Maytag Bravos XL MVWB855DW Washing Machine Review

For really big messes

Credit: / Jonathan Chan

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By the Numbers

Every washer that passes through our lab is subjected to the exact same testing procedures. The Maytag MVWB855DW is big, but it needed to be more than that to earn our recommendation.

Manufactured in Ohio, the Maytag Bravos XL MVWB855DW (MSRP $1,199 in white or $1,299 in slate) lives up to its "XL" moniker with a massive, 5.3-cu.-ft. drum. That makes it the largest top-load washer sold by an American company.

Anyone desperate to do more laundry at once will have their prayers answered by the MVWB855DW. This Maytag isn't a one-trick pony either: Its repertoire includes cycles ranging from Normal to Sanitize, and should satisfy consumers looking for a big and versatile top loader. It also sports a very traditional control panel and a sale price just shy of $1,000.

If you're interested, we recommend first checking out the Samsung WA52J8700AP—a similar super-size offering, complete with ActiveWash. We also recommend asking yourself if a more efficient and effective front-loader might do the trick.

But if your family goes through a lot of laundry and you like a mix of technology and tradition, this giant Maytag may just be the right fit.

To read our full review of this washer's matching dryer, the Maytag Bravos MEDB855DW, click here.

Cleaning Performance

We analyze our test stains under a photospectrometer, and a computer quantifies the resulting cleanliness of each load. The stains themselves come in the form of mechanically coated strips of cloth that are covered in representative substances like cocoa and blood. We place these strips in test loads made up of towels, bedsheets, and pillows.


An example of a before and after test stain results using the Normal cycle. From left to right: control, sweat, dirt, blood, cocoa, and red wine.

PowerWash was the MVWB855DW's runaway champion. This cycle removed 6% more stains than Normal, even on the hottest setting with Extra Rinse activated. Normal on default settings lagged behind PowerWash by 8%, and delicates came in last in our rankings, removing 13% fewer stains than PowerWash.

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Across all cycles, the MVWB855DW did well against cocoa and blood stains, but had the toughest time with oil-based stains. For example, on the PowerWash cycle, the cocoa patch got a whopping 27% cleaner than the oil stain.

Design & Usability

Big and Beautiful

The Maytag Bravos XL MVWB855DW looks plain from afar, but up close, you'll notice its aesthetics are rather pleasant. The gray control panel, the black glass, and the white body distinguish this Maytag from the all-white boxes that normally inhabit the top loader market.

Credit: / Jonathan Chan

Metal rails lets the detergent dispenser open smoothly.

The MVWB855DW has a lot of a high-end features inside as well. SmoothClose hinges mean you'll never have to worry about fingers getting slammed in the door, and when you get that lid open it'll reveal a stainless steel drum. Also made of steel are the railings that the detergent dispenser glides on. Overkill? Maybe, but aside from the lid, you interact with the dispenser most, so it's a good feature to make extra sturdy.

Operating the MVWB855DW can be as simple as turning the dial and pressing start. The layout is straightforward and intuitive, leaving no excuses for kids dodging laundry chores.

Performance & Features

Double stuffed

Credit: / Jonathan Chan

PowerWash is a very powerful cycle.

Credit: / Jonathan Chan

The steel bubbles help wash your clothes without destroying them.

If you fill it to the brim, the 5.3-cu.-ft. drum can hold between two and three baskets of laundry, halving your time spent on laundry duty. Of course there's always a tradeoff: All the extra water will mean higher utility costs, and we estimate the MVWB855DW will need about $81 per year to operate if you use more than just the Normal cycle.

Maytag advertises its PowerWash cycle as the "best cleaning in its class...." While a washer's "class" can be defined many ways, our stain removal tests showed (after an hour and 40 minutes plus 20 gallons of water) this model's PowerWash ranks among the top 25% of top-loading cycles we've ever tested among all washing machines.

A Normal cycle on the hottest setting with an Extra Rinse simulates Whites cycles found on other machines, which the MVWB855DW lacks. This configuration is strong against tough stains, but uses an extra 14 gallons of water compared to default settings. It might be helpful if you want to get rid of any leftover bleach from a wash.

Made in America
Credit: / Jonathan Chan

Made in America

The other cycles on this machine were outshone by the one you'll likely use every day. The Normal cycle on default settings—the everyday mode for most consumers—finished in just an hour, but with only average results.

For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page.


Water and electricity meters help us measure the efficiency of washing machines. We use data from the meters to estimate annual running costs, based on a formula that factors in national costs and use patterns. Using that formula, we estimate the MVWB855DW will cost around $81 per year to operate.

We also weigh our test loads before and after a wash cycle in order to see how much excess water each cycle spins out. Every drop of water your washer spins out is one your dryer won't have to deal with. Good washers will spin out around 50% of excess water, and the MVWB855DW was close at 48% on average.


For one year from the date of purchase, Maytag will cover labor and parts for any manufacturer defects. From the second to tenth year of ownership, Maytag will cover parts for the drum and drive motor, but it won't pay for any labor to do the job.

Go Big

This Maytag will serve you well

With all the test results in, we can safely say the Maytag MVWB855DW is a big, effective washing machine. Its stain removal capabilities are on par with other top-load washers in the price range—even though the excellent PowerWash cycle and Normal are the ones you'll likely use the most.

We're also impressed by extras like soft-close hinges, the stainless drum, and the easy-to-read LCD screen. With sale prices around $1,000, it's definitely worth a look.

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