Laundry & Cleaning

LG WM4500 ThinQ Washing Machine with AI

This LG washing machine uses AI to identify fabric types

LG WM4500 ThinQ Washing Machine with AI Credit: LG Electronics

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Artificial intelligence (AI) has been woven into an increasingly wide variety of products over the last few years, and now it's here for your dirty socks. At the CES show in Las Vegas, LG unveiled the ThinQ washing machine (model WM4500), which uses advanced sensors and AI to detect the weight, volume, and type of fabrics in your load, then customizes the ideal wash cycle—even dispensing the correct amount of detergent.

AI technology

LG has produced some of our highest-rated front-load washers, but the clear draw of the WM4500 is the AI integration. In years past, the company could be accused of over-engineering the user experience, adding an excessive number of cycle options and even allowing users to download additional cycles that were pre-programmed.

The new approach makes more sense: Let the AI figure it out. As clothes spin around and brush past the sensors in the drum, the washer is able to detect what types of items are included. At the press conference, LG reps specifically mentioned jeans, towels, and shirts. It's unclear at this time if there's an "official list" of items that can be identified, but one can presume that if the technology is truly being driven by AI and talking to the network all the time, the variety and subtlety of detection will increase over time.

The user benefit to all this technology: less wear-and-tear, which LG claims it can reduce by up to 15%. So while you should expect to pay a premium for this washer, you'll find some savings in the longer lifespans of your clothes.

Wash performance

LG WM4500 ThinQ washer paired with matching dryer
Credit: LG Electronics

LG WM4500 ThinQ washer, paired with matching dryer

Recent LG front-load washers we've tested have blown us away with their cleaning performance. The new 2020 model uses the same five-jet configuration as the WM3900 and direct drive motor, so we anticipate similar results.

Detergent is auto-dispensed by the machine, based on the analysis of the load. As excessive use of detergent is a common user error, this is yet another decision best left to the machine.

The LG WM4500 also has the Allergiene cycle, which is certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America to deal with dust mites and pet dander.

Data collected in the washer is automatically passed on to the dryer, which means more accurate (and less damaging) trips through the dryer, further underscoring the benefit of all this under-the-hood technology.

ProActive Customer Care

At the same event, LG also unveiled a new service called ProActive Customer Care. With this preventative care service, recent WiFi-enabled LG appliances are able to self-diagnose performance issues and alert the owner before they become critical. Potential use cases include addressing clogged dryer vents, open refrigerator doors, and oven pre-heating issues. For washing machines, LG identified oversudsing as a prime target for problems. ProActive Customer Care could alert the owner to use less detergent, or in the case of the WM4500, simply have the machine dispense less of it.

Should you buy it?

As pricing has not been announced yet and we haven't gotten it into the Reviewed labs for testing, it's too early to make a recommendation. But the AI technology feels genuinely promising and we know that LG already knows how to make a solid washing machine. Expect it to hit stores in mid-2020.

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