The LG WT4801CW

The clever title of this, my introductory and first-ever blog post, refers to a recently introduced high-efficiency washing machine produced by Korean electronics manufacturer LG. When I conceived of this blog I had loftier ideas for my first post, but it occurred to me that my recent experience purchasing a new washing machine would better demonstrate what I would like to accomplish with this blog.

After fifteen years of reliably doing tons of laundry, our old-style General Electric washing machine began indicating that it was tired of being our servant. First there were the groans emanating from the machine when it began to spin. Shortly thereafter the drum began to wobble furiously in the spin cycle. Finally, it started to randomly fail to spin – well, perhaps not so randomly since it was always a load of towels. After the second failure we simply started shopping in earnest for a new machine. But that is when things became complicated…

Which manufacturer makes the best machine and who actually makes those machines? What kind of machine is the best: front-load or top-load? High-efficiency or agitator? Who has the best advice for consumers? Consumers or Consumer Reports? Salesmen, or repairmen? 

Such questions were destined to make our heads spin faster than our wet laundry. My hope is that this post will help you navigate these questions while giving a helpful review of the machine we finally purchased.

Which manufacturer makes the best machine and who actually makes those machines?

The answer to this question is not straightforward, for it is directly connected to both the other questions as well as your personal concept of what is “best.” For me, “best” meant “reliable.” There were two resources which helped me with my final decision. The first is ConsumerReports.org. There you will find helpful objective AND subjective comparisons of different machines, consumer reviews, and brand reliability statistics. It is definitely worth the seven bucks I will end up spending to join the monthly plan (if I remember to cancel the ongoing subscription in time.) The second is Appliance411.com. This website informs you which manufacturer makes what products. There you will learn that Whirlpool makes Maytag, Roper, and selected Kenmore machines.

From ConsumerReports.org I learned that LG is considered the most reliable. This is interesting given that no LG machine is recommended by Consumer Reports. That status is reserved for Whirlpool, Maytag and Whirlpool-made Kenmore machines. While not the least reliable, it is interesting that the one brand more reliable than LG is Roper, which is made by Whirlpool. Armed with this information I initially approached the marketplace with the assumption that I would end up purchasing a Whirlpool, Maytag, or Kenmore machine.

What kind of machine is the best: front-load or top-load?

Once again the answer to this question is caught up with other considerations. But after factoring in the needs of your family, it is a fairly easy question to answer. While researching the first question I discovered quite quickly that I wanted a top-loading machine. For my wife and I the important factor was cost. Front-loaders are simply more expensive. For two people I just did not need the extra capacity afforded by front-loaders. The amount of laundry you need to do may make capacity the more important factor. An important secondary factor was mold. No matter where you read reviews, mold collecting on the door seal is a common complaint for front-loaders. It develops quickly and is impossible to completely eliminate.

Old-fashioned agitator or high-efficiency?

For my wife and I this became the most difficult question to answer. Indeed, the way we came to our decision was the inspiration for this post. It came down to this: no matter which type of machine you settle on, they just don’t make ‘em like they used to.

Back in the day (even as late as 2004 by some who reckon such things,) American manufacturers often doubled the ratings of such things as pipes, switches, relays, circuits, and valves – all things that you will find on a washing machine. That means if it was officially rated for 220 volts, odds are it could survive a surge of 440 volts. This is no longer the case. Most machines are now manufactured to International (ISO) standards, which are very precise. Why switch to a more exact standard, since the machines won’t last as long? Hmmmm…I wonder why companies worried about their bottom-line in a retracting economy would make such a decision? The bottom-line for the consumer is that s/he will be replacing their new washing machine in eight years, no matter which kind of machine they purchase.

My wife and I also figured that the manufacturers are actually reserving their best resources for the more expensive machines. In our opinion it seemed logical that the popular high-efficiency machines would possess better workmanship. Which leads directly to the next question:

Who has the best advice for consumers?

When considered in the proper context, Consumer Reports (CR) is a great source of information. They take many machines and subject them to precisely the same conditions according to criteria set by the researchers. This allows CR to publish object comparisons between both popular and unexpected machines. Another helpful thing they do is publish user reviews by people who actually use the machines. But it is at this point that things seem to go awry.

A quick comparison between the two sources of information illustrates the disparity between “objective” and “subjective” opinion. Consumer Reports prefers the high-efficiency technology. For them the higher upfront cost of the new machines is far offset by their energy and water savings. They also find that the new machines wash clothes better and in general more gently. The user reviews show that people either love ‘em or hate ‘em, and the ones that hate the new machines really hate them. You will read horror stories about grayed colors, tangled clothes, and detergent that has not been fully rinsed.

There are three general problems revealed by all this: First, Consumer Reports does not test products in a real-world environment. The way average people do laundry not only varies greatly from the way researchers do, but those ways vary from family to family. Second: People do not know how to read directions. The new machines come with manuals that must be carefully read in their entirety. Failure to do this will cause you to hate your new machine, guaranteed. Third: People in general do not know how to do laundry. People proficient at laundry will tell you to separate your clothes into the different types of fabrics and colors – which is the secret to success with a high-efficiency machine. Those gray colors are not likely the machine’s fault. If you don’t mess with the machine’s programming, it will use just enough water for your clothes and spin all the detergent out.

In our case my wife and also checked with the salesman we encountered. They know which machines are returned and for what reasons. It also helped that the store we bought our machine from also offers a service program. The salesmen were aware which machines required service more often. If you buy from Sears or Best Buy the salesmen are not on commission, so it is in their interest to serve you to secure your repeat business, not sell you more machine than you need.

The LG WT4801CW

My wife and I wanted to purchase the washing machine that matches our dryer. Three years ago we purchased only the dryer, purposely selecting it based on its matching washer.- a Whirlpool 5700 series. The problem is that the machine we saw three years ago has been discontinued and that model number assigned to an expensive high-efficiency model. After a lot of consideration (see above,) we walked into Best Buy ready to purchase a bottom-of-the barrel GE agitator model much like the one that finally gave up the ghost later that night. But discussions with the salesmen revealed that LG simply makes the best machines, period. While Consumer Reports did not officially “recommend” any LG top-loader, their website concurred with the salesmen, at least regarding reliability. The salesman also pointed out that LG invented the high=efficiency technology and also manufactures drive units for other manufacturers. When you look carefully at an LG machine, you can see that the engineering of their machines is superior to the other makers. One example of this the wash tub. Unique to LG are bumps all over the tub which provide an extra washing action…like that of a washboard.

At the end of the day, all of these considerations led us to the LG WT4801CW –  a machine that has yet to be reviewed by Consumer Reports. But it is mechanically similar to one that has been reviewed and received top ratings by CR. I would assume it missed recommendation due to price. But the WT4801CW can be found for $630 on sale, and perhaps even cheaper online, pricing it $20 below recommended machines that rate lower in comparison both by CR and actual users. I have only used this machine for one week. But on its first day it handled seven loads of laundry better and quicker than the old machine. Clothes are cleaner, colors are brighter, and stains that the old machine failed to remove are now gone. I have joined the growing ranks of people who think these machines are great.

What I really want to accomplish with this post is more than just help people make a decision about a washing machine. I hope I have demonstrated that when making decisions you should Research your choices, Rate the information you find about those choices, and from that make a well-Reasoned selection.

About these ads

46 thoughts on “The LG WT4801CW

  1. Tom,

    LG makes great products. I agree — Sears and Best Buy are the best places to go to buy a washer or dryer. We just at Best Buy to purchase a new Mac. I’d rather step up to the plate and get a top quality machine.

  2. We appreciated your blog. My wife and I are going through the same struggle whether to use the traditional agitator style or switch to high efficiency LG as you have purchased. Our other option is to replace the drum and agitator in our existing Kenmore Elite that is12 years old. The appliance service man suggested replacing these items with good condition, used drum and new agitator for $300. He also confirmed old machines are made with higher standards than new. My wife is concerned about issues with new loaders w/o agitators properly cleaning clothes and amount of tangling and wrinkles from spin cycle. She is leaning towards agitator. We would appreciate your opinion. Our options: repair old machine, purchase traditional, purchase LG 500/400 series. Appreciate your feed back ASAP — our machine is non-functioning.
    PS – do you know a site that reviews traditional top loaders. CR had only a selected few.
    PPS: how well is machine working for you now that you have had it longer? Do you still separate clothing and laundry items?

    • Mike…you know your options: repair your old appliance for $300, or buy a new one for $350-$1000. If you want to stick with an agitator model, than to me your choice is clear: shell out the $300 to get the old one fixed…that is if you trust your appliance repairman. I would ask how long he warranties his work for (probably no longer than a year at the most, 90 days most likely.) But ask him truthfully how long the machine will last after the repair. If it will go another 10-15 years, than REPAIR! Especially if you’re leery of the new machines. But if it’s less than 3 years, I’d consider switching getting a new one. Given my experience I would highly recommend the new HE machines, as long as it”s a top-loader. The machine I have continues to perform outstanding for us. Regarding tangling, what do people expect a washer to do for them? Iron out their permanent press? I have many beloved articles of clothing torn to shred by my old agitator, so I was not sorry to see it go. I’m sure as this new one wears, it will possibly eat some clothes. Oh well. If you can find it for $700 or less (check out sales at Best Buy,) I heartily recommend the LG WT4801CW. My only complaint is the detergent tray, which is not engineered as well as the rest of the machine. The Whirlpool/Maytags have a better-designed tray. But they also have a more plastic in the construction of their drums than LG.
      As for sites that rate machines, there are more than CR. Just Google “Ratings of Washing Machine” and see what comes up, or Google the specific model you like that you see in the store.

  3. Tom – I’m in the market for a new washer and dryer and finding your blog was a stroke of luck – I saw some good reviews of the LG4801CW and was trying to find more consumer ratings of it. Now that you have the machine even longer what do you think? The major concern I read about the top load HE machines is that your laundry is a twisted up mess when done. Do you find this more so than your old agitator machine? The laundry ends up pretty twisted up when the wash cycle is done in my current Whirlpool, but nothing the dryer can’t fix. Also, I live in a condo, third floor apartment. Can you tell me what noise and vibration are like with this machine? Again, there’s a fair amount of noise and vibration with my old machine – I would just like to know if I can expect significantly more. Thanks so much.

    • Donna, I am glad you found my blog. I never intended for it to be just about washing machines, but rather how to make decisions. But I am pleased that I can help people with what is indeed a frustrating decision-making process.

      The 4801CW is a new machine that LG introduced in May. It is too new to show up in trustworthy review sights like Consumer Reports. I had to post a review of the machine under their article on the 5001CW, which is a mechanically equivalent machine (it is larger and has different programming.) Try Googling for reviews of the 5001CW.

      The funny thing about my experience is that the very thing I love about this machine is what most people complain about: the spin cycle. Part of the machine’s “high-efficiency” is that it can gently wash more clothes using less utilities. The reduced water is just one aspect. By spinning the clothes faster than an agitator model, you will use less gas & electricity running your dryer. It will also save time, as your dryer cycles will be shorter (mine now drys in the same amount of time as a washload. My gas, water, and electricity bills have each been reduced by $10 a month since I started using the machine, which means that the machine is saving me the equivalent of the monthly payment I am making to purchase the machine. But the problem with this is the very thing you mentioned: tangling.

      Here is what I have learned about tangling. If I remember correctly, the user manual addresses this by suggesting that you vary the size of articles that you wash together. If the load is too small or they are all the same size, they will be more prone to tangle. Also, it is even more important with these machines to load clothes evenly. Just because the agitator is missing does not mean one can just up-end the laundry basked into the washtub. If you need to run a small load with few items, perhaps an extra rinse&spin cycle will help. All I can say is that my old machine tangled EVERY load and ruined at least one item per week. In two months with the new machine I have had only occasional tangling (usually my sheets,) and NONE have come out dirty due to tangling. it is not a perfect machine, indeed at least two articles have come out just as stained as they went in…but one was due to poor pre-treatment of a difficult stain and the other to very small load.

      Regarding vibration, I am not sure how much help I can give you…my machine is located in a garage on a concrete slab. But it is quieter and vibrates far less than my old GE agitator. Keep in mind that this machine is a direct-drive as opposed to an agitator, which is belt driven. As it gets older this machine might make more noise, but it will vibrate far less. A belt-drive agitator will only get noisier AND vibrate wildly as it wears out.

      I highly recommend this machine. I also highly recommend that you buy only from a trustworthy source with a high-quality delivery service. A product of both the high-tech and highly-disposable ages, this machine is likely more prone to damage in delivery than an old-school agitator (one manufactured before 2004.) I have seen one review that rejected all LG products based on a bad experience with a damaged LG HE washing machine. I don’t think their problem had anything to do with LG’s quality, but rather new manufacturing methodology and poor delivery service.

      Please continue posting about your experience. If you do end up buying this machine, check back in here in a few months and post your impressions.

      Blessings!

      • Tom – Thanks for all the information. I’m still deciding, but will keep you posted if I end up with this machine. Donna

  4. We just purchased the same machine as you, the LG WT4801CW and are not very happy with it. It is considered a “smart machine” meaning it senses the weight of your laundry load and adjusts the water level accordingly (you have no control over the water level). The water level never covers the top of the clothes in the tub. Then it begins washing the clothes with a very insufficient level of water and it rings those clothes so tightly…that combined with the fact that the clothes are not actually soaking in water, leaves the dirt and detergent with no where to go. With the old fashioned washers, there was enough water to bring the dirt out of the clothes…here, that’s not the case.

    You will only notice your laundry isn’t very clean if you happen to wash something that is truly dirty. I first noticed it when I washed my couch furniture covers (made of cotton). I only wash these about once every 6 months and they get quite dirty as I have three small children who play on the couches, etc. So I washed these covers and noticed the water level did not cover them (as usual). I let the cycle wash and finish and then put them in my LG dryer. Once I took them out, I could see there were all these light beige stripes throughout the fabric with dark beige background. Well, the light beige stripes were the areas that were “clean”…the fabric had been twisted so tight (as usual) and only those areas were cleaned. Then, of course, with an insufficient amount of water in the tub, the fabric was no immersed in water to pull the dirt from the fabric.

    I called LG and they had a service man come out and of course, he said this is just the way the machine works to efficiently conserve water. GREAT!! So I’m conserving water but my laundry is still dirty.

    I am completely dissatisfied with this machine and am trying to return it to Home Depot but they are not helping with the situation…even though we bought the maching 3 weeks ago!

    Good luck with yours…I hope it fares better for you than mine does.

    • Thank you so much for posting this. Such comments can only strengthen the discussion.

      I am fully aware of the hassles involved with returning a major appliance – just a couple of years ago we bought a new dryer from Best Buy. The first one delivered was damaged, and its replacement was the wrong model. None of that was an error on our part, but it was a frustrating mess nonetheless. So while you’re waiting on Home Depot for help, please allow me to analyze a few of the things you mentioned.

      Regarding the couch covers – I use them too. I have white ones that stain easily, and I don’t have kids. I would bet that the difficulty in getting them clean has less to do with the machine and more to do with stain treatment and load size (read further down.) I have had great success with my new machine, including the one couch cover I have washed since it arrived. But the machine is not a miracle-worker, and neither was my old agitator model. When I fail to properly pre-treat stains, something always happens. So far I have had two items of clothing that this machine failed to clean properly. The first was a greasy-slimy stain (from a kitchen blender) that I failed to pre-treat properly. The second was an untreated stain in a small load. The second item survived while the first did not. I was not happy about either, but I did not fault the machine. Normally I not only pre-treat every stain, but I shoot 5-10 squirts of pre-treatment (I use “Shout”) directly into the detergent tray. This is something I carried over from my agitator machine, where I added pre-treatment directly to the tub. I recommend this regardless of the type of machine one uses.

      Regarding the water level – I disagree with the impression that water is the primary agent pulls dirt from the fabric. Water merely rinses away the removed dirt. What cleans the fabric is the act of clothing rubbing together (and in case of the LG HE machines, against the bumps on the tub.) In the old machines this is accomplished by the agitator. In the HE machines this is accomplished by the tub and impeller moving in opposite directions, and the clothes themselves (and in LG machines, the aforementioned bumps.) In your couch cover example it sounds like there weren’t enough items in the tub, and as a result they tangled in the rinse&spin cycle. Perhaps adding an extra rinse cycle (which the machine allows) might have helped, or untangling them and them rinsing&spinning again – which arguably makes the machine less “HE,” but these options would not be part of the machine’s programming if it was an unforeseen circumstance.

      Regarding how these machines work – the “High Performance” of the machines is achieved by reduced water, increased load capacity, and high-speed spin. They use just enough water for the weight of each load (as determined by the engineers) and the high-speed spin requires less dry time in the dryer – so the LG guy is right. What’s missing from your account is the number of covers you washed. If you washed the covers alone, you likely did not have enough fabric in the machine to get them clean and of course not enough differently sized items to keep them from tangling. The key to preventing tangling is having items of different size load evenly prior to washing.

      I am completely satisfied with this machine and consider myself fortunate that I bought it at Best Buy. I HATE Home Depot because of their lousy customer service and when their employees are “serving” you they are almost always unhelpful. Best Buy uses an outside delivery service, but they are very good about staying on top of delivery problems. I get great customer service their. If you do succeed in returning your machine, take your money to Best Buy if they are available in your market.

      Thank you for the wish of luck. So far it has fared well and looks like it will continue to do so.

    • I had the identical experience, but I seem to have chanced upon a solution. About two minutes after the wash cycle started I paused, opened the lid, redistributed the clothes, closed the lid & hit start again. It seemed to repeat the load sensing mode, added at least two (maybe even four -I had no way to measure) more gallons of water (plenty to fully cover the clothes) and went on to give me the cleanest clothes I’ve ever had. I’ve tried this twice & had the same results.

  5. I am so sick of the noise from my Maytag top loader that I can no longer stand it. The creaking from the agitator is driving me nuts and life is too short to live with something like this. I have read reviews and ratings until my mind was spinning Like you, I pored over the ratings at CR. My first consideration was quiet, and after that reliability. The customer reviews at CR were horror stories. So many highly-rated quiet front loaders soon developed problems and became noisy, eliminating those models. I also didn’t like the idea of stooping so low, plus the mildew factor repelled me. I was prepared to spend a lot of money just to get something quiet, and reliable enough to stay quiet. Like you, I became convinced that LG was making the most reliable machines. I don’t need the capacity of the more expensive models so I’m thankful for your thoughtful review at CR which pointed me to this model, and for saving me some bucks.

    • I’m glad I could help. I hope you have the same success I have had. Some reviewer at CR recommended that people take time to read AND understand the instruction manual, a recommendation I followed with great success. As I have tried to be clear in my reviews and posts, this machine is by no means perfect, but overall my clothes are cleaner and ultilty bills lower.

      • Thanks for your blog. I was leaning to the 4801 but you sealed the deal for me. I’m buying from Best Buy tomorrow. You can get one on sale for $595.

      • I am glad my blog post was able to assist in your decision. As I state below, I hope to post about more than just washing machines…some upcoming posts will possibly discuss the nature of friendship, immigration law, and purchasing a new refrigerator.

        Please revisit and post how you like your machine (positive or negative.) And congratulations on the great price! Mine was $625ish excluding sales tax. I appreciate mine more and more.

      • I sure hope you can help. Just purchased a Maytag Bravos and returning it….makes the most awful load sound, stained clothes that before the wash had no stains (and yes I did follow all the directions carefully). So I am now almost 100% certain we will be going with your LG model…One feature I missed from my old agetator type washer was the ability to soak..like winter coats in oxyclean and walk away, return 4 hours later or so and finish the wash. In the store I read the manual and it does say that you can soak and set the timer for the amount of time you want the wash to soak for – but it does not say for how long – so I called LG customer service and they could not tell me either. Have you had any experience using the soak cycle on you LG. Hope you respone soon since I need to return the Maytag this week !!!

      • I have not used the soak feature on my machine, so I cannot provide information on how that feature works. I do know that the manual is available online at the LG website…perhaps a careful read will give you more info. I will look into this and hopefully post a more informative comment soon.

  6. I bought this washer 3 weeks ago and really love it! Thanks for all the good info. on the washer that influenced my decision to take the plunge and buy it. I agree – read the instruction manual and it’ll save you from making mistakes!

  7. Have had the machine 2 weeks (from Best Buy). Don’t know how it works but it is a great machine. Clothes come out clean and no more wrinkled than the old agitator. We have 2nd floor laundry so quiet and no vibration is now appreciated!. Again, thanks for the blog. Great machine and I agree with everythign you said in your assessment.

    • I am glad that the machine is working out for you, and it sounds like my blog may have headed off some frustration in the process. I truly am hoping to blog a bit more and regularly, so I hope you drop by occasionally. Blessings!

  8. If you want more water for a given load size, just push the button for “Heavy” soil level and you will be rewarded with a higher level in the tub.

    • This!

      After reading here and elsewhere, the comments from Jim and also Donna got me off the fence. Home Depot has this machine on sale for $499. No Best Buy in my region.

      I’ll read the instructions, make a few changes in my laundry habits, and push that “Heavy” button. I concur with Jen’s assessment – I prefer a bunch of water carrying soil away, not a bare minimum of water. I’m on a well. Pumping water is very inexpensive. Thanks for the blog.

  9. Dave – enjoy your new machine! Side benefit – it’s cool to watch the washer work through the glass top. Great buy for that price too..

    • Actually “Kenmore” is a marketing brand own by Sears used to sell various products in their stores. Many different manufacturers contribute products to the Sears line, including, but not limited to LG.

      I heard the same thing from a Sears sales rep., specifically that LG makes Kenmore’s HE machines (I believe Whirlpool manufactures their non-HE washing machines.) However, when this blog was written the “4801CW” was a brand new machine to the LG line and was too new for sister model under the Kenmore name. Sears was selling the the 5001 and 5010 models under the Kenmore name. This may have since changed.

    • My machine is performing as well as I have previously described: on average my clothes are both softer and cleaner. It is easy on our delicates. The best part has been the economic benefits. On top of receiving $170 in rebates (which paid for the extended warranty we purchased,) the combined savings on our water, gas, and electricity is $30 a month. In just 2&1/2 years the machine will have paid for itself. Now if it lasts the 8 years the Best Buy saleseman projected, I’ll be far enough ahead to buy its replacement.

      • Another advantage is savings on detergent – what a difference from my non-HE machine! I have to buy detergent so seldom now – it’s great!

      • Donna, I actually forgot to mention this. I have not calculated the savings, but I buy a lot less detergent and softener…and we do a LOT of laundry for two people.

  10. The jury is still out for me. I agree with Jen – it does not get dirty clothes clean. I discovered that the “heavy” produced more water but then I don’t think there is enough agitation – clothes agitating against one another. (I will have to deal with home depot too.) I haven’t tried presoak and then wash – maybe that would help. I like the machine without the agitator, better for bulky items, it’s quiet and great perhaps if you don’t really get dirt into your clothes or other items. I do not like that I really do not have control over the options. It’s so simple to select small, medium or large for the particular items and the computer is all preprogrammed. Those are my comments on the machine.

    I was thrilled to find your blog – thank you. And I know you will do more than machines but hey, this is the grind of life too – ha!! Happy New Year.

    • Have you considered that part of the problem might be your detergent brand? I operate antique steam locomotives for a living, which means that my clothes can get VERY dirty and greasy. My machine has had no difficulty making light work of my dirty clothes. Some detergents create a build-up in the clothes which can turn them grey or yellow, making them look dirty when they aren’t. You could also have really bad water…

      I use “All.” It’s cheap and their “Free & Clear” comes with an oxygen booster, which has had an impact.

  11. Jen and s, if you read this, I’d be interested to know if you were able to return it to Home Depot? Or are you resigned to pushing the Heavy button?
    I bought mine from Home Depot only last week and I agree, it doesn’t clean well.
    I did a load of laundry today, looked through the glass cover and saw that parts of some items of clothing were still DRY when the wash cycle was done. The amount of water is not enough to clean the clothes properly.
    Other annoyances – the detergent dispenser is poorly designed as someone mentioned earlier, you really need to empty it out after each wash to get rid of the excess water that accumulates in there. You also need to clean out the water that accumulates in the bleach cup after every wash even when bleach is not used. That’s more of a pain as the cup is not removable.

  12. Thank you for your blog site and your review. I bought the this LG model at Best Buy three weeks ago. My partner and I agree with the respondents who report that LG4801CW does not clean clothes well. We have experimented with various cycles to no avail. In fact, some clothes become soiled during washing, apparently grime from a single item can be redistributed to other fabric instead of being agitated out and washed away. We have had to wash some articles twice and still are displeased with the results. So much for HE high efficiency when a wash that used to be become clean on a 2 minute small load agitated wash now cannot be cleaned after a lengthy wash twice over. Additionally, I am having a terrible problem with lint. Old agitator models were designed with self-cleaning lint filters. The LG4801CW seems to have no lint filter at all. I am seeing white lint on my colored loads. Colored lint on my whites. I agree that this model also has a poorly designed soap tray which leaves water in it after the load completes (the bleach dispenser also stores water. I am using the same All Free and Clear HE that always gave my good results with my old machine, a 19 year old Maytag.

  13. Thanks for your site and all the excellent comments. I, too, was sold on the logic of how HE machines should work but my experience mirros PJ’s above: after experimenting with previous suggestions and following the manual, clothes are just not getting clean. I am thrilled that I can watch through the top but what I saw was the same sheet sit on top after 20 minutes of half-hearted agitation movement – no movement whatsoever. One hand towel still has makeup on it; sheets that had cat hair on them still have cat hair; gym socks come out as dirty as they went in. It was delivered yesterday at 8pm; I read the manual cover to cover; I did three loads and by 1am, my excitement turned into sour disappointment. I’ll try to increase the water level by changing the soil settings from normal to heavy. I’ll also change from Tide to All (BTW, Tide HE smells bad compared to normal Tide). How can I tell if I have a defective model? I watched some top-loading HE washer videos on YouTube and the “agitator” action is so much more active than I see on my LG WT4801. My machine agitator moves a little left, moves a little right (does that a few mintues) spins up a little, then repeats with a slight movement left, slight movement right, like it is still trying to judge the weight of the load. Sigh.

    • I apologize for not responding to each post. But as this has become an online community connected by one particular washing machine model, I figured I should weigh in at some point.

      I can only speak to my experience with this machine, which is approaching 9 months. In that time my particular machine has only failed to completely clean a load twice…which is a better average than my old agitator model. One load was not balanced correctly, and the other was very heavily soiled. So yes, the machine does have its limitations. I can verify that my machine agitates quite vigorously, so if all you are getting is slight movement, I believe your machine is not working properly.

      Several of you have experienced other pervasive problems however. I would posit several possibilities:

      1. There could be a problem with the water. It might be very hard or have crap in it that interferes with the machine’s ability to clean.
      2. If your house is old the electrical supply may not match the machine’s specifications/requirements, which would affect the efficiency of the drive.
      3. You may have all gotten defective machines. While LG is listed as one of the most reliable manufacturers by Consumer Reports, they could have had a batch of bad drives/machines. Hopefully you have called LG’s customer service.

      I have read complaints posted here about water in the detergent tray at the end of the cycle. This happens in my machine too. What I don’t understand is why this is a problem. I just open the tray and let it drain while I toss in the next load. I ignore it…which is what I believe LG intended.

      Others have mentioned problems with lint. I occasionally notice this too, but no more than with my old agitator model. I do notice that the lint trap on my drier gets more lint with this machine, which is just fine. I no longer have to clean lint soaked in fabric softener like the old machine, which was incredibly disgusting. If you still have cat hair on your clothes after washing, does your dryer manage to remove it? Again, I believe this is what LG intended, as I imagine they also intended for you to purchase the matching dryer.

      Just my thoughts at a very late hour…

  14. Hi, I have a top -loader WT4801CW – bought from home depotcouple of weeks ago. Machine appears to work,ok , for speed wash, delicates on small to medium loads, medium spin speed, I would like to spin only , LG told me to start, select spin then start cycle – but the machine washes. WHy is this? They are sending a technician. WHy is the 51 minutes still appear ? Is this something I am missing? Should 14 minutes appear? Thanks.

    • Michele…there is no “rinse” cycle on the WT4801CW. There is only a “rinse AND spin” cycle that lasts 21 minutes. I believe the purpose of the cycle is to prepare clean but wrinkled “wash&wear”/”permanent-press” for drying. When you select “rinse&spin,” see if you’re not misreading the “21” as a “51”. If you are, then your machine is working normally – water is supposed to dispense into the tub in order to moisten the clothes for wrinkle removal.

      But if it really is reading “51” minutes and actually going through all the motions of trying to wash your clothes, then perhaps your particular unit has a software or even a hardware problem that is preventing the machine from going into the “rinse&spin” cycle. When you call LG, part of the troubleshooting process is for you to have the machine play its status code over the telephone to the technician. This audio signal is interpreted by LG’s mainframe and is supposed to diagnose what is doing on with your machine. If you did this and LG is sending out a technician, then your unit probably told LG something was wrong.

      If LG did not have you activate your machine’s audio diagnosis signal and is sending a tech out based on the description of your problem, well, re-check what is going on with your display as I outlined above. This save you a service charge…

  15. We just purchased the LG, washed clothes for a day and today it won’t power on. Verified power – dryer works fine – and then called customer support. I read some nasty blogs on Amazon that the part in question was on back order. I’ll find out when the service rep shows up on Tuesday. I have to say these new machines seem rather cheap compared to the old Maytags. But I do like how quiet they are. Unfortunately, my washer is quiet for the wrong reason now.

    • You’re right Dan – they just do not make machines like they used to. We have created a disposal culture which globalization seems to have made even more pervasive. So as you seemed to have observed, the engineering in the new machines is not only top-rate, but better than that of the old machines. If I had to choose between engineering and quality, I personally would take quality. But that is not just not the way the manufacturers are thinking.

      I’m sorry your machine will take so long to get fixed. I am fortunate to say that I did not have that experience with my machine.

  16. After reading your comments on this particular model, I am convinced to give this washing machine a try. My Kenmoore that we have owned for 15 years gave out about 2 weeks ago. Since then I have researched on what machine to invest in, the more I searched, the more confused I became. I came accross your blog (notice the posting time), and feel relieved that I am making an informed decision investing in this particular model. As a matter of fact, I was at Best Buy today, and have to mention that Vero, the sales associate, was very helpful and highly recommended this model, saying this washer is their best seller, and less returned item. I just wish there was a coupon or some sort of rebate I could use on this purchase, presently this machine is priced at $674.99, any suggestions?

    • Vero should be able to help you in one or more of three ways. Best Buy prides itself on customer service-take advanntage of that and see if he can inform you of any upcoming sales. Also, he can look up rebates that apply to your locality. Finally, he can tell you if there is a low price guarantee. My Best Buy did all three. In my case there was no sale on the horizon, I qualified for two rebates totaling over $100, and I never found a lower price.

      • Thank you for providing insightful information about the LG WT4801CW and possible savings at Best Buy. I think this will be the machine I purchase this week, but would like to know if you still think highly of the washer as of now (Sept. 2012). I’ve been doing too much research on top-load washers and am spent! Am ready to be done and make the purchase – after I hear your comment, however! Thank you!

      • Greetings

        To give you a quick response, yes I am still pleased with this particular machine and still recommend it. But make sure that you read ALL the comments on this blog, not just my review. The machine is not perfect and might not be right for everyone. There WILL be an o casional load that it does not clean properly and it needs to be cleaned monthly with a tub cleaning product. Finally, leave the lid up when it’s not in use to prevent mold build up in the washtub.

        Blessings!

  17. We have a LG4801CW top loader washing machine that has had a slow leak we just discovered, as there was never water visible on the side or front of washer to indicate leaking, however, overtime water has been leaking out of the back of the tub as far as a plumber can tell going behind the washer and under our trim and tiles/sub floor. After a year and a half of having the washer we noticed two of our tiles had cracked by the washer. When my husband pulled up the tiles, we found mold and water in the sub floor around the washer and more cracked tiles hiding behind the washer. We have contacted LG and they wanted to charge us to come fix THEIR FAULTY PRODUCT that was 1.5 years old because it was no longer under warranty. Pretty sad when they don’t stand by a product that is 1.5 years old. They were supposedly reviewing our case and would get back to us in 3-5 days, yet have not and we have called them several times and it has been a lot longer than 5 business days. I feel like we are getting the run around and I’m sick of having a torn up house. Because of the damage to our flooring and since we have an open floor plan this has resulted in ~10,000k in flooring we have to tear up because we can’t just replace one section. They no longer make our tile and we are out of extras. The plumber that came out said don’t buy LG products as the design is too new and are very frequently faulty.

    • Wow, that is certainly frustrating. I do hope LG does the right thing and quickly fixes your machine as if the warranty still applies.

      However…
      I understand their reticence to just cover it. Initially they only have your word that this am old problem. An affidavit from your plumber may help in this case.

      Your plumber is correct about new designs, but that does not necessarily apply here. First, the design is at least five years old as this model was a simplified version of an earlier higher-end machine. Also, it sounds like an assembly problem, which I covered in my initial post. It also could have been damaged during delivery.

      Your experience underlines my contention that sometimes extended warranties are a good thing. I took one out on mine, but since we had absolutely no touble in two years, I let it lapse.

      I do hope LG takes care of you. I hope your posting here leads to a resolution as I suspect LG monitors this blog.

      Blessings!

  18. I purchased the LG4801 as well. Good price, efficient and loved not having a post in the tub…
    However, after 1.5yrs the pcb assembly died. No power, no response and clothes are locked in. Pretty disappointing. Just outside of the warranty. Maybe being most reliable in this day and age isn’t worth a thing. Just better than the other crap out there. I’d steer clear of this machine as it seems to be a common issue. New part averages around$200.

  19. I have not actually kept up on the reviews of this machine because frankly my machine is still going strong after 2.5 years without any significant problems. While I have ended up doing most of my blogging in relation to this machine, I have actually had the luxury of not worrying about laundry in large part because of this machine. In fact, I just bought a companion dryer from LG that I hope to review soon. Now my wife occasionally complains about clothes not being cleaned or smelling like mildew, but this is due to my overstuffing the machine and not cleaning the tub faithfully every month (respectively.)

    Regarding the build quality, I cover this in my blog. Manufacturers do seem more concerned with the number of units sold than the reliability of their products or the reputation of their company. They hope that MOST customers will be pleased with their products to generate enough return business to sell more units. This is what happens when you put accountants and “project managers” in charge of things instead of engineers. I cannot argue with your complaint on this matter.

    As for the problem with the mother board, I see that you are not the only that has had this problem. But statistically I am not seeing that it is a common problem among ALL owners of this machine, but rather pops up more than once among those with problems. More frequent are complaints about how it washes and/or delivers water, which is most likely due to inability to read instructions or poor water supply to the house. But your situation is unfortunate – and I have no real response. I just happen to be among the fortunate majority percentage that got a reliable machine.

    The only thing I can suggest is to call LG. It doesn’t hurt to ask if they will cover your repair since it occurred just out of warranty. If you can show them that actually a large number of customers had the same exact problem just out of warranty, perhaps the threat of a nasty review on their own website my encourage them to extend your warranty or at least replace the part for cheaper than $200.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s