Electrolux : EWFLS65IRR 4.7 cu. ft. Washer - Red Hot Red Review

Electrolux : EWFLS65IRR 4.7 cu. ft. Washer - Red Hot Red
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It's a great machine but you can save four hundred bucks by buying an IQ-Touch instead. There is nothing a Wave-Touch can do that an IQ-Touch can not. The Wave-Touch has 4 distinguishing features over the IQ:
1. The Wave spins at 1350 vs. the IQ's 1200 rpm. No big deal. I don't think there's any practical difference in the amount of water extracted that will make a real dent in the drying time.
2. The Wave has an "Active Wear" cycle. It's not something you'd ever miss if your machine did not have it in the first place. You can use the IQ's "Casual wear" cycle instead, which differs from the Active Wear cycle by only 5 minutes.
3. The Wave's options are hidden in tedious to use menus and submenus, instead of the IQ's simple to use buttons. Buttons win here because you can see at a glance what options are active, especially useful for the next time you use the washer. With the Wave-Touch's menu style you'll be forced to scroll through the menus to see what options have been selected.
4. Wave-Touch has 3 favorites memory buttons vs. one favorite for the IQ-Touch. I have yet to find this feature useful. When one is useless to me, having 3 doesn't make it any better.
Construction-wise the two machines are otherwise identical.
Conclusion: The Wave costs $300 to $400 more than the IQ and delivers the same level of performance as the IQ. The Wave is for people who have money to burn. Okay, with a bit of sheepishness I have to admit I did buy a Wave instead of an IQ because I wanted all the bells and whistles regardless of cost or functionality. I don't recommend others to follow my lead.
Now, let me review the Wave with steam function, since that's the one I actually bought.
The machine is exceedingly quiet when washing. The only real noise comes during the spin cycles.
As for vibration, make sure you balance the machine using a good quality level and follow the leveling instructions. Read the manual and it's imperative that the shipping bolts be removed per the instructions before using the machine!!! My house has a crawl space. My laundry room is on the first floor, where the washer would be perfectly capable of transmitting vibration if it was not leveled properly. So far it's been very smooth, in fact much smoother than my previous top-loader, with hardly much of any vibration. Keep in mind that every load is different and each load has its own vibration and noise characteristics. Some loads will be vibration free, other loads with a very unbalanced load (pillows and comforters, for example) will have some vibration. If it vibrates at all it's almost always during the spin up and spin down phase of the spin cycle. Once it actually gets into the spin cycle, there is usually little vibration.
This washer is quite ingenious in fighting vibration by ramping up to full spin speed in incremental stages. During the first stage, it slowly rotates the wet load counterclock-wise to test for balance, and also to pump out water. If it detects even the slightest hint of an unbalanced load, it will stop and reverse direction, i.e. spin clockwise, at the same slow rpm to let the clothes to reshuffle in the drum. After a few seconds of this clockwise spin, it reverses direction again, i.e. counter-clockwise again, it then tests for balance again. If it again detects a poor balance, it will keep on doing this reversing direction routine until it redistributes the load evenly. When it's finally satisfied that the balance is good, it will then launch into high spin speeds in several stages. Frequently, after it has launched into a higher speed, it detects unacceptable vibration. It will instantly abort the spin and perform the shuffling routine again and again until it gets the balance right. It's not uncommon for it to go back and forth many times for as long as 5 minutes to find the sweet spot. As more water is progressively pumped out and the load becoming progressively lighter and better balanced, it will proceed to the next higher speed, finally maxing out at 1350 rpm, during the last 2 minutes of the spin cycle.
As for the steam feature, I've yet to find definitive evidence that it's the steam itself that gets the dirt out. The steam cycle essentially adds 20 minutes of wash time to any wash cycle using either warm water or hot water. Maybe it's the extra 20 minutes of washing in warm water in the steam cycle that does the trick. It's hard to tell.
It washes loose clothing very well while using little water. By "loose clothing," I mean items that are somewhat small and that will wet easily and shrink in volume as they are wetted. Items with these characteristics can freely tumble around one another inside the drum, as long as the machine is not overloaded. However when it comes to washing bulky big loads, such as pillows and synthetic fiber comforters, synthetic fiber bedspreads, etc., its miserliness in water use is its biggest flaw. With these bulky items, the water level is woefully inadequate to thoroughly wet the interior mass. And because they are synthetic fiber items, they don't shrink much in volume even when wetted, so they don't have much room to rotate inside the drum. The same side of the pillow or comforter then faces the drum and the center side doesn't ever get enough water. So, the side facing the drum surface gets cleaned but the center side doens't get cleaned. I bought this washer specifically to wash big bulky items such as pillows and synthetic fiber comforters, so it's a bit disappointing that it doesn't clean these items well. The way to get around this problem is to pause the machine after it's finished filling, and add water on your own either through the door or through the detergent tray. It works. Adding about 1 to 2 gallons of hot water fixes the problem.
I still love the washer, but only wish it had a "bulky items" selection which would allow it to have more water during the wash cycle. I believe this problem with washing bulky items is endemic to all high effiency front load washers and not just Electrolux. The real wish is to allow a separate button to vary the water level, like that found on my old Kenmore top-loader, but I don't think we'll ever see that water level selection switch on these high efficiency washers. I think the Electrolux designers' hands were tied by the stringent Federal energy efficiency standards.

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