Whirlpool Duet WFW88HEAC Washing Machine Review
This Duet is more than a siren's song.
When I first unpacked the Whirlpool Duet WFW88HEAC (MSRP $1,299) I had a sense of deja vu. After all, it looks just like the WFW94HEA I'd reviewed weeks earlier. Could the delivery company have made a mistake?
It took a look at the build plate to be sure: It looks the same, handles the same, and has basically the same features. Performance and efficiency are pretty similar. That's all good, since the WFW94HEA is a good washer. The $1,299 MSRP is a bit steep, but we'll let you in on a trick: Find this model in white (the model number is WFW88HEAW) and wait for a sale. The price will easily fall below $1,000, which makes this washer a deal.
Design & Usability
Stick with what you know
The controls on Whirlpool WFW88HEAC are exactly the same as those found on the WFW94HEAW. Don't believe me? I've got photographic evidence.
To reiterate, the capacitive touch buttons aren't that responsive, but the door is easy to open and reveals a gaping maw. If you want more details, read the review of the '96, as these washers are so similar, they could play a single character on an early-'90s Miller-Boyett sitcom.
Come to think of it, I've never seen both of these washers in the same room at the same time...
Performance & Features
You'll pay a hefty ticket price to see this Duet sing
The WFW88HEAC actually sounds really good. All the buttons make pleasing noises that run up and down various scales. It does a pretty good job cleaning clothes, but it scored best on the Heavy Duty cycle. Otherwise, it hovers around average for washers that cost this much.
One major plus: This is one of the more efficient washers we've tested. We estimate that, if you use a mix of cycles and have average water and energy costs, this machine will only cost you $27 a year to run. That's $30 less than some less-efficient machines we've tested.
As for features, you've got your standard array of higher end features including steam cleaning, eco boost (which uses less hot water), and TumbleFresh. When activated, TumbleFresh periodically spins the drum to keep clothes from getting stale and musty before you've got a chance to put them in the dryer.
Personally, I wish this feature were set as the default. It should activate automatically if you don't fetch your laundry after a cycle has finished for sometime. Having the presence of mind to activate the feature seems contradictory: If you know you're not going to be around when the cycle finishes, why not use the delay wash feature which works up to eight hours, longer than the TumbleFresh?
The Whirlpool Duet WFW88HEAC is a front-loading washer with average cleaning performance, a good amount of features, and excellent water and energy efficiency. Its $1,299 MSRP may scare at first glance, but a cursory search online shows that ditching the gray finish for a white one and waiting for a sale could save you more than $300. If you're looking for more features, however, the Whirlpool Duet WFW94HEAW sells for a similar price but comes fully loaded.
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