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Kenmore Elite 31433 review: Kenmore's luxury washing machine is a bit of a let-down

Save your money. This $1,300 Kenmore washer can't clean very well.

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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 $1,300 Elite 31433 top-load washing machine looks great at first glance. Its metallic gray color, front-mounted display panel and see-through lid give this machine a premium look consistent with its high-end price. Checking in on the status of the wash cycle from a phone is surprisingly easy with the Kenmore Smart app. 

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6.6

Kenmore Elite 31433

The Good

Kenmore's $,1300 Elite 31433 top-load washer looks sleek and comes with a related app that's pretty easy to use.

The Bad

It doesn't remove stains well.

The Bottom Line

Due to its low performance score, the Elite 31433 is difficult to recommend.

Unfortunately, it earned a very poor cleaning score -- making it impossible to recommend -- despite its many appealing qualities. 

This pricey Kenmore washer should be so much better

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The basics

Take a look at the chart below to see how the Elite 31433 compares to Samsung's $1,099 WA54M8750AW and Maytag's $1,399 MVWB955FC

Comparing washing machines


Kenmore Elite 31433Samsung WA54M8750AWMaytag MVWB955FC
Price $1,300$1,099$1,399
Color finish MetallicWhite, black stainless steel (for $1,199)Metallic slate, white ( for $1,299)
Capacity 5 cubic feet5.4 cubic feet6.2 cubic feet
# of cycles 81210
Energy consumption 150 kWh/year180 kWh/year240 kWh/year
Water consumption 12.6 gallons14.8 gallons15.3 gallons
Dimensions (width, height, depth) 27x 40.8 x 28.4 inches27 x 42.4 x 29.3 inches29.5 x 43.4 x 30 inches
App YesYesNo

As you can see, the Kenmore washer has a smaller internal capacity and fewer cleaning cycles than the WA54M8750AW and the MVWB955FC. Like the WA54M8750AW, the Elite 31433 has a related app. 

The Kenmore Smart app for Android and iPhone gives you remote access to your Elite 31433. Download the app, follow the step-by-step instructions and select "Remote Start" on the washer display. When the washer is on and Remote Start is enabled, you can start, stop and pause your washer from your phone. You can also see how much time is left in a cleaning cycle. 

It worked well, but you have to remember to turn your washer on and enable Remote Start to use it. Given that, you might as well just start the cycle when you're standing next to your washer. That's a gripe I have with every app-enabled washer I've tested -- you always have to enable remote functionality from the washer itself. It's a weird requirement considering that remote access is something I'd likely use if I had forgotten to start a cleaning cycle. But if I forgot, I also wouldn't have turned on the washer or pressed a Remote Start button.

Remote Start is most likely a safety measure to ensure that just anyone can't easily control a large appliance, but this process needs to be streamlined before I'd consider any "smart" washing machine truly smart. 

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Inside the Kenmore Smart app on an iPhone (also available on Android). 

Screenshots by Megan Wollerton/CNET

How it performs

To test a washing machine's performance, we follow a very strict procedure. Check out this article I wrote about our test methodology if you have questions. Generally, though, we judge washer performance based on two things: how well it remove stains and how gentle it is on clothes.

For stain removal testing we use strips of fabric covered in five stains: skin oil (sebum), mineral oil (carbon), blood, cocoa and red wine. After running the stain strips through a normal wash cycle, we calculate the percentage of the original stains that are left on the fabric. The lower the number, the better the washer performed.

In the case of Kenmore Elite 31433, 51 percent of the original stains were remaining. That isn't the worst score we've seen -- that honor goes to the Speed Queen TR7 -- but it is a very low score. 

The Samsung WA54M8750AW had 50 percent of its original stains remaining and the Maytag MVWB955FC had 49 percent of its stains remaining -- both relatively low scores, but not quite as low as Kenmore's Elite 31433. 

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The lower the percentage, the better the washer did removing a particular stain.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

To test gentleness, we use separate fabric squares with five holes punched in the middle in the shape of an X. After going through a normal wash cycle, fibers on the inside of each circle begin to fray and we count the number of frayed fibers that measure at or over 2mm long. The lower the number, the gentler that washer is on clothes in the normal cycle. 

In terms of gentleness on clothes, the Elite 31433 did alright. It had 234 attached, frayed threads measuring at or over 2mm. Samsung's WA54M8750AW had a 254-count and Maytag's MVWB955FC had just 208 frayed threads (despite performing better on stain removal). 

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Final thoughts

While the $1,300 Kenmore Elite 31433 looks nice and has a decent app, it's ultimately difficult to recommend. Its stain removal score is simply too low for it to be worth your money, especially considering its high price. If you want a top-load washer that performs well, consider the $1,530 Kenmore Elite 31633. Yes, it costs more, but it got an excellent performance score and has a huge internal capacity -- plus it's usually on sale at Sears.

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6.6

Kenmore Elite 31433

Score Breakdown

Design 8Usability 7Features 8Performance 5