Consumer Reports Says Washer Prices Down, Names Best Buys
Jan 6, 2010
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U.S.-based consumer publication Consumer Reports reported that its latest tests on washers revealed price drops of as much as 33 percent compared with a year ago. And along with the federally funded rebates of up to $250 for qualifying models, consumers are seeing more energy- and water-efficient models that save money in the long run.

The latest tests revealed a couple of Consumer Reports Best Buys: the Frigidaire Gallery GLTF2940F[S], $650 front-loader, which offered an appealing price and a shorter wash time; and the GE WJRE5500G[WW], $480 a conventional top-loader that was easy on clothes and the wallet.

The publication also said its tests of 76 models revealed some problems. The LG WM2010C[W], $600 front-loader moved several inches during testing. Its SpinSense option, which is designed to help reduce or eliminate vibration, kept the machine in place, but extracted about 20 percent less water, so the laundry took longer to dry. The Frigidaire FTW3014K[W], $500 top-loader with Sound Silencer Plus technology was found to be “pretty noisy” and only a “mediocre performer.”

Other findings published by Consumer Reports:
• Most top-loaders that cost less than $500 didn't wash as well, used more energy or water, couldn't hold as much, or were tougher on laundry than more expensive models. The Estate ETW4400W[Q], $330 a conventional top-loader, frayed fabrics, earning it a poor rating for gentleness. The Whirlpool Duet Sport HT WFW8400T[W], $750 front-loader scored only fair for gentleness. That tough treatment could mean fabrics won't last as long.
• Whirlpool's FanFresh and Maytag's Fresh Hold are supposed to help prevent the odor that can develop when clean laundry is left in the washer for too long. Consumer Reports tests uncovered that none of the laundry developed an odor, whether the feature was used or not. Both the Whirlpool Duet Steam WFW9750W[W] and the Maytag Performance Series MHWE950W[W], both $1,300, scored excellent.
• The Consumer Reports Annual Product Reliability Survey found that 8 percent of front-loader problems were caused by mold or mildew. LG and Maytag front-loaders were slightly more susceptible than most brands surveyed.

The entire report, including dryer ratings, can be found in the magazine’s February issue.

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