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Samsung WV9900 FlexWash review: Samsung's expensive double washer is worth saving up for

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Samsung's $1,899 WV9900 FlexWash is actually two washing machines integrated into one big ol' appliance (this model is only available in the US, but converted the price is roughly £1,480 and AU$2,550). The first washer's a typical 5-cubic-foot front-loader; the other's a mini 1-cubic-foot top-loader. Use them to run simultaneous or separate cleaning cycles depending on your laundry needs that day. True to its name, the FlexWash really is all about flexibility.

The Good

Samsung's $1,899 WV9900 FlexWash front- and top-load washing machine is gorgeous, versatile and easy to use.

The Bad

It's really expensive.

The Bottom Line

If you think you'd make regular use of the dual washers, the FlexWash is a solid bet.

This beautiful appliance also cleans well -- and its large touch display has tons of settings that are surprisingly easy to find. If this luxury cleaner is in your budget and you think you'd put its dual washers to good use, go for it. If not, there's really no reason to spend so much.

Samsung's double washer cuts down on chore time

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Two washers: Gimmick or necessity?

This isn't the first Samsung washing machine with a quirky standout feature. Samsung's $1,199 top-load WA52J8700 (roughly £935 or AU$1615) has a built-in sink for presoaking items with particularly stubborn stains or for hand-washing delicate items you wouldn't run through a machine. The $1,499 Samsung AddWash (roughly £1169 or AU$2018) has a little door integrated into its main front-load compartment so you can toss in a stray sock or other forgotten item mid-cycle without opening the whole door.

While it's always fun to see innovative laundry features, a lot of people will find them unnecessary. Samsung charges a premium for them, too, so it's important to consider whether you'd really use that sink or that hidden front-load hatch. In many cases, the answer will be "no." Samsung's FlexWash might be an exception.

Yes, $1,899 is a lot to spend on a washer. But if you regularly find yourself with a big pile of sheets and towels to wash and a smaller pile of knits and delicates to wash -- and you need both clean ASAP -- the FlexWash can easily handle it.

Bonus: The FlexWash doesn't require two water lines. Instead, it has an internal separator that directs the main front-load washer's water one way and the smaller top-load washer's water the other way. That means installation is essentially the same as any other washing machine. The water won't mix, either, so the red towels in your main washer won't stain the white blouse in the smaller washer.

The same goes for LG's Twin Wash washing machine system. The water in its dual washers won't mix and there's no need to install a second water line, but the design is quite different. The $1,399 LG WM5000HVA (roughly £1,080 or AU$1,855) is a typical front-load washing machine, but you also have the option of buying what LG calls a "Sidekick" washer (model number WD100CV) for an additional $730 (that's $2,129 total for an LG Twin Wash system -- over $200 more than the $1,899 FlexWash). The Sidekick unit is built into a storage pedestal that sits below the main front-load washing machines.

Twin Wash system pricing ranges from $1,500 (for the $800 WM3270CW front-loader with the $700 WD100CW Sidekick) to $2,580 (for the $1,800 WM9000HVA front-loader with the $780 WD200CV Sidekick). 

The FlexWash's pricing ranges from the $1,599 WV9600 to the $1,899 model we reviewed here.

The Twin Wash system offers a wider price range, but its $1,500 Twin Wash system has a white finish and more basic features. The FlexWash's integrated design and high-end features starting at $1,599 puts it ahead of the Twin Wash. I'd only opt for LG's Twin Wash over Samsung's FlexWash if you already have a Twin-Wash-compatible front-load washer and decide later on that you'd like a Sidekick.

A closer look

Want to know how the FlexWash compares to other high-end models? Check out the chart below.

Comparing washing machines


Samsung FlexWashKenmore 41072LG Twin Wash Samsung AddWash
Price $1,899$1,650WM5000HVA: $1,399 WD100CV: $730$1,499
Color finish Black stainless steelWhite, metallic silver (for $1,750)WM5000HVA: Graphite steel, white (for $1,300) WD100CV: Graphite steel, white (for $700)Black stainless steel, white (for $1,399)
Capacity 5 cubic feet front-load; 1 cubic foot top-load5.2 cubic feetWM5000HVA: 4.5 cubic feet WD100CV: 1 cubic foot5 cubic feet
# of cycles 12141514
Dimensions (width, height, depth) 27x46.7x34 inches29x40.8x33.9 inchesWM5000HVA: 27x38.2x32.2 inches WD100CV: 27x14.13x30.75 inches 27x38.75x34 inches
App Yes, Android and iPhoneNoYes, Android and iPhoneYes, Android and iPhone

The FlexWash's relative size is the main thing of note here. The FlexWash's integrated top-load washer adds significant height and also means you can't stack the companion $1,899 FlexDry (the FlexWash converts to roughly £1480 or AU$2560) dryer above it. They have to be installed side-by-side.

In addition to its dual washers, the FlexWash also has a suite of other premium features. The main 5-cubic-foot washer has a built-in drum light so you can see inside more easily; its display includes a digital readout of the time left on your cleaning cycle; five of its 12 settings offer steam as an optional add-on; you have a lot of control over the temperature, number of rinses, spin speed and soil level; and it has a 30-minute "Super Speed" setting if you're in a rush.

The smaller, 1-cubic-foot top-load washer is simple compared to the main washer, but it also offers a lot of features. It has four cycles, an "Extra Rinse" setting and a similar digital readout of the time remaining. It also has a see-through lid (like the main washer's door).

The touch display is responsive, but doesn't give you the tactile feel of buttons. Instead, it's more like selecting options on a smartphone. Taken all together, this washer really looks like a premium appliance. Its black stainless steel finish certainly helps.

App talk

Both washers work with Samsung's Smart Home app for Android and iPhone, although the app is optimized for Samsung phones. I used a Samsung Galaxy S6 to test it. Follow the steps in the app to connect your FlexWash to your Wi-Fi network. Assuming your connection is fairly solid, this step shouldn't take long.

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You can start and stop cleaning cycles from Samsung's Smart Home app.

Screenshots by CNET

After that, you can actually start and stop cycles straight from the app, but you have to be on your local Wi-Fi network and you have to enable the Smart Control button on the washer's display. Note: Both the front- and top-load displays have separate Smart Control buttons.

This functionality is similar to Whirlpool's app for the Smart Cabrio washer. But again, it's limited by the quality of your Wi-Fi connection and your washer has to be powered on, with the Smart Control button enabled.

Performance

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Watch this: Here's how we test washing machines

All of these advanced features are neat, but how does this thing clean?

The two main things we test are how well a washer's normal cycle removes stains and how gentle (or tough) it is on clothes.

Instead of tossing in random, assorted clothing, we standardize the procedure with stain strips and mechanical action strips approved by AHAM, or the Association for Home Appliance Manufacturers.

The stain strips are saturated with five stains: skin oil (gross, but we all have it), mineral oil, blood, cocoa and red wine. We then calculate how much of the original stain is left after running through a cleaning cycle.

The mechanical action strips are thin fabric squares with five holes punched in the middle. After finishing a single cleaning cycle, frayed threads begin to appear around the edge of the holes. The higher the number of attached, frayed threads (that measure at or over 2 millimeters long), the tougher that washer's normal cycle is on clothes.

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Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The FlexWash's main washer cleaned well, with 47 percent of its original stains remaining on average. By stain, that's:

  • Skin oil: 48 percent stains remaining
  • Mineral oil: 57 percent stains remaining
  • Pig's blood: 22 percent stains remaining
  • Cocoa: 47 percent stains remaining
  • Red wine: 60 percent stains remaining

While it performed well, it didn't beat Electrolux's EFLS617S. That front-loader is the reigning stain removal champ with just 40 percent stains remaining.

In terms of wear and tear, the FlexWash did pretty well, with 268-count of attached, frayed threads. The Electrolux EFLS617S had 295 after its cleaning cycle, so the FlexWash was gentler by comparison.

We didn't use the same rigorous testing methods for the FlexWash's top-load compartment since it's designed to tackle smaller, delicate clothes. Instead, I poured grape juice on a white t-shirt TV-commercial-style and compared the stain before and after. The shirt definitely looked better after going through the cycle. Still, I'd save tough stains for the main washer and use the top compartment as a backup for laundry overflow.

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The takeaway

Samsung's $1,899 WV9900 FlexWash is a clever concept that holds its own alongside other premium washing machines. Not only does it clean well, it also helps you clean more clothes faster. The FlexWash is a better overall value than LG's Twin Wash, too. If you think you'd take advantage of the double washers, the FlexWash is worth consideration. If not, save some money (and space) and get Electrolux's stackable and top-performing EFLS617S instead.

The FlexWash has a companion dryer, appropriately dubbed the "FlexDry." Like the washer, the FlexDry has two dryer compartments in one appliance. It also costs $1,899. Read the full Samsung FlexDry review here.

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Samsung WV9900 FlexWash

Score Breakdown

Design 10Usability 8Features 9Performance 7