Pros: Quiet, very clean clothes, very dry after spin cycle
Cons: Water in the dispensing containers
When my 7 year old Kenmore Calypso top loader finally ate one of my sheets and it could not be removed, I decided to bite the bullet and get a new front load washer. After doing a lot of research, I decided that most seemed to be about the same in reliability and so for me it came down to cost. I decided on the Fridgidaire Affinity because it was it was the cheapest unit that had the features I wanted. I was a little hesitant, because the tub size is only 3.5 CF, considerably smaller than the Kenmore. However, the unit was supposed to be able to wash a king sized comforter, and since most of the time it will be used by just two people, I took a chance.
After using the unit for three months, I am very happy with my purchase. The clothes come out very clean, especially the whites. The smaller tub, although it looks stuffed to the limit, is really quite roomy and really does wash a king size comforter with ease. I find the unit very quiet, with the only real noise being made during the initial filling cycle and the spin cycle, neither of which I found appreciably louder than other washers I have had. I made it a point to watch the installation of the unit to be sure it had been leveled properly. Many reviews referred to the "jet engine" loudness and bouncing around during the spin cycle if not properly leveled (a problem common in most front washers). I also purchased a pedestal for the washer, and I was suprised to learn it contains almost 200 lbs of concrete in the base! This is done to keep the unit in place and minimize "walking" during the spin cycle.
The pedestal makes it easier to load the machine, but I think it makes it harder to transfer the clothes from the washer to the dryer. I always seem to drop something on the floor, so now I put it in a laundry basket and then put it in the dryer. I also noticed that occasionally the door will have residual water on the window which drips on the floor. A minor problem, but it could cause someone to slip if not wiped up.
The controls are very easy to use and are self explanatory. One gripe I have is the dial that controls what setting you use (heavy duty, delicates etc). I hate it, and all the front loaders seem to have it. You have to turn it through all the cycles to get to the one you want instead of one push button. This is a very minor complaint, but for some reason it is the biggest irritant for me! The other gripe is that the detergent-bleach-softener dispensers do retain a lot of water after the washing is complete, particularly the bleach dispenser. I don't mind a few drops of water, but a full container of water is too much and takes too long to dry out. This is a flaw that needs to be addressed. And, although I have had not problems with it, the dispenser door itself seems rather flimsy. I am not sure how it will hold out over time and many openings and closings.
This washer does not have the fastest spin cycle out there, but its plenty fast enough to almost dry most of the items I wash. In fact, on the heavy duty cycle, used for whites such as socks and t-shirts, I find that they are often stuck to the top of the tub at the end of the cycle, so make sure to check the inside of the tub when removing the clothes or you'll be missing socks until the next load.
Since many reviewers mentioned these washers may get a moldy smell, I have always wiped down the interior seal, removing any excess water and leave the door ajar, and have never had the mold problem.
Overall, I am very please with the washer and would recommend it to others. I just hope it lasts longer than my last one.