Samsung WV60M9900AW FlexWash Washing Machine Review
Are two washers in one package worth $1,500?
The Samsung FlexWash WV60M9900AV (MSRP $1,899) is two washers in one: A 5.0-cu.-ft. front loader for big loads down below, and a 1.0-cu.-ft. top loader for smaller loads up top.
If it looks familiar, that's because this washer is the Korean-tech giant's answer to LG's TwinWash system, which puts a smaller washer underneath a larger front-loader. Unlike LG TwinWash, Samsung FlexWash combines both washing machines in a single unit, which sells for around $1,500 on sale. (A slightly smaller version, the WV9600, sells for around $1,249.)
We think TwinWash's separate machines makes for a better design for a number of reasons—including ergonomics, ease of service, and a lower price. However, if you're still curious, we tested this washer from front to back. Here's what we found.
What the FlexWash is like, by the numbers
We've evaluated hundreds of laundry machines at our labs in Cambridge, MA, so we got a good measure of the WV9900 right out of the box. The front loader portion is essentially a 5.0-cu.-ft. Samsung washer, which retails for about $900. In other words, the additional $600 of the FlexWash's $1,500 sale price is for the washer up top.
By comparison, a similarly-sized TwinWash setup will cost you around $1,680—although mail-in rebates reduce that amount, and smaller versions cost far less.
Just because it's expensive doesn't mean that the FlexWash is a ripoff. You're still getting a lot of features for the money, including:
• 153°F Sanitize: With an internal water heater, our sensors picked up temperatures north of 153°F. That's higher than most washers can manage.
• 30-minute Normal cycle: The FlexWash has a feature called Super Speed. It turns a normally 52-minute Normal cycle into a 30-minute breeze. Our cleaning tests proved it cleaned as well as a longer cycle.
• 5 customizable levels: You can add up to five extra rinses to select cycles. There are also five settings for temperature, soil, and spin speed, including no spin.
• 11 cleaning cycles: From Bedding to Active Wear, this washer has all your bases covered. Overall, the WV9900 has 11 cleaning cycles, 5 of which can use steam if you want.
• Luxury looks: Say what you will about the price, but Samsung paid attention to the details. All the hinges have smooth action and the glass feels solid. The display lights are bright and the controls are responsive, and it's available in both black stainless and white finishes.
And only the FlexWash can be paired with a matching dryer. FlexDry, which won our coveted Editors' Choice award, includes a separate drying rack up to air dry delicates. We think it's a brilliant idea, and that it might just be worth purchasing on its own.
Main Washer Performance
Regardless of how you feel about the FlexWash concept, Samsung makes some high-performing front loaders, and the main washer of the WV9900 is no exception. The Heavy Duty cycle removed 72 percent of the common household stains we set out for it, and Normal got our test laundry 68 percent clean. Bearing in mind that no washer has ever aced our cleaning test, these results are comparable to other high-end machines like the Kenmore 41983.
How well does the tiny washer work?
The top loader attached to the WV9900 uses the same inlet hoses as the rest of the washer. However, the top loader has its own drain hose that connects to the one from the lower washer. No assembly or extra parts are required to run the extra washer.
Given that they are independent but internally connected, we ran tests with both washers running at the same time and found no issues with drops in water pressure or excess vibration. The fact we didn't have a major catastrophe with the FlexWash is one of the biggest positives.
Up top, the 1 cu. ft. top-loader can only hold a few shirts, blouses, or towels. Unfortunately, since it lacks an internal water heater, the hottest temperature we recorded on the top washer was as warm as the tap could get. That's great for delicates, but not so much for sanitizing baby clothes, or anything that's very dirty.
In terms of stain removal, the 43-minute Normal on the top washer was weaker than the 25-minute Quick Wash on the main washer. Our take is that the upper washer is for refreshing lightly soiled items, and little else.
LG's TwinWash has the same problems, but at least it doubles as a pedestal that lifts the main washer for easier access. Because FlexWash puts the second washer up top, its front-loader remains low to the ground, but its slanted top and 47-inch height mean it's hard to fold clothes atop it, too.
We should mention that the Samsung WV60M9900AV has smart features. The washer is compatible with Samsung's Smart Home app. But when we downloaded the app and connected our FlexWash to our Wi-Fi network, we got mixed results.
Probably the most useful option is Remaining Laundry. With this option, you can set the washer to tumble your laundry after the cycle has ended, keeping your clothes from creasing and getting musty. It will also notify you at increments of your choosing that your laundry ready for the dryer. The fact that you can set this after a cycle has started means you have one less thing to worry about in your nonstop life. This is very similar to the Stay Fresh option on the Kenmore Smart App, but with the addition of periodic notifications.
Still, we found the app to be too finicky. It frequently lost contact with the washer, didn't obey our commands, and offered an overly complex user interface.
For most Americans, who tend to spend less than $500 on a washing machine, the short answer is no. You can get the same main washer performance and features from a machine that's $700 dollars less. If you like the concept of doing two loads at once, you can get the LG TwinWash or a separate compact unit—all for less money.
The long answer is that the FlexWash is interesting in its concept, but not in its execution. For instance, the choice to install a washing machine up top means users will have to bend down to unload laundry from the main machine. And, although it's useful to wash gentle items separately, we'd like a sanitize cycle in the smaller washer for baby clothes. That's an issue it shares with LG TwinWash.
While we wholeheartedly recommend the matching Samsung FlexDry dryer, we think the Samsung WV60M9900AV FlexWash is too expensive and too much of a niche product for most laundry rooms.
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