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Whirlpool WTW8700EC review: Is this smart, stain-fighting washer worth it?

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The Good Whirlpool's $1,399 WTW8700EC Smart Cabrio washing machine does a good job removing stains, it looks nice and its related app gives you remote access to some neat features.

The Bad It's expensive, and it doesn't offer some standard features, like an "extra hot" water temperature setting.

The Bottom Line The Whirlpool Smart Cabrio is a strong contender in the high-end top-load washer category, but it might not be worth the price if you don't care about Wi-Fi integrations.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.8 Overall
  • Design 9
  • Usability 7
  • Features 7.5
  • Performance 8

Review Sections

Whirlpool's WTW8700EC, also called the "Smart Cabrio," is a seriously stylish $1,399 washing machine. In addition to its integrated touchscreen, transparent lid and glossy gray finish, this top-loader also excels at removing stains. Its large 5.3-cubic-foot capacity holds a lot of clothes, and its app features are actually pretty smart. The Smart Cabrio is a solid washer, but you can find models that perform better for less money -- if you don't mind giving up the Wi-Fi smarts.

A smarter washer?

The Whirlpool Smart Cabrio's glossy gray finish, transparent lid and integrated touchscreen stand out alongside less design-focused washers. But how does it compare to other high-end models when it comes to specs? Let's take a look:

Get alerts when the washer finishes a cleaning cycle.

Screenshot by CNET

In terms of capacity, the 5.3-cubic-foot Smart Cabrio is comparable to Kenmore's 29133. Kenmore borrows design templates from other appliance manufacturers, but typically makes subtle tweaks to their appearance and list of features. The Kenmore 29133 was actually modeled after another Whirlpool washer -- the WTW8500DC. While the WTW8500DC isn't identical to the Smart Cabrio, the Kenmore 29133 and the Smart Cabrio have very similar specs and performance (we'll get to that part later).

I do wish the Cabrio Smart had a few more settings on its display, though. It doesn't have an "extra hot" water temperature option and 10 cleaning cycles is on the low side for a high-end model like this.

The Cabrio Smart uses roughly the same average amount of water per cleaning cycle as Kenmore's 29133 -- 17.4 gallons, compared to the 29133's 17.7 gallons. But the Kenmore Elite 31633 used just 15.6 gallons of water per cycle, while having a significantly larger 6.2-cubic-foot capacity and the best cleaning performance to date.

The Cabrio Smart also adds in smart functionality. The related Whirlpool app for Android and iPhone gives you access to your washer's status straight from your phone. You can also start and stop cycles remotely, but you have to make sure to enable the "Remote Start" button on the washer first. Having to physically push a button on the washer to use it remotely somewhat defeats the purpose of remote access. Still, it's the best app-washer integration we've seen yet. You can also get alerts when a cleaning cycle ends. I love that feature because I regularly forget I have clothes in the washer.

The Smart Cabrio can be linked with the Nest Learning Thermostat's home and away status, too. If the washer knows you're away from home, it will spin your clothes periodically to keep them fresh. There's also a Whirlpool IFTTT channel for smart washers. But when I tried to download it, I got the following message: "The item you've requested is not currently available in the U.S. Store, but it is available in the U.K. Store. Click Change Store to view this item." Too bad.

Performance

Check out this article to learn more about how we test washers. Basically, we run three identical cleaning cycles with stain strips and mechanical action strips. Stain strips are long strips of fabric with individual squares coated in skin oil (sebum), mineral oil (carbon), blood, cocoa and red wine. Mechanical action strips are larger fabric squares with five prepunched holes.

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