Summit Ariston ARWL129NA Compact Washing Machine Review
If your home's proportions are more suited to Milan than Minnesota, this might be the washer for you.
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This article was updated on Sept. 25, 2015 to reflect a name change. The ARWL129NA washer is now sold under both the Summit and Ariston brand names, although the washer itself is the same.
The Summit ARWL129NA (also sold under the Ariston brand name) is a compact, 24-inch washing machine. Like Amerigo Vespucci, it traveled from Italy to the New World in search of new waters. Machines like this are a common sight in Europe, where houses are smaller and washers are often installed in the kitchen, but the Ariston is a niche competitor in the US.
Despite its small size, the ARWL129NA costs more than competitors nearly twice its size. For the Ariston's $899 MSRP, you're getting very little machine, but plenty of washing. It had no problem outperforming much larger washers, proving that you don't have to have a giant laundry room to get clean clothes.
Every washer that comes through our loading dock undergoes a series of standardized scientific tests. Overall, the Ariston ARWL129NA swept our cleaning performance tests. It also had a strong showing in our gauntlet of efficiency tests.
Design & Usability
Ariston rebuilds the Tower of Babel
It's always interesting to experience new cultures. Unfortunately, the European-ness of this Ariston may lead to some bloody knuckles if you're not prepared with a set of deep metric sockets to remove its shipping bolts.
Once installed, the ARWL129NA proved fairly easy to use with one exception: In order to be sold in a variety of countries, its control panel relies solely on pictograms which are deciphered via a language-specific owner's manual. For example, the detergent dispenser uses wavy and straight lines to indicate where the detergent and softener go, and where users should place offerings to Tefnut, Egyptian goddess of moisture.
Even the cycle selector knob is covered in Aristonese numbers and symbols, and users must look at a sticker to decipher their meanings. It's kind of like going to a restaurant where the menu is lined with only numbers and pictures of the food.
Linguistics aside, the Ariston ARWL129NA is just like any other front-loading washing machine you've ever used, only smaller. Plus, you can stack the matching ARWDF129 dryer on top of it.
We used a set of stain strips to test how well the ARWL129NA would deal with grime. Each strip is dyed with common household substances like red wine and carbon. Washed with AHAM approved detergent, after each cycle we place the strip under a photo-spectrometer to see how much of each stain is lifted.
Efficiency is broken up into two prongs, what goes into your washer and what comes out. About $27 worth of water and electricity will go into the Ariston ARWL129NA each year. We determine this by hooking up each washer we test to a watt and water and keeping track of resource usage after each test.
After a test load has finished we weigh the load to determine how much water is retained. How wet a load is after the spin cycle will effect how much work your dryer will have to do to make your clothes wearable. On average, test loads retained about 67% of their weight in water after their time in the ARWL129NA.
Performance & Features
Like the ant, this washer can do the work of machines many times its size
As with all washers, we tested the ARWL129NA using cloth strips marred with standardized versions of common household stains. On all cycle, the Ariston made quick work of those messes, and the Bright Whites cycle was particularly impressive. Though it took an hour and a half, it made a clean sweep of grime, from carbon to sweat. The Delicates cycle, however, left us unimpressed and left our test load covered in a film of soap.
Speaking of delicates, this Ariston was pretty gentle on clothing across all cycles, and it trod fairly lightly on the Earth, too. You'll notice its efficiency in your wallet, as this washer's $27 per year average operating cost is one of the lowest we've encountered.
That number, however, isn't the whole story. This washer had a tough time spinning out excess water from a load of laundry, leaving more work for the dryer to complete. It means that your laundry will have to spend that much more time in the dryer to become wearable, costing you electricity and even potentially damaging your clothes.
If the washer fits, buy it.
The Ariston ARWL129NA is an excellent washing machine that just happens to be compact. It doesn't offer a ton of special features, but the Italian import is an excellent choice for anyone without the benefit of a huge laundry room.
Though it does the cleaning of a washer twice its size, washers aren't sold by the cubic foot, which is why it has a relatively high $899 MSRP.
If you can't fit a full-sized machine in your house, check out the Ariston ARWL129NA. We believe that those who live in small homes also deserve clean clothes, so we give it our recommendation.