Whirlpool Duet WFW87HEDW Washing Machine Review

This middle child is neither mild nor wild


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By the Numbers

Good conclusions are all about empirical testing. In our appliance testing labs, we perform a myriad of scientific tests that revolve around the two most important aspects of a washing machine: performance and efficiency.

The Whirlpool Duet WFW87HEDW (MSRP $1,099 in white or $1,199 in chrome) is smack dab in the middle of the Duet lineup. At 4.3 cu. ft., this washer is smaller than the 4.5-cu.-ft. WFW95HEDW (MSRP $1,199-$1,349) but bigger than the 4.2-cu.-ft. WFW72HEDW (MSRP $849). All three Duets share the same decent cleaning performance and feature set. So it all comes down to size. If you spend an extra $100 for the WFW95, you gain a cubic foot of capacity, and you lose half a cubic foot for saving $250 on the WFW72. Like Goldilocks, you just have to find the right one for you.

To read our full review of this washer's matching dryer, the Whirlpool WED87HEDW, click here.

Design & Usability

A touch of silver

The WFW87HEDW sets itself apart from plainer washers with a silver ring around the door. As washers go, it's fairly attractive.

In terms of actually using it, the WFW87HEDW is straightforward. The flat, capacitive buttons are sometimes finicky, but functional. The whole experience reminded us of the WFW95HEDW, which shares the same drum, door, and features.

Again, the most interesting feature is TumbleFresh. This feature tumbles your laundry for an extended period after a cycle has finished. This greatly increases the WFW87HEDW's flexibility because it allows you to set a wash before you go to work and not worry about a musty washer when you come home.

The 4.3-cu.-ft. drum should be large enough for the typical American household. If you're upgrading from an older front loader, odds are you'll be getting more space for your clothes. Most front loaders from previous generations only offered between 3.4 and 4.0 cu. ft. of space.

Cleaning Performance

Cleaning performance is exactly what it sounds like. How much stain can each cycle lift? For stains, we use controlled cloth strips coated in substances like blood, sweat, and cocoa.

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An example of a before and after stain strip wash. rom left to right: control, sweat, dirt, blood, cocoa, and red wine

Dirt and red wine turned out to be this washer's toughest opponents, but it handled other stains like blood, cocoa, and sweat with ease. Heavy Duty proved the best cycle–outperforming the Normal cycle by 12%, but doing so in 1 hour 20 minutes. The Quick Wash took only 26 minutes, but only suffered a 2.5% loss in effectiveness compared to the Normal cycle.

The Whites cycle wowed us the most. It showed great programming by scoring high marks against blood and cocoa stains. This tells us that it started off cool, then ramped up the heat, preventing stains from "cooking" into fabric. This cycle took an 1 hour 7 minutes, with overall performance edging out the Normal cycle by 5%.


Efficiency tests take two factors into account: what goes in and what comes out. In terms of what goes in—water and electricity—the Whirlpool WFW87 is fairly efficient. Based on average national electricity costs and use patterns, we estimate an annual running cost of around $33.99 for this model.

What comes out is wet laundry. The less water a washer spins out, the more work your dryer has to do. And as we all know, the dryer is just an energy hog. On average, the WFW87HEDW spun out around 40% of excess water. We'd like to see numbers approaching 50%, but you can't have everything.

Performance & Features

A classical Duet


The steel bubble pattern helps lessen damage to your clothing.


The Tumble option allows you to not worry about musty smelling laundry.

With nine cycles to chose from, this Duet can handle just about any laundry situation. Its specialty cycles include Towels, Allergen, and Sanitize; but Heavy Duty was the most powerful one we tested. It blasted through sweat and cocoa stains, a pattern that repeated itself across all cycles. Unfortunately, that level of stain removal required an hour and twenty minutes to complete. The Normal cycle took half the time, and cleaned nearly as well.

The WFW87HEDW had the most trouble removing dirt and red wine stains. So for those times when you've spilled red wine on yourself while rolling through the mud, we'd suggest adding steam to your wash to extract the extra stains. The steam option is available on every cycle except Quick and Delicates.

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

Why We Like It

This Duet is a virtuoso of laundry

There's something nice and safe about the middle ground. The Whirlpool WFW87HEDW is right in the Goldilocks zone: It's not relatively expensive, like the WFW95HEDW, nor does it lack the extra capacity of the cheaper WFW72HEDW. For sale prices as low as $799, it's just right. This washer deals only in washing performance and useful features like TumbleFresh and Steam. So if you're looking for a washer that doesn't muck about, then you might want to consider this Whirlpool Duet WFW87HEDW, or a similar product, like Kenmore's 41182.

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