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Kenmore 29133 review: This giant washer dominates its top-load competition

Kenmore used Whirlpool's WTW8500DC as the muse for its $1,100 29133 washer.

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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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Kenmore's $1,100 29133 is a 5.3-cubic-foot cleaning powerhouse, able to obliterate stains other top-load washers we've tested can only dream about. Its metallic gray finish, curved glossy black display panel and transparent lid are easy on the eyes, too.

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7.9

Kenmore 29133

The Good

Kenmore's $1,100 29133 washing machine has the best top-load stain removal score to-date and a large 5.3-cubic-foot capacity.

The Bad

The touch panel display is too sensitive and the display is missing basic features like an "extra hot" water temperature setting.

The Bottom Line

Test out the Kenmore 29133's display panel before you buy this otherwise recommendable top-load washer.

But there are some drawbacks.

For starters, the 29133 is a little light in the features department. It has plenty of cleaning cycles, sure, but not as many as the competition. And this washer doesn't have the "extra-hot" temperature setting that comes standard with so many of today's models. Its seamless button-free display panel is also extremely sensitive to the touch. So while it looks very modern, it isn't as satisfying as the tactile feel of traditional buttons.

Even so, I'd highly recommend the Kenmore 29133 for its ability to remove a lot of stains and look good doing it.

Classy lines give this Kenmore washer an edge

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Modern flair

I can comfortably say that Kenmore's $1,100 29133 washer -- modeled after the Whirlpool WTW8500DC -- is a beautiful appliance. Available in a metallic finish, its curved glossy black display panel is a major design upgrade over traditional top-loaders.

You'll find everything you need on the display, too, from the various cleaning cycles on the dial to integrated touch-panel-style buttons for adjusting temperature, spin speed and soil level. The one issue I have here is that Kenmore sacrificed some ease of use for pure aesthetics. The display "buttons" work a lot like a smartphone interface; tap the option you want and you're on your way.

But the 29133's touch interface is extremely sensitive, barely hovering your finger over the setting you want could do the trick. While that's technically a win in terms of responsiveness, I don't want to have to be so deliberate and delicate when I'm making a simple selection of warm versus hot water. It takes some getting used to, but ultimately isn't a deal-breaker.

For a high-end washer, the 29133 is also missing the dozen-plus cleaning cycles you find on many premium top-loaders. It also doesn't have an "extra-hot" option for water temperature -- something that comes standard on many top-of-the-line washing machines. Still, I'm okay with this washer's 11 cycles and water temperature settings, especially because it's a great performer (but more on that later).

For now, here's a closer look at the Kenmore 29133 versus three other top-load washers we've reviewed:

Comparing washing machines

Kenmore 29133GE GTW485ASJWSGE GTW810SSJWSGE GTW860SPJMC
Price $1,100$650$900$1,200
Color finish Metallic, White (model #29132 for $1,000)WhiteWhite, Metallic (for $1,000)Metallic, White (for $1,100)
Capacity 5.3 cubic feet4.2 cubic feet5.1 cubic feet5.1 cubic feet
# of cycles 11131313
Energy consumption 259 kWh/year152 kWh/year152 kWh/year152 kWh/year
Water consumption 17.7 gallons21.1 gallons32.4 gallons12.3 gallons
Dimensions (width, height, depth) 27.5 x 42 x 27.9 inches27 x 44 x 27 inches28 x 44.5 x 29 inches28 x 44.5 x 29 inches
Warranty 1 year, limited1 year, limited1 year, limited1 year, limited
Voltage rating 120V 60Hz120V 60Hz120V 60Hz120V 60Hz
App NoNoYes, Android and iPhoneYes, Android and iPhone

Although the 29133 doesn't have as many cleaning cycles as the GE washers in the chart above, it has a larger cubic-foot capacity -- something families with family-size laundry needs will appreciate. It also does fairly well when it comes to water consumption. As a high-efficiency top-loader, the 29133 used an average of 17.7 gallons of water during our testing. That isn't as good as the roughly 10 gallons of water front-load machines use on average, but it's significantly better than the top-load GE GTW810SSJWS's 32.4 gallons of water.

Here's a list of the Kenmore 29133's cleaning cycles for your reference:

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

Stains? What stains?

Design, usability and features aside, everyone wants a washer that can clean clothes well on a consistent basis.

We run washers through a gamut of tests, measuring how well they remove stubborn stains on fabric strips coated with sebum (skin oil), carbon (mineral oil), blood (pig's blood), cocoa (a mix of milk and chocolate) and aged red wine. We also look at wear and tear, as in how gentle or tough the machine is on fabric. For that, we count the number of attached, frayed fibers that measure at or over 2 millimeters long on fabric squares.

This is the fourth top-load washer we've reviewed and it blew away the top-load competition in terms of stain removal. Just 44 percent of the original fabric strip stains remained on average after a cleaning cycle. Compare that with the GE GTW860SPJMC's 53 percent stain-remaining average, the GE GTW810SSJWS's 50 percent stain-remaining average and the GE GTW485ASJWS's 48 percent stain-remaining average and the Kenmore 29133 starts to look even more appealing.

By stain the Kenmore's 44 percent average translates to:

  • Sebum: 40 percent stain remaining
  • Carbon: 49 percent stain remaining
  • Blood: 31 percent stain remaining
  • Cocoa: 52 percent stain remaining
  • Red wine: 49 percent stain remaining

Kenmore's 29133 was also gentle on clothes with only 239 attached, frayed fabric fibers that measured at or over 2mm long. It was much gentler than the GE GTW485ASJWS's 266-count, but about the same as the GTW810SSJWS's 241-count and the GTW860SPJMC's 231-count.

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Enlarge Image
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Tyler Lizenby/CNET

A better top-loader

The $1,100 Kenmore 29133 surprised us during testing. Up until this point, top-load washers haven't done a very good job removing stains. Then the 29133 swooped in with stellar performance results on par with many of the best front-load washers we've reviewed.

Its too-sensitive display panel and short list of features hold it back a bit, but those things shouldn't keep you from giving this powerful, supersize top-load washer strong consideration.

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7.9

Kenmore 29133

Score Breakdown

Design 9Usability 6.5Features 7Performance 9
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