Blomberg WM 98400SX 24-Inch Compact Washing Machine Review
Just the right size for a small space.
The Blomberg WM 98400SX (MSRP $1,199) is a rare breed of washing machine. It's a compact that's only 24.6 inches deep, and holds only 2.5 cu. ft. of laundry. Despite those limitations, it still gets the job done.
It combines 13 wash cycles—ranging from Jogging Wear to Heavy Duty—with maximum wash temperatures in excess of 150°F. That means the 98400 can cover all your laundry care needs. Although it's more expensive than competitors from Summit/Ariston and Bosch, the size, cycle options, and heat make this little washer a force to be reckoned with.
Better yet, it pairs with the Blomberg DHP24412W compact heat pump dryer, which is possibly the best 24-inch ventless dryer on the market.
If square footage is at a premium where you live, the WM 98400SX will give you a lot of washing machine for your money. If you buy it as part of a pair, it's an even better deal.
Design & Usability
Distinctive European flair
Blomberg is a brand of the Turkish conglomerate Arçelik, which is one of the largest appliance manufacturers in Europe.
Across the pond, a washing machine can usually be found under a countertop in the kitchen. That's why the WM 98400SX is only 33.3 inches tall and only 24.6 inches deep. In order to fit in such a small space, this Blomberg has a capacity of just 2.5 cu. ft.—about half the size of the largest American-style machines. That translates to barely a basket of laundry.
However, as long as you do a little laundry everyday, this could be a better alternative to the trend of ever-larger American washing machines—or making frequent trips to the laundromat. There are advantages beyond size: Against other front loaders, it's easier to reach to the back of the drum of a little washer, and compared to top loaders, this model uses about half the water.
So what are the drawbacks? Well, the biggest difference compared to a full-sized washer is going to be cycle times. We're talking about an hour and a half for a Normal cycle, and two hours for Heavy Duty. Also, the WM 98400SX plugs directly into its accompanying dryer, the DHP24412W. This means the washer and dryer have to be stacked or placed side-by-side. For most consumers, this won't be a problem.
Performance & Features
Big heat, small drum
The Blomberg WM 98400SX's 2.5 cu. ft. drum is a certainly a limitation. If you stuff it full of laundry, some items just won't get the mechanical action or detergent exposure necessary for a good clean.
The 8 lb. loads that we test with were a tight fit, and we noticed some uneven stain removal across each of the stained strips we loaded along with our laundry. When we tested with smaller loads, stain removal scores shot up. Keep that in mind if you're not satisfied with the performance of your compact washer.
We were impressed by the WM 98400SX's internal water heater. Our thermocouples picked up temperatures north of 165°F on the Heavy Duty cycle. Grease and dirt won't stand a chance at those temperatures, but such intense heat can damage delicate fibers, so best reserve the Heavy Duty cycle for actual heavy duty fabrics.
We found the Whites cycle removed the most stains on average–leading the pack by three percent. That might not sound like much, but it adds up over time. The Normal cycle came up second and required over an hour to complete. Still, all the cycles proved effective against stains ranging from blood to cocoa powder.
Furthermore, we confirmed this washer's 1,200 RPM motor was put to good use at spinning out excess moisture. On average, test laundry came out 53% dry, meaning your clothes will spend less time in the dryer.
Special features are mostly relegated to the cycle list. That means there's an overwhelming number of choices around the dial. You should give the owner's manual a once-over before deciding which cycles work best for you.
On the downside, this washer's stain removal doesn't stand up to larger machines in the same price range. For the same $1,200 you can get a washer twice as large, that cleans just as well, in one-forth the time. However, a larger machine won't fit under a counter or in a tiny laundry room.
For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page.
An effective compact
There's a place for the Blomberg WM 98400SX, and that place is a small home. If you have the space for a larger machine or need extra capacity, this isn't the machine for you. However, if square footage comes at a premium, and you think in-unit laundry beats rolls of quarters and trips to the laundromat, the 98400 is a great choice.
Even among its compact competitors, this Blomberg impresses with great stain lifting performance, excess moisture removal, and high-end touches—like 13 cycles and an internal water heater. Better machines exist, but none of them will fit where this 24-inch machine does. If you're pressed for space, the Blomberg WM 98400SX is one of the best models around.
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