Laundry

Samsung WF398ATPAWR Washing Machine Review

Unassuming, but powerful.

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Introduction

The Samsung WF398ATPAWR (MSRP $1,099) is an affordable high-end washer with quite good cleaning performance. It has neither a huge drum nor a ton of special features, but it delivers on the basics. In fact, it had one of the best Heavy Duty cycles we've ever seen. A plain white facade and vibration reduction technology means it'll be neither seen nor heard. Thankfully, that's also the case for stains.

Design & Usability

Easy to use, nothing to confuse

Like nearly ever other Samsung washer we've tested, the WF398ATPAWR is a breeze to use. All the buttons have clear labels and all options have indicator lights to tell that they're active. This washer's outside appearance is of little note. In fact, from the side it looks like a classroom white board.

On the front, there's a red LCD display that counts down the time of each wash. It dominates the front of the machine simply because there aren't many other buttons or dials present. While it may lack flash, that makes it extremely user friendly.

Performance & Features

The heaviest of Heavy Duty cycles

Despite its humble appearance, the Samsung WF398ATPAWR had better cleaning performance than many of its closest competitors, including the handsome Whirlpool Duet WFW88HEAC which has an MSRP of $1,299.

While the majority of cycles proved quite good, the three hour Heavy Duty cycle was truly exceptional. There was nothing that it couldn't deal with. From blood to cocoa, it showed no mercy on stains. In fact, of the dozens of machines we've tested, this Samsung managed to get the highest score against tough Red Wine stains when we turned the dial to Heavy Duty. If you've got a laundry disaster, this machine is the National Guard.

The Heavy Duty cycle was truly exceptional.

The WF398ATPAWR has a two and a half hour Sanitize cycle and an internal water heater that makes it possible to reach high temperatures, but otherwise lacks high-end features for washing. Vibration Reduction Technology uses ball bearings to help stabilize its drum in order to reduce noise. Once we balanced the WF398ATPAWR, it really was quite quiet. I sit next to these machines all day, and I hardly noticed that it was running. If your laundry is near your living space, this may be the machine for you.

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Conclusion

I thought I couldn't be surprised by washing machines anymore, but the Samsung WF398ATPAWR proved me wrong. It may not look like anything special, but it'll get your clothes clean. And behind that bland façade is one of the most powerful Heavy Duty cycles on the market. Yes, it lacks wash features, but if you live in a small space or need to put a laundry set on a second floor, it's quiet and stable enough not to intrude. If you like your stains and washing machines equally unobtrusive, check out the Samsung WF398ATPAWR.

Science Introduction

Science is at the core of what we do at Reviewed.com. If we want to say it's cold outside, we have to check a thermometer first. If we're complimenting someone's shoes, we need a panel of respondents to offer a statistically significant evaluation first. And if we're testing a washing machine, we have to put it through rigorous, standardized tests before we make any claims. Thankfully for this Samsung, those tests showed superb results.

Cleaning Performance

Cleaning performance is a core mechanic of a washing machine. The Samsung WF398ATPAWR did surprisingly well. Its Heavy Duty cycle proved itself to be a force of soapy nature. We found this out by putting in stain strips coated with common household ails like cocoa, oil, blood, red wine, and sweat. Like Dean Martin, this Samsung managed to eliminate all presence of red wine. When we set it to Heavy Duty, it lifted stains better than most machines we've tested. On all other cycles, it was slightly above average at removing every stain we threw at it. No matter what you're washing, you can't go wrong—unless the tag says Dry Clean Only.

Efficiency

Efficiency for us at Reviewed.com is two-pronged: what goes in and what comes out. What goes in is read by water and watt meters. In this regard, the Samsung WF398ATPAWR is slightly below average for all washers, but still a bit pricey for a front-loader. The estimated yearly running cost is around $36. We've tested similar machines that we've estimated would cost less than $30 per year to run—not a huge difference, by any means.

What comes out of a washer is wet laundry. The wetter a load is, the more time it needs to spend in the energy sinkhole known as a dryer. Every cycle except for Delicates did well in this regard, and that's to be expected: A high spin speed can wreck fragile fabrics. Normal, Heavy Duty, and Quick all managed to spin out 50 percent of each test load's weight in water. Loads that came out of the Delicates cycle were soaking wet, retaining 107 percent of their weight in water.

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