Maytag MVWC400XW High-Efficiency Washer Review
Updated 9-22-2012, 6-23-2013
This is a product review for the Maytag MVWC400XW top-loading
high-efficiency washing machine. I wrote this article because, based on
Internet product reviews, people are having difficulty with this washer.
I wanted to share my experiences.
I bought the Maytag MVWC400XW after my previous washer broke. The
previous washer was 19 years old. It was a conventional top-loading
machine with an agitator and mechanical timer. This was an old design,
essentially unchanged from the washing machine that my parents used.
Enter modern technology. The Maytag MVWC400XW is one of a new
generation of high-efficiency washers that use significantly less water
and energy. Rather than fully submerging the clothes in water, the
Maytag MVWC400XW circulates the clothes through a shallow pool of water
and detergent. The high-efficiency washer is distinguished by its use
of a short wash plate at the bottom of the drum.
A rebate offered by my utility company offset the extra cost of the
high-efficiency washer. After the rebate, this model cost the same to
purchase as a conventional washer.
|Very roomy drum
Without an agitator to get in the way, the washer holds a lot of
laundry. The Maytag MVWC400XW can easily fit a queen-size comforter,
mattress pad, or a half-dozen pairs of jeans.
|Will not snag clothes
My old washer would occasionally snag clothing on the agitator. That
does not appear to be possible in the Maytag MVWC400XW.
Clothes can sometimes come out wrinkled, but they never appear to be
|Regular settings use much less water
The high-efficiency design works as advertised.
|Bulky setting for large items
For large items that will not tumble on the wash plate, the bulky setting
fills the drum with enough water to submerge the item. This offers a
choice - the washer can be either high-efficiency or water-guzzling.
I use the bulky setting to wash bedding or multiple pairs of jeans.
|Very quiet and effective spin cycle
The Maytag MVWC400XW has the quietest spin cycle of any washer that I
have ever used. It is remarkably free of vibration (on a concrete slab
The spin cycle extracts water so thoroughly that clothing can be
air-dried in not too much time during the summer. Not having to run the
clothes dryer is a huge energy savings.
The high-speed (800 rpm) spin cycle is the reason for the door lock.
The downside of the high-efficiency washer is that it is slow. A
normal, regular cycle with extra rinse takes 50 minutes. Other cycles
can take 60-75 minutes. Doing the laundry becomes an all-morning affair.
In this washer, technology is used to save water and energy rather than
|Spray rinse may not be adequate
I am a little skeptical about the spray rinse used on the normal cycle.
Fortunately, the washer offers the option of an extra rinse.
|Essential to set the cycle type
Unlike a conventional washer in which any cycle would work as long as
the water level was set adequately, the high-efficiency washer needs to
be told what type of clothing is in it. This matters because heavy
fabrics will not tumble easily.
The need to set the appropriate cycle type is made up for by the lack of
a water level setting. The washer automatically senses the amount of
clothing by measuring its rotational inertia (very clever).
|No indication of unbalanced load
The washer will sense if the load is unbalanced and will stop spinning.
However, the cycle will advance as though the spin had completed. A
better design would have signaled an error.
I am happy to see modern microprocessor technology applied to the very
old problem of washing clothes. The Maytag MVWC400XW does a good job of
washing, and at the same time, costs very little money to run.
I suspect that the poor product reviews are due to people not selecting
the right cycle type or not pre-washing stains by hand. I am satisfied
with my purchase of the Maytag MVWC400XW.
June 2013 Update
Having owned this washer for a year, I now have a better understanding
of its quirks. While most loads come out fine, the washer will
occasionally encounter the following difficulties.
- Due to the tumbling action of the wash plate, items such as
long-sleeve shirts will sometimes become knotted together. When that
happens, the spin cycle will be unbalanced. The washer has to be paused
and the clothing manually unknotted.
- Mixed loads with dramatically different densities will sometimes
fail to wash the lighter items. Light items tend to float above the
water line, while heavy items remain submerged. If one needs to wash a
mixed load, use the bulky setting to fill the drum with enough water to
While the old agitator-style washer was not entirely goof-proof, the new
high-efficiency washer is somewhat more susceptible to things going
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