Pros: Money saver: uses little water, requires little detergent. Everything comes out clean and fresh!
Cons: Pricey at first. Saves money over time. Quirky, but problems are easily by-passed and/or corrected.
We've had this machine with it's matching dryer for about 3 1/2 years now.
We love it. The Whirlpool Duet washer uses minimal water and detergent, is tough enough to clean everything well, but is still gentle enough to not damage anything.
We decided to go with the Duet because of its huge capacity, low water and detergent usage, and energy-star rating. Why not be environmentally friendly when you can save money doing it?
We bought our machine from a local, home-grown appliance store. Our salesman was the store owner. Although the machine did come with a sample of Tide HE, right off the bat he told us unless we really wanted to buy HE detergent, not to even bother. He said to use what we had been using with our old machine, but just to use half of it, or even less using water from our water softening system. He said for the most part, HE detergent is designed to be low-sudsing, which is easier rinsing for low water-use machines; if you use too much regular detergent, it forces the machine to add water to rinse and drain away the excess suds, which causes the machine to be less efficient.
Using the Duet with normal (but less) detergent has given us great results. Another money-saving feature right there.
We're able to wash it all- jeans, whites, towels, colors, and sheets and blankets with ease. Even big bulky comforters and sleeping bags are not a problem. (No more trips to the laundromat. YEA!) The drying time is about the same as the wash time for most loads. A huge time-saver on laundry day!
Mostly, our machine has worked perfectly. We've had a couple of incidences with it though. Once the spin cycle would not run at full-speed, and a couple of times we've had leaks.
But never have we called for service, we've discovered that this machine occasionally 'gets confused.' It's biggest problem: with two computer control boards, it's basically a "washing computer"... far from the old-fashioned mechanically timed machines we're used to.
The fix: unplug the washer for several hours, then plug it back in... "Fixing it" has been as simple as that!
After owning the machine for about 2 years, the spin-cycle one day slowed to the point of leaving the clothes dripping wet. Realizing how computerized the washer is, my husband suggested unplugging the machine to force it to reset. The first time, I only unplugged it for a couple of minutes. I tried the drain/spin cycle, but it was still slow. Then I decided to leave it unplugged overnight. When I ran a load in the morning, the full-tilt spin-cycle was back!
The first leak we experienced was a mystery. We could see a bit of water still in the door and a small puddle on the floor below it. So, the next few loads of laundry we did with a towel under the front of the machine and constantly checked it every few minutes. But it didn't happen again in the next dozen or so loads, so we just went back to using the machine as we had.
The second time we had a leak (about 2 weeks ago), we hadn't even been doing laundry and... we weren't even home. What a mess!
Best we can figure, the machine started up on it's own, over-filled the tub and stopped running- it never drained. Then the water leaked out the door, all over the laundry room floor and about 4 feet into the hallway, onto the carpet.
While I was cleaning up the mess, the crazy thing started running again. It was weird since the control panel lights didn't even light up, kind of a ghost thing going on. I reached behind the machine and turned off the water. After finishing cleaning up all the water, I reached back again and unplugged it.
Thankfully, the door had locked in all of this. Not able to see that the tub was still half-full of water, I had tried opening the door. I plugged the machine back in. The controls wouldn't work/run the machine at first. When I finally got it to run after unplugging it and plugging it back in a few times and the rinse/drain cycle started, I was shocked to see the water-level coming down from halfway up the door! Then, when the tub finished draining, the washer unlocked the door.
After that averted crisis, I left the washer unplugged for 2 or 3 days. I was afraid to do any laundry or to even leave it plugged in, unattended.
I finally got up the nerve to plug it back in and give it a whirl. The crazy thing is back to working perfectly.
Now, in honor of my Duet Washing Machine, I've decided to change my Daylight Savings routine. Along with resetting all the clocks and changing the batteries in all the smoke detectors, I am now going to unplug the Duet Washing Machine for the night. (It can't hurt; it just might help. It seems to be what it needs.)
One thing I'm not crazy about some days with the Duets is the stooping down to fill and empty them. But that still hasn't bothered me enough to go out and spend $300 to buy the pedestals. I hope one day to build a platform for them instead.
As far as the complaints others have of mold and mildew and smells, I've had the problem, too. I think it's probably inherent to any machine that has to be water-tight (which is also air-tight) like this front-loading Duet. I've only once had to wipe down the tub/door gasket with ammonia and water to remove any mildew build-up. Since then, I've taken to leaving the washer door open for a few hours after running my last load of laundry for the week to let the inside of the machine dry out. No more mildew problems.
All in all, my Duet Washing Machine has been super.
Yeah, it's quirky, but definitely worth dealing with.
If I had to buy another washer tomorrow, I'd go out and buy another Duet.