How many times have you wanted to wash your favorite pair of jeans or sweater, but didn’t have enough dirty clothing to justify a full load in the machine? Maybe you popped the jeans into the dryer to freshen them up, or pulled them straight from the hamper no matter how ripe they smell. No one’s going to be sniffing your jeans, anyway, right?
For years, appliance manufacturers have been making washing machines with larger and larger capacities to accommodate growing family needs. Yet those large drums can leave your favorite pair of jeans lonely in the hamper for weeks.
Samsung has a solution to this conundrum with the Samsung FlexWash WV60M9900A washing machine. It’s two machines in one — a one-cubic foot-sized small washing chamber up top for small or delicate loads, with a five cubic-foot chamber on the bottom for bigger loads.
The technology doesn’t come cheap, though. Samsung quotes an MSRP of $1,900 for the FlexWash we reviewed, and most retailers sell it for around $1,400 right now. Find out how this innovative appliance did in our review, below.
Looks as well as brains
The FlexWash — a 2017 Digital Trends Home Awards Winner and Smart Home Product of the Year runner-up — is both beauty and beast. The “beast” comes from both its size — 47 inches tall, 34 inches deep and 27 inches wide. It’s much bigger than most washing machines, including the Electrolux Perfect Steam Washer, and isn’t built for small spaces. The black stainless-steel washer features chrome trim, a blue LED display, and a curved, modern look that puts old, boxy washing machines to shame. It’s an impressive appliance in beauty and stature.
Samsung also makes a slightly more affordable version, the FlexWash WV9600. It downsizes the main washing drum from 6 cubic feet to 5.5 cubic feet, ditches a few wash cycles, and is slightly less expensive — but it’s not any smaller in overall height, depth, or width. The FlexWash pairs with Samsung’s FlexDry.
Unlike LG’s TwinWash system, where you can add a pedestal sidekick washing machine to the bottom of an existing compatible washer, you’ll find the small washing machine on top of the FlexWash. It’s big enough for an outfit — a pair of jeans, a sweater, and a T-shirt. To put clothes into the upper washer, you open the handle on the top of the machine, and then open another sealed chamber beneath. The top washer takes liquid laundry detergent only. It’s also transparent, so you can see your clothes as they’re rotated in the small drum. It has its own separate power button and cycles to choose from, including normal, delicates, active wear, and rinse+spin. You can even adjust the temperature manually.
While the top washer is simple, the bottom washer gives you full functionality, with all the bells and whistles you can think of. The bottom chamber easily fits at least 10 large towels, or several pairs of jeans and a few shirts. It has a power button separate from the top washer and gives you 12 different washing cycles to choose from — normal, heavy duty, whites, sanitize, delicates, perm press, towels, bedding, quick wash, eco cold, active wear, and rinse+spin. Depending on the cycle, you can also control the temperature manually and set the machine to rinse or spin. You can adjust the level of soil ranging from extra heavy to extra light. While the bottom washer is Energy Star rated, the top washer is not.
Spaghetti stains be gone
Eager to wash two loads at once, we threw three sweaters into the top washer, turned on the delicate setting, and watched them gently churn. Then we tossed our less delicate clothing into the bottom washer and turned on the normal cycle. Washing two loads at once was oddly fascinating. The LED displays for both drums told us how much time was left in each cycle, and a blinking indicator told us which part of the cycle each load was on.
Washing two loads at once was oddly fascinating.
We don’t always have such great results with washing machines: The Whirlpool Smart Cabrio we tested out earlier this year, for example, didn’t do as great of a job removing stains on the normal setting.
Both the top and bottom washers on the appliance play you a cute digital chiming tune when the cycle is finished. It continued a little longer than we wanted it to, but you can turn off or change any tunes that might annoy you.
One impressive aspect of the FlexWash is the quick wash cycle on the bottom washer. Samsung promises that your clothes will be thoroughly cleaned in just 30 minutes, which is a tall order. We found the quick wash cycle was just as good at erasing a ketchup stain off the front pocket of a collared shirt as the normal cycle. The steam feature, meanwhile, is designed to work hard on stains, and it did well with caked on, dried peanut butter. Overall, we were impressed with how clean our clothes came out, no matter the cycle or drum we used.
Both the top and bottom washers were extremely quiet. You’d be hard-pressed to hear them at all with a laundry room door closed. That’s probably why Samsung went with an extended chime tune, to alert you when a load is finished.
It was fun to start a load while in another room.
While there are many smart home bells and whistles in modern appliances, such as Kenmore’s Amazon Alexa-enabled washing machines, it’s unclear what people find most useful. Voice assistant capabilities? Remote control via an app? A large set of robotic arms that will load our laundry into the machine and then fold them? We can only dream. In the meantime, Samsung has connected the FlexWash to its Samsung Smart Home app, available for Android 4.0 or higher, and iOS 8.0 or higher.
You can start a load of laundry in either of the washing drums via the app. While it doesn’t have all the functionality of the FlexWash’s touchscreen, you can choose the cycle you want and the temperature. You can pause cycles in the app, too. One thing you can’t do is turn your washing machine on or off using the app. The machine needs to be on and connected to Wi-Fi before you can control it.
We found the app responsive to our directives, and it was fun to start a load while in another room. Still, we aren’t sure we’d use it often. The only time we think it’d be useful is if we turned on the machine but realized we forgot to push the start button before dashing out the door to work.
Even so, the double-drum FlexWash is a fantastic appliance, and we appreciated the flexibility it brought us. We wouldn’t be surprised to see other manufacturers following Samsung’s lead.
The FlexWash comes with a one-year parts and labor, a three-year stainless tub, and a 10-year washing component warranty.Our Take
The FlexWash is a great appliance with the flexibility to wash a big load, a small load, or both at once. Our testers raved about its functionality and preferred this machine over the other washer in our office.
Is there a better alternative?
If you have an existing LG front-loading washing machine, LG offers a TwinWash system that adds a Sidekick pedestal washing machine to your setup. Like a drawer on the bottom of your existing machine, you can buy it separately for a price ranging from $600-$800. You’ll need to verify that your washing machine is compatible. If you don’t need the dual washing ability, have about the same amount of cash to spend, and are looking for an efficient machine, try the Electrolux Perfect Steam.
How long will it last?
Samsung is a well-known brand, and with an extended parts warranty and continuous software updates, you’ll be in good hands. Typically, a washing machine will last you between 10 to 14 years, according to experts.
Should you buy it?
If you have a spacious laundry room and some cash to spare, buy the FlexWash. It’s like getting two washing machines in one.