Maytag MHW7100DW Washing Machine Review
A touch of gray, and a touch of class
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Cleaning performance is determined by mechanically coated stain strips. These strips are pre-stained with common household substances like blood, cocoa, and sweat. We place the strips in eight-pound test loads and wash them with standardized detergent.
After analyzing the results, we determined that the PowerWash cycle was the most powerful. It packed 77% more cleaning power than the Normal cycle. However, it did require two and a half hours to complete. This cycle scored well across all the test stains, particularly against cocoa and blood.
The Overnight Wash & Dry cycle was the weakest. It lagged behind the Normal cycle by 9% in terms of stain removal, but finished in a brisk 27 minutes.
The Maytag MHW7100DW (MSPR $1,199 in white or $1,299 in slate) is a step up from the MHW5100DW (MSRP $1,099), and like The Godfather Part II or Aliens, the 7100 is the right kind of sequel: It takes everything that worked before, and adds a little bit on top.
This Maytag retains the excellent PowerWash cycle and strong overall performance profile. On top of that, this washer has Fresh Hold and an Overnight Wash & Dry cycle, two features that make sure your laundry is ready when you are.
This machine's only major flaws are its long cycle times. That great PowerWash cycle, for example takes two-and-a-half hours. But if you're willing to wait, this machine can achieve true clothes cleaning excellence.
Water and watt meters are used to determine efficiency. Based on national use patterns and average costs, we estimate the MHW7100DW will carry an annual operating cost of $37.94. Due to the extremely powerful and resource-intensive PowerWash cycle, that's slightly more than most front loaders.
Resource usage is not the only part of the efficiency equation. What comes out of a washer is also important. The more wet the laundry, the more work a dryer has to do in order to get your clothes into a wearable state. We want washers to spin out around 50% of the laundry's weight in water. This Maytag got out about 38%, so it gets a B- in our book.
Design & Usability
While the MHW5100DW was white from head to toe, the 7100 is accented with chrome and gray. It still won't win any beauty contests, but that being said, this Maytag could win a washing machine usability contest.
The control panel is sparse, but therefore simple. With only nine cycles, the MHW7100DW will neither intimidate nor confuse. The touch-sensitive buttons weren't the most responsive, but bright indicator lights and loud beeps will let you know exactly which options you've selected.
Performance & Features
Loaded for bear
The MHW7100's best cycle was clearly PowerWash. This two-and-a-half hour cycle used 18 gallons of water and, in our lab tests, was 77 percent better at removing stains than the Normal cycle. Just don't throw in any delicates, as it was very rough on fabrics in our mechanical action tests.
The Normal cycle needed just an hour to finish, and our test results showed that this washer does well against blood and cocoa stains. That's a great sign, since those two substances are on opposite ends of the pH scale.
If you want a lot of features, like steam or a drum light, you won't find them here. The MHW7100DW has really only two extra features, but luckily they're good ones: Fresh Hold and an Overnight Wash & Dry. Fresh Hold tumbles your laundry periodically for 12 hours after a cycle has finished. This keeps your clothes from getting musty when you head off to work. Overnight Wash & Dry—which takes several hours—uses a fan to dry a few items after washing them.
For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page.
Why We Like It
Worth the extra money
The Maytag MHW7100DW costs $100 more than the MHW5100DW, and we think it's worth the extra cash. They both have great cleaning performance thanks to the PowerWash cycle, but the MHW7100DW has a few features that vastly increase its usability. We think the ability to start a wash before work, then come home ten hours later to fresh clothes is worth an extra $100. And if you're in the market for a family-sized washer, the MHW7100DW's huge drum will get the job done.