Kenmore Elite 31633 review: Kenmore's massive washer tackles stains like a pro

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MSRP: $1,099.99

The Good Kenmore's $1,530 Elite 31633 washing machine (available at Sears for $915) has the best stain removal score of any top-loader we've tested so far. It also looks high-end and can hold twice as many clothes as your standard washer.

The Bad The touch-screen-integrated control panel is very sensitive and it doesn't have an extra hot water temperature setting.

The Bottom Line The Kenmore Elite 31633 is the best top-load washer we've encountered to date and it's on sale at Sears for just $915 -- a steal if you need a large-capacity model.

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8.5 Overall
  • Design 9
  • Usability 7
  • Features 8
  • Performance 9.5

I was pleasantly surprised by Kenmore's $1,530 Elite 31633 top-load washing machine. $1,530 is a lot to spend on a washer, so I expected it to have a lot high-end features. But the 31633 isn't app-enabled, it doesn't have a built-in sink or support a second, smaller washer in a storage pedestal below. Still, it's an excellent appliance.

That's due in large part to its, well, large 6.2-cubic-foot capacity and exceptional stain removal power. In fact, the 31633 earned the best cleaning score of any top-load washer we've tested so far.

Bonus: Sears regularly marks down its appliance prices and the 31633 is currently available for just $915. Get the Kenmore Elite 31633 if you're looking for a family-sized top-load model that absolutely demolishes stains -- particularly if you can find it at its discounted price. If not, consider Kenmore's 29133 -- it also performed very well, but has a smaller capacity and costs a more reasonable $1,100.

A truly massive top-loader

Wrapped in a dark gray metallic finish with a glossy black touchscreen display panel, Kenmore's 31633 looks like the top-loader of the future. A central dial lets you select among the 10 available cleaning cycles and everything else is accessible via integrated "buttons" on the display.

The controls actually work more like a phone touchscreen than actual buttons. At times they seemed too responsive, since you barely have to tap on the option you want to make a change. Alternatively, you have to hold the Start button for a couple of seconds before it will kick into action -- something you'll have to get used to considering the super-responsiveness of every other button.

The controls include basic settings like Wash Temp, Soil Level and Spin Speed, as well as advanced features like Steam Treat, Two Rinses, Fabric Softener and Accela-Wash -- an option that reduces cycle time by at least a few minutes (the exact number varies based on the specific cycle you choose).

There's no traditional clunky agitator taking up space inside the drum cavity either, just 6.2 cubic feet of space with a high-efficiency impeller-style agitator hanging out in the bottom.

Here's a look at the Kenmore Elite 31633 versus some other top-load washers:

Comparing washing machines:

Kenmore Elite 31633 LG WT1801HVA Kenmore 29133 GE GTW860SPJMC
Price $1,530 $1,150 $1,100 $1,200
Color finish Metallic, White (model #31632 for $1,420) Graphite Steel, White (for $1,050) Metallic, White (model #29132 for $1,180) Metallic, White (for $1,100)
Capacity 6.2 cubic feet 4.9 cubic feet 5.3 cubic feet 5.1 cubic feet
# of cycles 10 12 9 13
Energy consumption 290 kWh/year 135 kWh/year 259 kWh/year 152 kWh/year
Water consumption 15.6 gallons 15 gallons 17.7 gallons 12.3 gallons
Dimensions (width, height, depth) 29.5 x 43.5 x 30 inches 27 x 40.2 x 28.4 inches 27.5 x 42 x 27.9 inches 28 x 44.5 x 29 inches
Warranty 1 year, limited 10 year, limited 1 year, limited 1 year, limited
Voltage rating 120V 60Hz 120V 60Hz 120V 60Hz 120V 60Hz
App No Yes, Android and iPhone No Yes, Android and iPhone

You start to realize just how massive the 31633 is when you compare it with other high-end top-load washing machines. Many washers hover around a 4.5 cubic-foot drum size and that's plenty big enough for a standard 8-pound load of laundry. Looking at the chart above, LG's WT1801HVA has a 4.9-cubic-foot capacity, Kenmore's 29133 has 5.3 cubic feet of space inside its drum and GE's GTW860SPJMC has a 5.1-cubic-foot capacity.

With a whopping 6.2 cubic feet in the Kenmore Elite 31633, you can literally double your laundry load and accommodate 16 pounds of clothes no problem. Got Laundry, a web-based laundry service says 15 pounds of clothes is roughly "8 T-shirts, 3 pairs of jeans, 8 pairs of socks, 2 towels, 2 sweatshirts and 1 sweater." That's a whole bunch of clothes -- more than you could comfortably fit in any other washer we've tested to date.