LG Front-Loader LOOKS Good, But Beware of Dubious Durability
Aug 2, 2007 (Updated Aug 2, 2007)
Review by mrkstvns
Rated a Very Helpful Review
One of the great things about moving into a new house is getting to pick out all kinds of neat new things to fill it with. New curtains, new accessories, new fridge, new washer and dryer. The new toys are great fun...until they stop being so fun. Unfortunately, that's happened a lot earlier than I'd hoped in the case of our new washing machine.
Recommend this product?
When I first got the new LG Tromm front-loading washing machine (model WM2016CW), I found a lot to like about it. I liked its solid feel. I liked its slick design and sophisticated good looks. I liked all the cool blinking lights and the unusual round load selector dial. I especially liked its very quiet operation --- I could have the washer running a load of laundry, close the laudnry room door, and sitting in the next room, I'd barely even know it was on, the thing ran so quiet.
I'm all for saving energy and saving water, so I was attracted to the LG front-loader by its low annual energy cost estimates, and by its claims to use less water than competing top-loader machines. Judging from the short amount of time that the water runs, I'd have to say that LG is telling the truth --- the thing does seem to use substantially less water than my old machine. But, does it clean the clothes??
In Daily Use...
The LG front-loader does okay on most loads of clothes. It is certainly not an improvement in cleanliness, brightness, or whiteness over the results from my old GE top loader, and it does seem to produce the odd load that just plain smells funky at the end of the cycle. We are using the HE detergent with this machine, although I did a couple loads the first few days with regular detergent, since that's what I had on hand. To be honest, I notice no real improvement with the HE detergent, but I'll probably continue to use it simply because I prefer the small bottles and I prefer to generate less trash when possible. In terms of washing performance, I'd give this machine a grade of "C". It's acceptable, but not better than what I'd expect from any machine.
Some of the cycles are really long. When I use the Towel setting, a load takes 55 minutes to run. That's a lot longer than I remember any cycles taking on my old top-loader, but I'm not usually in too big a hurry for the laundry to get done. I guess its all balanced out by the Speed Wash setting. (Though to tell you the truth, if you really need a "Speed Wash", you might be able to get away with just using a little extra Old Spice for yourself and then spraying the clothes with a shot of Febreeze). The washer has more cycles and features than I really need. Some I don't need. Some I just don't really understand.
Try as I might, I can't get the child lock feature to work either. I'm not sure why I need this feature, but its on the machine, and I figured I'd better give it a try if I'm going to write a consumerly helpful review on the machine. So, I stuff the kids in the washer, press the child lock, and the li'l buggers still manage to escape! (Note for humor impaired: I am obviously just joking. I would never lock kids in a washing machine. Cats are so much more fun!)
But Then Problems Showed Up...
The washer's been in my house barely even a month. It might have 10 loads total on the thing. Max. It's never been loaded down very heavily and has never been used by anyone who would treat it roughly.
Yet, in spite of the gentility and tranquility of its new home, the thing is proving unsettlingly temperamental. The last load I did quit about half way through its cycle, displaying an error message of LE on its display. Given the useful and intuitive obviousness of that information, I chose a few delightfully obscure swear words to utter, then went digging for the user manual. LE. Hmm. It means "Call service". How useful.
So I call for service, and a polite young man shows up at my house a few days later. I tell him about LE (but without the choice swear words this time). He gives a knowing nod. He's evidently heard it before. He tells me as much. I ask how common the problem is. He basically says that almost everybody with an LG front-loader will, at some point, get that message. It's not usually a question of "if", it's a question of "when" and "how often". I use one of the carefully selected swear words. He commiserates, and explains that the problem lies in the motor and the electronics monitoring it. Basically, it boils down to shoddy engineering by LG...not just in this specific model, but in pretty much every single front-loading washing machine they make. Seems to be a classic case of under-engineering. I'd like to see some reliability data on these suckers, and I'll lay down odds that Consumer Reports will, at some point, give one of their black dots for problematic quality to these little beasts.
Meantime, the service guy says he can replace some parts (which he has to order), though I can continue to use the machine, and as long as I never fill it with anything much more difficult to wash than, say, ladies lingerie, it will be happy. Unfortunately, lingerie clashes with my company's dress code (breathable and comfortably lightweight though it may be).
The LG front-loader looks good, feels solid, works acceptably well, and should be easy on my utility bills, though problems popping up in a very new unit bother me a great deal. I'm happy that the service calls are free during my 1-year warranty period, but the prospect of bad engineering causing further problems over the long term is leaving me feeling like I need a few new swear words.
So far, so bad. Thumbs down on this washing machine.
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Amount Paid (US$): 800
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