It’s never a good day when the agitator inside an older model washing machine ceases to agitate. I moved into my current home in 2019, and the washer/dryer units came with the house. They were far from new then. Now I was in research mode to get up to speed on modern washer/dryers, to see what brands and features might be the right fit for my family of five.
Walk into any home appliance retailer and the number of brands can quickly appear overwhelming. Just figuring out where to start seems daunting to the uninitiated. I needed this decision narrowed quickly.
Thankfully three things managed to drop my choices down to four washing machines rather fast. First, regarding the washing machine style, one must decide agitator versus impeller. Most of us who are 40 or older grew up with a washing machine that used an agitator. It’s that tall spindly thing popping up out of the center, which rotates to draw the clothes in and pull them beneath the water to clean items.
Newer technology features an impeller. Nothing sticks up out of the water, allowing for larger capacity wash loads. It utilizes smart technology to adequately soak clothes, and a series of rotational spins then forces clothing to rub against other items in the wash. This rubbing action against other items works to remove stains and saves water.
It took a little convincing, but I finally wrapped my head around the impeller technology over having an agitator. Believe the science. The industry is trending in that direction anyway.
The second limiter was a preference thing for me. I wanted a machine without a bunch of excessive functions that could break, and needed to feel assured the product would be easy to get serviced.
After reading a ton of user feedback on units and talking with sales reps at Lowe’s and a local retailer in Frankfort, Joey’s Warehouse Sales, my take was brands such as LG and Samsung are excessively electronic, not that they are not nice machines, but the rap was they break. Replacement parts are not easy to acquire, meaning your machine is out of action longer. That made eliminating these brands easy.
Thirdly, I wanted a top-loading washer. The front-loaders are eye-catching, but I find the washers take on a mildew odor because the water fails to fully drain. These three qualifiers, along with setting a maximum price point of $1,500 for the washer/dryer combo, got me to my Final Four of washing machines. Two sets were Maytag and two were Whirlpool.
Now for those not familiar, Whirlpool also is the owner of Amana, Electrolux, Jenn-Air, Maytag, Roper and KitchenAid is its premium line. Picking a winning unit between Whirlpool and Maytag would be challenging. Both are well made and industry leaders.
The following are key features I sought to be included in the washer unit: Stainless steel wash basket, impeller, EnergyStar efficient, quality motor (preferably no belts), deep clean (high water) feature, steam sanitize and a decent warranty. All of my Final Four machines fit this criteria, with only minor nuances to separate them.
I first eliminated the two Whirlpool models. The 2019-2020 Whirlpool, WTW8500DC (Chrome Shadow), retailed for $200 more than my eventual choice. The other Whirlpool was the same model just the 2018-2019 version, MTW8040DW, in white, which was the least expensive option at $598.
The winning unit was the 2019-2020 Maytag MVWB855DC (Metallic Slate), which ended up only $100 more than the cheapest of my four finalists. From a feature standpoint and manufacturing quality I gave the Maytag a slight edge over Whirlpool. Cosmetically, I liked the look of the control panel having one large wheel dial to select most options. Teenagers will be using this a lot and a turn dial is easier to navigate than touch control buttons.
It’s also powered by an impressive DirectDrive motor (no belts) and its backed with a 10-year warranty. The machine itself and the dryer included an industry standard 1-year warranty. There are 11 special cycles, including Maytag’s PowerWash, PowerSpray, Sanitize, Deep Clean, and a steam-enhanced water cycle to increase the heat for stain removal.
Similar to the Whirlpool scenario, the 2018-2019 model Maytag, MVWB835DW, was the other unit in the running, but I was able to get the price dropped on the current year’s model to the same $648 for each unit. It was a no brainer to go with the newer model. I liked the color too!
With my family’s size, and considering the occasional pet mishap (we have seven cats), there is a lot of bedding getting washed and both boys play sports, so plenty of clothing. The MVWB855DC is a beast. It runs multiple loads daily and has a huge load capacity. Might help if owners have long arms, which I do, because it is a ways down to reach the bottom of the basket.
I dig the impeller. I think the agitator takes up valuable real estate in the basket. The unit conserves energy by weighing out the laundry and limits water usage depending on the weight and cycle setting. The clothes come out super clean. The matching Maytag dryer, MEDB855DC, is equally a monster, and has all the necessary cycles to meet a family’s clothes drying needs.
I don’t think one can go wrong with either Maytag or Whirlpool washers and dryers. I paired this purchase with a 5-year extended warranty. Couldn’t be happier with both these Maytag units since they were installed.