Electrolux EWN 14991 W review
Independent washing machine reviews by a repairman with 30 years experience.
Time Manager: 8 Kg direct spray model EWN 14991 W (available in white and silver)
This is another Washerhelp recommended washing machine. It's respectably built, easy and pleasurable to use and the Time Manager system really does allow you to reduce the wash time significantly. We didn't notice any problems with the wash quality even when reducing the time on cottons by an hour.
This washing machine should be considered if you want a washing machine that's respectably well made and with advanced features yet still affordable.
This model is unfortunately no longer available so this review is archived though it still gives a good insight to Electrolux (or AEG-Electrolux) washing machines. To see more up to date reviews see the paragraph below regarding Which?
It has a top spin speed of 1400 RPM which should be fast enough for most people. It also has a massive 8Kg drum where you can fit in almost twice as much as you could several years ago (a 7Kg and 6Kg version is available if 8Kg is too big).
Main Features -
- Energy Class: A
- Spin efficiency: A
- Wash Energy Rating: A
- 1400 rpm top spin
- 8Kg inclined drum
- Time Manager (time reduction control)
- Height (mm): 850
- Width (mm): 600
- Depth (mm): 600
- Water Consumption per cycle Wash & Dry (litres): 64
- Available in white and silver
I became interested in this washing machine after a strange coincidence. I had published a blog article ( Customers want much faster washes ) where I called for washing machine manufacturers to give us washing machines that let us have more control over the wash times. My article suggested it would be great if we could set the time of washes ourselves instead of being dictated to by fixed programs.
For years we've had to endure the wash times set by the manufacturers, which have become longer and longer. These days even many "quick" washes still take too long or are just inappropriate for our needs because they are designed only for lightly soiled laundry. Of course reducing wash times too much could affect its efficiency but I speculated that most people would still prefer the option of overriding wash times at least occasionally.
It was only a week or two after publishing my article that I came across Electrolux's advert showing a washing machine with a winder on the side emulating a wrist watch. The tag line read, “We were thinking - you should set the time your wash takes, not the machine”.
It was quite a coincidence, and a welcome one - but is it just a gimmick? Or is it a washing machine that breaks the mould and offers something genuinely useful?
What is Time manager?
The Time Manager system allows the user to override most wash times in 5 decreasing increments. You set the wash programme as normal, but then you have the option to reduce the time taken to complete the wash according to your time restrictions or maybe because you feel the laundry isn't dirty enough to need the full wash time. The Time Manager facility is available on most of the current Electrolux range.
Quote from Electrolux (press release)
"Fed up of the washing machine controlling your time? The new Electrolux Time Manager range means the washing machine fits in with your life – and not the other way round. You simply select the wash programme and the preferred wash time, rather than be dictated to by the machine. There are huge time savings to be made – for example, you can wash cottons in 45 min's and synthetics in just 20 minutes."
This washing machine looks well made. It’s chunky-looking with an extremely large door. The control knob is fixed in the centre of the control panel and the symbols on it are easy to understand without reference to an instruction book. It has a large LCD display on the right surrounded by silver function buttons. I like the look and style of this washing machine.
The Time manager came very well packed for transit. After removing the packaging, a large quick installation guide was taped to the top of the lid showing how to remove the transit bolts and connect the washing machine to the plumbing. The guide was very easy to follow, with plenty of photos and even had a website address for more detailed instructions and a video although these instructions should be more than adequate.
Continued on next column ...
John Lewis are a great place to buy a washing machine from. They give at least 2 years guarantee on all washing machines and other appliances - and even 3 years on their own brand (plus 5 year guarantees on TV's).
Free standard delivery on all orders over £30
They've also been voted top of the customer satisfaction polls by Which? consumer association. John Lewis - the best? (external link to my Blog).
Review continued .. (starts in left column)
Electrolux make washing machines at the higher end of the mid-price range. They should be considered if you want a washing machine that's respectably well made and with advanced features yet still affordable. The Electrolux group contains brands such as Electrolux, AEG-Electrolux, Zanussi, Eureka and Frigidaire.
Repairability & Longevity
There are no big issues with repairs. As part of the same group that makes AEG and Zanussi parts and repairers should be readily available. Spares prices are generally reasonable.
Looks and usability
I like the look of the EWN14991W. The centralised control knob with its well designed surrounding icons plus the large informative display panel make it possible to use the washing machine intuitively. When switched on the washing machine plays a pleasant tune. When I first encountered this behaviour (on Samsung washing machines) I thought it was a bit frivolous and novel but I don't mind admitting it's nice. The display is often animated, which again is unnecessary but for some reason it's nice, it gives a little character to the machine.
You can customise and memorise up to two wash programmes and recall them through two favourites sections of the wash programmes.
For photos of various control displays see: large informative display panel
The door opens quite wide, but could open all the way back which would be even better. The design shape of the front with the bulging door could cause problems if installed in a corner where an adjacent cupboard door needs to open across the front of the washer. If this is relevant to you make sure you measure the whole depth of the washing machine including the bulging door.
Clothes did come out of this washing machine quite creased compared to our Miele W 3740 but this could be because the Miele has a honeycomb drum which is extremely gentle with laundry and laundry does not stick to its sides. When the Electrolux Time manager finished spinning the clothes were stuck to the sides of the drum. My previous washing machine was the Dyson CR01 (now obsolete) which also had a non standard drum. The CR01 had a contra-rotating drum where the drum was in two parts that could rotate in opposite directions. This meant laundry was also not stuck to the sides of the drum after spinning. Now I can't remember if laundry is normally stuck to the sides of the drum after spinning in most washing machines or not.
Under the lid and behind the back panel
It's roughly what I expected inside, a similar build quality to other washing machines in the same price bracket such as AEG and Siemens. The Electrolux EWN 1499 W is quite well made for the money. You can buy much higher quality but you will have to pay considerably more and jump up to something like the Miele brand ( Miele build quality review )
From an engineers point of view, one thing I especially like is that the heating element is fitted at the back and easily accessible with the back panel off ( inside ). Some manufacturers put the heater at the front and the front panel needs stripping down to reach it. It’s also impossible to check for leaks when fitting a new one or whilst fault finding a leak unless it’s at the back.
The suspension looks better than most cheaper washing machines who use very crude plastic rods covered in grease. This suspension is like a proper suspension damper apart from the fact that it’s unfortunately still made of plastic. If you want real metal suspension you need to pay a lot more though these days. I’m sure it does the job well enough and I expect it's a reasonable compromise between quality and price. This is a well specified washing machine for the price.
There's a normal drain pump and a circulating pump. Pumps are a part that can commonly fail so having two inevitably increases the chances of a pump failure some time down the line. However, the advantage is that much less water is used during the wash because the circulation pump sprays the laundry with water during washing. This system was pioneered in the UK (as far as I know) by Zanussi with their jetwash system many years ago (Zanussi are now part of the Electrolux-AEG group) and other companies have since developed similar systems where water is sprayed over the laundry via a pump.
There is a pump filter behind a square panel at the front, which in my opinion is essential. It's also clearly visible and not hidden behind the kickstrip as with some other makes. Because it isn't behind the kickstrip it is slightly higher up which is better, but it's still too low down to allow anything but a shallow container to be used to drain water into.
To be fair though the only other pump filter that's high enough to put a proper bowl under is fitted on Miele washing machines and that is quite high enough up for some people to feel it spoils the looks ( Miele pump filter ). The only downside I can think of to having the filter that high is that it spoils the aesthetic look, but only Miele seem prepared to make this compromise in the interest of usability (which I think is great).
The filter on the EWN14991W also includes a drain plug to drain water before unscrewing the filter cap which is also essential.
The 8Kg Drum
This washing machine has an extra large 8Kg drum, which can be used to cut down drastically on the amount of washes you do each week saving energy, water and detergent. It is capable of washing king size double quilts.
If you don't have a large amount of washing or any large quilts then it could be too big and the 7Kg or even 6Kg versions of the Time Manager may be more suitable (cheaper too). - Check out models EWN14780W (7Kg) and EWN13570W (6Kg) There are other differences ( compare features in different drum sized versions at Electrolux site Time manager models )
The drum is inclined back to make loading and unloading easier.
How much washing will fit into an 8Kg drum?
As I work from home I'm expected to hang the washing out and it was a nuisance having to hang out so much at once. Joking apart though, you can do a lot of washing all in one go with an 8Kg drum. Here's a picture of the finished laundry in the wash basket prior to hanging out, and below it is the resulting two washing lines of laundry - ( How much washing will fit into an 8Kg drum? )
Related: What about a 7Kg drum?
This machine has an 8kg drum but if interested in seeing how much extra laundry you can fit into a 7Kg capacity drum - I took some photos of the Dyson CR01 which has a 7Kg drum (1Kg smaller than the washing machine being reviewed here). The pictures show a quilt being washed in a 7Kg drum and then being rammed into an old standard 5Kg drum - contra-rotating drum
There's a leak protection float micro switch in the base which should detect any leaks and shut the machine off or at least activate the pump to drain the water out. The way this works is described on the float micro switch photo page.
Remember that the build quality of washing machines tends to be the same throughout their range so you if you are interested you should be able to find a washing machine very similar to the one reviewed here using the links below.
Find other Electrolux washing machinesSearch for Electrolux washing machines (search Washerhelp comparison pages)
AEG washing machines
AEG are very similar to Electrolux and made by the same company - Search for AEG washing machines (search Washerhelp price comparison pages)
Special offers and discounts on washing machines
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Please note that all information on Washerhelp is given freely and without warranty. I can't rule out errors in quoted specifications, features or sizes. Please double check any aspect that is important to you with your supplier before buying any washing machine.