Whirlpool WTW4815EW Washing Machine Review
This $400 washer is affordable and readily available
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Washers have three tools to get stains out: heat, mechanical action, and detergent. At our appliance labs, we standardize the detergent we use and the water supply. In essence, we remove as many variables as possible so the end result is all the washer's doing.
To test stain removal, we use mechanically coated stain strips, which are covered with common household substances like cocoa and red wine. The 4815, like most entry-level washers, did well against cocoa and blood stains. The result tells us that the 4815 knows to use cold water before hot, preventing fresh stains from "cooking" onto fabric. Regardless of 4815's judicious use of hot water, it lacks an internal water heater, meaning it can't deal with greasy stains well.
The Normal cycle set to the hottest setting with two rinses technically did the best, but performed just 1% better than the Normal cycle on all the medium settings. Deep Wash also fared about as well as Normal. Overall, the WTW4815EW performs like an affordable washer should.
If the Whirlpool WTW4815EW (MSRP $599) looks familiar, we know how you feel. We've already tested multiple Whirlpool and Maytag models that rely on a similar design, like last year's Maytag MVWC415EW.
After weeks of testing those models and all their competitors, we think the 4815 is an acceptable choice if you need to replace a broken washer in a pinch. It's available at many stores, and sells for as low as $359. If it's between a trip to the laundromat or putting this washer in the back of your truck to bring it home, buy the washer.
It'll do an adequate job washing your clothes and it won't cost much up front, but be forewarned: It will slowly drain your wallet over time.
Our tests showed that owners of this washer will have to put up with premature clothing wear. Although its wash system—a combination of an old-school corkscrew agitator and a modern, high-efficiency wash plate—promises better cleaning with less wear than what the absolute cheapest machines offer, it still can't hold a candle to a front loader. You can see our exact findings on how this technology performed on the Test Results Page.
The 4815 also uses a lot of water, which has consequences across all you utility bills. That's because your dryer is also going to have to put in some overtime, as this washer doesn't do a good job spinning excess water out of laundry. Even the Normal cycle left our test laundry sopping wet.
This is an acceptable washer for now, but if your household ever grows or you feel like your clothes are wearing out too soon, just about any other washer will be an upgrade.
Warranty information is available on Whirlpool's website.
To measure resource usage we hooked the WTW4815EW up to wattage and water meters. The end result was as we'd expect from an entry-level washer. Based on national average use patterns and costs, we expect the 4815 to have an annual operating cost of $84.12—twice as much as what an efficient front-loader should cost to run.
Washers with agitators wear out clothes faster than those without. How do we know this? Well, we measure clothes wear in every load by adding mechanical action strips to each cycle. These specially designed cotton squares fray according to the rigor of a given cycle. After test washes, we simply count the number of loose threads.
On this Whirlpool, the Deep Wash cycle proved to be the most destructive at 80 loose strands, and Normal wasn't too much better. By comparison, the gentlest washers we've tested only pull about 10-15 threads loose. If you buy the 4815, you should expect your clothes to wear out prematurely.