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Are Steam Washing Machines Worth It? (Reviews / Ratings)

Craig Marcotte  |  May 28, 2019  |  5 Min. Read

Steam Washers  |  Laundry

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I don’t have kids, but I know someday I will. I have nieces and nephews and have seen how their clothes can look after an afternoon playing soccer in the backyard.

Plus, I run Spartan races and Tough Mudders, and I might not be the most graceful when I eat, so I know how to make quite a variety of stains on my clothes.  

For my next washer purchase, I was wondering if steam would be a good option or if it’s just hype. Let’s see if we can find out together.

You will also learn the best steam washers if you decide it's worth the expense.

Who Makes Steam Washers?

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Over 20 years ago LG developed the first steam washer. According to one patent, they filed they explained three main advantages to steam.

The first was during the prewash phase. Here the steam would work with the water to help soak the fabric more thoroughly.

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The second was during the wash phase. The steam would increase the temperature of the water, making the wash more efficient as well as activating the detergent more effectively by dissolving it.

And lastly, during the rinse cycle, the steam would sterilize and soften the clothes, as well as aid in wrinkle removal.

Shortly after LG developed this technology, most other companies followed their lead.  

How does steam work?

Normal wash cycles in non-steam washers max out at 140 degrees Fahrenheit. While this is good for your everyday laundry, it is not very effective on tough stains.

It takes temperatures of 171 degrees for sanitation to begin and 212 degrees to create steam.

LG-Steam-Washer-Control-Panel-1

At these higher temperatures, you unlock a host of benefits that can preserve the life of your favorite clothing.

Advantages of Using a Steam Washer

Sanitation: As mentioned above sanitation occurs at 171 degrees Fahrenheit.

Not only does this temperature wipe out 99% of germs and bacteria, but it also can eliminate most allergens. For anyone with children or allergy issues, steam is definitely a consideration. 

Odor Elimination: These high temperatures also free trapped odors that can be locked into the fabric.

Softer clothes: Usually we use fabric softener for this, but with steam, you don’t need to.

The same way a hot washcloth can open the pores on your face, the high temperatures naturally open up the fabric allowing better breathing and ultimately a softer feel.

Fewer wrinkles: Just like with steam in the dryer, the steam in a washer can help minimize wrinkles. Of course, you will need to remove your clothing promptly after the wash cycle is done.

Disadvantages of Using a Steam Washer

Cost is really the only downside to steam. Usually, you are spending $200 to $400 more when you move to a steam option.

You do save on electricity with steam as it breaks up the stains more quickly and effectively.

While this is true, some steam cycles can run longer than a normal wash cycle, possibly negating the energy savings.

Best Steam Washers for 2019

All washers with steam will do a better job at stain removal and offer sanitary options so it’s hard to determine which are actually the best.

Below I’ve best options currently available and why I think they are better washers overall, not necessarily because of the steam.

Samsung WF45R6300AC - $989

Samsung-WF45R6300AC-Steam-Washer

Connectivity is what makes this washer special. It can pair the Bixby virtual assistant to make your laundry time a little more convenient. It also has a SuperSpeed cycle so you can wash a full load of laundry in 30 minutes. 

Samsung claims their new washers will be the quietest and the most vibration free. Laundry rooms on second floors or near your living spaces (your kitchen, living room, dining room, and bedroom would benefit from less noise and vibration.

Of course, this claim needs to be tested. 

Features:

  • Smart Care remote diagnostic
  • 4.5 cubic foot capacity
  • VRT vibration control technology

LG WM4370HKA - $1,169

LG-WM4370HKA-Steam-Washer

Aside from being the first with steam, LG also offers its Allergiene cycle. This cycle is fantastic at removing dust mites and 95% of other allergens. This is the perfect setting for bedding.

Features:

  • 4.5 cubic foot capacity
  • TurboWash shortens wash time by as much as 30 minutes
  • Steam options including Sanitary wash
  • 6Motion wash technology. Uses 6 different wash motions.
  • 30-inch depth is one of the shallowest full-size washers, allowing easier fit into small spaces

Maytag MHW8630HC - $1,219

Maytag-MHW8630HC-Steam-Washing

ExtraPower is what makes this Maytag stand out. The ExtraPower option will vary the water temperature during the wash cycle to help combat stains.

Different stains break up better with different water temperatures, so this option will cycle through them for better results. Combine this with the steam feature and there won’t be many stains that will survive.

Features:

  • Fresh Hold will continue to tumble the clothes for up to 24 hours reducing the chance for mold
  • Overnight Wash and Dry for small loads allow you to have your clothes ready by morning without using the dryer
  • Sanitize cycle that kills 99.9% of bacteria
  • Remote diagnostic capabilities
  • Quick Wash cycle
  • 5.0 cubic foot capacity

Miele WWH860 - $1,999

Miele-WWH860-Steam-Washer

Miele only makes compact laundry but for its size, it has great capacity. It can hold up to 18 pounds of laundry or can accommodate a queen-size comforter.

Miele is the best for laundry care and preservation with its honeycomb drum designed to protect fabrics, its unique detergent distribution and dispensing systems.

They also just introduced their basic model at $1,199. It has the Honeycomb drum, CapDosing, and a high RPM spin speed at a lower price. 

Features:

  • TwinDos automatic detergent dispenser
  • CapDosing for special wash applications including cotton repair
  • QuickIntense Wash
  • Honeycomb drum design for the gentlest wash

Since this article is about steam, I won’t go into all of the features, but there really is no better washer on the market than Miele.

 

 

Should You Buy a Steam Washer?

So, is a steam washer worth it? It depends.

There really is no reason you shouldn’t get a steam washer. It is better for cleaning power. The extra temperature does loosen stains. It is better for allergies and your clothes in general.

However, you should expect to pay a minimum of $200 plus for the steam option.

Is that worth it to you?

Additional Resources

Read the Yale Washer Buyers Guide for features, tips and brands to consider before you buy your next set of laundry. Over 400,000 people have already found answers in a Yale guide.

Washer Buying Guide

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WHY SHOULD YOU TRUST US?

A few review sites have placed this at the bottom of their articles. So here is our take: Our mission is to find reliable products for you to buy. Other review sites may say this as well.

However, we don’t love every product. Quite frankly, it costs us way too much money in repair costs to support less reliable brands.

In fact, we sell fewer brands than most appliance stores. Here is why:

We feel it is our responsibility to repair your appliances after you buy them.

We now have 30 service technicians, each averaging 8-10 calls a day Monday through Friday, plus another 110 on Saturday. That's over 30,000 service calls logged in one year.

The labor rates of fixing an appliance do not come close to the true cost in any product’s warranty period.

That is why no major retailer has a service department. It costs too much labor, money and time.

Our Blog is a bit different than most others you will read. We cannot write glowing reviews of unreliable products.

Hopefully, the bloggers and organizations who write such glowing product reviews for every brand consider servicing these products first. Only then they will understand the consequences of their marketing.

Craig Marcotte

Craig Marcotte is an Appliance Sales Consultant at Yale Appliance. He has been with Yale for a year now. Before working at Yale, Craig was a corporate trainer and later spent several years managing restaurants in Boston. A New Hampshire boy at heart, you can often find Craig on a mountain or running a Spartan race when he isn’t helping customers upgrade their homes.

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