This $1,200 top-load washing machine seemingly has it all -- good looks and a relatively intuitive instrument panel. It's also packing a long list of features, including a related GE Laundry app for Android and iPhone and even an IFTTT channel. $1,200 is high-end luxury when it comes to top-load machines, but the GE GTW860SPJMC seems worth it on paper.
When you factor in performance, though, the impressiveness starts to flag. It does a decent enough job removing stains, but the results don't stand out much in comparison to other models we've reviewed. That doesn't mean you should immediately rule out this GE washer, but it would be worthwhile to look at the competition closely before you buy.
With 13 wash cycles, a handsome metallic gray finish and a transparent lid so you can watch your clothes whir around inside (if you so desire), the GTW860SPJMC is strikingly similar to the $1,199 Samsung WA52J8700. The main difference, of course, is that the app-enabled GE version doesn't have a built-in sink for pre-soaking or hand washing delicates, and the sink-equipped Samsung version doesn't have an app.
Check out this comparison chart of the two top-load washing machines for more details:
|GE GTW860SPJMC||Samsung WA52J8700|
|Capacity||5.1 cubic feet||5.2 cubic feet|
|# of cycles||13||15|
|Dimensions (width, height, depth)||28x44.5x29 inches||27x46x29.3 inches|
|Weight||166 pounds||147.8 pounds|
|Warranty||1 year, parts and labor||1 year, parts and labor|
|Energy consumption||152 kWh per year||165 kWh per year|
|App||Yes, Android and iPhone||No|
GE's GTW860SPJMC is also competitive with other premium top-load models in terms of its specific wash cycles. They include:
But its most interesting feature is a bit more hidden, an inconspicuous "Wi-Fi Connect" indicator on the bottom left corner of the display panel. This means that the GTW860SPJMC works with GE's smart laundry app as well as GE's laundry channel on the connectivity service IFTTT.
While the app looks nice and is simple to configure -- just download the GE Laundry app on your Android or iPhone and follow the instructions to connect -- the software is a little disappointing. It's nicely designed, but you can't actually initiate a cleaning recycle remotely like you can with Samsung's $1,399 WF457ARGSWR or Whirlpool's $1,399 Smart Cabrio. Instead you can track a cycle, get an alert when the cycle ends, download a few additional cycles, and monitor how much detergent is left in the SmartDispense soap reservoir. It's somewhat useful, but not essential.
GE's laundry channel on IFTTT adds more to the equation. You can select among three options -- if the cycle is ending in 10 minutes, if it's the end of the cycle, or if the end of cycle alarm sounds, then you can blink your Philips Hue LEDs, have IFTTT send you a text (redundant on top of the existing push alert functionality) and more.
There's still a question of usefulness here -- being able to flash your light bulbs when a washer cycle ends is kind of novel, but it could serve a real function if your phone isn't nearby and you don't hear the cycle end. I could imagine the hearing impaired community benefiting from this sort of integration.
At CNET, we test washing machines in a climate-controlled room. We run several cloth strips saturated with five different stains through wash cycles and measure how much of the original stain remains afterward.
The GTW860SPJMC did OK here, with 53 percent stain retention on average after a cleaning cycle. That may not seem like a significant jump from the Samsung WF457ARGSWR's 48 percent or the $1,099 Electrolux EFLS617S's 40 percent, but every little bit counts when you're dealing with grass, mustard, and other stubborn messes. When you break down the score by stain, 52 percent of the sebum (skin oil) remained, 74 percent of the carbon (ash) remained, 34 percent of the blood remained, 56 percent of the cocoa and 48 percent red wine remained.
We also measure wear and tear -- that's how gentle or tough a washer is on squares of fabric. Specifically, we measure the number of attached, frayed threads that are 2 millimeters or longer after a cleaning cycle. The higher the number, the tougher a washer is on the clothes. The GTW860SPJMC had an average of 230 loose strings at or over 2 millimeters long -- much less than the Samsung WF457ARGSWR's 274 and the Electrolux EFLS617S's 295. Less wear and tear typically translates to a lower stain removal score and that was the case with GE's GTW860SPJMC too (although stain removal factors more heavily into most buying decisions).
The $1,200 GE GTW860SPJMC has a lot going for it. It's easy on the eye, its display is pretty easy to navigate and it offers all of the cleaning cycles you could want, plus a companion app and IFTTT integration. Unfortunately, its performance falls flat compared to the competition. And at $1,200, I'd expect more. The GTW860SPJMC is still a pretty decent machine, but I'd take a look at other options before making a final decision.