Thursday, October 15, 2009

Summit Front Load Washer Review: Model SPWD1160C All in One Front Load Washer and Dryer

MSRP: $739

This Summit all in one front load washer washer and dryer combination, the SPWD1160C, is one of a number of products available for sale that uses the same drum to both wash and dry clothes. Generally speaking, it is only sold in retail stores in large urban areas, or it can be purchased online. These all in one front load washer and dryer units are built specifically to be used in tight spaces where there isn't a way to vent the dryer outside. Therefore they can be a good fit for people who live in apartments on condos.
*compact size to fit into small spaces
*on-board heater
*multiple cycle options
*condensation dryer requires no external venting
*1 year warranty
*stainless steel washer dryer drum

It is worth noting that some of the things listed as features are a bit of a paradox. Yes, this all in one front load washer and dryer combination is compact. The other side of this is that is has a relatively small capacity. If space is a real concern and the larger capacity of a typical front load washer isn't really needed, then this might be a good fit.
The built in water heater is a nice feature. It lets allows for running a load of wash on the hot setting without the concern of draining the hot water supply for the home. This will allow for things such as taking a shower while also doing a load of laundry.

There is a real caveat associated with units such as this, and all unvented dryers. The drying cycle of this all in one front load washer and dryer is quite long, up to twice as long as a typical dryer which vents hot air outside the house. This is typical of all condensation dryers. For this reason, if there is any possibility of venting a dryer outside the home, then it is recommended to buy a conventional dryer instead of a condensation dryer, which means that purchasing something other than this particular unit.

There aren't a lot of reviews out there that I was able to find. That being said, the reviews that are out there are very consistent. This all in one front load washer and dryer received the same review from every source found: 1 star. One reviewer actually complained about being required by the submission form on the website used to post the review to give a minimum rating of 1 star, wanting instead to give 0 stars. Out of all the reviews, none of them would recommend this product.

The Summit SPWD1160C seems to have major issues related to durability and reliability. Every reviewer suffered from a broken unit, and all of the broken units broke under warranty. The fact that the unit broke under warranty is a paradox in and of itself. On the one hand, all the repairs should be covered by the manufacturer. On the other hand, that means that the quality of the units is so low that they are breaking within a year of purchase. Also worth noting is that although the parts and labor were covered under warranty, many reviews noted that finding a repair service even willing to work on these all in one front load washer dryer combination units was difficult. Further exacerbating the situation is the fact that seemingly parts are extremely hard to come by, with the typical turnaround time for a repair being over a month.

Unfortunately for Summit, the complaints aren't limited to durability and reliability problems. Another theme present in almost all reviews is that, as an all in one front load washer and dryer combo, this ends up being neither a particularly good washer, nor a good dryer. This unit, as a dryer, in addition to lacking an external vent, also lacks a proper lint trap. It does have another system, called button holes that is designed to trap lint, but there are many complaints that this system doesn't work well. This means that clothes come out of the dryer with lint on them, requiring some manual effort to clean the lint off. Also, there are complaints that the washer itself doesn't do a good job of getting clothes clean, without any specific examples or reasons.

Overall, despite the fact that, at $740 this unit ends up looking like a good price to pay considering that it is an all in one front load washer and dryer, the negatives certainly seem to out weigh the positives. Given the opportunity to purchase a different unit, that would be recommended. If the option is between this Summit unit, and using either a laundry service, or going to the laundry-mat then perhaps it is worth the risks of durability and reliability issues.

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