Pros:Super large loads, excellent "whitest whites" cycle, easy to use
Cons:Lid should be unlocked for wash cycle; should be able to add additional wash time.
The Bottom Line: Highly recommended.
I bought this machine from Lowes about 2 months ago, and I could not be happier. (See update at the end.)
Recommend this product?
After considerable discussion with sales people and reading reviews, I decided on this model over the 6400 which does have an agitator. One sales person said he got feedback from customers who bought the 6400 who said that clothes tended to bunch up in that model. Also, the agitatorless model had an automatic water control, but no way to manually override it.
This model has an agitator and both automatic and manual water level control. I actually have been using the automatic control. It tends to use less water (I almost always set the manual control to large), and clothes come out amazingly clean.
The electronic controls are easy to understand and use after you have done a load or two. It has a "whitest white" setting which is long (over 70 minutes) but whites come out cleaner than I have ever seen them.
Another feature I love the amount of laundry you can fit. I am not sure how large my old machine was, it was the largest I could find at the time, but this machine blows it away. It eliminates the need to do second loads in many cases.
The machine locks to top as soon as you start the wash cycle. This is a bit overkill. There is a button that allows you to unlock it and add clothes during the first 8 minutes of the wash cycle, but I would rather it just left the cover unlocked and let me decide when I want to add clothes.
Another down side of the electronic controls is that unlike with a manual dial, you can't simple spin the dial and add more time to the load. I sometimes did this if I added clothes at the latter end of the wash cycle. Seemed to make sense to add a few extra minutes to the wash cycle than running another load. The electronic controls does not allow for this.
The machine is quiet, has a good looking stainless steel drum, and I have not had any problems with uneven loads. I have used the bleach dispenser, but not the detergent dispenser. The agitatorless versions of the Whirlpool required use of special detergent. I am not sure if the detergent dispenser requires special detergent (someday I will read the manual), but I have been using my usual liquid Tide dumped into the drum and it works just fine.
One last note. The lid of the machine is very large (it is the entire width of the machine. I have a standard sized laundry cabinet over the machine. The lid hits the bottom of the cabinet and does not open all the way. It does not create any problem since there is plenty of room to load the clothes. Also, the top of the machine has a curved surface and is not flat. You are not likely to stack anything on top of the machine.
Hope I don't have any of the electronic problems I have read in the reviews of the agitatorless models, for at this time, I really love this machine.
I just had my first repair on this machine. A little disappointing after just 2 years. The lid on the maching immediately locks once the water begins to fill. There is a button which stops the water from filling and allows you to lift the lid to add more clothes. This button stopped working. At first it had to be pressed real hard, then it broke completely.
I bought the 4 year extended warranty from Lowes for $75. The control board had to be replaced which required 2 trips by the technician. Although I did not pay for the repair due to the extended warranty, the repair would have cost $176. The repair man said that the main board is a more common repair and he carries these on his truck. This board would have cost $250 for the board and $150 labor. Glad I had the warranty (although these don't usually pay off) but I can see that this machine can be costly if repairs are needed.
One additional comment about the locking lid in general. It is a bit frustrating that the lid locks as soon as the water begins to fill, and that there is no way to open it short of canceling the entire wash cycle and draining the machine after the water as filled. When this button stopped working, I did not even have that few minutes to add a few items. It reminded my of just how annoying this locking lid is. It should be kept open thoroughout the wash cycle and lock only during spins like most other machines. By the way, if you inadvertantly press the "Lid Open" button twice, it cancels you entire wash. This button serves two purposes. Press it once during the first few minutes and it unlocks the lid. Press it twice and it cancels you entire wash.
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