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LG WT1801HVA review:So-so performance cramps this washer's style

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MSRP: $1,149.99
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The Good LG's $1,150 WT1801HVA top-load washing machine has a next-gen front-mounted display panel that looks great and is very easy to use.

The Bad This washer didn't impress when it came to stain removal and its Smart Diagnosis troubleshooting app needs some work.

The Bottom Line LG's WT1801HVA will add style to your laundry room, but won't necessarily clean better than your current washer.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

6.9 Overall
  • Design 10
  • Usability 8
  • Features 7
  • Performance 5.5

With a different design layout than most of today's top-load washers, LG's $1,150 WT1801HVA is a truly innovative machine. Leading the charge against tired, outdated top-loaders of generations past, this modern update is very welcome.

The problem is that the WT1801HVA isn't a great performer. While it was fairly gentle on clothes during our wear and tear tests, it didn't do as well with the whole stain-removal thing -- especially compared with its Kenmore 29133 competition. This doesn't mean you should rule out the WT1801HVA, but be sure to weigh this washer against some other options before you make a final decision.

A different kind of top-loader

LG's WT1801HVA doesn't look like your standard top-load washer. With front-mounted controls that more closely resemble a front-load machine, the WT1801HVA is a bit of a trendsetter in terms of layout. That snazzy front-mounted, touchpad display is also missing the standard cleaning cycle knob you see on most models today. I like this style departure, especially because the display panel buttons are responsive without being overly sensitive. It does look similar to Samsung's second-gen Activewash model, although that display panel is still located behind the cleaning drum. Either way, I hope to see modern display like these on more top-load washers.

This attractive graphite-steel-wrapped washer has solid specs, too. Take a look at the comparison chart below to see how it stacks up to the competition:

Comparing washing machines

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

With an estimated yearly energy usage of 135 kilowatt hours (kWh), a high-efficiency 15-gallon water usage average, 12 cleaning cycles and integration with LG's Smart Diagnosis tech (more on that in a bit), the WT1801HVA doesn't skimp on options. The one drawback is its cubic-foot capacity: 4.9 cubic feet is plenty big enough for regular laundry needs, but both the Kenmore 29133 and GE's GTW860SPJMC offer 5+-cubic-foot capacities.

Here's a list of the WT1801HVA's cleaning cycles:

Software stuff

Screenshot by CNET

So let's talk about that LG Smart Diagnosis troubleshooting feature. The idea is that you can press a button on your washer, and your smartphone's microphone will listen to a "tone transmission" that sounds like old-school dial-up internet. From there, Smart Diagnosis will tell you if something's wrong with your washer and try to determine what the exact issue is.

This feature worked well for me on the WT1801HVA, but it's a little tricky to figure out which app to use. That's because there's an LG Laundry and DW app, an LG Smart ThinQ app and a LG SDS app (all available for both Android and iPhone). To complicate things further, an LG rep told me Smart Diagnosis is "available on all LG washers," but not every LG washer is Wi-Fi-enabled (the WT1801HVA doesn't have Wi-Fi). So which app do you use? Unfortunately, LG doesn't make that clear on the WT1801HVA's dedicated page or anywhere else that I could find.

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