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Whirlpool Duet WFW97HEDBD Washing Machine Review

Back in Black

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The Whirlpool Duet WFW97HEDBD (MSRP $1,499 in special finishes or $1,349 in white) looks like no other washer. It has an all-new black color scheme that Whirlpool calls Diamond Steel, the result of a design contest that Whirlpool kicked off during last year's CES.

The '97 has roughly the same stain removal, efficiency, and clothing wear performance as the WFW95HEDW—which costs around $300 less. Like the '95, it also has Whirlpool's FanFresh system, which can wash and dry a small load overnight.

But the flagship WFW97HEDBD does add a unique feature: Whirlpool's Load and Go system, which holds enough detergent for twelve loads of laundry. When it's filled, it automatically dispenses just the right amount of soap, so you don't have to worry about detergent residue remaining on clothes.

If you hate pouring detergent into the cap of the soap bottle—and who can see those tiny lines, anyway?—this Whirlpool might be the washer for you.

To read our full review of this washer's matching dryer, the Whirlpool WED97HEBD, click here.

Design & Usability

In the laundry room, Diamond Black is the new white

At first glance, the Whirlpool Duet WFW97HEDBD looks like a black washer. But upon closer inspection, a subtle vector cube pattern—sort of like an M.C. Escher drawing—emerges. Ironically, the pattern doesn't come into full view without overhead lighting, so that dimly lit basement might not be the best place to show off your new artwork.

FanFresh
FanFresh circulates air and tumbles your laundry up to 12 hours after a cycle has completed. View Larger

One extra goodie stole the show: Load and Go. The WFW97HEDBD has the ability to hold up to 12 loads' worth of liquid, high-efficiency detergent. Based on the weight of your laundry, the washer will dispense the correct amount every time. This feature is what sets the 97 apart from the 95, and—we think—justifies the jump in price.

Other high-end features like a drum light and steam cleaning are included, while the FanFresh feature—which tumbles and air-fluffs already completed loads—adds the most flexibility to this machine. Start a load before bed, and don't worry about musty clothes when you wake up.

The door, the control panel, and the cycle selection are all borrowed from the rest of the Duet lineup. If you've used a front loader in the past ten years, you're already familiar with the WFW97HEDBD's controls.

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Performance

Above-average performance—but you're still paying for features

Interior
A interior is well illuminated with a drum light. View Larger

Spending over $1,300 on a washing machine may seem outrageous, but at least the Whirlpool Duet WFW97HEDBD offers more than just a pretty face and lots of extras. After putting this stylish washer through its paces in our test labs, we found it was tough on both cocoa and blood stains. And that's good, since those substances are on opposite ends of the pH scale. Sweat removal was also impressive, but oil clung onto our test laundry pretty tightly. It's tough to beat the laws of chemistry, after all.

Dispenser
The Auto Dispense holds up to 12 loads worth of liquid detergent. View Larger

We also found these cycles were reasonably fast. The Normal cycle took just forty minutes, while the Heavy Duty cycle lasted an hour and fifteen. Those extra thirty-five minutes do give you a major stain removal boost, but unless your clothes are really dirty, the Normal cycle should be just fine.

The Whites and Delicate cycles offered average performance for this price range. If you've owned a Duet before, you'll know what to expect. For those upgrading or replacing another model, those cycles are on par with other high-end washers.

For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page.

Before You Buy

Strength, convenience, beauty

It's easy to look at the price of this machine and dismiss it out of hand. But there's a solid washer here that offers above average cleaning performance, doesn't drain lakes to operate, and looks fairly unique. If the laundry area is prominent in your home, this is a machine worth showing off.

Just be aware that you're paying extra solely for Load and Go, the auto dispenser that stores and automatically releases the right amount of liquid detergent for up to 12 loads. The WFW95HEDW, which doesn't have this feature, still offers identical performance for less.

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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