You could do a lot worse than the $1,349 Whirlpool WFW92HEFU washing machine, on sale at Home Depot right now for $1,124.10. At the same time, this high-end front-loader doesn't exactly inspire.
It has a standard-size tub capacity and a predictable design. Its display panel also leaves a lot to be desired -- its many musical tones are annoying, the options are difficult to read without hunching over and many of the buttons are on a slight delay. Press an option and expect to wait a beat before it actually responds.
The WFW92HEFU is a decent performer, but it didn't stand out -- especially when you look at Electrolux's impressive $1,099 EFLS617S. A couple of neat features do help make this Whirlpool washer slightly more interesting. FanFresh will tumble your clothes when you forget to move them to the dryer and the included Load & Go reservoir auto-dispenses detergent for you. Whirlpool's WFW92HEFU is a reasonable option in this upper price tier-- especially if you regularly forget to switch out your laundry -- but I'd consider the competition before buying.
At $1,349, Whirlpool's WFW92HEFU is a luxury appliance. It isn't the most expensive front-loader we've ever tested -- that honor goes to LG's $1,500 WM5000HVA -- but it's still very pricey.
Since it's a high-end model, you expect it to get a lot right. Otherwise, you've spent a good chunk of your paycheck on something that doesn't deliver on value, and who wants that? Unfortunately, the WFW92HEFU falls into this camp as far as design and usability goes.
Many washers sound melodic tones when you select cleaning cycles, options and other features. The WFW92HEFU has way too many different tones, taking it from something useful that confirms you've successfully selected an option to sensory overload. Fortunately, you can disable the sounds if they annoy you too; just press and hold the Cycle Signal button for 3 seconds.
The washer options, particularly the ones on the right side of the display, are difficult to read when standing. I had to lean down until I was eye-level with the display to see the Wash Temp, Spin, Soil, Pre-soak and other features clearly. Some of the buttons aren't as responsive as I'd like, either, so expect to wait a moment before they respond.
The WFW92HEFU's design is also fairly basic for the price. This model has a light gray metallic diamond steel finish, but Whirlpool also offers three other color options for varying prices. The black finish also costs $1,349, the darker gray chrome shadow finish costs $1,299 and the White finish costs $1,199.
Take a peek at the WFW92HEFU's specs versus comparable front-loaders:
|Whirlpool WFW92HEFU||Electrolux EFLS617S||Whirlpool WFW87HEDW||Samsung WF457ARGSWR|
|Color finish||Diamond steel, black (also for $1,349), chrome shadow (for $1,299), white (for $1,199)||White, titanium (for $1,199)||Chrome shadow, white (for $1,099)||Black stainless, white (for $1,399)|
|Capacity||4.5 cubic feet||4.4 cubic feet||4.3 cubic feet||5.0 cubic feet|
|# of cycles||12||9||10||21|
|Energy consumption||89 kWh/year||85 kWh/year||109 kWh/year||148 kWh/year|
|Dimensions (width, height, depth)||27 x 39.75 x 33.31 inches||27 x 38 x 31.5 inches||27 x 38.75 x 33.13 inches||27 inches x 39 inches x 34 inches|
|Warranty||1 year, limited||1 year, limited||1 year, limited||1 year, limited|
|Voltage rating||120V; 60Hz||120V; 60Hz||120V; 60Hz||120V; 60Hz|
|App||No||No||No||Yes, Android and iPhone|
While this Whirlpool washer has pretty basic specs, it also has a couple of interesting features: FanFresh and Load & Go.
FanFresh is an option you can select on the display that will tumble your clothes for up to 12 hours. I often forget to switch my laundry from the washer to the dryer, so FanFresh would really come in handy.
Load & Go is a reservoir system that comes with the WFW92HEFU. Make sure the removable blue Load & Go insert is installed where you add detergent and simply open the lid on the top and fill it with liquid detergent. This washer relies on sensors designed to auto-distribute the right amount of soap for as many as 12 washes (that's if you're washing a standard 8-pound load of laundry).
Load & Go is available on select high-end Whirlpool washers and some other manufacturers offer a similar feature. GE's $1,200 top-load GTW860SPJMC, for instance, comes with SmartDispense technology, which does roughly the same things as Whirlpool's Load & Go.
Even so, this feature isn't terribly common -- out of the 20 or so washers we've tested, only this Whirlpool and the GTW860SPJMC offer it.
We buy washing machines to refresh the clothes we wear, so cleaning performance is pretty critical. To test each washer that comes our way, we measure how well it removes stains and how gentle (or not-so-gentle) it is on clothes.
For stain removal, we run fabric strips saturated with sebum (skin oil), carbon (mineral oil), pig's blood, cocoa (a mixture of cocoa and milk) and aged red wine through a cleaning cycle. Afterward, we calculate a percent stain remaining score that shows how much of the original stain remains.
Whirlpool's WFW92HEFU did decently well here, with 47 percent stains remaining. By stain, that's:
Whirlpool's $1,199 WFW87HEDW also had 47 percent stains remaining, Samsung's $1,499 WF50K7500AV had 46 percent stains remaining and the $1,099 Electrolux EFLS617S had just 40 percent stains remaining.
Now, 47 percent isn't a bad score, but it isn't great either, considering the Electrolux's 40 percent (and that the Electrolux model costs $250 less).
To test wear and tear we run thin fabric squares through a cleaning cycle and then count the number of attached, frayed threads that measure at or over 2 millimeters. The higher the number, the tougher it was on the clothes.
The Whirlpool WFW92HEFU did OK in terms of wear and tear, with 284 attached, frayed threads. That isn't a great score, though, considering it's close to the toughest-on-clothes-to-date Electrolux EFLS617S's 295 attached, frayed threads.
I really like the Whirlpool WFW92HEFU's FanFresh and Load & Go features -- they really are useful. At the same time, this pricey $1,349 washer struggled a little with stain removal and it wasn't especially gentle on clothes. It also has some usability issues: the display is difficult to read, some of the buttons take a second to respond and those musical tones get old fast.
We'd have something great if we could combine the Electrolux EFLS617S's cleaning power with the Whirlpool WFW92HEFU's FanFresh and Load & Go features. But, alas, the WFW92HEFU is difficult to recommend as it is today. The value just isn't there, even if you get it for $1,124.10 during the Home Depot sale.