It took a look at the build plate to be sure: It looks the same, handles the same, and has basically the same features. Performance and efficiency are pretty similar. That's all good, since the WFW94HEA is a good washer. The $1,299 MSRP is a bit steep, but we'll let you in on a trick: Find this model in white (the model number is WFW88HEAW) and wait for a sale. The price will easily fall below $1,000, which makes this washer a deal.

Stick with what you know

The controls on Whirlpool WFW88HEAC are exactly the same as those found on the WFW94HEAW. Don't believe me? I've got photographic evidence.

To reiterate, the capacitive touch buttons aren't that responsive, but the door is easy to open and reveals a gaping maw. If you want more details, read the review of the '96, as these washers are so similar, they could play a single character on an early-'90s Miller-Boyett sitcom.

Come to think of it, I've never seen both of these washers in the same room at the same time...

You'll pay a hefty ticket price to see this Duet sing

The WFW88HEAC actually sounds really good. All the buttons make pleasing noises that run up and down various scales. It does a pretty good job cleaning clothes, but it scored best on the Heavy Duty cycle. Otherwise, it hovers around average for washers that cost this much.

One major plus: This is one of the more efficient washers we've tested. We estimate that, if you use a mix of cycles and have average water and energy costs, this machine will only cost you $27 a year to run. That's $30 less than some less-efficient machines we've tested.

This is one of the more efficient washers we've tested

As for features, you've got your standard array of higher end features including steam cleaning, eco boost (which uses less hot water), and TumbleFresh. When activated, TumbleFresh periodically spins the drum to keep clothes from getting stale and musty before you've got a chance to put them in the dryer.

Personally, I wish this feature were set as the default. It should activate automatically if you don't fetch your laundry after a cycle has finished for sometime. Having the presence of mind to activate the feature seems contradictory: If you know you're not going to be around when the cycle finishes, why not use the delay wash feature which works up to eight hours, longer than the TumbleFresh?
The Whirlpool Duet WFW88HEAC is a front-loading washer with average cleaning performance, a good amount of features, and excellent water and energy efficiency. Its $1,299 MSRP may scare at first glance, but a cursory search online shows that ditching the gray finish for a white one and waiting for a sale could save you more than $300. If you're looking for more features, however, the Whirlpool Duet WFW94HEAW sells for a similar price but comes fully loaded.
How does a reviewer not get swept up in the drama and glamour of the high-stakes world of appliance testing? Science. The objective truth keeps me stalwart. The biggest factors in washing machine performance are cleaning ability and efficiency, and I report them to you without embellishment. The path of a washer is wet and fraught with terrors, so let's get going, shall we?
Washing machines need to wash things. To test this, we use standard pieces of cloth coated in standardized stains: Blood, cocoa, oil, sweat, and carbon. The Whirlpool Duet WFW88HEAC proved best against cocoa and sweat. That's somewhat encouraging, since those substance are on the opposite sides of the pH scale. You can see just how much stains shifted below:
Our approach to efficiency is two pronged: water retention and resource consumption. Based on our own algorithm that takes into account average prices and how often the average person uses particular cycles, we estimate that the yearly running cost to be about $27.72. The Heavy Duty cycle was the most expensive, but still a bargain at only about 13 cents a go.

The other half of the efficiency equation is water retention. How much water a washer spins out determines how long your laundry has to stay in your dryer. The WFW88HEAC was slightly below average in this regard. On average, test loads washed in this Duet retained about 58 percent of its weight in water. Our dryers don't smile unless that number goes below 50 percent.

Meet the testers

Jonathan Chan

Jonathan Chan

Lab Manager

@ReviewedHome

Jonathan Chan currently serves as the Senior Lab Technician 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.

See all of Jonathan Chan'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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