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2012 Best Value Washing Machine and Best Value Washer/Dryer Pair (with Frigidaire Affinity FASE7073)
With an MSRP of just $749, the is one of the least expensive front loading washers on the market. In addition to its low purchase price and cost of ownership, this washer's greatest asset is its simplicity. For the most part, it's a matter of turning the dial to the desired cycle and pushing start. There isn't even a power button: turning the dial activates the machine. However, this simplicity also brought with it a few issues, notably the lack of a dedicated quick wash or cottons cycle.
Still, it's a good value. Over five years of running this Frigidaire, it could save you up to $150 in water and energy costs when compared to a traditional top loader.
We asked the , "Watts up, doc?" It didn't reply because it's a washing machine, and only talks when we're alone. However, we plugged the into a watt meter and ran all the cycles. The most power hungry was the tyrannical Normal cycle coupled with the hottest temperature setting which used about 180 kWh -- translating to about two cents.
Whenever we run a test cycle we keep a close eye on the water meter. Front loaders in general use less water than their top loading brethren. The thirstiest cycle the possessed was the Bulky which used about 12.97 gallons. That's on par with other washers in its class: By comparison, GE's GFWS1500DWW used 13.17 gallons during its Bulky cycle.
Cost Per Wash
Cleaning with the won't break the bank. The Heavy Duty cycle is the most expensive cycle to run, and costs about 12 cents to complete.
Yearly Running Cost
Factoring in the national average cost of electricity and water, we calculated that the will cost about $28.58 a year to operate. That is a few bucks cheaper than other washers in this class.
Washing Performance (8.57)
Normal/Permanent Press Cycle
The Normal cycle finished in about 53 minutes. In that time it managed to deal with blood and sweat quite well. The wine stain was marginally lifted. However, the oil and cocoa stains remained staunch adversaries. If you work up a sweat eating chocolate, this isn't the machine for you.
Since the the Frigidaire FAFW3801LW doesn't have a Whites cycle, we made one by using the Normal cycle and setting it to the highest temperature and soil level. Although it cleaned better than the Normal cycle, it had the same problems with oil and cocoa.
The Frigidaire's Delicate cycle was very delicate to our test load, indeed -- perhaps to a fault. For example, the washer's ability to remove blood stains was about 25 percent less effective than our benchmark.
Heavy Duty Cycle
The Bulky cycle, which was indicated for use with heavy clothes and linens, was completed in just 56 minutes. Overall, it performed as well as the average washer.
Quick Wash Cycle
The Frigidaire lacks a Quick Wash cycle.
Clothes Wear (6.12)
The Frigidaire was a bit heavy handed with our test loads. Only the Delicates cycle managed to not shred our mechanical testing strips.
Water Retention (2.97)
We like it when the use of one appliance helps the task of another. As a washer winds down, it should spin out as much water as possible, lessening the time the laundry needs to spend in the dryer. In this respect, the Frigidaire performed very well. On average, this washer spun out 56 percent of the laundry's retained water. Anything above 50 percent is considered good.
The most useful customization options we found on the were the temperature and spin speed setting, which could be used to manually create the specialty cycles this machine lacks. For example, bleach is most effective when used with hot water. If you wanted to wash a load of ultra stylish white denim pants, you could add bleach and increase the temperature on the heavy duty cycle to get them spotless. Spin speed settings help you mitigate any damage to that favorite Wham! concert tour t-shirt.
Additional Wash Options
Extra wash options include, stain clean, extended spin, and freshwater rinse. We've never seen a washer with a salt water rinse.
The has a drawer in which you place the detergent. A standard arrangement, there are separate compartments for bleach, detergent, and fabric softener. All compartments are clearly labeled so there shouldn't be any confusion.
The handle to the 's door is conveniently placed in the upper right hand quadrant of the door. Placing it here allows you to open the door without having to bend down. One small tick we did have with the was opening the door did not stop the chime. The chime, like the postman, always rang twice.
Ease of Use
The only time that we were confused during our time with the was when we were unpacking it. Setting the desired cycle and running the machine was a breeze. However, we found this machine to be a little on the noisy side. It bucked a few times during its spin cycles, but it wasn't too disruptive.
The 's controls consist of a knob that you turn and buttons that you push. It's all very simplistic. There isn't even a power button. Instead, turning the knob activates the machine. Inactivity, or turning the knob all the way to the left deactivates the . Option selection is done by pressing the corresponding button to shift through the list one-by-one. Initially, you may waste a few seconds looping through the options.
Analysis of our test results show that the is a very efficient machine. Using national averages, we calculated this washer's annual operating cost at just $28.58. The Frigidaire is also a team player. On the Normal cycle, our test loads only retained 47 percent of their weight in water, meaning that your dryer will have to expend less energy to get your clothes to wearable state.
No one can deny that the main point of a washing machine is to get items clean. In this respect, the lagged behind its more expensive counterparts. Yes, it had a very strong showing when the temperature and soil level was increased on the Normal cycle to deal with whites and cottons. However, the Delicates cycle did very little to our stain strips. Overall, the 's washing performance was on par with its price.
The has few features and no specialty cycles. There are enough temperature, soil and spin speed choices to create a custom wash, but the unadulterated wash cycles should suffice for most users.