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The US-only LG WT7700HVA washing machine costs $1,500. That's expensive for a single laundry appliance, especially a top-load model, which typically would cost less than its front-load counterparts.
(Most top-load units range from roughly $350 to $1,200, whereas front-load washers tend to start around $600 at the lower end, but regularly fetch prices upward of $1,600.)
Premium appliance manufacturers like LG are changing the game a bit, though, with more luxury top-load offerings available in the US market. Complete with fancier paint finishes and more features, the WT7700HVA and others are presenting intriguing alternatives to high-end front-load machines.
Luxury finishes aside, they still need to perform well -- and that's where LG's WT7700HVA falls short. Of the four washing machines we've reviewed so far, this pricey top-load unit scored the lowest in terms of stain removal. It would be one thing if it cost $350, but the WT7700HVA's price doesn't come close to matching its performance, making it a washer I can't readily recommend.
A growing number of washing-machine manufacturers have begun to introduce quirky features that you won't find on typical models. Samsung sells a top-load unit with a built-in sink, the $1,199 WA52J8700, so you can hand-wash delicate items or simply presoak stubborn stains before the regular cleaning cycle.
LG itself has a new line of Twin-Wash-compatible machines. This assortment of select front-load washers can accommodate a stacked pedestal underneath -- called a Sidekick -- that's actually equipped with a second, smaller washer for simultaneous cycles.
At CES in January, we even met with a startup called Marathon that thinks it's completely ridiculous to have two laundry appliances. Instead, the company proposes doing away with separate units altogether via its vented all-in-one washer and dryer combo.
These units might justify a higher price because they offer something different, a new feature or in some cases, a new take on laundry as a whole.
LG's WT7700HVA, on the other hand, is just a premium washer. It has a lovely brushed stainless-steel look, a transparent lid so you can watch your clothes get clean if that's your thing and a nice-looking display panel that's simple to read and easy to use. It also has a 5.7 cubic-foot capacity. That's huge. Samsung's WA52J8700 has a 5.2 cubic-foot capacity and even that's a pretty good size.
And, at 29 inches wide and 45 inches tall, with a depth of 32.25 inches, the WT7700HVA is definitely on the larger side for top-load units, but its capacity can easily justify it. But, it doesn't offer much more than that.
Sure, installation is simple -- if you're familiar with washer hookups. Just 15-20 minutes and you're done; then plug it in, press the power button -- and even that has a pleasing chime to let you know you've turned on the machine correctly.
The WT7700HVA offers all of the wash cycles you'd expect, from normal to bedding and delicates, but it also has an app, the LG Smart Laundry app for Android and iOS, which is supposed to let you download additional cycles as needed. This would be a standout option if the app worked, but the setup is so convoluted that I'd suggest skipping this feature altogether.
In addition to the cleaning cycles, you can adjust the rinse temperature, the speed of the spin cycle and the soil level, but that's about it. Still, the control panel's nice layout and touchpad design do make it very simple to navigate. And, unlike the Samsung WA52J8700, it's much easier to access the detergent dispenser.
Given that the WT7700HVA doesn't really stand out in the features department, I hoped to find some hidden value when it came to actually running the machine and testing its performance.
CNET has a climate control chamber designed specifically to test washing machines. Check out our how we test washers article if you want specifics, but here's the gist: we run three identical cleaning cycles using cloth strips stained with sebum (skin oil), carbon (mineral oil), blood, cocoa and red wine. Then, we average the results and arrive at an overall score for stain removal.
We've tested four machines so far, the WT7700HVA, the LG Twin Wash, the GE GFWR4805FMC and the Samsung WA52J8700. The WT7700HVA scored the lowest out of the group with a total stain removal score of 90.55, or a C+. The less expensive Samsung WA52J8700 scored a 92.84, or a B-, on the same tests. (This isn't graded on a traditional 0-100 scale because washers can actually score over 100, but the higher the score, the better.)
LG's top-load unit also underperformed in terms of wear and tear. Generally, the lower the stain removal score, the better the wear-and-tear score. That happened with the front-load models, the GE GFWR4805FMC and the LG Twin Wash, where the GE scored an A- for stain removal and a C+ for wear and tear. In contrast, the LG Twin Wash scored a B for stain removal and a B+ for wear and tear.
But, the WT7700HVA had a slightly lower wear-and-tear score than the Samsung WA52J8700 -- a B+ compared with the WA52J8700's A-. That's 0 for 2 for LG -- especially bad considering its price.
No, LG's $1,500 WT7700HVA top-load washing machine didn't get a terrible overall performance score. But when you factor in its price, it's still tough to recommend.
That's because there are other models, like the $1,199 WA52J8700 by Samsung, that scored better on both tests and cost significantly less.
The WT7700HVA's large capacity, nice design and intuitive display are definite positives in its favor, but how useful are they if it doesn't perform all that well? Sure, it will probably do a passable job of cleaning your clothes, but the overall value just isn't there.