Kenmore Elite 41983 Connected Washing Machine Review
The one word to describe this washer: awesome
The Kenmore Elite 41983 (MSRP $1,879 in gray or $1,579 in white) is the all new flagship of the Kenmore brand. Our tests show that it excels at stain removal and efficient cycle times. A normal load of laundry can be done in about 30 minutes, and it's possible to fit 5.2-cu.-ft. worth of towels and t-shirts, if you're willing to wait a little longer.
However, as the old adage goes, washers that do things well and quickly cost a lot, and the 41983 is no exception. The lowest sale price we've seen so far is $1,199, and we wouldn't recommend paying any more. (In white, the otherwise-identical 41982 sells for about $100 less)
One of the reasons for the high cost is that the 41983 has WiFi connectivity. This feature lets you see how much time is left on cycles from anywhere and keeps track of usage. However, after using the free app for a week, we're less than confident that the smart features are ready for prime time.
In addition to performance, this Elite is one of the best because it has the top-shelf features that benefit everyone in the family. Here are the 41983's standout tools.
• Sanitize: The Elite has an internal water heater that can help get bacteria out of your clothes. During this cycle, we measured a peak temperature of 146°F.
• Pedestal Washer Compatibility: Kenmore's new top loaders are compatible with pedestal washers. Based on LG TwinWash, these smaller washers sit underneath the main washer so you can do two loads at once.
• Accela-Wash: This feature is a unique spray and tumble pattern that allows for faster cycles. The Normal cycle took around 30 minutes, while we measured Express at a blazingly fast 18 minutes. This system is also known as TurboWash and was developed by LG, who builds the 41983 for Kenmore. In fact, it's almost identical to the LG WM9000HVA, which we also reviewed positively.
• 5.2-cu.-ft. capacity: The 41983 is large enough to fit several baskets of laundry or a large comforter.
• Stay Fresh: If you've ever forgot your clothes in the machine and they wound up musty, Stay Fresh is the answer. This feature can be activated remotely or before a wash starts, and it will tumble your clothes periodically for up to 19 hours to keep them fresh.
Stain removal, efficiency, and gentleness
We test stain removal by recording how much of common household stains a washer can eliminate. After we analyzed the 41983's results, we found it cleans better than almost all other washers. This washer's internal water heater means it can raise temperatures up to 146°F, meaning oil and sweat stains didn't stand a chance. Our testing also involves cocoa and red wine stains, which this Kenmore was also well equipped to deal with. That's because it added hot water at the right time to ensure stains didn't get "cooked" into fabric.
The cool thing is that the 41983 got these amazing results without draining an entire lake or causing a brownout. Taking into account the average national price for electricity and water, we estimate that this Kenmore will cost around $37 a year to run. That's about half the cost of a water-guzzling top loader.
You won't just save money, but time as well. The Kenmore's 30-minute Normal cycle lasts around 30 minutes is made possible by Accela-Wash, a feature that utilizes a special spray and tumble pattern. Combine a powerful spray with a 1,300 RPM spin speed to get out excess moisture and you have a recipe for fast laundry.
However, there is one downside to fast spin speed and low water usage: increased clothing wear. While the 41983 isn't going to tear your favorite t-shirts to shreds, it isn't as gentle as other front loaders we've tested. This rougher-than-average handling of clothing isn't a deal breaker, but it is a point of contention, considering this washer's high price tag.
Cleaning meets connectivity
The 41983 also has smart connectivity features that allow users to control and monitor the washer with a free smartphone app. It's not the most useful app we've ever seen, but it has some neat tricks. After pairing the washer with your smart phone, you can always check how much time is left on the cycle. If your washer is in the basement, but you're on the second floor, now you don't need to hoof down two flights of stairs to see if the laundry is done.
Probably the most nifty thing we saw in the free app was that you can add Stay Fresh to any cycle. This trick is perfect for when something unexpected happens, and you can't make it home in time to switch your laundry over.
However, the app interface does not appear ready for primetime. The text was misaligned, and it was impossible to customize a cycle, plus you have to manually select remote start on a the machine in over to hand control over to your phone, overall, its usefulness for anything other than checking the time or adding Stay Fresh seems pretty limited.
Is it worth the price tag?
At $1,299, it would be a great washing machine that we could strongly recommend. It's $1,699 MSRP is just too much to spend on a single washing machine when you can get a top-performing pair for almost the same price. We recommend waiting for a sale—and we've seen it drop to $1,199.
But if you ever find that doing laundry takes too long, the 5.2-cu.-ft. drum and fast cycle times will give you more free time for your favorite hobbies, like not doing laundry. Those of you who use cloth diapers or who are caring for an elderly loved one, will appreciate the high-temperature Sanitize cycle. And the remote monitoring is cool, even if it isn't perfect. We doubt a lot of people will spend so much on a washer. Those that do will likely be satisfied by this truly elite Kenmore.
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