LG's lovely WT1801HVA washing machine has questionable cleaning power.
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 Leading the charge against tired, outdated top-loaders of generations past, this modern update is very welcome.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.
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:
|LG WT1801HVA||Kenmore 29133||GE GTW860SPJMC|
|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:
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.
I ended up using the LG Laundry and DW iPhone app, but it wasn't very intuitive. That's mainly because the app's home screen references Remote Start and all sorts of other features that are only available on Wi-Fi-enabled LG washers. So you have to scroll through the options, locate Smart Diagnosis, and follow the instructions for an "Audible Diagnosis."
Smart Diagnosis really is easy to use once you've sifted through the jumble of available apps and determined whether or not your washer works with Wi-Fi. But it should be a lot easier to access.
We run our washers through a variety of tests to measure how well they remove stains and how gentle or tough they are on clothes. LG's WT1801HVA didn't do particularly well removing stains.
Of the five top-load washers we've reviewed, the WT1801HVA got the second worst stain-removal score. Specifically, 52 percent of the stains on fabric strips coated in sebum (skin oil), carbon (mineral oil), blood, cocoa and aged red wine remained on average after testing. By stain, that translates to:
When you look at other washing machines, GE's GTW860SPJMC had 53 percent stains remaining, GE's GTW810SSJWS had 50 percent stains remaining, GE's GTW485ASJWS had 48 percent stains remaining and Kenmore's 29133 had 44 percent stains remaining.
The WT1801HVA got a decent score for wear and tear, though. To score wear and tear, we count the number of attached, frayed threads on fabric squares that measure at or over 2 millimeters. The WT1801HVA had 243 attached threads, which is pretty standard for most of the top-loaders we've reviewed. GE's GTW485ASJWS is the exception -- it was tougher on clothes with a 266-count of attached, frayed threads.
LG's $1,150 WT1801HVA washing machine gets a lot right. Not only does it look great, it also offers a modern twist on boring top-loaders with its integrated front-control display. But its performance score hurts its overall appeal; it simply didn't come close to the Kenmore 29133's excellent stain-removal rating. You won't be completely disappointed with the WT1801HVA, but I would look at some other models before you decide to buy this LG.