Danby DWM17WDB Compact Washer Review
Like a gremlin, the DWM17WDB can fit anywhere, but it'll cause you a lot of headaches
I'll start off this review by saying that its a great privilege to own an appliance of any kind, especially a washing machine. Most of the world does not have access to the surplus water and electricity needed to run such a piece of machinery, and plenty of folks in the US don't have the space for a dedicated laundry room.
With that said, the Danby DWM17WDB (MSRP $450) is an objectively bad washing machine as far as performance is concerned. But if you don't have the space or the dedicated faucet for a full-size machine, this machine will do. Though it's pricey to run, it's cheap to buy — $450 MSRP, and much less on sale. Just 32.5 inches tall with its wheels attached and 21 inches deep, it can be hidden in a closet. When you want to do a wash, you can roll it out of the closet and hook it up to your sink. It's tiny and it works, sorta. It's kind of like a cult movie that's only fun to watch after you've lowered your expectations, and possibly dressed up as a character.
Design & Usability
Many missteps make a stumble
Traveling all the way from Jiangmen, China, we sure hope the Danby DWM17WBD took a few hits along the way. Otherwise, it emerged from the factory full of dents. Either way, it's probably a good thing you can hide this thing in a closet because it looks and feels poorly made. The first thing you'll notice about this washing machine is that you'll get to pretend you work in a factory and install the soundproofing on the bottom of the machine by yourself. Unfortunately, that's not all: I opened up the lid to find the detergent dispenser wouldn't come out because the seams for the plastic drawer were perforated, but not cut all the way through. A good deal of elbow grease was needed to pry it open. Suffice it to say, we weren't impressed with the build quality on this machine.
Once it's plugged in and set up, this Danby's complete lack of features make using it a breeze. It's a push button start washer kind of machine. It should be pointed out that you should keep small children away from this machine while it's in operation, since the lid doesn't lock while a cycle is running. Although the machine deactivates when the lid is opened, it takes a few seconds to come to a complete stop. That's more than enough time to break a finger.
Performance & Features
It has rollies that tick-tock and laundry inside that won't flip-flop
The Danby DWM17WDB had a very uneven performance. In the end, we determined that the Gentle cycle was the best, and every other cycle was subpar. The "Hard" or Heavy Duty cycle left our test loads caked in detergent. Also, for such a tiny washer it sure had a thirst. All cycles used between 20 and 30 gallons of water, which is astoundingly inefficient. That translates to a cost between 11 to 20 cents per wash. Unless you enjoy watching a flickering TV while waiting for your clothes to dry, though, it still beats going to the laundromat.
The other issue with this washer is that it's really tiny. Though it's rated for 11 pounds of laundry, our standard eight pound test loads filled it to the brim. Being so stuffed kept the clothes inside from mixing properly. We know this because we placed in test strips that measure wear and tear. Half of our test strips got torn by the massive agitator in the Danby while others remained virtually untouched. Unless you're following standardized washing machine test protocols, we recommend you only wash very small loads.
The Danby DWM17WDB is a machine that designed for a target audience: those with very limited space and no dedicated washing machine hookup. If you fit that criteria, consider that every one of the Danby's minuses could also be a plus: It has a very low laundry capacity, but it takes up very little space. It's poorly machined, but can be had for $450 or less. Best of all, it can operate by being hooked up to a 3/4" faucet, and it drains into the sink.
Other washers are objectively ten times better than this one. But if you can't install a washing machine where you live and therefore are currently washing your clothes in the tub by hand or lugging them to the laundromat, then this washer might be an upgrade.
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