When your old American-made top load pole agitator washer dies, you'll probably be looking for one just like it—only better. We've seen the future of agitator washers, and it looks like the giant 5.2 cu.-ft. Maytag MVWB865GC(available at AppliancesConnection for $984.10). That tall, swirly thing in the middle—the pole agitator—does a very good job removing stains. In our experience, it can add a lot of wear and tear in other washing machines. Definitely not with this washer! When we tested the Maytag, we were surprised at how gentle it was on clothes.
In our intensive week of testing, we found that the PowerWash cycle made stains disappear. All Maytag washers have PowerWash, so why buy this machine when its price flirts with $1,000? Mainly the size. You should make the investment if you'd like to get more of your family's laundry done in each load. This washer isn't speedy by any means, but that's balanced by the sheer volume of dirty clothes that fit in its generous drum.
And, of course, there are all the options. You can wash your clothes the way you prefer. If you want more water, choose the Deep Fill option. If you'd rather let the washer determine how much water is needed for a given washload, go with the AutoSensing setting. The MVWB865GC offers nine wash cycles to choose from, along with a Drain and Spin cycle and a cycle for self-cleaning the washer tub.
Design and Features
With a pretty Metallic Slate finish (or white, if you want), and a soft-closing glass lid that allows you to monitor the progress of the laundry from above, the MVWB865GC will be the star of your updated laundry room. And when you lift the lid, the amount of space in the drum is awe-inspiring. In our laundry labs, were able to wash three California King sheets in a single test load. If you're petite and you buy this washer, get yourself a step stool for the laundry room, so you can reach all the way to the bottom to pull the laundry out.
A minor design issue—the slide-out detergent drawer is a nice convenience, but in our tests, we discovered that the powdered detergent we use in our labs didn't dissolve well. Liquid HE detergent will work better in this dispenser.
For stain removal, the PowerWash (Heavy) cycle tested best. It's slow, though—in our tests, it took 84 minutes to finish. The Normal cycle is faster (56 minutes) but was not quite as good at cleaning as the Heavy cycle.
Soggy laundry is no fun to unload, and in our tests, this washer left it very damp. When we tested, we found that about 53% of the water remained in the clothes after the Heavy and Normal cycles completed. Delicates still held 80% of the rinse water. Perhaps that's why they included a Drain and Spin cycle. You'll likely need it from time to time. Otherwise, your laundry will spend more time in the dryer, an energy cost that can add up over time.
This high-efficiency (HE) washer drinks a lot of water, even without using the Deep Fill option. We estimate the cost of running this washer for a year to be about $72 per year.
Maytag provides a 10-year limited parts warranty, which covers the drive motor and the basket.
What user reviews say
Owners of this washer seem to be getting what they expected. They rate it an average of 4.6 out of 5 stars on a variety of sites. This Maytag wins praise for its quiet operation and generous size. Many buyers bought it to replace an old Maytag, since they trust the brand. Others noted how good it was to go back to an agitator machine after spending years with a front loader in the laundry room. Of course, we have some opinions about the front load versus top load debate, but to each their own.
The Bottom Line
The MVWB865GC has a high retail price, but it can be a good value if you routinely do laundry for a crowd. If you'd like to get each load done faster, compare the Maytag to the LG WT7500CW, one of our best top-loader picks. It scored slightly higher in our tests. Like the Maytag, the LG rocks a huge 5.2 cu.-ft. drum, does an excellent job of stain removal, and offers the flexibility to do the wash any way you want to. It's not nearly as gentle on clothes, though, and it's priced about the same as the MVWB865GC.
Cindy Bailen loves writing about major appliances and home design and has spent over 15 years immersed in that. In her spare time, Cindy hosts pledge programs for WGBH-TV in Boston and other public television stations.
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.