21st Century Washer

Mar 11, 2012
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Solidly built; no vibration; numerous washing choices; handsome machine; does a good job.

Cons:Bleach dispenser must be rinsed after use; lid locks on all cycles; expensive.

The Bottom Line: Very high end and high tech washer that seems to do a good job without noise or vibration. Some minor flaws but otherwise a good choice in a great look.

After considerable research and recommendations from friends and relatives, I finally decided on purchasing the LG WT5101HV top loading washing machine. The “V” in the model number stands for the grey graphite steel color. It was purchased at a local appliance dealer and the price of $999. was competitive with other major chain stores. The price included delivery, setup and haul away of old machine. I also purchased a 5-year extended warranty for an additional $179. which covers all labor and materials for 4 additional years after the manufacturer’s 1-year warranty runs out. I highly recommend the extended warranty on washing machines, which generally have a history of problems within the first 5 years.

The washer is solidly built and very handsome looking. It has a soft curved look as opposed to the more boxy looking flat front machines. The control panel sits at an angle sloping back, which makes reading and using it very easy. The panel is a bit intimidating at first because of the numerous displays and buttons, but after a short while of use, it becomes less scary. The capacity is 4.5 cu.ft. which is quite large. There is no center agitator in the stainless steel drum. The top door has a glass panel which allows a view into the washing process and it closes automatically as you lower it, similar to some car trunks. The width of the machine is similar to most standard machines at 27 inches, but it is a bit taller and deeper.

Some of the special features include:
   Smartrinse with Jet Spray
   Water Heater
   Inverter Direct Drive
   Lid Lock Switch
   Slamproof Lid
These features are fully explained in the Owner’s Manual, but a synopsis of some of them are as follows:
   Smartrinse uses a jet spray to save rinse water.
   The water heater increases water temperature for certain cycles.
   Waveforce uses centrifugal force and an angled spray to pull water through the fabric.
   Smartdiagnosis allows you to use the telephone held against the panel to transmit info to tech support at LG when troubleshooting problems.

The control panel has a Power On/Off button, a Start/Pause button, a Cycle Selector knob, Cycle Modifier buttons, Option buttons and a LED display. The Cycle Selector button has LED pointer lights indicating the chosen cycle from the choices which include:
   Perm Press/Casual
   Heavy Duty
   Bright Whites
   Baby Wear
   Pure Color
   Speed Wash
   Tub Clean

The Cycle Modifier buttons include Wash/Rinse choices of cold/cold, warm/cold, warm/warm, hot/cold and extra hot/cold. Here is also a Soil Level button for Heavy, Normal and Light. The Spin Speed button allows you to choose spin speeds including no spin, low, medium, high and extra high. The Special Use button includes Soak, Stain Care, Spin Only and Rinse and Spin. Not all of the Cycle Modifier choices work with all cycles, but the Owner’s Manual has a clear chart showing which modifiers work with which cycles.

There is also a set of Cycle Option buttons including Extra Rinse, Water Plus, Cold Wash,  Fabric Softener, Delay Wash, Child Lock and Custom Program where you can program a particular group of settings that you use frequently and go to that setting with the single push of this button.

The LED display lights up to indicate the stages of the washing process including Load Sensing (where the drum moves in short bursts to sense the size of the load and to balance it),  Wash, Rinse and Spin. There is also a Lid Lock light which illuminates when the lid is locked and the washer is in use. In order to open the lid the Start/Pause button needs to be pushed to unlock the lid. When the lid is closed and the button is pushed again the cycle resumes.  The display also indicates the estimated remaining time left to the cycle. There is also a Coldwash light that comes on in eleven cycles to indicate that cold water is being used to save energy.

The dispenser drawer sits in the back of the inside of the machine above the drum. It slides out to pour in detergent in one compartment and softener in the other. There is also a bleach dispenser on the top left of the drum, which automatically dispenses liquid bleach into the wash. When reading the many reviews of this machine, one particular complaint appeared often and it had to do with the bleach dispenser compartment rusting out after several months of use. The Owner’s Manual states that after using bleach the dispenser should be filled with cold tap water and the machine should then be run on the Rinse/Spin cycle to flush the water through the dispenser, cleaning out any bleach residue. My experience has been that the Rinse/Spin cycle does not always dispense the water, so I use the Speed Wash cycle which always works to flush the water through the dispenser. The Rinse/Spin cycle is about 21 minutes and the Speed Wash cycle is 34 minutes, so there’s not much difference. The best solution would be for LG to build a bleach dispenser that is not affected by bleach and then the extra cycle would not be necessary.

This machine must be used with HE detergent which produces less suds. Regular detergent cannot be used in this washer. It is also recommended to use liquid detergents and softeners to prevent caking up in the dispensers. Another complaint found in the reviews was that the machine does not add enough water to the wash. The washer was designed to use the minimal amount of water, but additional water can be added by a simple press and hold of the Extra Rinse button. Each time the button is pressed and held for a few seconds an additional amount of water is added to the wash and rinse cycles. A single press of the Extra Rinse button will add a second rinse. Another complaint by some reviewers is that the machine does not add enough hot water to the wash. If you have a slop sink next to the washer, it is a good idea to run the hot water for a minute in the sink to bring the hot water through the line faster to the washer. This is an energy efficient machine that was designed to use less hot water and less water overall so it's something to get used to.

Overall I am very satisfied with this washer. It is practically vibration free even on the highest spin. The clothes are washed very well and when the high spin is used they come out pretty dry and therefore need less time in the dryer. The various choices and cycles and buttons takes some time getting used to and in the beginning you will think you need a pilot’s license to operate this machine, but after several uses it gets easier particularly when you have narrowed it down to the kids of wash you most frequently do. The washer is very quiet during operation, even when on the highest spin setting. There is also a cute 5 second chime that plays when the wash is complete. You can also set the volume of the chime or turn it off.  One other small complaint I have is the inability to open the top without pausing the machine, no matter what stage it is in. It would have been much better if they designed it to lock the lid only during the spin cycle.

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