We debunk AddWash, a feature that doesn't live up to the hype
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Surely you've heard of Samsung's AddWash. It's the washing machine with the little door in the front—the one that's in those commercials with Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard. On TV, it looks genius: If you've forgotten to add an item, you can pop that door open mid-wash, and drop it in.
Well, amidst the witty banter, what you might not have noticed is a quick shot of Kristen tapping the washer's Pause button before opening the door. Indeed, you can't just open the AddWash door mid-cycle and throw in a sock. You can only open the AddWash door after you've paused a cycle.
In other words, the only difference between this washer and every other front-load machine on the market is that there's a little door on the front in addition to the big one—a realization that became all the more apparent during the week we spent with a Samsung AddWash washer.
It's not often that we're so cynical about a product, but we just can't see the utility here. Samsung claims the small door is easier to access than the larger one—but a quick look at the owner's manual shows that AddWash actually adds a host of issues. Worst of all: You have to make sure it's dry between cycles or else your front-load washer might start to smell.
It's a shame, really, as the WF50K7500 washer (MSRP $1,399 in white, $1,499 in silver) is so much more than AddWash. We're fans of the massive, 5.0 cu. ft. drum and quick cycles that did a great job removing stains. Unfortunately, we just can't get behind this washer's namesake feature.
We measure cleaning performance in an objective manner. Instead of eyeballing stains, we use computers and sensors to judge stain removal. We start by using strips of cloth that have been mechanically dipped in various stains ranging from cocoa to pig's blood. Taking these strips, we place them in test loads of laundry made up of towels, bedsheets, and pillowcases. When the wash is done, each strips gets analyze by a photospectrometer, which determines how much of each stain is lifted.
Unsurprisingly, the Heavy Duty cycle did the best. The 1 hour and 40 minute cycle powered through all the stains we presented it, using 21 gallons of water and getting as warm as 117ºF. Whites cycle came in second place, removing 8% less stains than Heavy Duty. However, Whites crossed the finish line one hour. Normal came in third, lagging 10% behind Heavy Duty.
Delving into individual stains, the WF50 also followed pretty standard patterns. It did best against cocoa and protein stains. Cleaning both these stains require a well-honed temperature profile, meaning heating up the water at the correct time. The WF50 did the worst against oil and sweat stains. These two stains don't need finesse to clean, just lots of hot water.
Over the past five years we've seen Samsung put tablets on fridges and utility sinks on washing machines. For the most part, these add-ons have allowed users to do something they couldn't do before: A tablet lets you order groceries from your kitchen, and the sink turns a washer into a one-stop laundry station. In fact, we're on record praising the ActiveWash utility sink, which we think is one of the best laundry innovations in recent memory.
With this history in mind, we were excited about AddWash, too—until we lived with it. The truth is, AddWash adds nothing new. The little trap door is a vestigial organ that can only be opened when a cycle is paused—just like the main door. Another problem? Since AddWash opens from the top down, you can't use it with steam cycles, or you risk a face full of hot water. Even worse, the owner's manual recommends that you dry down the gasket between uses, or else your washer might smell.
That little door is nowhere near as convenient as, say, GE's new top-load washer—which lets you add clothes just by opening the lid, just like every washer used to do.
Since doing laundry involves washing and drying, we view efficiency as a two-part process. Efficiency during washing involves water and watt meters. After taking into account average cost and use patterns, we concluded that the Samsung WF50K7500AW will cost around $31.61 a year to run. That's very typical of washer that pass the 4.5-cu.-ft. range.
A washer can also make it easier to dry your clothes. If a washer spins out excess water, then your laundry can spend less time in the dryer, one of the most energy-hungry appliances in your home. The WF50 did an okay job of getting laundry ready for the dryer. On average, it spun out 37% of a test load's weight in water. We like to see numbers closer to the 50%, so 37% is slightly below average.
Aside from its door, the Samsung is actually a pretty good washer—part workhorse and part racehorse. A 5.0-cu.-ft. drum fits about 2-3 baskets of laundry, which helps cut down on the number of cycles you need to do.
The cycles themselves are also shorter, thanks to a feature called Super Speed—a more aggressive spray pattern that can cut a 45-minute Normal cycle down to 30 minutes. It turns laundry day into laundry half-day.
If stain removal is more of a priority than speed, the WF50K7500 can switch gears to provide a more powerful clean. The 1 hour 40 minute Heavy Duty cycle packed quite a wallop, blasting through oil, sweat, and red wine stains and getting our test laundry a full 10 percent cleaner than the Normal cycle.
Those of us who don't want to bring the heat will be well served by the Eco Cold cycle. This 55-minute wash uses only cold tap water, which means it's color-safe and won't tax your water heater. And, you know, it's better for the environment.
Finally, we really like the ability to add extra spin to a cycle. Most washers only let you increase the spin speed. Items like comforters need extra time to get the excess water spun out. Twenty extra minutes in the washer can save an hour in the dryer.
For in-depth performance information, please visit the Test Results Page.
Samsung offers a one-year warranty for parts and labor. After that, there's a three-year warranty and a ten-year warranty on the tub and motor respectively that covers parts only. You can learn more about the WF50K7500AW's warranty here.
You can also upgrade the washer. Behind another little door—this one on top of the machine—users can plug in the Samsung Smart Home Adapter. This tiny, $24.99 device lets you remotely monitor a wash cycle or control your washer from a smartphone app.
The Samsung WF50K7500AW excels at getting the chore of doing laundry done. It can handle large loads and heavy stains, all on a tight schedule. It's a great washer. Unfortunately, someone decided to put an extra door on it.
With a retail price that hovers around $1,000, the WF50K7500 is one of the most affordable high-capacity front loaders. However, we can't help but feel that it'd be even more affordable if it didn't have AddWash.
Buy this washer if you feel like you're being overwhelmed every week by piles of laundry—but pay no mind to what's behind door number two.