Frankly, that’s a difference you may not notice in the real world, but it’s only half the story: Our best approximation of a Heavy Duty cycle fared only 2% better, meaning if you’re unsatisfied with the 9500’s cleaning, there aren’t too many options available to make it better.
Across all “cycles," the washer struggled most against dirt, sweat, and red wine stains. Mechanical action, which is the way we measure how much damage a washer does to fabrics, was nice and low for the Normal settings, which is unusual for a top loader. However, wear and tear was similarly low for Heavy Duty—more evidence of our suspicions that these two cycles aren’t very different.
In all our years of testing, we've never used a residential washing machine as big as the Whirlpool WTW9500 (MSRP $1,499.99). At 6.2 cu. ft., this top-loading drum is in fact the industry's largest, capable of cleaning an entire week's worth of your family's laundry in one cycle.
But size isn't everything, and our tests proved that the made-in-Ohio WTW9500 has lots more to offer. There's the Load and Go system, which stores 14 doses of detergent inside the machine and dispenses it automatically with each load. Whirlpool's versatile "What to Wash / How to Wash" interface also returns, translating the language of laundry into plain English.
More importantly, this is a good washing machine. Our tests revealed that it did a great job removing stains, wasn't too rough on delicate fabrics, and got clothes clean quickly and efficiently. Altogether, that puts it at the top of our list of top-loading washing machines.
Our only complaints involve size. The giant drum can make it hard to get socks from the very bottom of the WTW9500, and the giant price tag is almost twice as much as one of our favorite traditional top-load machines, the GE GTW680BSJWS. Still, if your family's laundry needs are truly industrial, there's no better way to scale up your operation.
Your typical cycle will use less than 5 gallons of hot water, which is great, and 140 Wh of electricity, which is average. All this amounts to about $54.39 in total operating costs for the WTW9500. That's very low for a top-load washer.
Unfortunately, this washer isn’t capable of spinning out as much moisture as the competition, so some of your utilities savings may be lost again by the energy-hogging dryer.
Whether you bring home the chrome WTW9500EC or the white WTW9500EW, at 29.5 inches deep and 30 inches wide, Whirlpool claims the WTW9500 will fit in nearly all laundry rooms. Our test labs are in an old building in New England, and we fit the washer around various corners, through doors, and down hallways with no problems.
The distinctive What to Wash and How to Wash controls are now at the front of the washer, because they'd be almost impossible to reach at the back. We found the touch-sensitive buttons frustratingly slow to respond, though. The top of the machine is capped by a glossy black lid, with chrome trim and a window to let you watch the washer do its thing.
The Load and Go system is awesome: The washer calculates just how much detergent to use, and all you have to do is fill up the removable Load and Go drawer every few weeks. Considering most people overuse laundry detergent, this could save you some real money over time. If you'd rather use Dreft or a scented detergent for a single load, there’s a separate detergent dispenser under the lid, too.
Our biggest complaint about this washer is also its biggest asset: That ginormous drum. Anyone under 5'10" will have trouble reaching the bottom of the machine while keeping both feet on the ground. In fact, the difficulty of unloading the WTW9500 even makes a low-to-the-ground front-loading washer a more attractive option for some consumers. Make sure you try it out in store before you buy it based solely on its impressive specs.
The actual cleaning capabilities of the 9500 aren't as good as those of its front-load competitors, but the Normal cycle cleaned well compared to other top loaders. We found that heavy duty cycle options didn’t result in significant cleaning improvement over the standard ones, so stick to the faster, more efficient options.
For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page.
Unlike GE's excellent top-load washer lineup which appeals to traditionalists, Whirlpool's massive WTW9500 is a high-tech wonder. That huge wash drum will save you time, the Load and Go dispenser will save you detergent, and the simple interface will save you confusion.
Sure, it won't clean with the same rigor as the best front loaders, and it's certainly not an old-school top loader. But, if you’re fed up with a million laundry loads a week, the WTW9500 is win-win-win.
Meet the testers
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.Shoot us an email