LG WT1701CV review

LG's washer gets everything clean, unless you're using the gentle cycle

lg wt1701cv review washer set2

LG WT1701CV

“LG’s efficient WT1701CV has a capacious tank, an intuitive interface, and looks that should be on display rather than tucked away.”
  • Affordable and energy efficient
  • Powerful normal cycle
  • Attractive design
  • Spacious tank
  • No good option for gentle garments
  • Not as feature-heavy as similar machines

Even when tucked away in a utility room or basement, there’s no reason for your laundry appliances to be monstrously ugly. The avocado clunkers of yesteryear are gone for good, replaced now by sleek, gunmetal vessels as efficient as they are handsome. The high-efficiency LG WT1701CV top-load washer offers fine looks in a familiar configuration and with some innovative new features — but looks certainly aren’t everything. Just how well can you expect it to clean your clothes?

Good looks, good price

The WT1701CV carries a suggested retail price of $1,100 but can be found on sale at the usual locations for as little as $825. It’s available in classic white and the more modern gunmetal shade we reviewed at, dubbed “graphite steel” by the manufacturer. The primary external construction is steel, except for the top, which is plastic and tempered glass. The top includes a soft-close feature, which gently lowers the door in an easy, consistent motion, saving you the bruised knuckles brought on by metal-lidded heavy-swingers of yore.

Unlike most other top-loading washers, LG’s HE line feature control panels at the front of the machine. This configuration improves accessibility and is a welcome feature for shorter users. The controls are intuitive and responsive, their labeling legible, and the interface is compactly placed on a single seamless panel, making cleanup of spilled detergent or fabric softener a breeze.

It measures up at 27 inches wide, 41 inches tall, and 29 inches deep, with adjustable feet to ensure levelness and balance. Overall, the build quality is elegant and sturdy, especially for a machine in this price range.

Capacious and clever

The washer offers an excellent capacity of five cubic feet. The stainless-steel basket has a depth of just over two feet from the rim, meaning those shorter users who benefited from the control panel may need a stepstool to reach that last errant sock before transferring a load to the dryer. Sorry!

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Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

The dispensers are all located in an array around the top edge of the drum. The detergent and softener are poured into a compartmented sliding tray at the 12:00 position, and each compartment is removable from the larger surrounding tray to facilitate maintenance or cleaning. Down around the 8:00 position, bleach is added via a funnel-shaped opening that feeds its own dispenser. Back up at 1:00, there is a water jet that comes into play during the rinse cycle, intermittently and precisely soaking the load as the drum spins.

The washer is driven by a variable-speed, direct-drive motor that maxes out at 1,100 RPM — more than enough for a topnotch spin cycle. Like any comparable HE washer, there is no central agitator, but there is a wash plate that rotates under the load during the course of each cycle, gently scrubbing your garments while also using a fraction of the water that a traditional machine would require.

Accessibility and efficiency

The slick, seamless control panel is welcomingly located at the front of the machine, and the interface is both attractive and intuitive. Twelve large, capacitive touch keys are arranged into three banks for cycle selection, cycle modification, and special cycle and option selection. It can accommodate three different soil levels, as well as the usual range of temperatures, with an extra “EcoWarm” option designed to provide the benefits of a warm wash while using less energy. The washer also allows a selection of four different spin speeds, with an extra option to cancel the spin entirely.

It emits a series of tones that are deciphered via telephone, so a technician can determine what’s ailing the washer.

Of the available features, the delay wash and the child lock were the least user-friendly. The delay feature is useful if you want to sync a second wash load to end when the dryer finishes its cycle or set it to start half an hour before you arrive home from work, so you’re your clothes don’t molder all day long. Time is added to the delay in increments of 10 minutes and can’t be subtracted, requiring you to cycle all the way back through the settings if you overstep by a single button press. It’s unfortunate and avoidable, as input is solely digital. The child lock is useful for preventing little ones from tampering with any given setting, but when activated it completely locks the control panel, making the machine inaccessible for adults as well. Since most children won’t even be able to reach the control panel without assistance, it’s hard to view this feature as anything but superfluous.

Feedback is provided through a series of individual selection LEDs, status indicator symbols, audible tones, and a segmented LCD that serves as a wash countdown timer and illustrates your custom wash delay as it’s set.

The LG line also offers a novel little feature called “Smart Diagnosis,” which is designed to aid LG support technicians if ever the machine should develop some unfortunate fault more complicated than the LCD can pinpoint. It essentially emits a series of tones that are then deciphered via telephone, so the tech can determine what’s ailing the washer. This should be a welcome innovation for anyone who’s had experience dancing the tech support tango.

Precision balance, above-average performance

Each cycle begins with the load-sensing function, during which the machine spins the wash plate and basket to determine the appropriate water level and to balance the load. There is no option to manually set the fill level, but load sensing allows for such accurate water usage that the absence is welcome if hardly noticeable. Load sensing usually occurs in less than a minute, after which the basin fills with the methodically measured amount of water

Once filled, the wash cycle begins. The machine runs very quietly with loads of all sizes, thanks to the superior balancing. Don’t expect to be distracted by it operating behind a closed door or more than 30 feet away. There may be some slight rattling from the lid due to the fact that the locking mechanism only engages on the right side of the machine, but the noisiest part of any given cycle is the filling and draining. After that it’s all fairly quiet anyway.

Unfortunately, there’s a bit of inconsistency in the wash itself. The delicate cycle doesn’t quite scrub your unmentionables to their best and brightest, but normal fairs a good deal better and should be your go-to option if your fancy pants can afford the tiny extra bit of wear-and-tear that the cycle dishes out. The heavy cycle did a grand job of wiping out stains but was more than a little rough on sweaters and towels.

During the normal cycle, the light load completed in less than 40 minutes, the normal load just under an hour, and the heavy load in about an hour and 15 minutes. Heavier cycles can be counted on to add at least 30 minutes to that run time. The machine does offer a quicker alternative in the speed wash, which performs well with smaller loads, though it can’t be relied upon if you’re planning to put through more than half a dozen light garments or a single pair of jeans per cycle.

The delicate cycle doesn’t quite scrub your unmentionables to their best and brightest, but normal fairs a good deal better.

Once a cycle completes, a charming little tune plays to alert you, but if that tune seems less whimsical after a few months of use, it can be muted entirely. A cycle can also be paused at any time by pressing — you guessed it — the pause button, and if left alone, the forced drain feature will kick in after five minutes of inactivity.

The washer does not offer the hand-wash cycle you might find featured on other machines in this price range, like GE’s top-loader, the GTWS8655DMC. But it does promise to kill 99.9 percent of bacteria with its Oxi-Sanitize setting and reduce allergens with its Extra Wash function.

Finally, the WT1701CV is Energy Star-certified and carries a Consortium for Energy Efficiency rating of tier 3, so you’ll definitely notice the water and power savings if you’re just now making the switch to high efficiency.

Warranty and support

LG offers a very competitive warranty, with one year of parts and labor, 10 years for the motor, and a lifetime for the drum. The call center answered promptly when we reached out to them during their operational hours, and staff was friendly, though as is always the case, they seemed to troubleshoot from a script.

Conclusion

The WT1701CV provides a decent wash at a good value. Its attractive face, relatively dainty footprint, and quiet function make it an appealing option for those with limited space in which to operate a washer, and its economical use of resources will make for a welcome subtraction from your utility bill. If you just can’t live without a gentler touch, keep looking. GE’s GTWS8655DMC has basically the same features at a similar price but also features a hand-wash cycle.

But as it stands, this little top-loader is a great all-rounder.

Highs

  • Affordable and energy efficient
  • Powerful normal cycle
  • Attractive design
  • Spacious tank

Lows

  • No good option for gentle garments
  • Not as feature-heavy as similar machines

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