Laundry

Whirlpool Cabrio WTW5000DW Washing Machine Review

Laundry used to be so simple...

Credit: Reviewed.com / Jonathan Chan

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By the Numbers

In order to compare the Whirlpool WTW5000DW to other washers, we put it through our battery of controlled tests. The most important ones are the stain removal and efficiency tests, and you can read more about all the tests we do by clicking right here.

Now that Whirlpool's debuted its innovative control panels for washing machines, we're relieved to to see the company hasn't forsaken simpler appliances, like the Cabrio WTW5000DW (MSRP $649).

No extra features adorn this 4.3-cu.-ft. top loader, which can be found on sale for as low as $539. It has dials that adjust soil level, temperature, rinse, and presoak. That is all. The only touch of modernity this machine has inside is its drum.

Instead of a traditional pole agitator, there's a high-efficiency washing impeller at the bottom of the drum. It's this new system (and a lot of extra water) that gives the WTW5000DW an edge over many other traditionally styled top loaders. However, there's a host of more efficient and more effective machines on the market. If you aren't feeling particularly nostalgic, we recommend you keep searching.

To read our full review of this washer's matching dryer, the Whirlpool WED5000DW, click here.

Cleaning Performance

Cleaning performance is measured using a photospectrometer. This device can decipher how much of a stain has been lifted by comparing the color to a clean, pure white linen. The stains we use come on mechanically coated on cloth swatches, with substances like blood, sweat, and cocoa powder pre-stained in. These strips are placed in test loads with ballast made up of towels, bedsheets, and pillowcases. Test loads are then washed in a variety of cycles.

Stains

Before and after test stain results using the Normal cycle. From left to right: control, sweat, dirt, blood, cocoa, and red wine.

The Heavy Duty cycle was the most powerful one we tested, and required 1 hour 40 minutes to complete. This cycle had a 1% stain removal edge over Normal on the hottest setting, which probably isn't worth the extra time. The gap started to widen when we lowered the temperature on the Normal cycle to Medium. Stain removal fell 6% as a result. Delicates was the weakest, and lagged 12% behind the Heavy Duty cycle.

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The WTW5000DW did best against blood and cocoa stains, and we noticed this washer has a good temperature profile. This means the WTW5000DW added water of the appropriate temperature at the correct time–too much hot water early can "bake" on stains. Across all cycles, blood and cocoa stains came out 20% cleaner than sweat or oil stains. Although high water usage can help wash away stains, it can also dilute detergent concentrations. Washers that do well against oil and sweat usually have an internal water heater, but the WTW5000DW lacks this high-end feature.

The absence of a pole agitator, in favor of an impeller wash plate, means clothing wear wasn't as bad. Test results were in line with average top-loaders.

Design & Usability

Like an old friend

The WTW5000DW likely looks and feels like the washer you're replacing—or the one your mother replaced decades ago. Other than the push-to-start button, all the controls are dials. Design-wise, we see a lot of similarities to the Maytag MVWC555DW. The two machines are made in the same factory and share a similar, traditional construction, with no extras to clutter the control panel.

Controls
Credit: Reviewed.com / Jonathan Chan

The uncluttered control panel makes it easy to use.

That complete lack of clutter is a blessing and a curse. It's nice to look at a washer and know what everything does intuitively. You certainly won't have to spend hours poring over the owner's manual (although we recommend you still give it a read). Of course, no extras means no steam, no sanitize cycle, etc. But if you want a laundry experience that's as simple as possible, you'll find it here.

Performance & Features

Time-tested

Best Results
Credit: Reviewed.com / Jonathan Chan

The best results came from using the Normal cycle on the hottest setting.

Much of the technology inside the WTW5000DW existed thirty years ago. If you've ever owned a top loader in that time, you'll know what to expect.

This Whirlpool, while more efficient than its predecessors, uses a lot of water. In fact, we calculate that the WTW5000DW will cost around $93 per year to run. The Heavy Duty cycle alone used 46 gallons of water in one of our tests, a significant amount compared to some of the more efficient machines we've tested that get similar or better results. It's also not Energy Star certified.

Stains

Before and after test stain results using the Normal cycle. From left to right: control, sweat, dirt, blood, cocoa, and red wine.

In some ways, this formula works. The WTW5000DW has better cleaning than some washers that cost twice as much. We got the best results when we used the Heavy Duty cycle on warm with two extra rinses. The Normal cycle on the hottest setting with two extra rinses followed close behind. But Normal is the better deal: It requires only an hour and 15 minutes, while Heavy Duty needs an hour and 40, with only a single extra percentage point of stain removal to show for it.

Compare that with more efficient machines that take under 45 minutes—and sometimes as little as 29 minutes—and you'll see why we think this older technology lags behind.

Contrast the cost of ownership to machines that cost a third as much to run, and suddenly this inexpensive washer seems like even less of a bargain. You could make up the $300 initial cost difference bewtween the WTW5000DW and more efficient Kenmore 41583 in water usage alone after just five years of ownership.

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

Efficiency

Utility consumption is measured by simply hooking up the WTW5000DW to electricity and water meters. Using national average cost and typical use patterns, we estimate a yearly operating cost of around $97 per year for this model.

On the other side of things, the wetter a pile of laundry is, the more work your energy-hogging dryer will have to do. In this regard, the WTW5000DW stumbled a little bit. We like to see washers spin out around 50% of excess water, however this Whirlpool only removed 38% on average.

Warranty

The WTW5000DW has a standard one-year warranty. This covers parts and labor for any defects found at the time of purchase.

Before You Buy

A stalwart machine in changing times

Aside from the lack of a pole agitator, the WTW5000DW is your mother's washing machine. With better-than-average cleaning, very high water usage, and a plain design, consumers with classic taste will be attracted to this model. Our lab tests show that the WTW5000DW does as advertised: It removes stains.

If that's what you're looking for, and all that you're looking for, then this Whirlpool is worth checking out. But if you care about water usage—or a fast wash cycle—you should keep shopping.

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