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

LG's lovely WT1801HVA washing machine has questionable cleaning power.

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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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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 Leading the charge against tired, outdated top-loaders of generations past, this modern update is very welcome.

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6.9

LG WT1801HVA

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.

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.

Take a closer look at LG's WT1801HVA washer

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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 WT1801HVAKenmore 29133GE 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 feet5.3 cubic feet5.1 cubic feet
# of cycles 12913
Energy consumption 135 kWh/year259 kWh/year152 kWh/year
Water consumption 15 gallons17.7 gallons12.3 gallons
Dimensions (width, height, depth) 27 x 40.2 x 28.4 inches27.5 x 42 x 27.9 inches28 x 44.5 x 29 inches
Warranty 10-year, limited1-year, limited1-year, limited
Voltage rating 120V; 60Hz120V; 60Hz120V; 60Hz
App Yes, Android and iPhoneNoYes, 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

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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.

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.

Performance

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.

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Tyler Lizenby/CNET

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:

  • Sebum: 46 percent stains remaining
  • Carbon: 72 percent stains remaining
  • Blood: 35 percent stains remaining
  • Cocoa: 53 percent stains remaining
  • Red wine: 55 percent stains remaining

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.

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The takeaway

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.

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6.9

LG WT1801HVA

Score Breakdown

Design 10Usability 8Features 7Performance 5.5