The washer came with a one-year warranty and the service was excellent. After we had the problems, I decided to go ahead and spend the extra $$ for the 3-year extended warranty. Hope this helps. It is still the best washing machine I've ever used, far better than any of the top-loading washers I've used before. One other piece of information my mother-in-law has the Frigidaire front loading washer and loves it too. I've used her machine when we've visited them in Texas and it is also excellent (and a lot less $$). I went with the Maytag because it has a much bigger capacity. --Susan

We recently bought a Frigidaire front loader from Galvin's, expensive but not as expensive as the Maytag. The big surprise for us came with the first load. The machine was almost eerily quiet, but when it came to the spin cycle, the whole house shook so violently I grabbed my daughter and crawled under a desk, thinking it was an earthquake. The Galvinians came out to check the machine, said it was fine and properly installed, but that we might have to shore up our flooring underneath the machine, or better yet, move the machine to a cement slab. Since we don't want to do our laundry upstairs in the garage, I guess we're going to have to beef up the sub-flooring in our laundry room. We never had this problem with our ancient top-loader, so I guess frontloaders are just heavier. Our faithful appliance repair guy (who keeps all our ancient appliances machines alive with frequent expensive repairs) was appalled and told us we were crazy to keep the machine, said it was just a yuppie scam and we should get our money back, why risk our house falling down the hillside for a frontloader? But we still have the machine, and haven't done anything about the flooring (anyone have a handyman to recommend?), and our appliance repairman has lost all respect for us. Anyway, if you aren't planning to put the machine on a cement slab, you might just ask if the Maytag is as prone to rattling the windows as our Frigidaire is. Because of this, it's been a hassle--and will add significantly to the cost of the machine when we do the flooring.

I bought a Kenmore front-loader this year and really like it a lot. It is full-sized but it can be stacked beneath a dryer, which I needed. The great thing about it is you can wash pillows and comforters without having to wind everything around that central agitator. It doesn't mash and grind all the clothes so they suffer much less than before. Plus of course it uses much less water. It is so efficient at spinning out water that if I use the fast spin the clothes are smashed flatter than pancakes and don't unwrinkle well in the dryer. So be sure to set it on regular spin, not fast. The one thing I don't like about it is the obnoxious 5-second-long buzzer that sounds at the end of the cycle. Ginger


I bought the Maytag Neptune non-electronic front loading washer and matching dryer a couple of months ago and I just LOVE THEM! This is sick to say, but washing clothes is actually pleasurable! The washer is soooo quiet, it practically purrs when it is washing. Less water and less detergent, machine is much gentler on clothes on account of not having an agitator agitating the clothes. It holds more clothes, especially larger items (I routinely wash queen sized down comforters, lambskin rugs, blankets). There is no need to make sure that the loads are evenly balanced (hence, no walking washers). For towels and other thirsty fabrics, there's a Max (water) extract. I feel the extra expense is worth it. The amount of laundry of my family of five produces will increase as the kids get larger and I feel this is an investment in staying ahead of the laundry pile. I also have the matching Neptune dryer. It's a bit noisy, but more like a white noise. I like the electronic moisture sensor, so the dryer will shut off when the clothes are dry. There's a 5 minute cooling before the dryer completely shuts off, which prevents wrinkles. It is a definite improvement from my old 21 year old dryer which needed 3 hours to dry a load! I bought my Maytag set from Home Depot since they still carried the now discontinued non-electronic models. The prices were on sale, even. And free delivery, set up, and take away of old units. Good deal! Plus, there still may be energy saving rebate offers. Aside from the lower cost of the older models, I prefer turning knobs and pressing buttons and having all of my options spelled out in front of me vs. scrolling around looking for some command. Guess I'm essentially a low tech type. LD

I also love my front-loading Maytag Neptune (2+ years old). I bought it (and the matching dryer) at the Sears outlet in San Leandro and saved enough to buy a refrigerator. Plus I got rebates from both PG (unlikely now!) and EBMUD because the machines save energy and water. I found I can use any detergent in it (despite manufacturer's information) and only need half or less of the normal amount of detergent. The only drawbacks to the washer are (1) you can't open the washer after it has started to add that sock that fell in the hall on your way to the machine -- it locks once the wash cycle starts, and (2) the rubber gasket around the inside portion of the door traps water -- I generally soak it up with a rag or towel. This design feature isn't present on all front-loaders though, and may not be a problem on more recent Maytags. Karen

I don't have the Maytag front loader, but rather the Kenmore someone else mentioned (also the dryer) and am very happy with them. I'm glad to know that the latest model includes the option to turn off the strident end-of-wash buzzer, because it's the worst feature of mine. If space is at a premium, front loaders offer the advantage of being stackable. My house has only a very narrow space into which a washer/dryer fit, and if I wanted both a washer and dryer they had to be stackable. I didn't like any of the apartment sized stackables I saw. The Kenmore (which is, I believe, identical to models sold under the Frigidaire brand, too) stacks and offers the capacity of a regular full-sized washer. It's my first in-home washer, so I have no previous water or utility bills to compare, but the increase in monthly bills was minimal. I live in an old house, and the washer spin cycle does rattle the place. It's not a yuppie scam. My guess is that the spin action in a front-loader works differently than in a top-loader Lorraine