Washing Machine Shootout: The Staber vs. Whirlpool Duet

by Samurai Appliance Repair Man on March 8, 2005

in Washer Repair

Susan Marek wrote:

Welcome to the Mac and firefox –however Mac’s Safari is cool too! Firefox is for windows users to try to avoid most viruses/spyware thru internet– until it gets popular too.

Now for the big question:

I see you feel Staber is best bet going–still after the whirlpool Duvet entry?

Also, do either of these do twin and queen comforters or King Duvet?

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I think the essential difference between Macs and PCs comes down to this: I use a PC because I have to; I use a Mac because I like to. And I like the Safari browser, too. But I was already using Firefox on my Windows platform and they have a very nice version for the Mac with features not available in Safari (e.g., all the extensions, especially FireFTP, gmail checker, and several others that I rely on heavily).

The Staber washer vs. Whirlpool Duet… hmm, tough call. Both are excellent machines with all the advantages of horizontal axis washers over the old, energy/water hog vertical axis machines.

First, a little terminology. I refer to the Staber as a horizontal axis washer instead of the layman’s term front-loader because it’s more accurate. All front-loaders are horizontal axis washers but not all horizontal axis washers are front-loaders. For example, both the Staber and the Whirlpool Duet are horizontal axis washers; however, the Staber is loaded from the top, whereas the Whirlpool Duet is loaded from the front. Aside from the Staber, all other top-loaders are vertical axis washers, which are distinguished by an agitator in the center of the tub that beats the hell out of your clothes.

Let’s review some other fun facts to know and tell about horizontal axis washers vs. their vertical axis cousins:

Comparison of Vertical Axis vs. Horizontal Axis Washers
Feature Vertical-Axis Washer Horizontal-Axis Washer
Water Use per Load 45 Gallons 15 Gallons
Tub Material Plastic or Porcelain Stainless Steel
Annual Operating Cost $600 $260
Detergent Usage per Load 4-8 ounces 1 ounce
Capacity 8-10 Full-Size Towels 16 Full-Size Towels
Half-Life 12 Years 20-25 Years

Ok, any dufus can see that horizontal axis washers are the only way to go. Recent marketing research has shown that the only people buying vertical axis washers these days live in double-wides, smoke GPC cigarettes, and leave the water running while brushing their tooth. If you fit into that demographic, tell whoever is reading this to you that they can stop now and turn Jerry Springer back on because you’re just looking for the cheapest washer you can find.

Let’s move on to the specific comparison and contrast between the Staber and the Whirlpool Duet:

  • The Staber loads from the top vs. from the front as in the Duet. For people with bad backs (like me) this is a compelling feature.
  • Samurai’s 11th Law of Appliance Repair states that, “Electronics and wet appliances do not mix.” The Staber has NO electronics in the control panel– all user controls on the Staber are mechanical switches and timers. It does use a single motor controller board which is required to control the forward and reverse tumble directions of the motor. The Duet, on the other hand, uses two, mondo-hairy electronics boards, one of which is just for the control panel. I’ve already seen problems with the motor controller board, though these were isolated cases and do not appear to be a design or production flaw.
  • Samurai’s 3rd Law of Appliance Repair states that, “Everything breaks; it’s just a matter of frequency, difficulty, and expense.” The Staber is designed to be repaired by the end-user– no servicer required. Since you sought out my website, I assume you have at least some interest in being able to do most repairs yourself. The Staber washer is totally serviced from the front, so you don’t have to be a gorilla to pull it out and work on it. You buy replacment parts directly from the factory– this means they’re going to cost less than comparable parts for other brands because you won’t be paying a retail markup.
  • The Whirlpool Duet is made in Germany. The Staber is made right here in Ameedica.
  • The Staber is less expensive than the Duet. The Staber all-white base model, HXW2304, sells for $1,199, freight-paid. The Duets are more in the range of $1,500, plus delivery.

Wanna see it in action? Ok, come check out this video of the Staber in action (138 mb). The Staber standard white model HXW2304 is available for just $1,199. This is a delivered price to a business or residential home within the Continental U.S. (free freight). When you purchase your Staber washer through me, you also get these other goodies:

Still have questions? More info at Samurai’s Appliance Emporium.