A washer so big you can do just one load a week

The race is on. Manufacturers keep boosting the capacities of washers and dryers with the promise that you can do more laundry in less time. Consumer Reports just tested a Kenmore top-loader with the biggest capacity we’ve seen in our labs as well as its matching dryer. Here’s a look at this supersized pair.

The Kenmore Elite 31623 high-efficiency top-loader with a metallic gray finish costs about $1,050; it’s available in white for about $100 less. This washer fell just short of our recommended list, but it’s impressive overall and like all the recommended HE top-loaders in our tests, it was very good at getting laundry clean, with a normal wash time of 75 minutes when set on heavy-soil setting. That’s long, but typical for most of our best top-loaders. This washer was relatively quiet and excellent at extracting water—so dryer time is cut. But of the dozens of top-loaders we tested, the Kenmore was among the few that were rough enough on fabrics to score only a fair in our gentleness tests. One more thing to consider. The tub is deeper than your old washer’s and if you’re short, you may find it hard to reach the clean laundry at the bottom of the tub. A petite staff member tried and couldn’t do it. We’ve seen this problem before.

The matching electric dryer, the Kenmore Elite 61623, $1,050, has a large capacity and tops our clothes dryer Ratings. This recommended model was superb at drying and one of the quietest we’ve tested. The gas model is the Kenmore Elite 71623. Our Ratings of washers and dryers note features, wash times, brand reliability, and of course test results. Take a look.

—Kimberly Janeway  http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2014/04/a-washer-so-big-you-can-do-just-one-load-a-week/index.htm