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Big washers can be a challenge for petite people

Some top-loaders have tubs so deep that laundry is out of reach

Published: October 11, 2013 01:30 PM

When's the last time you saw somebody use tongs to retrieve clean laundry from the washer? It's one way to reach that sock at the bottom of a top-loader with a deep tub, according to a few petite readers who posted user reviews on Consumer Reports' website.

Manufacturers have increased the tub size on some washers, making it possible for you to do more laundry at once and lessening the inconvenience of the longer wash times of high-efficiency top-loaders and front-loaders. The recommended washers in our Ratings hold an impressive 17 to 24 pounds of laundry. One way to boost capacity is to make the tub deeper in high-efficiency top-loaders, and some washers are also higher now. After a staff member revealed her deep dive method of hoisting herself up and leaning into the washer to get her gym socks, and a few user reviews noted tongs and reach tools as necessities, we got out our measuring tape and headed to the washer lab.

Retrieving that sock from the bottom of the top-rated LG WT1101CW, $700 and a CR Best Buy, wasn't a problem for several taller staff members, but it was for shorter ones. Another CR Best Buy, the $750 Samsung WA422PRHD[WR], wasn't as deep as the LG but too deep for a petite mother of four boys who posted a user review.

We measured some other HE top-loaders in our Ratings from a variety of brands, along with models we're now testing, and found tub depths ranging from 22 to 27 inches. Machine height also varied. Take a look at our washing machine Ratings and you'll see that high-efficiency top-loaders outperform conventional top-loaders. If you're shopping for a high-efficiency top-loader, reach into the tub when you're at the store—imagine that your favorite socks are at the bottom—and if you need tongs, this might not be the washer for you.

Kimberly Janeway

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