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Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Washing Machine Shootout: The Staber vs. Whirlpool Duet

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?

Message sent from IP:

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.

Samurai Appliance Repair Man cast these pearls at 23:20 ET.  [permalink]
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Dude! That Staber video tain't 'vailable no more. "Error 2703: Shared file is no longer available."

By Anonymous Anonymous, at April 01, 2005 9:55 AM  

I haved owned a Maytag Neptune, and now own a staber, the maytag was great, before it started breaking down, the staber is more of a comercial machine, not alot of bells and whistles, but will keep going and going, example... it has grease fittings on it's bearings, the maytag, you change out the drum assembly $$$$ .
as far as capacity, a queen comforter will fit.

it's your choice...


By Blogger Henry, at April 02, 2005 6:52 AM  

here's a link for staber pics and videos...

By Blogger Henry, at April 02, 2005 6:58 AM  

I'd be interested in seeing Samurai's BIG video, but it's just not there any more.

cncguy, I'm talking about the Duet not the Neptune. Wouldn't dream of touching the latter.

Finally, I can't find anything at that tells me what cycles are available on the machine, how fast the spin cycle is, etc. This is important to me, as I hang dry the majority of my laundry. More water extracted = less drying time. We really valued the cycles on our last front-loader.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at April 04, 2005 10:20 PM  

try these...

as far as being spin dry, it does a good job, but to be truthful, it seems like the maytag did better, it spins at 1000 vs 750, however it is much dryer than a normal machine.

By Blogger Henry, at April 05, 2005 7:50 PM  

Henry, how do you rate the noise level of the Staber compared to the Neptune? Do you find the Staber's cycle/temperature settings comparable?


By Anonymous Anonymous, at April 06, 2005 12:56 AM  

Working on a re-post of the BIG video. Standby...

By Blogger Samurai Appliance Repair Man, at April 06, 2005 1:03 AM  

noise level is pretty close, maybe a little bit louder when spinning, otherwise pretty quiet. I like the cycles on the staber better than maytag, The staber is more heavy duty to me. I bought it because I want to do minimal repairs, and it is simple, no complex keypad, or leds, just clean clothes. I also started using "Our detergent" It really works well with the staber, and you only use 1-2 oz. per load. between that and hotwater savings, it will pay for itself in couple of years.

Hey I gotta save all I can to buy gas for my car!!!

By Blogger Henry, at April 06, 2005 4:32 AM  

What about capacity- the duet seems to be 3.5 cu ft, whereas the staber is only 2.5 cu ft... I would like to buy the staber, but....

By Anonymous Rob, at April 14, 2005 11:17 AM  

also looking into a new machine after disasterous neptune with bearings now gone. makes me a little nervous with repairs to be done by owner on staber. My husband is really handy, but if he wasn't there then I'd have a machine that I needed to fix! Like the simple machine without bells and whistles,though. Also want a quiet machine, with laundry underneath our kitchen. Liked the duet, if only with a little less stuff!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 07, 2005 9:33 AM  

Are there any quiet, commercial machines worth looking at?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 07, 2005 9:35 AM  

The Duet is a sweet machine: runs whisper quiet and has a large capacity. Haven't done much service on them 'cause they don't break down that often. But tear-down was moderately easy during the Whirlpool training class, with one or two tricky spots.

If noise is a concern, get the Duet. If serviceability is your prime consideration, get the Staber.

By Blogger Samurai Appliance Repair Man, at May 07, 2005 10:08 AM  

ONe more question. Any idea lifespan generally of a duet? Any commercial machines worth looking at besides a staber for moderately heavy use with 6 people in family.Thanks for all your info!!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 07, 2005 2:22 PM  

I have owned a Staber since 1995, I am currently on my second machine and we are a family of we don't take in laundry for money and yes we are a normal family of 4! The first machine suffered from weak struts and poorly designed soap / bleach / softener dispenser that plugged, a circuit board issue that required a field motification by yes you the home owner. The good news is that all these items were replaced or resolved under warranty, then the bearings went out...since I live in Ohio I visited the factory and decided that generation 1 was not for me and was offered a great deal on upgrading to the "2000" model in late 1999 as you can guess the above problems were resolved in the "generation 2" design. I installed the new washer and completed my first load of laundry to be treated by a screaming noise when the unit went into the spin cycle. The problem was caused by improperly seated rivets on the washer's drum. When the unit went into a spin part of the drum door seperated...this prompted a call to Staber and they in their defense provided a speedy replacement washer. I was a "Most Happy" Customer for 4 years but allas started having problems with the motor not wanting to turn. This issue was caused by the brushes on the Seymons motor becoming stuck in the brush holder assembly (this must be a common flaw). Since the motor is a very simple design I tore it apart and requested replacement brushes from Staber just to discover that they do not sell them. They also could or would not provide me with a part number or a contact with Seymons...upset customer cloud looming! Since I could find no part number on the motor I was forced to purchase a new motor for $187.00 through Staber; all that for a $5.00 item... To sum it up do you know where I can get brushes to fix my now "spare" drive motor? I can only guess that this issue will be back to haunt me. Now that I have told you all the bad things it would only seem fair to mention the great things about this washer; it cleans cloths like no other machine I have ever owned or used! If you hate
1. High electric bills
2. Water bills
3. Live in the country and have an aging septic system (this alone is worth the price of 5 machines)
4. Suffer from dry skin that is overly sensative to soap residue..

Then you may want to consider this machine. It has saved me money in spite of the problems I have experienced not to mention what it means to my overly sesitive skin. Something to think about if you have a baby in your house! Staber warns you to NOT put any detergent in with a load of clothes that have been cleaned with your normal run of the mill washer. This is due to the soad residue that they leave in your clothes! It will over suds the unit! How's that for washing action.

Things not to do with a Staber
1.Top load design can allow small items to fall into washer tub assembly...not cool and very hard to get out, tip of the day always leave the doors open on the washer drum assembly until you are ready to close the top, if you drop something it will then land inside the clothes hopper, not the tub!.
2. Pocket change can be an issue! A quarter fell out of a pair of pants and as you can guess left the hamper to find it's way to the bottom of the washer tub. This is easy to diagnose since you washer will now not drain due to the pump motor getting jammed. The fix? Undo the hose and remove quarter. This was not the end of the world but a pain to empty a tub of water and dripping cloathes...if you think me accident prone or just unlucky I guess I leave that to for you to decide! In spite of it all I still have a soft spot in my heart for the darn thing, it cleans oh so well and has been overly kind to my septic system! I just wish I could find a part number for those darn brushes.... Another word of final warning, dont forget to grease the bearing every three years with Lith grease, front and back spindel.

By Anonymous Byron, at June 01, 2005 11:27 PM  

Great comments, Byron, thanks for posting 'em!

By Blogger Samurai Appliance Repair Man, at June 10, 2005 9:45 AM  

My Staber 2000 is 6-7 years old. It cleans wonderfully and the efficiency claims are accurate according to my experience. It is quiet and vibrates less compared to other (top loader) machines we have had, even in the spin/extraction cycle. While it is easy to repair, I have not been impressed with its repair record. The "drum skirt" needed to be replaced two years ago. It was cracked and split and leaked water during the spin cycle. The replacement skirt did not fit well and needed lots of rubber glue and caulking (provided with the kit) to seal it. The cabinet front fits very poorly and is difficult to align with the top into which it fits. The finish on the cabinet is flaking off at the top on the inside and the cabinet and support frame has already rusted a lot in our indoor laundry room. A new leak has sprung behind the drum--it may be the detergent dispenser. Last week the agitate and spin cycle stopped working. Customer service (always very responsive when I call) gave me a "tweak" maneuver to reactivate the brushes and the motor restarted. It quit again today. They also told me the brushes cannot be replaced and quoted me the same price as above for a replacement motor. I have never seen a motor brush that couldn't be replaced, though this may be the first. How about it, Mr. Samurai, can you "brush" up on this motor repair and help us out? Can I just take this to a local motor repair shop and get new brushes installed? Thanks for your help--great website!

By Blogger boblecht, at December 11, 2005 9:20 PM  

I'm in the commercial refrigeration/comm'l appliance repair business, and have always owned front-load washers. My last one was a Kenmore (Frigidaire/Electrolux) with a d.c. motor. No brush problems, but tub bearings wore out. Try typing "Motor brushes" into a Google search-lots of resources out there. P.S. I bought a Neptune 6700-not impressed. I'm getting rid of it and getting a Duet or Kenmore Elite.

By Blogger John, at June 17, 2006 2:37 AM  

Does anyone know how easy/difficult it is to take a Whirlpool Duet repair authorization class, and/or get hold of a shop manual?

By Blogger John, at June 17, 2006 2:38 AM  

Duet Service Manual

By Blogger Samurai Appliance Repair Man, at June 20, 2006 9:23 AM  

We have a Kenmore Elite He3 washer and are now going on our 3rd tub boot (bellow). This flexible piece seems an easy break item from wear/fatigue or washed item snagging and ripping (metal pieces such as buckles, zippers). Replacement cost for parts (front clamp, back clamp, boot/bellow) is about $100-$130, if replaced via service call is $250-$300. As a data point we have a family of 7 and have had the machine for about 3 years. A neighbor with the same machine has also experienced boot failure, I'm surprised to hear all the glowing reports on this machine with no mention of this weak point.

By Blogger j.pasik, at June 06, 2007 5:28 PM  

Just a price update on the Staber machines.

The Staber HXW2304 is now $1299 ($1399 in black) and the Staber HXW2404 is $1699 ($1899 with a stainless steel cabinet - aka HXW2504).

The hard part to swallow is they now charge $195 for shipping, and that's PER appliance - $390 shipping for a washer and dryer!!


By Blogger sbdivemaster1, at October 26, 2008 8:07 PM  

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