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GE GFWS2600FWW review: A busy control panel makes this GE washer tough to handle

GE's $1,100 GFWS2600FWW washing machine can clean your clothes, but its cluttered display sure doesn't make it easy.

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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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The $1,100 GE GFWS2600FWW is a fine washing machine. It's very good at removing stains and it offers all of the basic features you need, plus a steam function for targeting tough stains. And yet I wouldn't recommend it over close competitors like the $1,099 Electrolux EFLS617S.

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GE GFWS2600FWW

The Good

GE's $1,100 GFWS2600FWW washing machine skillfully removes stains and offers all of the features you need for your laundering basics.

The Bad

You'll suffer from sensory overload looking at its cluttered display panel.

The Bottom Line

If you can get past its complicated controls, the GE GFWS2600FWW is a fine front-load washing machine.

That's mainly because the GFWS2600FWW has an annoyingly cluttered display panel. Not only does this detract from its overall look, it also makes regular use less convenient. This isn't a total deal-breaker since you'll likely get used to the interface over time, but other models in the same price range manage to offer impressive performance and intuitive controls -- I'd look to them first.

This GE washer stands out, but not in a good way (pictures)

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Getting to know the GFWS2600FWW

Given that most washers live out their days in a closed-off laundry room or closet, design isn't hugely important. Features, usability, and performance are all factors we weigh more heavily during washing machine testing. But in the GFWS2600FWW's case, GE's aesthetic choices impact overall usability.

The display panel is the main point of access between you and your washer -- all of the various buttons and knobs let you select among different settings, as well as the soil level, the temperature, and the spin cycle. And this washer has a seriously cluttered display panel that isn't all that easy to use.

While you can figure out how to navigate your way around the display, it is much more convoluted than the tidy, and comparatively minimalist looks of the Electrolux EFLS617S. It may seem minor, but this is just one more thing to cause frustration during chore time.

The two machines do share similar specs, though:

Comparing washers

GE GFWS2600FWWElectrolux EFLS617S
Price $1,100 $1,099
Capacity 4.5 cubic feet4.4 cubic feet
# of cycles 129
Energy consumption 153 kWh/year85 kWh/year
Dimensions (width, height, depth) 28 x 39.4 x 34.4 inches27 x 38 x 31.5 inches
Warranty Limited 1 year, parts and laborLimited 1 year, parts and labor
Voltage rating 120V; 60Hz120V; 60Hz
App NoNo

As you can see from the chart above, the GFWS2600FWW is competitive with other models in the same price range. It even offers more cleaning cycles than Electrolux's EFLS617S.

Here's the GE's complete list:

  • Active Wear
  • Basket Clean
  • Bulky/Bedding
  • Delicates/Hand Wash
  • Drain + Spin
  • NSF Allergen
  • NSF Sanitize
  • Normals/Mixed Loads
  • Power Clean
  • Speed Wash
  • Towels & Sheets
  • Whites

The GE also has a steam function that you can add to select cycles, as well as something called "eMonitor" which keeps track of your energy savings.

Cleaning power

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Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Quirky display panel aside, the GFWS2600FWW is a good washer that does a very good job removing stains. We came to that conclusion by taking fabric strips saturated with five stains -- sebum (skin oil), carbon ash, blood, cocoa and red wine -- and running them through a cleaning cycle. When they're finished, we use a reflectance colorimeter to calculate how much of each original stain remains.

The GFWS2600FWW had an average of 45 percent of stains remaining. By stain, that translates to: 46 percent of sebum remaining; 53 percent of carbon; 24 percent of blood; 50 percent of cocoa; and 49 percent of red wine.

While these are solid scores, the Electrolux EFLS617S still managed to outperform it, with just 40 percent of stains remaining overall. When you break that down by stain, it had 44 percent of sebum remaining, 50 percent of carbon remaining, 19 percent of blood remaining, and 45 percent each of cocoa and red wine remaining.

GE's GFWS2600FWW did perform better in terms of gentleness, however. In addition to stain removal, we also measure the number of attached frayed fibers on fabric squares at or over 2 millimeters long after a cleaning cycle. The higher the number, the tougher the washer is on clothes. The GFWS2600FWW averaged 271 frayed strings, whereas Electrolux's EFLS617S averaged 295 frayed strings. That makes this GE model a better bet if you're more concerned with wear and tear than stain removal.

33 washing machines to revolutionize your laundry routine

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Conclusion

GE's $1,100 GFWS2600FWW is a decent washer. It can handle stains and it's relatively gentle on clothes. Even so, its outdated display is distracting and makes the machine more difficult to use. For that reason, I'd take a look at the $1,099 Electrolux EFLS617S instead. It does a better job removing stains and its display panel is delightfully intuitive by comparison.

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GE GFWS2600FWW

Score Breakdown

Design 7Usability 5Features 7Performance 8
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