PowerWash cycle has great stain removal
Detergent sometimes left behind in dispenser
Outfitted with a 4.3-cu.-ft. drum and Maytag's 10-year warranty on certain components, this washer will get your clothes clean, and won't frustrate you in the process.
The only problem? You'll notice the MVWX655DW wears no Energy Star badge. While it does meet the Department of Energy's minimum efficiency guidelines, it uses about twice as much water as a comparable front-loading machine. That's not unusual for a top loader, but those water bills add up over time.
Still, new technology means it's more efficient than older machines, making the Maytag MWVX655DW one of the best values on the market.
The MVWX655DW is designed and assembled in America, and embodies the essence of a traditional top loader. Its body is metal all around, with plastic controls that still feel sturdy. All the knobs respond with a satisfying "click" when you turn them, and the windowed lid has soft-close hinges.
When you get the lid open, you'll see a detergent dispenser. That alone is an unusual feature for a washer in this price range, but this one also slides easily on metal tracks. Keep in mind that this is a high efficiency machine, which means it needs less detergent to get the job done. It's a bad sign if the machine isn't using all the detergent you put in, and that could lead to soapy streaks on your dark clothes.
The drum features a wash plate instead of a pole agitator, which is gentler on clothing and requires less water. In practice, this means you cram a decent amount of laundry into the machine, and you can also reach it (the drum is just 29 inches deep) without any trouble later on.
To test stain removal in an objective manner, we use mechanically coated stain strips. These cloth swatches are covered in common household substances like cocoa, red wine, and a human sweat analog.
We place these stain strips in eight-pound test loads made up of towels, bedsheets, and pillowcases. The test loads are washed in selected cycles. When it's done, we take the strips out and scan them with a photospectrometer. A computer then analyzes how much of each stain has been lifted.
After our analysis, we determined the PowerWash cycle lived up to its name. It outscored the Normal Cycle–the 2nd highest scoring mode–by 4%. Normal, in turn, outpaced the Delicates cycle by a whopping 10%.
Delving into individual stains, the MVWX655DW did best against cocoa and blood, and worst against oil and sweat stains. Both of these require a little heat to get rid of, which this Maytag doesn't really bring to the table. The highest temperature we recorded on the Normal cycle was an balmy 101°F, and that was with our inlet temperatures set to 60°F for cold and 120°F for hot.
Efficiency testing is two-fold. We calculate utility consumption by hooking the MVWX655DW to wattage and water meters to measure how much water and electricity the machine uses. Based on national average use and cost patterns, we estimate the Maytag MVWX655DW will cost about $63 a year to run. That's on the high side: typical front loaders cost about half as much.
The other factor is water retention, or how much excess water is removed from your laundry at the end of a wash cycle. The wetter your laundry is, the more time it needs to spend in your electricity-hungry dryer. We like to see washers spin out of at least 50% of a laundry load's weight in water. The MVWX655DW only spun out around 38%, so it gets a middling score from us.
The balance of PowerWash
Broadly speaking, there are three ways to clean laundry: chemical, thermal, and mechanical. Only the thermal and mechanical factors are totally within a washer's control. Thermal energy takes the form of hot water, and—since this mdoel lacks an internal water heater—the MVWX655DW scales back hot water use to avoid draining your hot water heater. To make up for this, each load ends up taking a long time, such as 52 minutes for Normal.
This machine also uses a lot of cold water to wash away stains. Based on national cost and use patterns, we estimate that the MVWX655DW will cost about $63 a year to run between water and electricity consumption. That's on par with most top-loading machines, but double what an efficient front loader uses.
However, the MVWX655DW at least puts all of that water to good use. At an hour and fifteen minutes, the PowerWash cycle proved to be the most... well, powerful. It used 20 gallons of water, but was more than capable of tackling everything from cocoa to blood stains.
Normal was the next best lab-tested cycle. It tested close behind PowerWash with about 4% less stain removal overall, but struggled against sweat stains.
For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page.
Though there's a big "10 Year Limited Warranty" badge on the front, the entirety of the Maytag MVWX655DW is only covered by a one-year limited warranty. This covers parts and labor for any defects found after the time of purchase. Maytag does include a ten-year warranty on its drive motor and drum, but that only covers parts. Getting a mechanic in to fix it will still cost you.
Old-school design with some new-school tech
You likely learned how to do laundry from your parents on a machine that's now outdated. If you long for those days, the user interface of the Maytag MVWX655DW is basically the same as the washer you grew up with. While some of the technological aspects under the hood have been upgraded, everything else is decidedly old-school.
Soft-close hinges, a PowerWash cycle, and a 4.3-cu.-ft. drum add touches of class—as well as some modernity—to a highly affordable machine. If you're okay with those upgrades, and no others, and you don't live in an area with high utility costs, this machine should do a fine job.
Meet the tester
Jonathan Chan currently serves as the Lab Manager at Reviewed. If you clean with it, it's likely that Jon oversees its testing. Since joining the Reviewed in 2012, Jon has helped launch the company's efforts in reviewing laptops, vacuums, and outdoor gear. He thinks he's a pretty big deal. In the pursuit of data, he's plunged his hands into freezing cold water, consented to be literally dragged through the mud, and watched paint dry. Jon demands you have a nice day.
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