Maytag Bravos MVWX655DW Washing Machine Review
A familiar package, plus some extra power
Unlike many popular washing machines, the Maytag Bravos MVWX655DW (MSRP $749) offers a straightforward user experience and powerful cleaning at a very low price. This top-loader sells for $579, and is one of the best of its kind we've tested. It's worth the premium over machines that sell for slightly less, thanks to useful extras like a window on the lid and dispensers for detergent and fabric softener.
Outfitted with a 4.3-cu.-ft. drum and Maytag's 10-year warranty on certain components, this washer will get your clothes clean, and won't frustrate you in the process.
The only problem? You'll notice the MVWX655DW wears no Energy Star badge. While it does meet the Department of Energy's minimum efficiency guidelines, it uses about twice as much water as a comparable front-loading machine. That's not unusual for a top loader, but those water bills add up over time.
Still, new technology means it's more efficient than older machines, making the Maytag MWVX655DW one of the best values on the market.
Design & Usability
The MVWX655DW is designed and assembled in America, and embodies the essence of a traditional top loader. Its body is metal all around, with plastic controls that still feel sturdy. All the knobs respond with a satisfying "click" when you turn them, and the windowed lid has soft-close hinges.
When you get the lid open, you'll see a detergent dispenser. That alone is an unusual feature for a washer in this price range, but this one also slides easily on metal tracks. Keep in mind that this is a high efficiency machine, which means it needs less detergent to get the job done. It's a bad sign if the machine isn't using all the detergent you put in, and that could lead to soapy streaks on your dark clothes.
The drum features a wash plate instead of a pole agitator, which is gentler on clothing and requires less water. In practice, this means you cram a decent amount of laundry into the machine, and you can also reach it (the drum is just 29 inches deep) without any trouble later on.
Performance & Features
The balance of PowerWash
Broadly speaking, there are three ways to clean laundry: chemical, thermal, and mechanical. Only the thermal and mechanical factors are totally within a washer's control. Thermal energy takes the form of hot water, and—since this mdoel lacks an internal water heater—the MVWX655DW scales back hot water use to avoid draining your hot water heater. To make up for this, each load ends up taking a long time, such as 52 minutes for Normal.
This machine also uses a lot of cold water to wash away stains. Based on national cost and use patterns, we estimate that the MVWX655DW will cost about $63 a year to run between water and electricity consumption. That's on par with most top-loading machines, but double what an efficient front loader uses.
However, the MVWX655DW at least puts all of that water to good use. At an hour and fifteen minutes, the PowerWash cycle proved to be the most... well, powerful. It used 20 gallons of water, but was more than capable of tackling everything from cocoa to blood stains.
Normal was the next best lab-tested cycle. It tested close behind PowerWash with about 4% less stain removal overall, but struggled against sweat stains.
For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page.
Though there's a big "10 Year Limited Warranty" badge on the front, the entirety of the Maytag MVWX655DW is only covered by a one-year limited warranty. This covers parts and labor for any defects found after the time of purchase. Maytag does include a ten-year warranty on its drive motor and drum, but that only covers parts. Getting a mechanic in to fix it will still cost you.
Your Mother's Washer
Old-school design with some new-school tech
You likely learned how to do laundry from your parents on a machine that's now outdated. If you long for those days, the user interface of the Maytag MVWX655DW is basically the same as the washer you grew up with. While some of the technological aspects under the hood have been upgraded, everything else is decidedly old-school.
Soft-close hinges, a PowerWash cycle, and a 4.3-cu.-ft. drum add touches of class—as well as some modernity—to a highly affordable machine. If you're okay with those upgrades, and no others, and you don't live in an area with high utility costs, this machine should do a fine job.
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