Review of the Barolo Kenmore HE5t Steam 4.0 cu. ft. King Size Capacity Plus Front Load Washer.
Kim Girard has written about business and technology for more than a decade, as an editor at CNET News.com, senior writer at Business 2.0 magazine and online writer at Red Herring. As a freelancer, she's written for publications including Fast Company, CIO and Berkeley's Haas School of Business. She also assisted Business Week's Peter Burrows with his 2003 book Backfire, which covered the travails of controversial Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina. An avid cook, she's blogged about the joy of cheap wine and thinks about food most days in ways some find obsessive.
This front-loading Kenmore HE5t steam washer promises to clean better with blasts of hot steam. And with a roomy 4 cubic feet of washing space, this king-size plus washer easily tackles a king-size quilt.
At about $1,699, the energy-efficient steam model is pricier than the Kenmore HE5t king-size model without the steam, which retails at about $1,299.
The steam washer combines cleaning with SteamCare technology that "virtually eliminates the need for pretreating," clothes stained with everything from blood to oil, according to the company.
The washer works by slowly heating the water and releasing hot steam into the wash tub during the pretreat and wash cycles.
The HE5t gets quite hot, reaching sanitizing temperatures that kill 99.99 percent of many types of bacteria.
Using the steam is optional, however, and the steam makes the entire wash cycle last longer. With steam, a heavy-duty cycle lasts about 2 hours versus about 1 hour, 40 minutes without it.
This model uses both audio and visual controls. Cycles can be customized to determine when the machine will release stain fighters or color-safe bleach. Special cycles accommodate kids' dirty clothes, bulky bedding, or sensitive skin.
The wash basket is made of steel and the top is made of porcelain.
For the energy conscious, this model is an Energy Star, using 77-percent less energy and 73-percent less water than similar models while washing a 20-pound load.
A total of 22 reviewers posting on Sears.comrated this machine 3.6 out of 5 stars. Some claim untangling clothes in this washer is a bother, and a few reported machine malfunctions and a need to replace the model. Others say the machine does a great job of eliminating stains, is quiet, and can handle big loads.