To read our full review of this washer's matching dryer, the Whirlpool Cabrio WED8500BW, click here.
Our suite of lab tests comprised more than 16 test loads for the Whirlpool Cabrio Platinum WTW8500BW, including measurements for hot and cold water requirements, electricity usage, internal drum temperature, and water retention. We gauge stain removal using controlled, pre-soiled testing cloth, and report results relative to the AHAM industry standard. Clothing wear is tested with controlled mechanical action cloths, which fray according to agitation intensity.

Simple design and controls, plus a window

Physical design of the WTW8500BW is overwhelmingly similar to other models in the Cabrio lineup, minus the extra stops on the large cycle dial for Active Wear and Cold Wash. Other than that, we recognize the black plastic control panel with a chrome-accented cycle dial and buttons on the right side for modifiers like soil level, spin speed, and wash temperature. We also get extras like EcoBoost (which cuts down on hot water use) and fabric softener options.

A tinted, framed window allows you to keep an eye on the load while a cycle is in progress. Below that you'll find dispensers for liquid bleach, fabric softener, and detergent.
The performance profile is pretty consistent across all Cabrio models. Whites was this machine's most effective cycle, and was particularly strong against carbon (dirt) and cocoa, with decent scores for red wine and blood. After this, Heavy Duty was the second best option, lagging behind Whites by 3% overall, with significantly less stain removal for carbon and cocoa. The Normal cycle was only 4% less effective than Heavy Duty, but this time struggled with carbon and cocoa. All cycles had trouble removing sebum (sweat) stains.

The Delicates cycle was considerably worse at removing all types of stains, however clothing was subjected to less than one-fourth the wear and tear of an average Normal cycle. Whites was the most aggressive cycle, with 50% more frayed threads than Normal.
Based on the cleaning habits of a typical American household, we've calculated the WTW8500BW will run you approximately $48.64 to operate annually, between the costs of hot water, cold water, and electricity. None of the washers in Whirlpool's 8000-series earned particularly strong water retention scores, and the 8500 is no different. After spinning out as much moisture as possible, washing clothing still retained an average of 61% moisture across all cycles. Average water retention was 54% for a Normal cycle, but went as high as 88% for Delicates.

Cost goes down, performance goes up. What could be better?

The 8500's overall cleaning performance was on par with the more expensive 8900, as well as their cheaper 8100. And since the 8500 is situated near the middle of the lineup, its tradeoff between features and performance is just right.

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Even though this machine doesn't feature an extra-hot Sanitize cycle, both the Whites and Heavy Duty cycles effectively blasted away particulate stains like dirt. All cycles struggled against sweat, but that's common to most washing machines, not just this one. Plus, your detergent does most of the work there anyway. The Normal cycle stayed competitive with Whites and Heavy Duty, and we think this cycle will be perfectly adequate for the vast majority of loads.

We'd estimate an annual operating cost of over $48 for this washer alone, which is pricier than the average front loader by about $120 extra dollars over the first five years. Water retention, the amount of moisture this washer wasn't able to spin out, was consistent with other models in the 8000 series, but the entire series lags behind the average front loading washing machine. More leftover moisture means more work for your dryer.

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Clothing wear was average, and not as severe as the 8900. The Normal and Quick Wash cycles were fairly gentle, though Whites and Heavy Duty will break down clothing more quickly.

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

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The best combination of performance and features in this lineup

If you're looking for a high-efficiency top-loading washer, Whirlpool's Cabrio series is full of good choices. And the Cabrio Platinum WTW8500BW is one of the most cost-effective models in the lineup. This unit lacks the Sanitize cycle found on the 8900, equals the pricier machine's performance, and still retains high end features like the Active Wear and Cold Wash cycles, as well as the all-important 4.8-cubic-foot drum. Of course, neither Active Wear nor Cold Wash are among the most popular cycles, so Whirlpool's Cabrio 8100 (which offers identical performance) still represents an outstanding value. The 8500 is just a better one.

Versus the rest of the market, a cool thousand bucks can buy an awesome front loader. But if you're set on a high-efficiency top loader, we think this not-too-cheap but not-too-small washer is the one Goldilocks herself would choose... you know, to clean those porridge stains.

Meet the testers

Christopher Snow

Christopher Snow

Managing Editor

@BlameSnow

Chris was born and raised less than ten miles from our editorial office, and even graduated from nearby Merrimack College. He came to Reviewed after covering the telecom industry, and has been moonlighting as a Boston area dining critic since 2008.

See all of Christopher Snow's reviews

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.

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