Update April 2014: This washer turned out to be a big disappointment with a total breakdown after just seven years of use. To double the frustration, the companion dryer also went around the same time. Rating was adjusted.
The Bottom Line
At first glance this Whirlpool Duet Sport HE Washer Model WFW8500S looks complicated to use, but programming is extremely easy and the triple dispenser is a convenient feature. Although this front load washer is higher priced than a toploader, the savings in water and energy consumption will quickly cover the difference. Front load washing is different than with a toploader - read the manual thoroughly. This is a great washer that performs well and is a pleasure to use.
- Easy to choose settings and features
- Washing performance and choice of wash cycles and temperatures
- Size is perfect - mid range between full size and compact models
- Can be stacked to save space
- Uses less water and energy than traditional models
- None detected
- Notable: Requires high efficiency detergent
- 3.6 Cu. Ft washing capacity
- Deep Clean Wash System
- Energy Star qualified; uses 60% less water and 72% less energy than traditional washers.
- CareControl™ temperature control
- Quiet wash sound reduction
- 10 Auto wash cycles & 4 wash/rinse temperature settings; built-in water heater for certain cycles
- Automatic water levels and water temperatures
- See Profile for additional details and information.
- Add-a-garment feature and Clean Washer setting.
- 1 Year warranty
Guide Review - Whirlpool Duet Sport HE Front Load Washer WFW8500S
Installation instructions are thorough and no problems were detected getting this washer up and running. Only high efficiency (he) detergent should be used with this front load washer and follow recommended levels. The placement of the dispenser system is wonderful and levels are well marked.
Wash cycles are preset but can easily be customized with some options being available with certain cycles. The spin action is terrific - much more water is removed from clothes than a topload washer - shortening drying time required. Water levels adjust automatically to the size of the load - no guesswork and this conserves water. Washing action is a gentle swishing back and forth motion and clothes do come out clean. Some cycles have very long estimated washtimes to ensure a good clean washing, but there is also a quick wash at 28 minutes.
The Add-a-Garment light is on for the first 7 minutes - and it worked well to add an item by pausing the cycle. The status lights and timer indicate how long before a cycle is finished. You can pause/cancel anytime to change cycles.
Once the cycle is done, rotate the drum slightly to check that all clothing is removed as some can cling to the top of the drum, and the door should be left slightly ajar for the inside of the drum to dry. Check the door and drum seal for bits of clothing or debris, and use mesh garment bags to wash small items. Load capacity is just slightly less than a full size washer - I was amazed at the load sizes.
Update May 2010
This Whirlpool Duet washer continues to work well and I enjoy using it. I have not had any of the mold problems often associated with front-load washers, by following these tips for caring for a front-load he washer.
The only problem is the main control knob which has broken and needed replacing. I have found though, that longer cycle times (rather than shorter) were needed when the load was very dirty, in order to get it cleaned. I have washed a Queen comforter in it and you can get it stuffed in the washer, but I think this size of bedding should be cleaned in a larger washer.
Learn more about washing with a front-load washer:
How an HE Washer Differs from a Traditional Topload Washer
Washer Buying Tips
Solutions for Front-Load Washer Mold
About High Efficiency Washers