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Kitchenaid FL Washer Ensemble

frontloadfan
18 years ago

I have had my Kitchenaid FL washer a week now. I wanted to go ahead and start a thread about this machine. As I have more experience with this machine I will additional comments.

First of all a big drawback to this machine is that it is very hard to actually see one before you buy it. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and I went to all the big box stores and none had the Kitchenaid FL on display. In addition, check out this web site and there are no postings about this machine either. What finally pushed me toward this machine was the forum on Consumer Reports On Line. There I found a thread from a dozen who actually have this machine and since there were no horror stories, I took that as a good sign. In addition, I was able to view the machine on both Kitchenaid's web site and Consumer Report had a picture of it too (with a comment about how stylish it looked).

First the machine I am reviewing is the model # khws02rmt. Last I looked this is the model featured on the Kitchenaid web site. However, I talked to the Kitchenaid consumer 800 number today and I learned that they are now producing a new version of this machine that has at least two revisions. The new version has increased the RPM spin from 1250 to 1300 and has added the Bulky cycle. So if you do order this machine, make certain of which version you are getting.

Moving on, I had two options for color: Meteorite or White. There was a $100 difference in cost for the Meterite. It was well worth it. It is described as "new matte, metallic finish . . . that hides fingerprints and won't compete with the decor in any area of the house." Make no mistake, this is one beautiful, upscale looking machine. The door and the controls (using metal rather than plastic for the controls). This machines appearance coupled with its upgraded sound insulation make this machine perfect for anyone who needs to have the machine in a living area.

The biggest disappointment in this machine was a missing feature. It does not have a delay wash function. This really surprised me in that what is considered an upscale machine would not have this feature. It does have a unique option that may give someone a time delay feature. You can set the machine to whatever cycle you want and then push an option button call "Rinse Hold". You go about your business. The machine will run whatever cycle you programmed. You come back home and the machine will have stopped just before the final rinse (as I understand leaving your clothes in rinse water). When you arrive back, you go to the machine and push the "Rinse Hold" button. As soon as you do so, the machine will then complete the final rinse and then the spin. It is a nice function, but I wouldn't say that it is a great replacement for "Delay Wash".

The machine lists as having 12 cycles. Missing from it cycles are two that are found on the Duet. In case you don't know, the Duet and Kitchenaid are both made by Whirlpool. The two missing cycles are "Active Wear" and "Bulky". As I mentioned above, the just released version of this machine is suppose to have the "Bulky" cycle.

Cycles:

Sanitary, Whitest White, Heavy Duty, Rapid Wash, Delicate, Silk, Wool, Handwash, Soak, Rinse/Soak, Drain/Spin.

Options:

There are 4 options available. They are: Rinse/Hold (I already described this option), prewash, auto soak and extra rinse.

It is interesting as you don't have total freedom to use the options. The four longer cycles (Sanitary, Whitest Whites, Heavy Duty, and Normal Casual) are allowed to have any of the four options you may wish to have. I guess there is some sense to this. I mean you program that you want a rapid wash, so it wouldn't make much sense to have a prewash. In addition, you can never use both Prewash and Autosoak for the same load. You can have one or the other but not both. There is logic behind this as they both use the same detergent slot. Also you should be aware that you are going to use the autosoak, you need to use powder detergent for the main laundry detergent slot as otherwise liquid detergent would seep out during the autosoak.

For water temps, you have the option of

Super Hot/cold

Hot/Cold

Warm/Warm

Warm/cold

Cold/cold

You need to be aware that with some cycles, you don't have the freedom to reset the water temp.

The manual that comes with the machine is really good in that for each of the cycles it tells you the suggested load type for each one PLUS it tells you briefly what the machine will be doing different for this cycle. For instance, the Whitest White includes an additional rinse to make certain the bleach is all rinsed out.

Water temps are as follows: Super Hot is 153; Hot is 122; Warm is 104; and cold is 77.

Inital reaction to this machine is that it is a beauty in terms of appearance. It can't be beat for being so quite. Whirlpool uses the standard sound insulation as they do for the Duet and then for this machine they reconfigured the water exit hose to cut down on the noise additionally.

With the Kitchenaid you get a two year warranty.

My two previous FL machines had spin maximums of 900 (Frigidaire FL) and 1100 (new Maytag Neptune). It is amazing how much faster 1250 seems! I ran a really clunky load. The machine itself took the load in stride, but once it kicked up the final rinse speed, you could feel the floor vibrate and the dryer vibrated too! The Kitchenaid just took it in stride. I know with my Neptune (that I had for all of a month), it really seemed to balk at small loads, like it couldn't adjust to having a small load to spin. This machine doesn't seem to have that problem.

Any case, this is just a first posting. After I obtain more real world experience, I will post back!

Comments (52)

  • jerrod6
    18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Frontload--

    Thanks for sharing the information about your new washer!
    Hope you continue to enjoy it and please let us know how things go and share more comments with us

  • frontloadfan
    Original Author
    18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Trustman-

    You are a bit of a snot. If you can't be constructive at least don't be demeaning to those that are trying to provide information to others. Is that unscale enough for you? I have one request for you: grow up and show others a little respect. Do so and you just might get some back!

  • trustman
    18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Cool your jets, man. I was just asking if you were interested in buying an UPSCALE piece of property.

  • bobbynyc
    18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    FrontLoadFan:

    Best of luck with your new Kitchenaid washer! They really are nice looking machines, I wouldnt mind owning one.

    Take care,

    Bobby

  • frontloadfan
    Original Author
    18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I need to clarify something. I had called Kitchenaid customer service and I was lead to believe that there was a updated Kitchenaid front loader. I have since found out that this is not correct. The model Khws02rmt is the most current model (the one shown on Kitchenaid's web site and the one I purchased). It does have the 1300 rpm speed. The report of the machine having a bulky setting is incorrect; it does not.

    One observation I want to make about the new front loaders, they do clearly clean better than not only top loaders, but earlier front loaders as well. I am basing this on my experience with the small Frigidaire front loader I had for 8 years, plus Consumer Reports. CR clearly rates all of the new machines as providing superior cleaning compared to the older front loaders (like the old Neptune).

    Kudos to Whirlpool for coming up with a door boot design that elimates that puddle of water that forms in the door seal! I noticed this on my KA and then checked out at Costco this morning and confirmed that the Duet uses this design as well. What they have done is formed the gasket in such a way as it does not have indent that allowed water to catch. Instead the gasket is affixed to a liner in the machine. At the lowest point in the gasket, they punched a series of holes in the liner, allowing any water to weep back into the machine!

    Reading through my manual, I was surprised to see that they suggested that you could wash a king-sized bedspread in the KA front loader. I am surprised as the drum does seem just a tad smaller than the new Neptune and my king size bedspread just barely fit into it. I guess with a bedspread there is a lot of variance in terms of thickness.

    The manual also states the machine has 2 springs to isolate the vibration and 4 shock absorbers at the washer base. I assume - but don't know - that that is pretty standard on all the new front load machines. It is interesting as this machine does an excellent job of not rattling or shaking itself, but you have to be certain not to place anything on top of it during operations as any item on top of the machine will rattle. I have found that if the load is not "clunky", everything is fine with the machine and the laundry room. If the load is "clunky", everything is still fine with the machine, but for some reason other things in the laundry room will vibrate and rattle (specifically the dryer and anything on top of it).

    I have noted one performance improvement with the Kitchenaid compared to the Neptune (new design). That improvement is regarding the state of dress shirts. There seems to be a big improvement regarding wrinkles, or rather the lack of wrinkles. According to the KA web site: "Our exclusive steeped spin" system simplies or virtually eliminates ironing altogether by starting the spin cycle at a low speed, then shifting into a faster speed at the end of the cycle." I hang out my clothes. I find that now my shirts don't require ironing at all.

    Here is a question regarding water temp. My super hot temp is 153 degrees. My hot temp is 122. In order to get the whites the whitest, would it be better to use the temp of 153 or 122? This might seem like a no-brainer (use the hotest water possible), but I note that when you use the cycle "Whitest Whites", it uses the Hot setting rather than the Super Hot water temp. Seems like if the super hot temp was better for getting whites the whitest, the manufactor would have programmed in the super hot temp for that cycle.

    If anyone could enlightned, I would appreciate it.

  • catlover_ks
    18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thanks for the info. It is interesting to hear about your machine. Ignore Trustman. This person typically posts only to insult others.

  • dreambaker
    18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hi. I just got my ensemble pair last week. (The khwSO1 models.) Like Frontload Fan, I couldn't find them in any of the stores to look at before purchasing. I'd been shopping for our first frontloaders for several months, and had been torn between the Maytag (which my husband preferred), and Kenmore or Whirlpool. Then, I heard from several sources of problems with Maytag and a lawsuit or something going on with them, and I lost confidence in that brand. The Kenmore models in my local Sears were impressive, except the doors didn't seem to close securely. At least not on the first try.

    I didn't even know KitchenAid made this set until I just happened to see an ad from our local Bray and Scarff store which was having a KitchenAid sale. I had a KitchenAid dishwasher that was the best, and currently own one of their refrigerators, and I've been impressed by the overall quality of both.

    By the time I got to the store a few weeks later, the sale was over, and there were no models to be found. The salesman told me that KitchenAid was coming out with a revamped model the end of September, so they had pretty much sold all of their existing older models.

    The salesman checked around, and found a pair of floor samples in another store. The price was knocked down close to $400 for them, making them comparable to some of the other brands I had considered, so I bought them, sight unseen.

    They turned out to be meteorite color, which is very pretty. So far, except for the two minor scratches on their bases, which I guess I should have expected on display models, I am very happy with the washer and dryer. My previous washer was a 10-year-old whirlpool toploader which liked to tear clothes to shreds. ANYTHING was an improvement over that.

    The only problems we have had is that the dryer door on one or two occasions has popped open on its own. Luckily, not when the machine was running, but I have found the dryer door open with the interior light on when I know I shut it. Hopefully, this is a minor adjustment that can be fixed. The only other problem is that when we had our new laundry room roughed in, the washer was planned to go on the right side. This sort of messes things up, as the washer door is hinged on the left. The dryer door can be hinged on either side, so we changed it to the left too, but I still have to do a little dance to get around the doors with the wet laundry.

    Being new to frontloaders, I was a little confused even after reading the manual about how much soap to use. I bought the Wisk he soap, and have been using the minimal amount as specified on the bottle. When I used more than that, the washer gave me a "suds" alert, which meant I'd used too much soap and it went through an additional rinse cycle. Any hints?

    Overall, I am very pleased with our new machines. They are super quiet, and they work so much better and faster than our old machines. I haven't tried washing anything large like a blanket or anything yet, but I'm thrilled that it has that capacity. If I run into troubles with that, I'll be sure to post later.

    Oh, I chose not to go with the pedestals after the salesman told me that they could intensify the vibration and noise level of the machines which can be an issue if your laundry room is on the living level of the house, as ours is. I would have preferred having the pedestals to keep from bending over quite so much, but it's really not a big deal. For someone older or with back problems, I think I'd get them and deal with the extra noise.

  • spambdamn_rich
    18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Although I wouldn't want to purchase from them, Western Appliance has had the KA front loader set for a couple of years now. The metallic gray and silver model I saw last year was stunning. A more recent version I've seen isn't quite as pretty, but still nice. In fact I thought they looked nicer than many luxury cars.

    But the price is up there - over $1,500 for the washer alone.

  • hbw248
    18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Since the Kitchenaid, Duet and HE(*)t are all built by Whirlpool, they all share the same core mechanics. It may be a "pretty" looking machine, but feature wise, the HE4t has it beat for less money-- which makes it a better value. The single most important feature lacking on the KA is the Stain Treat option. That alone would prevent me from purchasing it. I do admit though, it's a really nice looking machine.

  • frontloadfan
    Original Author
    18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    It is really hard to compare machine to machine and state that one machine has one feature that the other machine does not. For instance, the Kitchenaid has the ability to add a AutoSoak prior to the regular cycle. That might not be called "Stain Treat" feature, but function is about the same.

    I know the Duet has the "Bulky" setting, which provides for a larger volume of water to totally soak the garmets. The KitchenAid doesn't have that cycle, but using the AutoSoak ahead of the main wash really soaks the item.

    Regarding cost, I paid $1516 for my KA. That was the price for Metallic whereas white was $100 cheaper. Walking into Sears the HEt were $1,400, but to get in special color, was easily an extra hundred.

    Top spin speed for the KA is no 1,300. I don't know about the Kenmore, but I know the Duet tops at out 1,200.

    The positives for the KA, as I see it, are the appearance, superior sound insulation and the two year warranty. The KA also has a unique feature call Rinse Hold. It give you the ability to start a load and hit the rinse hold option. The load will proceed but then will pause just before it get ready for the final rinse and spin. When you return home, you go to the machine and push the rinse hold button and the machine will then at that point finish. It is a nice feature, but I would have rather had the conventional wash delay feature.

    Actually for me one of the biggest attractions for the KA was knowing that the core functions were so well tested having been sold in hundreds of thousands of Kenmores and Duets.

  • hbw248
    18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Actually the Stain Treat uses the on-board heater to slowly raise the temperature to hot on select cycles. The Duets have the Rinse/Hold feature too. And the HE4t has the 1300 RPM spin speed in addition to one more spin speed and tap cold water selection.

    Like I peviously stated, they all share the same internal mechanical components. Cosmetics and slight programming changes are the difference. As far as insulation, I invite you to look inside and you'll be surprised to see nothing in the line of sound insulation. It's just more sales hype!

  • frontloadfan
    Original Author
    18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thanks for clarifying stain treatment. Now that I think about, I remember when I went to Sears that they were talking about the staged temperature increases.

    Regarding the sound insulation, I am going to decline your invitation to look inside the machine for it. I will say, however, that some how, some way, they sure have deadened the sounds of the machine. My front load Frigidiare (which I had for 8 years), now I believe that it didn't have sound insulation and I will believe that the new Maytag Neptune (which I had for three weeks) didn't have sound insulation. Comparing the Kitchenaid to those two machines and the difference is dramatic! If they were able to do this by the use of improved components more power to Whirlpool!

  • spambdamn_rich
    18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    You can approximate a Stain Treat function by setting the washer to do a warm wash, and then once the drum fills, switch the temp over to Hot or Sanitize. The heater will kick in and start to heat the water to temps well over Warm. It helps to chose the longest wash cycle to give the heater time to do its thing.

    I do this with my Neptune 7500 for whites. Actually, my water heater is far enough away from my washer that it does it more or less automatically if it's the first wash of the day. The washer winds up with a warm fill even if the control is set to hot. But the heater kicks in and raises it to 130F over the course of the pre-soak and longest wash option (extra heavy soil+stain cycle+pre-soak=59 minutes wash, 109 min total cycle). The bright results speak for themselves.

  • frontloadfan
    Original Author
    18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hey Dreambaker,

    You are one lucky person to have gotten such a great bargain! I was in a position where I was in a return situation as I had lost confidence in the Maytag Neptune after two service calls and I was just grateful the store would let me return it and exchange it for a different brand! Regarding the amount of detergent, I have found that using the minimum marking on the cup seems to be too much. I find that you have to adjust the amount of detergent based on the type of load too. I really like the feature where it will do a suds cleaning rather than just leaving all the suds in.

    I was looking at my initial review and I noticed I left out one cycle. I did not list Normal Casual.

    I am curious for those of you who have the Duet or Kenmore HE's, do they tightly control your settings temp settings for the various cycles? By that I mean for instance, I want to give some clothes a really nice long wash. Sanitary and Whitest White are out of the question, so I go to the next longest cycle: Heavy Duty. Fine, I set for Heavy Duty but then the water temp automatically sets for Hot/Cold and it will not permit me to lower the temp setting to Warm/Cold. I personally would like the freedom to adjust the water temp as I see fit. I guess with Sanitary and Whitest White, I can see why those temps should be locked in, but I think they went too far in also regulating the temperature for Heavy Duty.

    Any case, I can see what I can do to go around this. I pick Normal Casual (which allows me to have the warm/cold setting) and then I pick the options that will make for a longer wash time: either pre-wash or autosoak and select that they are heavily soiled.

  • joe_in_philly
    18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    FrontLoadFan,

    Does the Whitest Whites cycle lock in the hot temp? My HE3t doesn't. I can select warm, and then the heater will come on if needed to heat the water to warm. With the soil level set to heavy, the wash time is nearly 25 minutes. The Auto-temp control seems to do a good job during fill, and usually the heater will come on for only a minute or so if warm is selected. You can also use the prewash or autosoak options if you want a really long wash, but they do drain before the main wash. Be sure to put detergent into both the prewash and main wash compartments. When you use the prewash or soak, you need to use powder in the main wash. Liquid detergent will drain into the drum before the main wash. The difference between this cycle and the normal/casual you mentioned you used, is that the wash pattern is a bit more aggressive, and the intermediate spins are longer and faster than on the normal cycle. Also, the heater will turn on to heat the water to the proper temperature if needed.

    If the kitchenaid is like the duet, the stain treat option is built into the Heavy Duty cycle, and it will fill with warm and heat to hot over a period of 40 minutes or so. If you want to wash at a lower temp on the HD cycle, you will need to reduce the soil level to the lowest level. Then you can change the wash temp. However, this won't give you the long wash you want.

    Joe

  • frontloadfan
    Original Author
    18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Joe-

    Thanks for the hints. All the things you are saying about your HE3t hold true for my Kitchenaid. I had already discovered that the Whitest White would let me adjust down to warm/cold. I had not discovered that by changing the soil level to the lowest level on Heavy Duty I could adjust the temp to warm/cold.

    You were mentioning about needing to use powder in the main wash compartment when you do an autosoak or prewash ahead of the main wash. According to my manual, you only have to use the powder for the autosoak.

    I am really curious as to how you know when your heater is coming on? You seem very specific about when it comes on and for how long. Does your machine have an indicator?

    Any case, thanks for the tip.

  • joe_in_philly
    18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    FrontLoadFan,

    When liquid detergent is placed in the main wash compartment, it starts to seep past the back barrier. If a soak or prewash is used, then by the time the main wash starts, there will be little detergent left for it.

    My washer does not have a heater indicator, but when the heater turns on or off, there is an audible "click" (or maybe more of a "clunck") sound. The drum rotation also pauses for a moment. If the heater is on, and pause is pressed, the heater will click off. When the cycle is resumed, it will turn back on.

    My washing machine is in my kitchen, so I am very familiar with how it operates!

    Joe

  • frontloadfan
    Original Author
    18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I wanted to drop a quick note now that I have had the machine for over two months.

    First, I was please the other day when I happened to stumble onto a rebate form on the internet for buying Kitchenaid applicances. $50 for one; $150 for two. My date of purchase was within the specified date, so I lucked out!

    I saw an ad the other day for Kitchenaid at the EXPO store (a Home Depot store). In the ad they stated that the Kitchenaid FL is the quietest washing machine you can buy.
    I have to agree that is a strong attribute of this machine. The only down side is you can NOT leave anything on the top of the machine when it is running or it will end up on the floor. Funny, I never had that problem with my Frigidaire front loader.

    Now that I have been running the machine for some time, I really appreciate the huge capacity. On paper, it is only fractional larger than my frigidaire (3.8 vs. 3.1), but the reality is that it seems to swallow up really hugh loads with no problems. When you fully loaded the fridiare, you could tell it was really straining, with the Kitchenaid, it doesn't seem to strain in the least.

    Another feature I am really enjoying is the autosoak option. In reality, I don't know that autosoak (30 minutes) is more effective than prewash (15 minutes) but I like the thought that the clothes are getting a really good soaking prior to the actual wash.

    Now that it is the time of year when I must dry my clothes inside, I can clearly see the advantages of the higher spin speed in regard to drying times. On those loads that I do the highest spin speed (1300), the loads take 15 minutes less time compared to my Frigidaires spin speed (900).

    In summary, I am very pleased with my Kitchenaid FL. In fairness though, after having gone through the lemon Neptune machine, it is wonderful to have a machine that does not require service calls upon delivery!

  • catlover_ks
    18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thanks for the update. I am still happy with my Duet HT also. It is good to hear good reports; these will help people considering a new machine as much as the negative reports. Of course, they are all interesting.

  • oaktree44
    18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Getting a new KitchenAid FL pair. Brandsmart has some of the older model KWHS01 still in stock whick I was able to buy at a really good price. I see little difference in this and the new model. I called Kitchenaid, and they said the only difference is increased insulation.
    I bought this much cheaper, new in the box, than I could get either Duet 9400, or Sears model. So to get a top of line FL with heater for a good price is OK for me.
    They will be delivered on Saturday. I'll see how they perform. The Duet did have the bulky cycle which this does not have, but I think I can manually select one of the other settings to achieve similiar results.
    Does anyone know if this is true?
    I returned my LG 2077 this week to Home Depot, because of numerous problems (less than 30 days old). Actually intended to upgrade to the 2277, as I really liked the operation of the LG. But the local Home Depot manager made me made, so I just told them to take it all back and forget it. The sales person on the floor was very helpful, but the manager needed training in resolving customer issues with problems. Now I'm switching to KitchenAid/Whirlpool.

  • frontloadfan
    Original Author
    18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hey Oaktree!

    Congratulations on your purchase! Sounds like you got a really good deal on your KA set. As far as I know, the only difference between the "1" model and the new "2" model is the sound insulation and a slightly faster top spin speed (1300 vs. 1250).

    Regarding the bulky cycle, I think you are getting the same washing action by selecting the autosoak option. This adds 30 minutes of soaking action prior to the regular wash cycle. As I understand, the bulky cycle provides much more water to totally soak bulky items. The autosoak option does a great job of doing this. Just be aware that often the water level during the autosoak is high enough, that if you were to open the door, water would run out. I mention this because the machine has the "add a garment" light on during the autosoak cycle.

    Are your units white or metallic? Let me know how you like your washer.

  • oaktree44
    18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    The wife wanted white, even though Brandsmart also had the metallic for the same price. I'm paying $1000 for the washer, and $650 for the dryer, plus tax. I liked the metallic, but white goes better where we are putting them.
    We had some confusion on the delivery date, so we don't get them until Tuesday.
    Will let you know how they work when we try them out (laundry is stacking up).

  • frontloadfan
    Original Author
    18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Oaktree-

    Great that the laundry is stacking up. These "mega" machines can really take a full load with no problem. You know the drill: fill the machine with unfolded clothes and you must be able to close the door without a struggle. When I had my frigidaire fl, I would do that and the machine would really seem to struggle with the load. I would fill up the machine and it would start out 100% full and then after the clothes were totally wet, the would appear to be 25% empty space in the drum.

    With the mega machines (I noticed this on the Samsung Neptune I had a month as well as my Kitchenaid), you fill them up and then after the clothes get totally wet, there appears to be 50% empty space in the drum. I really like the Autosoak option for big loads. That soak to start out really seems to clean out the clothes well.

  • blebosse_lhric_org
    18 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Is the Maytag washer you returned the new MAH8700AWW or the older Maytag Neptune Series MAH7500AW series? If it was the 8700, what was wrong with the Maytag? I have one on order and I can change it before it arrives on Saturday Jan 7, 2006. Thanks for your advise.

  • frontloadfan
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I wanted to post back and update on my experience with my Kitchenaid front loader. I started this thread a year ago when I had first received my machine.

    I have no regrets with the purchase of this front loader. As you know Whirlpool also makes two other machines that are near identical to the Kitchenaid (Duet and Kenmore). The only two features that are missing compared to the other two machines are the Delay Wash and a couple of cycles. On the plus side, you get a faster spin speed compared to the Duet (1300 vs. 1200) and extra sound insulation.

    Operational, this machine has been great this last year. It doesn't get clunky with either very large or very small loads.

    As time goes by, you look more and more about the machine. For instance, you would think for whites, the most logical cycle to use would be Whitest White, right? Truth of the matter, is that if you have really dirty whites, you are better off going with either Heavy Duty or (in extreme cases) santize. Both of these cycles provide more washing time than the whitest white cycle.

    One of my favorite attributes of this machine is the ability to do an auto soak prior to the main cycle. I really like seeing that the clothes are getting a good soaking prior to going into the regular wash. It really seems to help with stains too.

    When I bought my machine a year ago, they had just switched to the new model of Kitchenaid (machines with a spin speed of 1300 rather than 1250). I checked on the web site and I don't see any information about whether they have now come out with a newer model.

  • winchestermystery
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thanks for all your input on your KA FL machines, FrontLoadFan. This thread has been very helpful to me as I'm deciding which FL w/d set to purchase. I saw the KA machines recently at Western Appliance (don't know why a poster said they wouldn't purchase appliances there?), and they are the best looking machines I've seen. The price is steep, though, and so much higher than the Duet pair. It seems like the advantage of the KA, then, is the appearance, and the extra quietness. Would you say that's an accurate assessment?

    We will have our w/d behind a half wall that is open to the family room where the T.V. will be, so quietness is an issue. And, appearance will count as well, because they may be visible from the family room as well. (We're still working on the laundry space, and haven't finalized whether there will be a laundry closet built or not.

    Thanks!

  • frontloadfan
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hi,

    Yes, you are correct that appearance and quiet operations are the two big reasons to go with this KA over his clone Duet.

    If these are not issues, then you will probably be better served with the Duet. I had the experience of having a lemon prior to getting the KA. I purchased the Samsung Maytag. It was really dreadful. I made so much rattling sound and it also tended to spin really rough if the load was large or small!

    After going through that experience, I didn't really want to take any half measures. I wanted to be certain I purchased the best behaved, most refined machine I could get. Also, in my opinion, I thought the Duet looked cheap with its plastic controls.

    Any case, one other plus is that the top spin speed is a bit faster than the Duet at 1300 rpm.

    The model I have came out just over a year ago. You might touch bases with your local dealer and see if there would be any plans to clear out the current model soon.

  • winchestermystery
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I'm also purchasing a KitchenAid dishwasher and FD fridge, so maybe I could get a package deal. I don't like the looks of the plastic on the Duet pair either. My 8 year old Kenmore TL is still going strong, but a couple of the plastic parts broke long ago, out of warranty, and I've rigged them to work, but it's not ideal.

    I got the quote for building the laundry closet today, and it was very reasonable, so we'll be going with that, so appearance may not be quite the issue it would be without the closet (although it might be nice for me to enjoy the look of the w/d everyday - and I'm positive my kids will leave the closet doors open...all the time :-) ), but sound will be a big issue. I was looking at the LG Tromm pair (also nice looking, and supposed to be very quiet), but I live in a small town, and appliance service is not always great here, thus the preference for a larger name brand in my kitchen appliance choices too.

    You've given me more to think about. Thanks again for your input!

  • wblynch
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    We love our KitchenAide dishwasher. All stainless steel inside and out. The thing is very quiet. We can almost not even hear it.

    It's been 6 years since we put it in and it's still like brand new.

  • winchestermystery
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Huh. I checked the price on the Ensemble pair online, and it was several hundred lower than the price I'd seen at our local appliance store, so I'll take in those prices, and make a deal with them. It's great to have another decision made! Thanks again, FrontLoadFan.

    wblynch - Thanks for your feedback on the dishwasher. Overall, the reports sound positive re: the KA dishwashers on the appliance forum. :-)

  • teatime
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Just wanted to thank Frontloadfan for her posts and say that as a result I also bought a Kitchenaid frontloader about a month ago. It is the "02" model, which I believe is the one that has been available for about a year. I like it a lot so far, and it really does clean much better than the old toploader I had.

    Unfortunately, my old dryer had bit the dust a month earlier and I replaced it before I knew about Kitchenaid, so I did not end up with a matched set! I have a GE Harmony dryer, which is fine, but I now wish I had the mate to the KA frontloader. I did get the pedestal for the KA, which is nice because of the extra height, and the only noise is the sound of water flowing in. I don't mind, since it is in the basement.

  • tomato
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    A couple of things about these machines: The Whitest Whites Cycle automatically includes the 3rd rinse because it makes provision for rinsing out the bleach which is added to the 1st rinse. I use Whitest Whites almost exclusively, just modifying the water temperature, because it is the only cycle that gives a full 800 rpm spin after the wash and the first two rinses. When you are rinsing with only a small amount of water, you want to get rid of as much water as possible in the fabrics before you add fresh water for another rinse. After the last rinse it spins at the maximum speed you select.

    The KA Ensemble Machines are now being sold as the Maytag Epic. It's the same machine, but helps to get rid of all of the problems Maytag made for themselves with their own Neptune and the the Samsung Neptunes. Any KA Ensemble machines you find will be the last of their kind. The KitchenAid laundry line is slated to be discontinued next year, but the Ensembles are already Maytag Epics.

  • frontloadfan
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I was surprised the other day to see KA Ensembles stacked up at Costco! I looked at them carefully and they appear identical to my Ensemble except for two things - the top spin speed is listed as 1000 rpm (rather than 1300) and the price is like $400 cheaper ($1,250).

    I am really curious in Whirlpool had a different motor placed into the Ensemble? Or did they merely change the software that controls the motor so it doesn't go above the 1000 rpm?

    Any case, anyone considering this machine now has a couple of options as you can also check out Home Depot to see which place gives you the best deal. (As far as I have seen the Epic is not being made available in the stainless steel paint job that the KA ensemble uses)

    I am surprised that Whirlpool is dumping thousands of these machines into Costco's at the same time they are pushing them as Maytag Epic. Looks like it they are going to discontinue Kitchen Aid laundry, they would go ahead and release them as the Epics.

  • theresa_gardener
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thanks to everyone who provided such valuable information. I'm planning on purchasing the Kitchen Aid front loading washer and dryer set, and I have two questions or concerns about these models. If anyone can help, I'd appreciate it.

    1. I am planning on puting these in the laundry room without a pedistool and installing a work counter above them. I read some concerns about the high spinning of the machine where things sometimes fall off the units. Does anyone have these installed under a counter? If so, does the high spin cycle affect the counter in any way?

    2. Since I will not be purchasing the pedistools, I'm wondering how much of a concern it is to the extra bending down to switch the loads. Some models such as the Duets have large openings where the tubs are slightly tilted downward which I believe could help alleviate uncomfortable positions to switch loads. Since I can't see these machines in stores, I can only ask advise from anyone who owns them.

    Thanks in advance for any help any of you can provide.

    Theresa

  • winchestermystery
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I just got my pair of Ensembles delivered yesterday, and unpacked today. I got the meteorite finish. They were floor models, and so have a couple of superficial scratches on the windows, which I'm sure I will add to soon enough. Unfortunately, I have to wait a week until they're hooked up.

    We didn't get the pedestals either, so I'd also be interested in the answer to Theresa Gardener's question number 2.

  • theresa_gardener
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I have a question for Winchestermystery and anyone else who has seen the Kitchen Aid front loaders in a store. I live in NJ, and I can't find any retailers who have them as floor models. Which retailers carry them?

    I can't even find any of the Kitchen Aid appliances with the Meteorite color. I'm sure the color is nice, but would love to see it.

    Thanks again!

    Theresa

  • rpsinfoman
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    FWIW the top end rpm speed is software driven and is either field programmable or hardcoded. It allows one control board to be used across model lines with various top rpm speeds at different price points. Bosch does the same thing. The basic construction and internals are quite the same across Whirlpool lines. What you get with the Kitchen Aid is the brand name, an inflated price, some cosmetic differences and the warranty is longer. The Duet, Ensemble, and Epic are all clones with each appealing to a different market.

  • agiflow
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    theresa_gardener, where in NJ are you? I live in Woodbridge. There is a Great Indoors here in Woodbridge that has a KA Enemble pair. Give them a call and see if they have the model you are considering.

  • theresa_gardener
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Message for Agiflow:
    Thanks for the info...I called the Great Indoors in Woodbridge today, and the salesperson said they do not carry any Kitchen Aid washer and dryers. I asked them if possibly they may have sold the floor models, but he said he has not ever seen them. Oh well.
    Theresa

  • winchestermystery
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Well - It may be true that the Duet et. al. are exactly the same as the KitchenAid with a higher price tag, but my KA Ensemble washer and dryer have more options than the Duet et. al. For example, the KA Ensemble has all the same washing options as the Duet, but in addition, it has a setting for "wool" and a couple of other settings which I can't recall right now. The dryer also is programmed, I guess, to have a higher spin speed. Of what use would it be to have the same mechanisms that would allow the Duet to spin at the same speed as the Ensemble, but not program it to do so? It doesn't make any sense.

    I'm happy I got my KA pair. As it has turned out, the laundry closet doors won't fit on the closet, so we've decided to leave it open, with the washer and dryer visible. I'm very glad they're so nice looking! I'm also glad to have the "wool" setting, and the higher spin speed. Shrug.

  • rpsinfoman
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    "Winchestermyster", The KA Ensemble has no more options or cycles than it's brother the Whirlpool Duet 9400 series or it's sister the Maytag Epic. The controls, cycles, options, and operation are identical. You can view all of the operator manuals and product specs online and see for yourself. Sorry to disapoint you!

  • winchestermystery
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    rpsinfoman - That's fine. I'm not disappointed at all, since (and this is purely a subjective) I think the KA Ensembles are more attractive than the Whirlpool Duet or the Maytag Epic, and I got my KA Ensemble w/d for less than the Whirlpool Duet 9400, so it's all good. I was just going by what the salesperson was telling me - that the KA was the only one that had the "wool" setting, and something else. I'm happy that people can get the same features at different price points. If looks didn't matter in our particular situation, and the Whirpool Duets had been cheaper (which they' weren't), I was going to get those. I have a couple of friends who've gotten the Duets are and very happy with them.

    If people like the look of the KAs better, and are willing to spend more for them, why is necessary to insult them for that choice? Does it make you feel better about your own choices to disparage others for theirs?

  • rpsinfoman
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I agree 100% with your position. They have a much nicer visual appeal than the Duets and are very nice machines! This is precisely why Whirlpool markets variations of the same/similar products targeted at different markets. Subtle differences appeal to different people, and that creates sales! For instance the KA lacks a delay wash, renames the Quick Wash to Rapid Wash, and drops the Bulky Cycle. The Duet while having a few more features, appears cheap in construction. I certainly did not mean to impune your choice by any means. My point is, clones are designed to lower overhaul manufacturing costs using many of same parts, designs, and controls. It's a slippery business! And with the KA label comes a preception of quality a better OEM warranty, and of course a higher price.

  • winchestermystery
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    O.K. I get your POV, rpsinfoman. I happened to be at Home Depot yesterday and saw the Maytag Epic washer and dryer in black. You were right, they are the exact same machines as the KA Ensembles. However, they were not priced lower than the KA Ensemble washer and dryer. They were priced the same as the original price of the white or black KAs (not the floor model price I got) at Western Appliance. Home Depot didn't have the Whirpool Duets, so I couldn't compare the pricing there, but the Duets were definitely cheaper than the KAs at Western Appliance. Maybe Maytag is trying to raise the profile of the Maytag name?

    I also understand the "prestige" factor in a label. I was all set to buy a Kenmore DW and FD refrigerator, but my sister-in-law said I couldn't have Kenmore in my kitchen because it wasn't appropriate to the value of my house (her family is in real estate). I went to Western Appliance, and found the same appliances but with a Kitchen Aid label - and negotiated a lower total price than I was going to get at Sears, and my sister-in-law was happier with that choice! Very funny!

  • theresa_gardener
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I'm wondering if Winchestermystery has any concerns or complaints about using the KA set without a pedistool...? Also, I am still on a hunt for a store with floor models so I can view the washer/dryer. I noticed Western Appliance was mentioned....Does that mean I should rule them out now since you purchased them? I live in Middletown.

    I have seen the Duets in Sears and the Maytags in Home Depot. They both look the same. I can tell the design is a bit classier in the KA's, but I'm mostly concerned about the tub sizes. Some similar models with the same cubic feet actually appear to have smaller tubs on the washer.

    One more question for everyone ---- Anyone need service yet?

    Theresa Gardener

  • frontloadfan
    Original Author
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hi,

    I was wondering, the new Duets have a function where you can run a drum clean function. The drum fills way up with water and the drum spins at fast speeds. You don't add soap, only bleach.

    I have read some postings, where even older duets and the clones, can do this function. I tried using the settings suggested to trigger this on my Kitchen Aid, but it doesn't work.

    Has anyone with a Kitchen Aid been able to trigger this function?

    I have had my Kitchen Aid for almost two years now and am still very happy with it - no problems at all.

  • wolfgirl7673_yahoo_com
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I am a Whirlpool rep at some of the stores in my area and I have learned a few things about the washers. The reason they put the Kitchenaid name on the front load washer is because the people that had Kitchenaid kitchen appliances also wanted the name in the laundry area of the house. The duets are pretty much the same thing. Also since Whirlpool took over Maytag there is now a new Maytag frontload and its the same thing as the Kitchenaid only with the Maytag name on it. When asked what the difference between these and the duet was the answer was nothing just the price.

  • dadoes
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    KitchenAid had toploaders (cloned from Whirlpool) before front-loaders became the rage, from 1989 or so until 2006 or 2007. KA no longer markets any laundry appliances except the very expensive Pro Line built-in pair. Any Ensembles or KitchenAid toploaders left in stores are technically "old stock" although they're perfectly good to buy. KA toploaders are now morphed into Maytag, as well as the Ensemble front-loader becoming the Maytag Epic.

  • dadoes
    3 years ago

    @eylc,

    Failure of the drum spider is a common with aging among all brands. Some have the spider as a separate part, others source the drum and spider as one piece, and some source the entire outer tub and inner drum with spider as one assembly.

    I'd expect a replacement drum is NLA for the age of your machine ... which is the case for a sibling Whirlpool model circa 2006.