Thursday, March 29, 2012

Whirlpool WFW9550WW Front Load Washer Review

MSRP: $1100, Internet Prices from $768 (including tax and estimated shipping)

The front load washer market is a crowded one with many companies offering multiple models at various price points and levels of features to compete for your business. Whirlpool is one of these such companies with a wide range of washers to choose from. The Whirlpool WFW9550WW is a smaller capacity steam washer built to attract buyers who want all the features available, but don’t necessarily need or want the largest capacities. It wasn’t too long ago when only the largest capacity washers offered the top of the line features, but with the WFW9550WW that’s not the case, it has a full list of features.

- 3.8 cubic feet of capacity from the durable stainless steel washer basket let you wash 18 pairs of jeans at once
- Choose from 12 automatic cycles let you choose the right settings with the touch of a button
- Care Control Temperature Management system automatically adjusts the water temperature so that it is hot enough to fully dissolve detergent, but not too hot to cause shrinking or colors to run
- Delay Start lets you set the washer to start when the time is best for you
- Duet Steam system provides steam for extra versatile cleaning options
- TumbleFresh will intermittently tumble a load once the cycle is finished to help reduce wrinkles and prevent odors
- Adjustable signal for the end of cycle to emit an audible alert when a cycle finishes
- Child safety lock prevents children from playing in the washer
- QuietWash Plus noise reduction system uses stabilizers and direct drive to limit vibrations and noise
- NightQuiet™ Option lets you select to use a lower spin speed to lower noise even more when you need to
- Direct Inject Washing System uses a concentrated burst of detergent to eliminate your need to pretreat clothes
- Add-A-Garment lets you add to the load early on in the cycle, just in case you forgot something

When it comes to customer reviews of the Whirlpool WFW9550WW front load washer, it doesn’t fare well at all. There are a good number of reviews out there for this washer, and sad to say, but there are more bad than good. Overall it receives only 2.4 stars out of a possible 5. This is one of the lower ratings you’ll find for a front load washer. Those reviews there were good listed the value and features as good points, but there weren’t many good reviews out there.

The negative reviews out there for this washer were very consistent in what the complaint was about the Whirlpool WFW9550WW front load washer. This machine has durability issues. The vast majority of complaints about the WFW9550WW center around the bearings around the driveshaft for the washer tub. Apparently these are prone to failure - and they seem to regularly fail every 1-2 years, with most all the complaints pointing out that the bearings started to fail just after the warranty expired. The replacement costs on these bearings seems to start around $600 for parts, plus shipping, plus labor, which seems to add up to be another few hundred dollars. This means that replacing the bearings when they go will very likely cost nearly as much as the new purchase price of the whole machine.

As stated above, the market for front load washers is a crowded one. There are almost certainly other companies that have a better alternative front load steam washer with a similar capacity, list of features, and price to the Whirlpool WFW9550WW that have fewer questions out there about their durability. For example this LG WM3360HWCA review indicates a washer that fits this criteria and seems to have a rating of 4.95 out of 5 stars. As with some of the other Whirlpool washers reviewed here durability seems to be really lacking in the WFW9550WW.

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