Fisher & Paykel EcoSmart WA42T26GW1 Review
Different doesn't always mean better, case in point with this Fisher & Paykel.
With an MSRP close to $1000, but easily found on sale for under $600, it is certainly different from any washer we’ve ever tested—it just isn’t any better than most of them. Sir Woolf Fisher and Maurice Paykel started their eponymous appliance company in Auckland, New Zealand back in 1934. Originally, they assembled copies of British and United States-designed appliances, but started creating their own designs in the 1980s. These were departures from most other appliances on the market, and the EcoSmart washer is no exception.
Design & Usability
Easy to use, but no wash timer.
The EcoSmart has a water-resistant control panel with plastic membrane buttons for wash cycles and options. Controls are straightforward enough for anyone to use and LED indicators show how far into a wash cycle the machine is, but there's no numerical display. That leaves you guessing as to how much time is left, and precludes counting down every load of laundry like it's New Year's Eve. The door, which takes up the entire top surface of the washer, is made of sturdy but lightweight plastic. Open the door and the washer's body is sloped so clothes can easily slide into the drum.
Performance & Features
Washes are quick, but clothes end up worn and stains sometimes stick around.
Stain lifting ability was good, but not great. On all cycles, the EcoSmart really struggled with oil-based stains, and its regular wash performance didn't improve when we changed the water temperature from warm to hot. We were pleased to see how quickly the EcoSmart finished washing our test loads on the normal cycle. We weren't so pleased, however, to see that other washers that took just a little more time also did a better job removing stains.
Cycles can be customized for temperature, water level, spin speed and soak cycles. The EcoSmart also dedicates a preset button for one "favorite" custom cycle. Washes can be delayed by either one hour, three hours or nine hours. While the "Time Saver" option significantly reduces how long you'll be waiting for a wash, you won't know when the cycle ends.
Designed in New Zealand, the Fisher & Paykel EcoSmart WA42T26GW1 is certainly unique, though its washing performance is lacking. And, no, it doesn't drain water counter-clockwise.
The EcoSmart proved gentle on stains and tough on fabrics, which is the opposite of what we wanted to see. Cycles didn't take very long, but neither did they do an effective job removing stains or removing debris. To control this unit, an easy-to-use control panel and thoughtfully-chosen cycles are appreciated, but the lack of a countdown timer is noticeable in this price range. Also noticeable was the fact that we couldn't replicate the energy efficiency of the manufacturer's own EnergyStar tests. In fact, although the washer is named EcoSmart, it's one of the thirstiest units we've tested.
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