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Whirlpool WFW87HEDW review: This simple washing machine nails the basics

Whirlpool's WFW87HEDW is the simple front-load washer you've been waiting for.

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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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Strip away a washing machine's bonus features, like multiple specialty cycles and a related app, and you wind up with Whirlpool's $1,199 WFW87HEDW. Like the $1,099 Electrolux EFLS617S, the WFW87HEDW is a no-frills front-load model that gets the job done.

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7.5

Whirlpool WFW87HEDW

The Good

Whirlpool's $1,199 WFW87HEDW washing machine looks sleek, with simple controls, plenty of features and very good performance.

The Bad

Most of the display settings sound a different musical tone when pressed, which gets old fast. The WFW87HEDW has no app or other smart-home compatibility.

The Bottom Line

The Whirlpool WFW87HEDW is a well-rounded washer that doesn't quite match the cleaning power of Electrolux's similarly priced EFLS617S.

That said, it isn't an entry-level washer either. Complete with 10 cleaning cycles plus a steam setting, the WFW87HEDW is a solid upgrade over the most basic of front-loaders. Its premium-looking Titanium finish helps too. While it can't quite match Electrolux's EFLS617S in terms of performance, it's still worth a closer look.

This Whirlpool washer gets the job done for less

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What do you want from a washer?

The Whirlpool WFW87HEDW is a simple washer with some basic upgrades like a Steam Clean setting, a Titanium finish (it's also available in white for $100 less), and 10 cycles. They are:

  • Clean Washer
  • Cold Wash
  • Delicates
  • Drain & Spin
  • Heavy Duty
  • Normal
  • Quick Wash
  • Sanitize
  • Towels
  • Whites

Its touch-style display panel is very responsive and a small screen displays the cycle time remaining in easy-to-see green LEDs. While this is easy to use overall, each button seems to sound a different musical tone, which I would absolutely turn off if I had this machine at home. I do like having sound associated with each button press, but I found these particularly annoying. Fortunately, they're easy to turn off -- just press and hold the Cycle Signal button on the bottom right of the panel for a few seconds and presto.

Here's a closer look at the Whirlpool WFW87HEDW alongside its Electrolux EFLS617S competitor:

Whirlpool WFW87HEDWElectrolux EFLS617S
Price $1,199 $1,099
Color finish Chrome Shadow, White (for $1,099)White, Titanium (for $1,199)
Capacity 4.3 cubic feet4.4 cubic feet
# of cycles 109
Energy consumption 109 kWh/yr85 kWh/year
Dimensions (width, height, depth) 27 inches x 38.75 inches x 33.13 inches27 inches x 38 inches x 31.5 inches
Warranty 1 year, limited1 year, limited
Voltage rating 120V 60Hz120V 60Hz
App NoNo

Performance

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Watch this: Here's how we test washing machines
Here's how we test washing machines
1:42

For the full rundown of washing-machine test procedures, check out this how we test article -- or watch the video to the right.

Basically, we run three identical loads. That's a normal cycle, with normal soil, hot water and a high spin. Each load has long fabric strips stained with sebum/skin oil (Gross? Yes. Hard to get off clothes? Double yes), carbon black/mineral oil, blood (pig's blood), cocoa (chocolate and milk) and aged red wine.

Then we use a colorimeter to compare the pre- and post-cycle reflectance of each stain. From there, we calculate the percent of the stain remaining overall and for each individual stain.

The WFW87HEDW did well here, with 47 percent of the stain remaining on average. On a by-stain basis, that translates to 47 percent of the sebum stain remaining, 60 percent of the carbon remaining, 27 percent of the blood remaining, 50 percent of the cocoa remaining, and 52 percent of the wine remaining.

Electrolux's EFLS617S only had 40 percent of its stains left over, though, so it definitely wins when it comes to overall stain-fighting power.

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Enlarge Image
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Chris Monroe/CNET

We also add fabric squares to each cycle with precut holes. After running a normal load, we use a ruler to count the number of frayed (but attached) threads at the edge of each hole that measure at or over 2 millimeters. The higher the number, the tougher the machine is on clothes.

There's typically an inverse relationship between the stain remaining score and the wear and tear score. For instance, the Electrolux EFLS617S had an average of 295 attached frayed strings at or over 2 millimeters long -- the worst score yet in terms of wear and tear and yet it also had the best overall stain performance of any washer we've tested to date. Whirlpool's WFW87HEDW had 263 attached strings, so it's still a little tough on clothes, but not quite as tough as the EFLS617S.

The tech behind our washing machine testing (pictures)

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The takeaway

Whirlpool's $1,199 WFW87HEDW is a solid midrange washer that I can easily recommend. It looks good, it's easy to use, its steam function gives it an edge over many entry-level models and it performs well. The one issue is that the Electrolux EFLS617S offers the same things, but also manages to score better in terms of stain removal. I'd suggest taking a look at both and deciding if you'd rather have awesome stain removal power or a machine that still performs well, but is a little gentler on clothes. You really can't go wrong either way.

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7.5

Whirlpool WFW87HEDW

Score Breakdown

Design 7Usability 7Features 8Performance 7.5
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