The 4.6 cubic foot has a lot in common with the cable channel that almost shares its name. The Maytag and Top Chef purveyor both offer style, drama and scenes punctuated with jaunty tunes. Unfortunately, when it comes to performance, the Bravos XL is just as forgettable as a midseason episode of Millionaire Matchmaker. At least Bravo the TV channel comes with basic cable. The Bravos washer has a $999 MSRP and even on sale rarely drops below $750.
In most markets, a five dollar bill will cover the 's overall yearly electricity expenses. It's not much of a surprise: most washers, especially those without internal water heaters, use very little energy to get clothes clean. This washer did an exceptional job spinning excess water out of loads. That means less work for the dryer, so you may notice your electricity bill going down.
The senses how much a load weighs to determine how much water is used. Testing with standard 8 lb. loads, the Bravos guzzled water like the Real Housewives of New York swig chardonnay: between 16 and 30 gallons per cycle.
Cost Per Wash
Individual wash cycles on the Bravos XL run between 9 and 27 cents -- and most of that will be on your water bill. The Whites cycle is particularly pricey because it uses a second rinse to get out excess bleach. Unless you're using bleach, choose another cycle.
Yearly Running Cost
All put together, assuming average energy and water costs, the should run you $54.24 per year. That's about $25 more than most front-loaders. Just remember that this washer is so large that you may be able to combine two loads into one -- although that will definitely lead to a higher cost per wash.
Normal/Permanent Press Cycle
At five minutes short of an hour, the Bravos XL’s Normal cycle is on par with other machines we’ve tested. When it comes to stain removal, it’s similarly average, struggling with protein- and oil-based stains but having no trouble removing blood, chocolate and red wine. Stick with this cycle, and you’ll be fine.
We don’t test the Whites cycle with bleach, so our results reflect the washer’s performance with just plain detergent. In the case of the Bravos XL, the washer had no problem removing blood, wine and chocolate - but it did again have some trouble with protein and oil-based stains.
Those haute couture fashions from Project Runway? They’re not going to survive a normal wash cycle. That’s what the Maytag Bravos XL has a Delicates cycle for. Unfortunately, it did a lousy job getting out stains, especially struggling with oil and protein. After a run through the Bravos XL’s Delicates cycle, our standardized stain strips looked almost identical to when they’d gone in.
Heavy Duty Cycle
The Heavy Duty cycle barely outperformed the much shorter Normal cycle. The only test where this cycle shined was dirt removal, where it got out nearly half of the sand we added to an 8 lb. load.
Quick Wash Cycle
At 37 minutes, the Bravos XL’s Rapid Wash was slightly shorter than the Normal cycles of other machines we’ve tested. It did a lousy job getting out stains, but excelled at spinning out water. Clothes were almost ready for the dryer by the time the Bravos XL was finished with them, which should save a significant amount of time on that end.
This washer does an excellent job spinning water out of clothes. That means less work for the dryer, and a lower electric bill as a result.
Eight cycles include all the usual suspects, plus a few specialty washes. There are also options for a detergent-free "rinse/drain & spin" and a washer cleaning cycle that requires a special tablet. A Power Wash cycle that uses extended cleaning and soaking to get out stains.
Cycles can be customized by temperature, spin speed and soil level. There are three levels of intensity for each, which is two fewer than most washers in this price range.
Additional Wash Options
The most interesting option available is a spray rinse, which claims to save water over a conventional rinse.
There are three funnels built into the washer, hidden under the lid: one for bleach, one for fabric softener and one for detergent.
The solid clamshell door opens with ease, but it will slam loudly if you don't let it down gently -- kind of like a Make Me A Supermodel contestant that's about to be sent home.
Ease of Use
All things considered, the is one of the easiest machines we've ever used. Its large interior does mean that shorter people may have trouble reaching in to get wet clothes out of the drum, however.
Few washers are as intuitive as this Bravos. Open its clamshell lid and it'll power on, just like a laptop. Bright orange numbers and lights are easy to read and see. All buttons are clearly marked and are under a protective plastic membrane. Cycles begin and end with a jaunty little ditty that sounds a bit like Debussy's Clair de Lune.
This washer can fit a lot of clothes, but it also uses a lot of water to do so. Some washes use twice as much water as other machines we've tested. That wouldn't be so bad if it did a better job cleaning, but the Bravos XL is just average in that respect.
Performance ranges from average to lackluster. If you stick with the Normal cycle, you should have good all-around stain and dirt removal, but the Delicates and Rapid Wash cycles are just too gentle to get clothes clean.
The opens like a laptop's clamshell, coming to life as the door swings up. It's a nice touch that complements a simple control panel with enough wash cycles to satisfy the average consumer.
Meet the tester
Former Editor in Chief, Reviewed Home@itskeithbarry
Keith was the Editor in Chief of Reviewed's appliance and automotive sites. His work has appeared in publications such as Wired, Car & Driver, and CityLab.
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