To read our full review of this washer's matching dryer, the Kenmore 67102, click here.
Puts your washer on autopilot
The 27102 is far easier to use than cheaper Kenmores. Like many other modern washers, it automatically picks the best options for wash temperature, soil level, and spin speed based on the cycle you choose. Cheaper machines, like the 22102, force you to make those decisions based on your own knowledge. If you think you're smarter than your washer, the 27102 still lets you change the preset options.
In place of an old-school agitator pole, the 27102 uses a high-efficiency impeller at the bottom of the drum to clean your clothes. At the top of the drum you'll find the pull-out detergent dispenser, a rather inconvenient spot considering it's below the metal lid, which itself has a tendency to slam.
There are missing features, but what's there works well
The 27102's Normal cycle took just 41 minutes to clean clothes, which is about 10-20 minutes less than we usually see. Luckily, those are 41 minutes well-spent. Stain removal performance with the Normal cycle was above standard for sweat, blood, cocoa, and red wine stains. In fact, the 27102's Normal cycle is—by our measurements—altogether better than the Heavy Duty cycle, despite the Normal cycle's reduced wash cost and gentler wear on clothing.
Which cycle, then, to use for the most stubborn stains? That would be Whites, the strongest cycle of all. Whites removed 5% more stains on average than the Normal cycle, and was the only cycle to do an acceptable job removing dirt. This extra performance does come at some cost: Each Whites cycle is twice as expensive in electricity and water than a Normal cycle, and will wear down clothing 50% quicker.
For delicate clothing, don't be tempted by the Delicates cycle. Instead, go with Casual. They're almost equally gentle, but the Casual cycle will draw out 6% more stains yet cost a few cents less per load. There is no Quick cycle, but the Normal cycle was plenty fast enough for our liking.
Like most top-loaders, this Kenmore uses more water than most front-loading machines—we estimate this one will run the average family around $50 per year. That's only about $20 more a year than the most efficient front-loaders we've tested, so it's relatively efficient. The 27102 wasn't great at spinning excess water out, which means more work for your dryer.
For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page.
Budget friendly, in both the short- and long-term
With an excellent, quick Normal cycle, the Kenmore 27102 is an effective and affordable washer for everyday use. It's got very few frills, but equally few drawbacks. That's why we recommend it to anyone looking for a budget top-loader. Performance-wise, it's a night-and-day difference from the least expensive washers we've tested, but the 27102's sale price of around $540 won't break the bank. If you're looking for something a tiny bit larger that has a few more features, we also suggest the GE GTWN5550DWW, which slightly outperformed the Kenmore.
Our suite of lab tests comprised more than 16 test loads for the Kenmore 27102, including measurements for hot and cold water requirements, electricity usage, internal drum temperature, and water retention. We gauge stain removal using controlled, pre-soiled testing cloth, and report results relative to the AHAM industry standard. Clothing wear is tested with controlled mechanical action cloths, which fray according to agitation intensity.
The 27102's most effective cycle was Whites, which removed 5% more stains than the Normal cycle, and was the only cycle to remove more dirt than the AHAM standard. This cycle was extremely effective against cocoa and red wine, with no sign of the stain redepositing that low-end Kenmore's are prone to. The Heavy Duty cycle was significantly less powerful than the Whites cycle (by about 10%), but also less powerful than the Normal cycle (by about 5% overall), which is a rare finding.
Clothing wear was average for a washer of this price. The Normal cycle damaged an average of 55 threads per mechanical action test cloth, which is just a little more than average. The stronger Whites cycle frayed 78. It's important to note the Delicates cycle, which damaged 19 threads per cloth, was just about equal to the Casual cycle (22 damaged threads per cloth), but cost a bit more and removed fewer stains. Therefore we recommend substituting the Casual cycle for Delicates whenever necessary.
Based on the laundry habits of an average American family, we estimate the 27102 will cost $49.35 to operate annually, taking into account the hot water, cold water, and electricity costs. Each individual Normal cycle will run you about $0.09, while the most effective Whites cycle costs $0.23.
Water retention is fairly poor across the board, especially for non-Normal cycles like Whites and Delicates. This means more work for your dryer and ultimately more electricity costs down the road. Normal loads transferred from the 27102 will be composed of 69% water, Whites loads will be 76% water, and Casual loads will retain a whopping 88% water.
Meet the testers
Chris was born and raised less than ten miles from our editorial office, and even graduated from nearby Merrimack College. He came to Reviewed after covering the telecom industry, and has been moonlighting as a Boston area dining critic since 2008.See all of Christopher Snow's reviews
Checking our work.
We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.Shoot us an email