In the laundry appliance aisle, 2013 was a pretty good year. There were ways to save money, capacities kept increasing to help make up for longer wash times, and Wi-Fi enabled appliances allowed you to change cycles using your smart phone. You still had to do laundry, but some appliances made it easier or better. Here’s a look.
An LG duo with an appealing price. The LG WT1101CW high-efficiency top-loader was the best of the tested top-loaders and at $700, costs several hundred less than most of our top picks and is a CR Best Buy. It was impressive at cleaning, normal wash time was 75 minutes using the heavy-soil setting, and it was relatively quiet. The capacity is large, thanks in part to the deeper tub, but it was too deep for some of our shorter staffers. The matching electric dryer, LG DLE1101W, $700, was superb at drying and relatively quiet but fell short of our top picks list. The gas dryer is LG DLG1102W. Both the washer and dryer have their controls on the front panel.
GE’s RightHeight pair gives laundry a lift. The built-in risers boost the height of the GE GFWR4805FMC front-loader and matching electric dryer GE GFDR485EFMC by about seven inches each, making it much easier to use the controls and load and unload laundry. Each machine is $1,400 but we’re hoping this improved design shows up on less expensive models soon. As for performance the GE GFWR4805FMC front-loader was impressive at cleaning, with a normal wash time taking 70 minutes on the heavy soil setting, very gentle on fabrics, efficient with water, and excellent at extracting water. That cuts dryer time. The washer is relatively quiet. The GE GFDR485EFMC electric dryer was one of two models to score excellent overall and made our list of top dryer picks. We found that it was superb at drying, very convenient to use, and relatively quiet. Both the washer and dryer have large capacities.
Remote control comes to the laundry room. Some of the higher-priced LG, Samsung, and Whirlpool models we tested let you monitor your laundry’s progress, extend tumbling time, or even start and stop the machine using your computer, tablet or smart phone. Whirlpool’s app sends an e-mail or text when your laundry is done. Among recommended models that are Wi-Fi enabled there’s the Samsung WF457ARGS[GR], and its matching electric dryer, Samsung DV457EVGS[GR]. Each is $1,550.