App control may not be top of your list when it comes to what you’re looking for in a washer, but some major manufacturers are giving it to you anyway. Because the majority of customers aren’t yet clamoring for these features, they have to be a bonus to an otherwise great machine.
The Whirlpool Smart Cabrio Top-Load washing machine is big enough to handle double loads with ease. Families that find they spend more time doing laundry than anything else will particularly appreciate the deep bin, since it can handle a ton of items and still get them clean. Those who want a more modern style, will appreciate it’s souped-up control panel. That said, this Cabrio is a bit spendy, and those smarts may not yet justify the extra cost.
When we first saw the Whirlpool Cabrio washer, we thought, “Ooh, it’s a top-loader with all the style of the latest front-loaders.” Let’s face it: You don’t see a ton of super-sexy top-loader laundry machines. They tend to be more utilitarian and sport a lackluster design. Indeed, the chrome shadow color (also available in cranberry red or white) and slick black touch control panel give it a crisp, modern touch.
Speaking of the control panel, it provides many ways to customize each load. After turning on the machine, select the load type (mixed, casuals, whites, delicates, or bulky/sheets) and how to wash (normal, quick, cold, deep water, or ColorLast). Next, select how you want to modify the cycle by choosing temperature, soil level, and spin speed. Finally, on some loads you can add more options like deep clean (Oxi or steam), extra rinse, and presoak. You’ll also find a digital timer in the middle of the control panel to see how long is left in a cycle. Don’t trust the timer; it’s just a suggestion. Our loads routinely ran longer than the allotted time.
This washer isn’t just focused on cleaning clothes; its high-end features suggest that it wants to protect and maintain a fabric’s integrity. For example, the Cabrio has Adaptive Wash Technology with Active Bloom wash action. This is a fancy way of saying that the machine adapts water levels to match the load size, so washing is generally gentler on fabrics. There’s also ColorLast, which keeps colors bright. While there’s no hand wash setting per se, you could potentially wash them on a delicate setting and hang them to dry.
The Whirlpool boasts a capacity of 5.3 cubic feet and measures 42.25-by-28-by-27.5 inches (height, depth, width). It’s big enough to handle bulky items and double loads. There is no agitator in the middle of the bin, so there’s plenty of room for particularly large items like king-size quilts. (Also, agitators can be rough on clothes.)
If you’re on the shorter side (around 5’3” or below), you’ll likely need a step stool to reach the bottom of the bin. The detergent holder is a bit hidden, inside the machine at the top back of the bin, but easy to reach. Simply pull it forward and add fabric softener, HE detergent, or any oxygen cleaner in the allotted dispensers. Be sure to select Oxi from the deep clean options, and the machine will automatically release the cleaning booster into the load at the right time during the cycle. For particularly dirty clothes that can withstand heat, select the steam clean option. You can add liquid bleach in the small circle dispenser located at the lower left corner of the machine when the lid is open. The drum is stainless steel, so it’s built to last.
Feeling like a philanthropist
As is the case with so many modern appliances, this Whirlpool top-load washer comes with an app. It’s Wi-Fi-enabled, so you can add it to your smart home ecosystem. In this case, you can also connect it to your Amazon account so that when the machine detects that it’s running low on laundry supplies it can automatically re-order more. If you have an Alexa-enabled device, you can ask it to start or end cycles and get info on time remaining. Once you sync the Whirlpool app with the washer you can create a specialty cycle and remotely start loads while you’re away from home. Of course, you’ll need to have laundry in the washing machine first. If you have a Nest thermostat, you can use it to avoid running your machine during peak energy times. Its diagnostic tool means Whirlpool can help you out with any issues before they become big problems.
You can avoid running your machine during peak energy times.
In addition to using the app to start loads remotely, you can also donate to Habitat for Humanity with every wash, thanks to Connect to Care. Just choose the feature from the app, select an amount (10 cents, 25 cents, 50 cents, or other) you’d like to donate every time you run a load of laundry and enter your credit card info. Just like that, doing laundry can help build a home for a family in need.
Unfortunately, we had a difficult time trying to get the app to sync with the appliance thanks to our office Wi-Fi. To Whirlpool’s credit, it responded quickly to our inquiry for assistance, but we were unable to pair our smartphone with the washer. Despite our trouble, a properly connected app does grant users a beneficial dose of added control over the unit. Additionally, judging from comments on the app, it appears as though users enjoy this added benefit, pointing to its monitoring of energy usage, remote start feature, and cycle logs as the most useful features.
Handles Seriously Big Loads Like a Pro
To start a load, press and hold the Start/Pause button (it’s got a play button icon). This locks the lid and starts the cycle. Forgot an item? Just press and hold the Start/Pause button and the lid will unlock when it’s safe to add another garment. Press the Start/Pause button again to resume the cycle.
We washed a variety of loads over a couple of months and were fairly satisfied with the results. We did put two big standard loads in the bin and there was still plenty of room left for more. We washed it using the settings casuals, cold, ColorLast, heavy soil, and medium spin. The clothes came out clean and light stains were removed. When we applied the steam feature to loads it did a solid job removing stains. Unfortunately, that wasn’t always the case when we selected a normal load and didn’t add the steam or Oxi options. The Oxi option worked well with a variety of cycles. Our only issue is when the wash cycle was complete, there was still some Oxi left in the dedicated drawer. We should note that you can’t use Oxi with the ColorLast setting. When testing washing machines for their stain removing powers, we don’t spray items with a stain remover before washing.
This Whirlpool Cabrio washer comes with a one-year limited warranty that covers parts and labor.Our Take
The Whirlpool Smart Cabrio is a big, powerful washer that has brains to go along with its braun.
Is there a better alternative?
The white GE GTWS8650DWS is a solid top load washing machine that has more options, including hand wash, and costs less. It does have slightly less capacity and lacks smart features, though.
How long will it last?
Top loaders typically have a longer life than front load washing machines. This model should last about 14 years. It should be noted that this machine didn’t launch with Alexa compatibility. The Wi-Fi connectedness means Whirlpool can make the appliance smarter as years go on, including giving you new and improved cycles. The smart diagnostic feature could also help with maintenance, both figuring out what problems are and getting a repair person over before it becomes a bigger issue.
Should you buy it?
If you are in need of a washing machine that can handle double loads and bulky items with ease, then this is a good option. On the other hand, if you don’t do a lot of laundry frequently there are many other models available that are more affordable and do as good a job, if not better. None of the smart features are must-haves at this point, but they might make your life easier and provide greater benefit as Whirlpool teaches it new tricks.