Washing machines and dryers are getting smarter. CleanSpeak, featured in a handful of GE laundry machines dating back to 2011, allows a washer to tell its companion dryer how long it should run to get clothes dry. It aims to save time and energy. We had a pair of GE CleanSpeak appliances in our labs recently—the GTWS8650DWS washer and GTDS820EDWS dryer—and decided to test the claims.
How Is It Supposed to Work?
At the end of a wash cycle, the washer will send a signal along an Ethernet or serial cable to the dryer. The burst of data activates the dryer and auto-selects an appropriate cycle and drying time. All you have to do is load your laundry into the dryer and press the start button.
Does It Actually Work?
CleanSpeak worked as advertised. The washer sent a signal to the dryer and picked a cycle without our input. It reduced drying times by at least 2 minutes, and sometimes up to 10 minutes. The clothes were satisfactorily dry when we pulled them out. That's all great.
Basically, it offers incremental savings across the board. You'll definitely save a few cents on your power bill. You won't have to guess which dry cycle you're supposed to use. You might save a couple minutes.
In practice, we're not sure that it'll save most folks all that much time. To really see a benefit, you need to be the kind of laundry-doer that waits eagerly for the cycle to finish. (It would be amazing if laundromats started to adopt machines with this tech.) If you're a "set it and forget it" kind of person that always just selects the Normal cycle, you won't notice a difference.
If you already own a washer and dryer, there's no need to rush out and replace your combo just to get this feature. But it's one of many decent features to consider when you're shopping for new laundry machines.
Like we've said, smart appliances are coming whether you want them or not. These CleanSpeak machines (yes, they qualify as smart appliances) are ahead of the curve, offering basic smart functionality that'll make your chores just a little bit easier if you take advantage of the technology. Not only can they communicate with each other, but they can connect to the GE Appliance Communication Module, too. Like CleanSpeak, these other smart features aren't all that useful yet, but it's a decent try by GE—let's hope that they start by adding wireless connectivity next time.