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GE's RightHeight laundry duo give laundry a lift

Taller machines take the back-bending work out of doing the wash

Published: September 06, 2013 04:00 PM

Front-loading washers have their advantages but the design isn’t that convenient and they require lots of bending. For an appliance that’s used so frequently, you’d think manufacturers would increase the machine’s height. And that’s what GE has done. Consumer Reports tested the GE GFWR4805FMC front-loader and matching electric dryer GE GFDR485EFMC with RightHeight Design. Here’s what we found. 

The built-in risers boost the machine’s height by about seven inches, making it much easier to load and unload laundry from the washer and dryer, says Emilio Gonzalez, an engineer who runs Consumer Reports tests of laundry appliances. The controls are higher so they’re also easier to see and use. And while a front-loader’s high spin speed might cause it to vibrate, vibrations aren’t a problem for this GE front-loader—it was among the few that scored excellent on that test.

The machines we tested cost $1,400 each, but we’re hoping this improved design shows up on less expensive models soon. In the meantime, you can find links to manufacturer and utility rebates on GE’s website. Pedestals are another option. Manufacturers sell them to boost the height of a front-loader or dryer, but that raises the price of each machine by $250 or so.

As for performance, the GE GFWR4805FMC front-loader was impressive at cleaning, very gentle on fabrics, efficient with water, and excellent at extracting water. That cuts dryer time. The washer is relatively quiet, but a normal wash cycle on heavy soil setting takes 70 minutes. The GE GFDR485EFMC electric dryer was one of two dryers to score excellent overall and is a recommended model. We found that it was superb at drying, very convenient to use, and relatively quiet. The washer and dryer have large capacities.

Use our Ratings of hundreds of front-loaders, top-loaders, and electric and gas dryers to find the best appliance for you and your budget. You’ll also find information about features such as steam options, blocked-vent indicators on dryers, and Wi-Fi enabled appliances that you can control remotely.

Kimberly Janeway

   

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