No matter how hard we try, sometimes progress passes us by — technology has a way of edging past us in ways that we least expect. Such is the case, I recently found out, with washers and dryers. Yes, those household appliances, that we often take for granted (until they don’t work), have improved by leaps and bounds in the past decade or so.
At my house, our washer and dryer set was about nine years old. These were a front-loading duo whose biggest technological marvel seemed to be a water reservoir you had to empty every 10 days to try and head off a nasty, mildewy smell in the washer. They washed, they dried, and that was it. Sometimes, they imparted that damp, fungal smell to our clothes. I had just begun to research new washers and dryers when Samsung emailed. They asked if I’d like to try out their newest models of washers and dryers (WF50K7500A and DV50K7500E). I couldn’t say yes fast enough! After packing up the old and mildewy machines, the day came for the Samsung units to be delivered. I was unprepared for how many improvements had been made in washing and drying, while I was busy washing with my relics from the past. When the installer game me the user manuals, I thought to myself that I might have to read them to figure it all out.
The washer was cavernous. With five cubic feet in the drum, the Samsung is the largest capacity 27″ washer available. (27 inches is the most common washer width.) I can’t overstate how big an improvement this size is. It swallows mounds of dirty clothes and cleans them quickly. Rather than do a couple loads of darks, the Samsung can get them all done at once, which means less time spent doing the wash. This morning, I threw seven pairs of adult jeans in the washer and it looked like it could handle seven more.
I don’t have seven more pairs of jeans but, if I did (or if I dropped a sock in the hall on the way to the laundry room), Samsung has this great feature on this washer. The AddWash door allows me to add an item into the washer without starting the cycle all over. This is a fantastic improvement and one that nullifies one of the biggest complaints about front loaders.
Additionally, the Samsung has a huge variety of ways to wash. All told, fourteen different wash cycles and thirteen different options on top of that. In addition to the standard operation modes you expect from a washer, the Samsung has a whole host of others. Exercise a lot? The active wear selection will take care of your nasty gym clothes. Wool, permanent press, delicates and bedding all get their own treatments, specifically designed for taking care of those fabrics and items. Eco Cold gives you an energy saving option for lightly soiled items, while protecting fabrics. But especially of interest to me were two cycles that really caught my attention. The Samsung has an Allergen setting that is designed to remove dust mites, pet dander, and other allergens from fabrics. The other setting that I was surprised by was Deep Steam. Both the washer and dryer have steam settings and the washer’s version of it uses steam to help remove very heavy soils. With all the settings, the Samsung PowerFoam feature optimizes HE detergent to deep clean better than ever before.
Those are all great and innovative, but the setting that got me grinning was on the panel near all the soil settings, extra rinse, extra speed, and temperature controls. On the corner of the panel was a button marked “Super Speed,” a name that you can’t help but like when it comes to chores. The Super Speed is a patented technology from Samsung that allows the washer to complete a cycle of laundry in half the time without sacrificing any cleaning quality. Yes, a one hour cycle can be completed in 30 minutes. It’s magic, I tell you! Best of all, it does what it promises. We use this feature all the time now. It means less time spent washing and (I assume) savings on utilities too.
Finally, in terms of settings, the Samsung has something they call Self Clean+. When you select this setting, the washer performs a self-cleaning cycle on its drum, helping to head off some of those problems front load washers in the past had. Plus, if you forget to run the mode, the washer will remind you every 40 washes. All of this, plus a dampening and balancing system that makes the Samsung 40% quieter than other washers.
All dryers are alike, right? Apply air and heat, dry clothes. Not so fast — Samsung has innovated here, too. Again, there are fourteen modes and a bunch of settings. Activewear, wool, delicates, permanent press, and bedding all get specific cycles. Eco Dry, Air Fluff, and a couple other modes allow you to minimize heat, while saving on utilities. Additionally, there are three steam cycles to ensure your clothes emerge from the dryer with fewer wrinkles; and there is a “Wrinkle Prevent” setting that can be added to any mode. All of these modes are run in the Samsung dryer’s 7.5 cubic foot drum, which contains sensors that recognize when clothes are dry and shuts off, rather than run needlessly.
But the most impressive thing about the Samsung dryer is a two-fold approach to handling lint. According to the National Fire Protection Association, washers and dryers are responsible for about 5% of home fires each year, causing upwards of $235 million in damage, much of it caused by lint problems. Lint accumulates in vents, causing blockages that can heat up and ignite. The Samsung dryer has an innovative lint trap. Rather than the single pane of screen that you’re probably familiar with, the Samsung has a pocket trap that forces more lint to be caught and is easily removed by opening it, like a book. The dryer has a reminder light to tell when you when the trap is full, although you should be cleaning it with every load. No trap is perfect, so Samsung has introduced an improvement here, as well. The Samsung dryer has a vent sensor that recognizes — and alerts you — if the dryer vent needs cleaning to avoid a potentially dangerous vent blockage.
Both the washer and dryer are Energy Star-certified, meaning they are energy efficient and eco-friendly. Their oversized drums mean you can wash more, faster, and get back to doing the things you want to do, rather than those you have to. It’s impressive stuff, something I never imagined I’d say about a washer and dryer, but there’s still one more feature that has huge potential…
Samsung Smart Home Adapter
Samsung is a big company with lots of products for your home. From kitchen appliances to air purification to the laundry room to robot vacuums, Samsung has products that will make your life easier — each boasting technology advances like the washer and dryer I’ve been testing. All of these devices mentioned above, washer and dryer included, can be interacted with remotely by the Samsung Smart Home system. By adding adapters (sold separately) to the washer and dryer, you can remotely control cycles, schedule washing or drying, and receive notifications when cycles begin and when laundry is complete. Again, the adapters have safety in mind, including a lockout feature that prohibits any remote usage when the machines have been interacted with while you are away.
It’s an ambitious system and, when it works, it’s fantastic. Sitting downstairs, watching a movie, it’s tough to tell when a load of clothes is done drying, even with the melodic chime’s volume set to high. No worries, pull out your smart phone and you can see that you can watch another 21 minutes of movie before the cycle will be done. It’s really wonderful and another step into the future of home automation.
However, setup can be difficult and not nearly as intuitive as we’ve grown to expect our smart devices to be. Subsequent connections felt hit and miss, working sometimes and not others for no apparent difference of reason, causing you to pull your hair a bit. Still, the documentation on setup and use seems to be improving. The online manual that’s available now shows a marked improvement over the printed manual that came with the appliances. If they keep working on the system, it will be another great feature. The promise of throwing some blankets in the dryer before heading out to go sledding and then starting the dryer on your way home so you can relax in toasty comfort when you return is very appealing. As it stands, there’s still some work to do.
Overall, the Samsung washer and dryer are fantastic machines. Yes, they are appliances that you probably don’t spend a lot of time thinking about, save those few hours a week you carry a mess of stinky socks and shirts to the washer, but given the Samsung’s sizes, that time will likely be minimized as you get more done with fewer washes. And that’s really the best part about the Samsung. Yes, they offer big improvements in how they wash and treat fabrics, they have safety features that’ll make you safer at home, improvements that will save you energy and money, dampening systems that make them nearly whisper quiet, and cool technologies that set them apart from all the others. But a washer and dryer that’ll help you spend less time with the washer and dryer? Now that’s an improvement that we can all get behind.
Disclosure: GeekDad was sent samples of these units for review purposes.