To start, drop here;
Also, remember to pick up a copy of Consumer Reports July 2002. Also
mentionned in August 2003.
I bought the top of line that is available (non-commercially) at
Sears. The Kenmore Elite HE3T with the matching dryer Elite HE3.
The dryer is not worth the money you pay. You could spend a lot less
and get the same drying ability, or even better. But, I wanted
something with the same capacity than my washer, and the HE3T was (and
maybe still is) the largest capacity on a non-commercial basis. Plus,
it looks more pleasant having two similar machines. In particular
since the dryer is sitting on top of the washer.
The washer HE3T is the best there is in the market (non-commercial)
and is highly rated from a reliability point of view. Also among the
most expensive. The Kenmore Elite HE3T has a clone called the
Whirlpool Calypso Duet. Sells for maybe $100 more is is not worth it.
The HE3T, as well as HE3 have a transparent front window, allowing you
to observe what's happening.
The Elite also comes in the HE3 format. It wouldn't be a wise choice.
The differences between the HE3 and HE3T are as follow:
1) The HE3 spins at a maximum of 900RPM while the HE3T spins at a
maximum of 1200RPM. This does not really matter cause cloth spinning
at 1200RPM are easily damaged by being stretched too much. I seldom
use the 1200RPM cycle.
2) The HE3T has one very convenient additional cycle. Called "Ultra
Hand Wash", it will allow your household to NEVER have to wash
anything by hand again. The washing is done by rotating the drum 1/2
turn, then stopping, then rotating the drum another 1/2 in the other
3) The HE3T has a heating element sitting at the bottom and under the
drum. And for this feature alone, you SHOULD buy the HE3T over the
HE3. The facts of life are that a stain of ketchup, a stain of blood
and a stain of ink need three different temperatures in order to be
completely removed. Using HOT water to attempt to remove all kind of
stains often doesn't work. The HE3T with it heating element will
gradually increase the temp of the water. This way, the proper temp
to remove a stain will be reached and the stain will be gone.
The HE3T has two computers. A main CPU and a second CPU whose only
function is to control the electric motor spinning the drum. This CPU
has a hugh heat sink. The location of the second CPU is very poor.
It is located on the floor, right under the drawer where you pour the
detergent/bleach/etc. . In order to protect it from damages due to
liquid, they installed a cheap piece of plastic (or other material -
don't remember anymore) attached to the side of the washer by tape
(like duct tape). The whole thing is plain out stupid from a design
point of view.
The main CPU will set you back ~$400 + tax and installation. It is
located behind the drum and under the top cover. About right in the
The HE3T is made up of 4 oil shocks located under the drum as well as
2 coil springs at the top of the drum to help support the weight of
the drum. About 150 pounds of concrete is attached to the drum in
order to help stabilise the movement. With a RPM of 1200 and based on
the diameter, it spins at a speed of 72MPH and sounds like the engine
of an airplane taking off.
If you open the front bottom panel (3 screws), you will see to your
right under the drum, sheets of paper inside a transparent plastic bag
attached to the side panel. Take them. Those are the instructions
for the technician in case your machine doesn't work properly. They
will allow you to put your machine in test mode. If ever there is
anything wrong with it, it will give you the error code and with the
sheets you will be able to have an idea of what's wrong.
I operated mine with the cover, rear panel as well as front bottom
panel removed. It is quite fun to see it operating. The engineering
design is very clever. A lot of thoughts went into its fabrication.
But due to its high cost of repairs, if necessary, it would be
preferable to continually have a warranty contract. The choice is
yours. You can live without and take your chance, but with two
computers that could be damaged through the hydro line, I don't want
this hassle and took the extended warranty. Which also included
installation. I may continually renew the extended warranty just for
peace of mind. That's what warranty are for, right?
About soap, no need to buy detergent specifically for HE (High
Efficiency) washers. But do use liquid detergent. The powder stuff
will create a lot of sud. This will force the machine to add another
15 minutes to the washing by adding a SUD cycle. I used powder for
the first few months, until I finished the box. Then I bought Tide
liquid for regular washers and it's doing fine.
Front loading washers use a fraction of the electricity and water
consumed compared with top loading. The quality of cleaning of front
loader like the HE3T is MILES ahead of any top loader. Plus front
loaders are a lot more gentle on clothes than top loaders. Just stay
away from the 72MPH spinning cycle...
The HE3T is also very quiet. Quieter on average than top loaders.
The only time it is a bit noisy is when the pump is on. Only lasts a
few minutes. You notice it since during most of the HE3T operation,
you hardly hear anything at all.