LG WT1201CV Washing Machine Review

A better way to top load


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The LG WT1201CV (MSRP $899 in slate or $799 in white) is a worthy sequel to the popular LG WT1101CW (MSRP $699). The 1201 keeps the innovative front controls and has all the same cycles as the 1101, but beefs up the efficiency and capacity. We think it's one of the most interesting top-loaders on the market.

Unfortunately, though our tests showed it to be efficient and easy to use, it lagged in pure cleaning performance. If you've got really tough stains, you might be better off with another machine.

To read our full review of this washer's matching dryer, the LG DLEY1201V, click here.

By the Numbers

Objective testing methodology is the cornerstone of our reviews. You can be assured that our opinions here are based on hard data.

Design & Usability

Designed with you in mind

As a top-loader, it's unusual that this machine has its controls at the front rather than the rear. The advantage of this is that the controls are always accessible even if the lid is open. The downside is that it’s harder to read from across a room—you have to be in front of the machine in order to see the LCD display. There's no dial either—all cycles are selected by pressing one button to scroll through the options.

You may find the drum a little shallower than other top-loaders. It’s not vanity; it’s a usability feature. The floor of the drum is higher so you can more easily reach your laundry.

Overall, this LG is simple to use. The front control design forces everything to be laid out in a horizontal fashion. The buttons that are most likely to be used (Power, Start, and Cycle Selection) are clustered to the right, while feature buttons are placed to the left.

Cleaning Performance

We determine cleaning performance by use of stain strips. These standardized pieces of cloth are mechanically dyed with common household substances like cocoa and sweat. We place two strips in eight-pound loads and subject them to core cycles. When the cycle is over, we retrieve the strips and analyze them with a photo spectrometer to determine how much of each stain was lifted. The WT1201CV did the best with cocoa and red wine stains. However, it struggled with sweat and dirt.

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Strain Chart

Before and after Normal cycle. From the left: control, sweat, dirt, blood, cocoa, and red wine.

Performance & Features

Your mileage may vary, but you’ll still get there


The WT1201CV has a handle that bends

When looking at the performance, we found that the WT1201CV did better in some areas while worse in others. Most interestingly, we recorded a significantly low operating cost for a top-loader—just $47 a year for water and power. That’s within striking distance of more technologically advanced front-loaders.

The cleaning performance wasn't stellar, however. Though it still got the job done, many other washers outclean the 1201. If you do go for this machine, we'd recommend Heavy-Duty for tough stains. It plowed through red wine and cocoa stains, even though it still struggled with sweat and dirt.

All the other cycles followed suit to a lesser degree. Also, cycles tended to be on the longer side. Everything but Speed Wash took over an hour.

For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page.


Efficiency is about two things: what goes in and what goes out, no miscommunication. What goes into a washer are water and electricity. Top-loaders are known for their higher water usage, but the WT1201CV bucks the trend. The Normal cycle only used about 14.5 gallons of water. Overall, we estimate that the yearly water costs for this washer to be around $46. The average top-loader uses around $60, so you could save $150 over the next ten years.

What comes out of a washer is wet clothes, and the clothes that come out of this washer are really wet. The wetter the clothes, the more work your dryer has to do. We found that the WT1201CV spun out on average 36% of excess water. Anything around the 50% mark is considered good, so this LG misses the target.


On the money


Having the controls at the front allows for a more uniform look.

If you’re looking to get a whole new washer-dryer set, like top-loading washers, and want to save money on water, the WT1201CV and the DLEY1201V are a good pair. The WT1101CW gives a similar performance for $200 less but, the WT1201CV is a better-looking machine, is larger, and has better efficiency. If you’re willing to sacrifice a little performance for more capacity and less water usage, then the LG WT1201CV is worth checking out.

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