Crash Course on Washers

Had to replace our washer today. I wasn’t too happy about it since our dead Kenmore was only 7 years old. That, and I simply don’t enjoy the prudence of researching and haggling as much as I once did. Consumer Reports isn’t so helpful now that models change out more frequently than they make their recommendations.

We did want to upgrade a little for better quality, though we recognize that things just aren’t made to last as long anymore. So, we started with brand names. We decided that we’d get either a Maytag or Whirlpool. As it turns out, one bought the other a few years back so they are essentially the same.

Next, we decided we’d likely buy from either Home Depot or hhgregg. Sears’ customer service and quality have left us disappointed too many times in recent years and we rarely hear bad feedback about our two choices. Plus, both had some seemingly great sales going on.

Other than wanting at least a 4.0 drum and a decent energy efficiency rating, we weren’t terribly picky. That really just left picking a front loader (FL) or the old fashioned top loader (TL). Some advised that the FLs weren’t really worth the extra price while others said they were. The sales people, of course, were adamant about their superiority. And they nearly had me convinced.

So, I’d narrowed it down to 2 choices. The best deal I found on an FL was $730. I found a TL for $420. I discerned the three selling points of the FLs to be:

1. They spin harder and get the clothes much drier, thus reducing the time needed in the dryer
2. They clean clothes better and
3. They use significantly less water – up to half that of TLs.

One of the side notes on these bad lads is that you have to use HE detergent which is at least a $1 more per bottle, though they say you’d use less of it.

It was a difficult to compare these features at first, but what it boiled down to was that the annual energy costs of my TL pick were about $24. The FL cost was $20 per year. That small difference was completely negated when factoring in the extra money for the special detergent.

As for the claim that the FL cleans better, one salesman explained that it all varies – you have options for extra cleaning on the FL that allow you use more water, include additives like Oxyclean, soak longer, or wash harder. All of which I pointed out to him can be accomplished using my preferred TL in conjunction with a good stain treatment when necessary. He agreed.

All that was left was to decide on a warranty. I once laughed at the idea of buying them, but have found a greater need for them these days. I was happy to hear that, unlike our experience with Sears, hhgregg warranties do not have deductibles. Further, my sales guy James, gave a pretty good pitch on the quality of their service. Sweetening the deal, he gave me a 10% discount off my entire purchase when I grumbled about what the warranty did to my end price.

Considering the desperation of my situation, I walked out pretty satisfied with my decision and DH was happy to look underneath and find solid mechanical components as opposed to plastic “POSs”. And best of all, I didn’t spend countless days researching, debating, and comparison shopping. I got it all done in just a few short hours. Only time will tell just how well I did, but you know you’ll hear about it if I messed up!

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