Samsung WA48J7700AW Activewash Washing Machine Review
Activewash for under $700? Yes, please!
Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.
Editor's Note: On November 4, 2016 Samsung announced a voluntary recall to address consumer complaints about washers experiencing catastrophic failure during spin cycles. You can learn more about that recall here.
Certain serial numbers of this model may be affected by this issue. As such, we have chosen to rescind our Editors’ Choice award for this product until we have more information on Samsung’s plans to remedy the situation.
We're big fans of Samsung's Activewash, a genius design that puts a tiny sink in the lid of the washer for easy soaking and pretreating.
But if the flagship Samsung WA52J8700AP is too expensive at $1,119, you should check out the Samsung WA48J7700AW (MSRP $899).
The 7700 has a smaller drum than its larger counterpart, though 4.8 cubic feet is plenty big enough for a family's worth of laundry. As a washer, the WA48J7700AW is outperformed by most front loaders—hence its score—but it's still one of the better top loaders we've tested.
Most importantly, the WA48J7700AW's $699 sale price is a great value for one of the most innovative appliances we've ever seen.
To learn more about how we test click here.
Cleaning performance is all about stain removal. We use mechanically coated cloth swatches, which are covered in five common household substances–ranging from pig's blood to cocoa powder. The different substances let us see if a washer is good at stain-fighting within a certain pH limit or against certain types of proteins.
The Samsung WA48J7700AW followed a very standard cleaning pattern. The best cycle was Heavy Duty, which cleaned 28% better than the Normal cycle, and turned the heat all the way up. If you want to save money and turn the water temperature down to warm, you'll take about a 7% hit to stain removal.
Delving into the individual stains, we found the WA48J7700AW performed well against blood and cocoa powder. This is a good spread, and shows this washer didn't add hot water too early. Dumping hot water on a protein-based stain can sometimes set it onto fabric. On the flip side, the WA48J7700AW did poorly against sweat and oil–a sign that it didn't use enough hot water during the second half of the cycle.
Design & Usability
Total laundry care, all in one product
Let's face it: you'll know at first glance whether you want the Samsung WA48J7700AW. Do you want a little sink to pretreat your laundry inside your washer? Well, if you find yourself lugging laundry between the washer and the kitchen sink to scrub out spots before you run a cycle, then this Samsung will save you time.
It doesn't matter if your laundry routine spans several floors or just several feet, the ability to have all your cleaning agents centered around one location saves aggravation. A one-stop cleaning spot makes this washer unlike any other.
Activewash puts a washbasin inside your washer. Ridges on the side and a textured bottom allow you to scrub out stains like on an old washboards. A button at the front of the WA48J7700AW turns on a spout inside the basin, allowing you to add as much or as little water as you need. When you're finished pretreating, simply tilt the basin back and all your laundry falls right into the drum to await a wash cycle.
The only other consideration should be size. With a 4.8-cu.-ft. drum, the Samsung WA48J7700AW isn't small, but it isn't the biggest washer on the market either. That prize goes to another Samsung. So while the WA48J7700AW can't fit three baskets of laundry at the same time, it will easily serve a typical family of four.
We hooked the Samsung WA48J7700AW up to water and watt meters to measure utility costs. Assuming national average cost and use patterns, we estimate the yearly operating cost of this machine will be $63 a year. That's pretty high–even for a top loader.
But the washer accounts for only half the equation when it comes to making your laundry wearable. The wetter your laundry is when it comes out of your washer, the more work your dryer has to do. The best washers tend to spin out around 50% of a laundry load's weight in water, and the WA48J7700AW spun out about 46%. That's a touch lower than we like to see.
Performance & Features
Punches at its weight class
You wouldn't expect a welterweight to knock out a heavyweight, nor should you expect a washer that costs around $750 to out-clean a washer that sells for $1,200. But compared to other top-load washers in its price range, the WA48J7700AW does pretty well.
As far as individual cycles, Heavy Duty was the runaway favorite. For an extra half hour longer than the Normal cycle, it'll give you a nearly 30% boost in stain removal across the board. Second place goes to the Normal cycle with the heat cranked all the way up, then comes Normal with warm water.
Like most top-loaders, efficiency wasn't the WA48J7700AW's strong suit. If you wash clothes mostly on the Normal cycle but occasionally use one of the specialty modes, you'll likely use about twice as much water as the most efficient front-loading machine we've tested. Over a lifetime of ownership, that could add around $300 to your water bill.
At this price point you're not going to get steam cleaning or especially efficient cycles. What you're getting here is a standard top loader with a nice prize inside.
For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page.
The WA48J7700AW has a pretty standard warranty. There's a one-year parts and labor warranty that covers any defects found at the time of purchase, then a two-year warranty on the control board that only covers parts. Finally, a ten-year warranty covers the direct drive motor.
A traditional, affordable top-loader with a unique feature
The world of laundry is a meritocracy–it gives you what you put in. If you want the cleanest clothes that don't wear out, you have to put in the elbow grease.
The Samsung WA48J7700AW puts the opportunity to pretreat your clothes front and center. That's half the battle. A 1-cu.-ft. sink on top of your washer saves time and hassle, and a sub-$700 sale price is more than reasonable. If you want to get more hands-on with your laundry without trudging back and forth to the kitchen or installing a utility sink, then check out the WA48J7700AW.
THIS ARTICLE WAS UPDATED ON Oct. 4, 2016 TO REFLECT NEW INFORMATION ABOUT SAMSUNG WASHING MACHINES.