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Expert Score
8.4

GE GTW485ASJWS Top Load Washing Machine Review

Fill 'er up—this washer can be as efficient or inefficient as you want it to be.

November 28, 2015
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Cleaning Performance

Our stain removal tests use standardized "stain strips"—long pieces of cloth that have been mechanically coated in representative household substances like red wine, carbon, oil, blood, and cocoa. We place these strips in test loads with towels, pillowcases, and bedsheets and wash them with a standardized detergent. After a cycle is finished, we take the strips out and scan them with a photospectrometer to determine how close to white they are.

Stains
Before and after test stain results using the Normal cycle. From left to right: control, sweat, dirt, blood, cocoa, and red wine. View Larger

The GTW485ASJWS had an average showing among all washers, but it outcleaned most other machines with a similar design or price. The Whites cycle used a ridiculous 16 gallons of hot water, but removed the most stains in just under an hour. Results from the Heavy Duty cycle were similar to Whites, but needed 18 extra minutes to get there. The Normal cycle came in third, removing 4.14% fewer stains than the Whites cycle.

Narrowing our focus to individual stains, we found that the GTW485ASJWS did well against protein-based stains like blood and cocoa powder. In order to fight these stains, a washer must have a good temperature profile. Washers that dispense hot water too early can "cook" proteins into clothes, but this GE didn't make that mistake.

Efficiency

Our efficiency tests account for both resource usage and water retention. The upfront costs of running a washer are water and electricity. In this case, the GTW485ASJWS kept costs down, more so than other top loaders. Based on typical use patterns and utility prices, this washer will cost you around $50 a year to run—about ten or twenty dollars below average for a top loader, and astounding for a machine with this kind of a traditional setup.

Water retention is also important. Washers that fail to spin out excess water just end up taxing the dryer, which is the energy hog of most homes. The GTW485ASJWS spun out 55% of excess water, which is significantly better than average.

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Clothing Wear

Washing machines with pole agitators are notorious for tearing clothes up, the GE GTW485ASJWW included. To quantify wear and tear, we used mechanical action strips–pieces of cloth with a standardized thread count and composition. After a wash cycle is complete, we count the number of loose threads to determine how much damage has been done.

The GTW485 had some pretty uneven results. For example, on the Heavy Duty cycle we counted 70 loose threads on one strip, while another only had 44. This is probably due to the proximity to the pole agitator: closer strips get a more rigorous clean, while others "stall" on the outskirts of the drum. The Normal cycle showed the largest discrepancy with a high of 56 loose threads and a low of 3. The Delicates cycle was the most even, with a high of 25 loose threads and a pristine mechanical action strip as its low.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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