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GE GFWS1700HWW review: This front-load GE washer tackles your laundry head-on

GE's $900 GFWS1700HWW is a (mostly) uncomplicated washing machine upgrade.

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Megan Wollerton
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Megan Wollerton

Senior Writer/Editor

Megan Wollerton has covered technology for CNET since 2013. Before that, she wrote for NBC's Dvice.com (now SyFy). Megan has a master's degree from the University of Louisville and a bachelor's degree from Connecticut College, both in international relations. She is a board member of the Louisville chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. When Megan isn't writing, she's planning far-flung adventures.

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As one of GE's least expensive front-load washing machines, the $900 GFWS1700HWW isn't fancy. Even so, I wouldn't call this washer entry-level. Complete with 10 cleaning cycles, a steam function and a large-capacity tub, it's competitive with plenty of pricier models, even GE's own $1,100 GFWS2600FWW.

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7.2

GE GFWS1700HWW

The Good

Not only is $900 a very good price for a front-load washing machine, the GE GFWS1700HWW manages to hold its own alongside more expensive models in terms of options and ease of use.

The Bad

The display is better than the one on GE's $1,100 GFWS2600FWW, but it still looks too cluttered.

The Bottom Line

GE's GFWS1700HWW is a well-rounded washer and a reasonable upgrade over the most basic of models, but it doesn't excel in any category.

Overall, the GFWS1700HWW combines powerful stain removal with solid features and design. I don't love the look of its overcrowded control panel, but it's a definite improvement over the GFWS2600FWW's tough-to-use interface.

Consider GE's GFWS1700HWW if you're in the market for a simple washer upgrade that's still relatively affordable
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This GE washer can handle your laundry needs (pictures)

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Does this 'budget' washer stack up?

It's hard to call a $900 appliance low-cost, but the GFWS1700HWW is one of GE's most budget-friendly front-load washers. And you actually get quite a lot for the price. Its 10 cleaning cycles are all accessible from the dial on the display panel. They are:

  • Active Wear
  • Basket Clean
  • Bulky/Bedding
  • Colors/Normals
  • Delicates/Hand Wash
  • NSF Sanitize
  • Quick Wash
  • Rinse & Spin
  • Towels/Sheets
  • Whites

The GFWS1700HWW also has a steam function that you can enable for select cycles to target tough stains. Its 4.3-cubic-foot capacity isn't quite as large as the 4.5 cubic-foot norm for front-load washers, yet it's close enough to not make a significant difference in your load size. Overall, the GFWS1700HWW can hold its own alongside more expensive front-load options like the GE GFWS2600FWW and even Electrolux's $1,099 EFLS617S. Here's a closer look at the GFWS1700HWW versus the competition:

GE GFWS1700HWWGE GFWS2600FWWElectrolux EFLS617S
Price $900 $1,100 $1,099
Capacity 4.3 cubic feet4.5 cubic feet4.4 cubic feet
# of cycles 10129
Energy consumption 131 kWh/year153 kWh/year85 kWh/year
Dimensions (width, height, depth) 27x39.75x33.5 inches28x39.4x34.4 inches27x38x31.5 inches
Warranty Limited 1 year, parts and laborLimited 1 year, parts and laborLimited 1 year, parts and labor
Voltage rating 120V; 60Hz120V; 60Hz120V; 60Hz
App NoNoNo

The GFWS1700HWW's plain white finish definitely won't win any design awards, but it's also available in dark gray for an additional $100. The control panel is a bit problematic, though. Like the GFWS2600FWW, it's a little busy -- especially since it doesn't have a ton of features (and therefore doesn't need a lot of fussy controls). But it isn't quite as complicated as the GFWS2600FWW, making it at least a little more intuitive by default.

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Watch this: Here's how we test washing machines
Here's how we test washing machines
1:42

Performance

We judge two main things when it comes to washer performance -- how well a machine removes stains and how gentle (or tough) it is on the clothes.

To test stain removal, we stick fabric strips soiled with sebum (skin oil), carbon ash, pig's blood, cocoa and red wine in the washer and run it. We then compare the pre- and post-cycle saturation of each stain using a reflectance colorimeter, arriving at a score that captures the percentage of stain -- that's how much of the original stain is still on the fabric after the cycle.
For wear and tear, we run specialty cloth squares through the washer and count the number of attached frayed fabric strands at or over 2 millimeters. The higher the number, the tougher the machine is on clothes.

The GFWS1700HWW did well on both stain removal and wear and tear. Overall, 49 percent of the stains remained after the cycle. Looking at each stain, that translates to 51 percent of the sebum, 53 percent of the carbon, 24 percent of the blood, 55 percent of the cocoa and 51 percent of the wine. The pricier GE GFWS2600FWW had an average of 45 percent of stains remaining -- not a huge visual difference when you're eyeballing stains side-by-side.

Additionally, the GFWS1700HWW had 258 attached frayed fabric strands. The GE GFWS2600FWW averaged 271 frayed strings and Electrolux's EFLS617S averaged 295 frayed strings, so the GFWS1700HWW is gentler on clothes by comparison.

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Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Conclusion

GE's $900 GFWS1700HWW washing machine definitely isn't an overachiever. It doesn't have the most impressive stain removal score, it isn't a design marvel, and its display panel could use an update and that makes it slightly tricky to control. Still, this affordable front-load washer manages to meet basic expectations in every category. If you're willing to spend a little more, I'd take a look at the $1,099 Electrolux EFLS617S, but the GFWS1700HWW will get the job done -- and for $200 less.

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7.2

GE GFWS1700HWW

Score Breakdown

Design 7.5Usability 6.5Features 7Performance 7.5
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