GE GTWS8650DWS ReviewWasher $1,299.00
Though this washing machine puts emphasis on its size, it does not spurn attention to detail.
What do baseball, iced tea, and top loading washing machines have in common? They all technically exist in other places, but only dominate in the US. That’s what the GE GTWS8650DWS is: A washing machine made in America, designed for Americans.
With a 5.0 cubic foot capacity, it’s the biggest GE washing machine out there — and one of the largest top-loaders on the market, period. But despite its emphasis on size, this machine still paid attention to the little things. For example, it had no problem spinning out excess water from a load, which will give your dryer less work to do. It also had a plethora of features, my personal favorite being the interior basket light that came on gradually — perfect for ill-lit basements.
Overall, this washer managed a decent job of removing stains. But no other washer offers this kind of capacity alongside nifty features like the ability to add steam to some cycles. With its cavernous interior and tech-savvy feature set, GE has produced a top loader for the next generation of American consumers.
Design & Usability
The GTWS8650DWS has frills, but no fuss.
The GE GTWS8650DWS is surprisingly easy to use from the very beginning of a wash. Open the door, and it'll turn on a basket light gradually. Close it, and soft-close hinges keep it from slamming.
After you get your laundry in, starting a cycle is very straight forward. Despite all the features on tap, GE has taken a no-frills approach to buttons and knobs. The control panel feels fairly sturdy. Push those buttons all you want, and the GTWS8650DWS won't get angry. All options light up when selected, so there's no miscommunication about your choosing.
Prepping for laundry has also been simplified and purified. There are four dispensers, two of which are SmartDispense tanks. That means they can hold up to two months of fabric softener and liquid detergent, which the GTWS8650DWS will dispense automatically based on load sensors. It's easier than dispensing detergent manually, but it doesn't make for great conversation.
The giant GE wasn't all rainbows and kittens, however. Of note, during the Sanitize cycle the edges of the lid became very wet because steam started condensing on the outside of the machine. If you keep your washer in a closet, you may want to keep the doors open, unless you want a combination laundry room and sauna.
Performance & Features
This washing machine has slightly above average performance, and plenty of features
Top loaders tend to be less efficient than their front-loading counterparts. The GTWS8650DWS was no different. Based on national average costs for electricity and water, we estimate the yearly running cost to be around $47. That's quite good for a top-loader, but still about $10 to $15 more per year than a front-loading machine. We also had a chance to check out the eWash feature, which saved about a nickel a wash in our tests. However, a closer look showed this feature is more economical than environmental: It took longer, used more electricity, and more water overall. The savings came from using less hot water.
Keep in mind, however, that some of those efficient front-loaders can only hold a little more than three and a half cubic feet of laundry. If you pack the GTWS8650DWS full, you might come out ahead as far as energy and water use are concerned.
This washing machine did a great job of spinning out excess water before a cycle completed. On average, test loads retained only about 56% of their weight in water. This means that your dryer will have to expend less energy to dry your clothes.
One of the coolest features of this washer comes into play if you decide to buy a matching dryer: The GTWS8650DWS will send a signal to the GTDS820ED0WS dryer to select the appropriate cycle for the wash that just ended. Washers talking to dryers? Next thing you know, cats and dogs will be friends!
There is no doubt that this washer has a lot of features. Piquing our interests were the SmartDispense automatic detergent and fabric softener dispenser, a vibration reducing option called Vibration Control, and a stain removal guide that was a little silly, but fun to play around with.
Speaking of stain removal, this GE had a slightly above average cleaning performance. Its Whites cycle plowed through organic stains like sweat and red wine, while the rest of the GTWS8650DWS' cycles were on par with other top loaders in its price range.
The GE GTWS8650DWS is a solid machine.
GE has made a big deal of how the GTWS8650DWS is made in America, but we're more impressed with how well it's made for Americans. Giant top loaders are king in the US, and this machine marries features with capacity.
Putting it through our gauntlet of cleaning tests, this washing machine came out slightly above average. It had the greatest success with organic stains like sweat and red wine. Oil proved itself to be a much more staunch opponent, however.
Though it used less water and electricity than many of its top-loading counterparts, efficiency proved to be the GTWS8650DWS's weakest pillar. Based on national average costs for water and electricity, this washer will cost around $47 a year to run, which is about $10 to $15 more than the average front-loader. Still, this washer has nearly twice the capacity of some of those super-efficient machines. Depending on how much laundry you do in a load, you may end up coming out ahead.