The Samsung WF520ABW/XAA is a front-loading washer equipped with a steam cycle, which the manufacturer claims can do a superior job of powering away stains and sanitizing sheets. This 4.3-cubic-footwasher is not only Energy Star-rated but also meets the requirements for Tier III certification from the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE), the strictest efficiency standard for washers.
In professional tests, it gets good results for its cleaning power, efficiency and gentleness on clothing. The washer is not available from many retail sites, so user reviews are limited, but those we found are generally positive. Owners praise the steam cycle and find the machine quiet and easy to use. However, we did see some complaints about reliability and the customer service provided by Samsung. If you don't consider a steam cycle essential, you can get the top-rated Maytag Maxima MHW6000XW (*Est. $1,100) for about $400 less.
The Samsung WF520ABW/XAA is one of nearly 70 front-loading washers tested by ConsumerReports.org for such qualities as cleaning performance, efficiency, vibration and gentleness. It has also been tested by the Good Housekeeping Research Institute, which rates its stain-busting capabilities and ease of use. User reviews for this model are scarce, but we found about 35 at BestBuy.com and another 15 or so on the manufacturer's website.
We also found information about customer satisfaction with the Samsung brand as a whole in the 2011 Home Appliance Survey conducted by J.D. Power and Associates, although this particular model is not evaluated.
The Samsung WF520ABW/XAA is one of nearly 70 front-loading washers tested at ConsumerReports.org. Each washer is rated on its cleaning performance, water and energy use, capacity, gentleness to clothing, noise level and vibration.
Review: Washing Machines, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, As of June 2012
2. Good Housekeeping
Testers at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute award the Samsung WF520ABW/XAA a grade of A-minus, the highest awarded to any washer in their tests. It achieves perfect scores on the vibration tests, and its stain cycle "powers out spots ranging from wine stains to oil stains, to crayon to mud." Testers say it is also gentle on clothing. Its one downside: the spin cycle doesn't get the laundry completely dry.
Review: Samsung Steam Washer WF520ABP, Editors of the Good Housekeeping Research Institute, April 2011
We found about 35 reviews for the Samsung WF520ABW/XAA at BestBuy.com, with an overall rating of 4.4 stars out of 5. Owners say the machine is easy to use and quiet, and they appreciate the steam cycle. However, some complain about poor durability and say that getting repairs from Samsung under warranty is a frustrating experience. Overall, 88 percent of users say they would recommend the washer.
Review: Samsung - 4.3 Cu. Ft. 13-Cycle Steam Washer - White, Contributors to BestBuy.com
There are only about 15 reviews for the Samsung WF520ABW/XAA on the manufacturer's site. It receives an overall rating of 4.1 stars out of 5, and 73 percent of owners recommend it. The steam cycle is a popular feature; one owner says it can actually be used as an alternative to dry cleaning for suits. However, a couple of owners complain that the washer does not remove odors from dirty clothes.
Review: 4.3 cu. ft. Steam Washer, Contributors to Samsung.com
5. J.D. Power & Associates
In this survey, more than 5,600 consumers who have recently bought washing machines rate their overall satisfaction. For the third year in a row, Samsung receives the highest ratings, based on performance, features, style, price, warranty and ease of use. Individual models are not evaluated, however.
Review: Home Appliance Study, Editors of J.D. Power and Associates, Aug. 3, 2011