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(National) Oct. 4, 2004 - The Maytag Neptune TL is a whole new kind of washer. Two discs lift and tumble the clothes around. There's no central agitator, like you find in regular top-loading washers.
The new GE Harmony also has done away with an agitator. So, have the Kenmore and Whirlpool Calypso.
Consumer Reports tests show these new washers can handle big loads, and they do a pretty good job of cleaning. In fact the Maytag Neptune is an exceptionally good cleaner, but there's a downside; each load takes an hour-and-a-half.
Along with cleaning ability, Pat Slaven tested how gentle the machines are. She washed special fabric swatches to see if they frayed, "The Maytag Neptune, you see quite a bit of fraying. It's a very aggressive machine."
The same is true of the GE Harmony. "This would mean that your underwear may get ripped up, curtains may get ripped up, and your clothes can wear out faster."
The Calypso is gentler, but it has another problem. Clothes come out tangled and wrinkled. And, with the Calypso if you make the mistake of washing dark clothes with a fuzzy white towel your clothes could be covered with lint, "You would have to brush it off, take tape to it, rewash it. It wouldn't be easy."
On top of that the new machines are expensive, selling for $900 to $1300. Consumer Reports tests show you can get a good washer for far less.
The magazine named two washers Best Buys. They both cost less than $500 dollars. The Maytag SAV4655A is gentle and good on water efficiency. The Kenmore 2485 is a bit quieter.