The Staber washer is a horizontal axis washer (commonly referred to as “front-loaders”) but with the unique feature of loading from top. It has all the advantages that come with horizontal axis washers: uses much less washer and electricity, no inefficient, clunky transmission, needs less detergent, and clothes last longer because they’re not whipped back and forth by an agitator. You can read more about the Staber here.
Recently, one of my site users bought a Staber and I asked him if he would share his honest first impression of the machine. He was gracious enough to write the following excellent report on his first impression upon receiving, unpacking, installing, and running his new Staber. If you’re considering buying a Staber, this report is required reading:
It came nicely packed, but after opening it, my neighbor said, ‘is it used?’. There were greasy fingerprints, dust, etc. Since I know you are into the Apple packaging thing, you can unnerstan what I’m talkin’ ’bout. It didn’t bother me much. I read that they test each unit, etc. which is comforting. I also would give the ‘fit and finish’ a B-. I like the overall look of the machine, but when you look closely, the sheet metal does not match up to the plastic top very well. Again, not a big deal to me.
I installed new filter washers because the old ones had started to fall apart. I tried to scrape the remnants out of the valve before hooking things up. I really should replace the valves, but was very excited to hook things up and blew it off.
With my wife’s help, we had it leveled on our uneven, poured-concrete floor in about 15 mins. The manual indicated that each adjustable foot also had a locknut, which it did not (design change?). Also, it stated that we should install the rubber feet onto the metal feet, but they were already on…
Following their advice to wash our clothes sans detergent a couple of times because of residual soap residue due to our old, ineffective washer, we threw a colors load in to use both cold and hot water on a warm cycle. I was amazed at how quickly it started to agitate due to the short time needed to add water. I’m not sure I get Staber’s logic when they state that it is gentler than traditional washers yet cleans better. Do they mean that it is tumbling rather than tugging on the clothes?
Anyway, it sounded like it was really agitating things nicely. Could be a little quieter, but not bad. I’m glad it isn’t near our bedrooms, tho. I made sure to be in the room when the spin started. I was surprised by the long duration of the spin compared to traditional washers, but their slower spin speed (750 rpm?) probably explains this. It does, as others have noted, sound like a plane taking off. I
didn’t time the dryer duration for this load, but the clothes did come out ‘feeling’ dryer than our old 10 Y.O. maytag POS’s spin.
I guess I’ll reserve judgement on cleaning ability until I wash one of our heavily soiled, kid’s clothes loads with detergent. Some of their pant’s knees and socks have mud stains that are still obvious after a dozen washings in the maytag.
So, I guess I’d say, ‘So far, so good’ at this point. I’m more hopeful now that I’ve interacted with it a little. I felt like we took a gamble buying it without actually being able to inspect it like one could in a bricks and mortar. A suggestion: why not use quicktime to create an image of one which you can inspect online?
Good suggestion on the movie! I’ll find one and add it to this post as an addendum. Also, if John has any followup reports on washability and usage issues, I’ll post those here as well. Or John can post it as a follow-up comment. 😉
UPDATE 12/13/2005: Here, now, by popular demand is the long-awaited Staber video. Be forewarned: it’s a 139 mb mpg file, could take a couple minutes to download on broadband, couple more if you’re on dial-up connection.
UPDATE 12/22/2005: I’m getting killed on bandwidth so the link in the previous update no longer works. But, never fear: The Samurai has come up with a mo’ bettah solution. If you want the video, just email me and I’ll send you the access link: samurai AT Fixitnow.com.