Fisher & Paykel AquaSmart WL42T26DW1 Review
Stain removal performance is excellent, but energy efficiency is lacking.
Found on sale for around $775, this Fisher & Paykel (it’s pronounced PIE-kel, not PAY-kel) is best for those who want excellent stain fighting performance from a higher-end washer that’s a little bit different.
In our scientific tests, it excelled both in terms of stain removal and ease of use. Its ten year motor warranty is also impressive, though not unprecedented. As for drawbacks, its overly-simplified control panel lacks a time display, dirt removal is subpar, and the “AquaSmart” moniker is undeserved, considering how much water this top-loader uses.
Design & Usability
Easy to use, but no wash timer
This appliance has foolproof but spartan controls. Like the speedometer on your grandfather's Buick LeSabre, the Fisher & Paykel AquaSmart WL42T26DW1's control panel is laid out horizontally. The top tier is home to wash cycles, with an individual button for each. Beneath are the wash options, which scroll through menus. It's extremely easy to use.
Conspicuously absent for a washer in this price range is a timer that shows how many minutes are left in a wash. The "advance" feature is pretty cool, though, letting you skip through parts of a wash cycle if you're in a hurry. It's also easy to load and unload, since there's no agitator that clothes might get wrapped around. Just watch out for that big door.
Performance & Features
The Regular cycle destroys stains.
The Fisher & Paykel AquaSmart WL42T26DW1 did well universally when it came to stain removal. Even tough oil and grease stains were no match for this machines Regular cycle, which left our standardized stain strips closer to pure white than many other washers we’ve tested. However, the AquaSmart’s Delicate cycle isn’t going to remove any tough stains, though it will brighten your less-durable laundry without damaging it.
Sadly, there is no "quick" cycle, nor any way to configure an existing cycle to take less time. If you're in a hurry, it's possible to push the "advance" button to skip to the next step of a cycle, but be warned—performance will inevitably suffer. No cycle took longer than an hour, though, which is reasonable.
Finally, though the AquaSmart uses less water than washers designed a decade ago, it wasn't appreciably more efficient than any other modern top-loader we've tested. Moreover, it uses about twice as much water as numerous front loading units we've tested. Oh, and don't get too excited about Fisher & Paykel's similarly-named EcoSmart top loader—it proved just as thirsty.
Fisher & Paykel had an interesting take on the top-loading washer.
On sale for around $775, the Fisher & Paykel AquaSmart WL42T26DW1 does a great job getting stains out of clothes, but struggles with other aspects of a washer. Combined with its lackluster control panel and a thirst for water that belies its name, it's not a great value for such a high price.
The MSRP is even costlier if you consider this machine's high yearly operating cost. Assuming that your water and energy costs are around the national average, running this appliance for a year will set you back more than $61.
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