GE GFW850SPNRS front-load washing machine review

This washer has every feature under the sun—but is it worth it?

The GE GFW850SPNRS has through-door venting. Credit: GE

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“Cutting edge” isn’t a phrase we often associate with washing machines. However, the GE GFW850SPNRS (available at AppliancesConnection for $1,073.00) is an appliance we think would fit in any space-aged showroom thanks to its innovative vent system that aims to eliminate odors common in the front-load washer world. This washer aims to solve many common laundry problems like a smelly drum, clothes coming out too wet, and a lack of understanding of how much detergent to use. While the GFW850SPNRS comes with an almost overwhelming number of features and solutions, the high price tag and slow cycles give us pause. However, if cost is no issue, this GE proved itself to be a top contender in multiple categories, competing with the best washers we’ve tested.

The GE GFW850SPNRS comes in Sapphire Blue, and we know that there are people who will want this washer just for that as consumers move toward making their once-hidden appliances part of their home décor. If blue is not to your liking, this model also comes in White and Diamond Gray. More than that, the stain-removal performance is top-notch. We also appreciated features for venting, which helps keep the drum dry to prevent odor and dry clothes, and auto-dispensing detergent, which lets you load up enough soap for up to 32 cycles and take the guesswork out of how much to use for each load.

About the GE GFW850SPNRS

Dimensions: 34” x 39.75” x 28” (D x H x W)
Capacity: 4.5 cu. ft.
Finishes: Sapphire Blue, Diamond Gray, White
Wash Cycles: Active Wear, Bulky/Bedding, Cold Wash, Delicates, Normal, Power Clean, Quick Wash, Rinse + Spin, Sanitize + Allergen, Self Clean, Towels, Whites
Notable Features: Venting, antimicrobial gasket, SmartDispense, smart connectivity

What we like

Stain removal is superior for a front-load washer

Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

The 4.5-cu.-ft. drum has a built-in light.

Our tests measure how well a washer deals with stains ranging from oil to red wine. The GFW850SPNRS did well across the board. Testing showed that the Normal cycle removed 71% of all stains, which is about 5% above average. That doesn’t sound like much, but it's enough to place it in a different tier of cleaning performance. Plus, you'll never be sorry that a washer worked too well. When we did a Power Clean cycle and turned on the optional Steam feature, the numbers jumped to 77%. We found that Delicates was the weakest, removing about 67% of stains, but it makes up for it by being 25% more gentle on clothing than the Normal cycle.

The GFW850SPNRS also has the added advantage of having an internal water heater. On the Sanitize cycle, our probes measured internal temperatures north of 150°F. Heat like that can help ensure even oily stains get cleaned, and can even denature common allergens like pollen.

No more smelly drum

GE GFW850SPNRS Venting
Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

The GE GFW850SPNRS has a through-door vent shown here.

Odor ranks as one of the highest complaints levied against front-load washers, which, unlike top-loaders trap water in their gaskets. If you’re fed up cleaning your washer drum, this GE has a solution. The GFW850SPNRS contains UltraFresh Vent System that will rotate the drum after a cycle has finished and engage a fan to help dry out the interior. The process can take up to eight hours total, but it’s quiet enough to not disrupt day-to-day life. Families with young children, pets, or cramped laundry spaces will appreciate the convenience of not having to keep their door open for hours to dry out.

The venting system also allows for a feature called 1-Step Wash & Dry. You can place in a load of laundry that will get washed then undergo an eight-to-nine hour venting cycle, meaning clothes are dried without physically moving them to the dryer. We found that you can wash and dry a handful of items effectively, but full loads only get about 20% drier than not using the venting feature. The gasket and detergent drawer are also made up of a bright blue material called Microban, which helps prevent mildew from growing.

Auto-dispense means every load has exactly the right amount of detergent

GE GFW850SPNRS Auto-Dispenser
Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

The SmartDispense feature can hold up to 32 loads worth of detergent.

Using too much detergent can actually make your laundry dirtier. The GFW850SPNRS has an auto-dispense feature that allows you to store up to 32 loads worth of detergent. We found that on the Auto setting, this washer used about 0.6 ounces of detergent for an 8-pound load, which is less than what most people typically use, but still effective in cleaning your clothes. This takes the guesswork out of measuring detergent, but if you want a degree of control, you can set the GFW850SPNRS to dispense a specific amount of soap if you’re partial to using more or less.

What we don’t like

Cycle times are slow

GE GFW850SPNRS Options
Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

This GE has a staggering number of features.

On the whole, we found the GE GFW850SPNRS to be a much slower washer than average. We clocked the Normal cycle at around an hour and change. That’s about 15-20 minutes longer than other washers in this price range. For context, the fastest washer we’ve tested can finish a regular load of laundry in about 30 minutes—the same amount of time as this GE’s Quick Wash cycle.

It’s an expensive appliance

At the time of publication, the GE GFW850SPNRS sells for over $1,000. You’re paying extra for the unique sapphire color and the plethora of features. Just to be clear, none of those features are special to this washer. The venting can be found on Whirlpool models and the auto dispense is also becoming a popular feature on other high-end brands. Even the Microban in the gasket is similar to something Electrolux does with its gaskets. Basically, you’re paying for the cool finish and the fact that all these features are being housed in the same unit.

What users are saying

We managed to get the GE GFW850SPNRS into our labs right after it hit the market so there are few user reviews to go on. At the online retailer Appliances Connection, users give this washer 4.5 stars out of 5 with 28 total reviews. Users like the gentleness of the Delicates cycle and how easy the controls are to read. Going through the limited number of reviews on Lowe’s and other retailers, we haven’t found any major criticisms.

Should you buy the GE GFW850SPNRS?

If you like front-load washers, but have been burned by smelly drums or lackluster cleaning, the GE GFW850SPNRS is a huge upgrade. The internal heater will be welcomed by anyone who has to deal with greasy stains or has skin sensitivities. Overall, this model is expensive, but if you’ve ever had the urge to show off your laundry room, this Sapphire Blue beauty will make all your friends green with envy. Still not sold? Check out more of the best front-load washers we’ve ever tested.

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