Before buying my Danby washing machine I diligently read every review on every seller's website I could find of this product and was led to believe I could not go wrong with it. I'm still happy with the machine overall, but I was surprised that some of my experiences were not more often reported by other users. Perhaps my unit is flawed in some way not obvious from the outside, or perhaps there really is a design flaw, but I'll stick to recounting my experiences with this machine and let you judge the rest. First off: I knew this before purchasing it and I don't consider it a drawback but readers should know, if they don't already, that this is an entirely manual machine. No automated cycles, no walking away and coming back later to clean laundry. I myself find the simplicity to be refreshing after too many years of using laundromat machines with few if any controls over how they are washing my clothes, and it also stands to reason that there are that many fewer components to fail. None the less, this will not be for everyone. This machine will not fill itself, you will have to do that (although it does come with a hose and a convenient place to connect it to the top of the machine.) It comes with an adapter for a standard sink faucet too, but be careful. These components are all plastic and are more easily broken than they might look. You will also have to tell the machine how long to agitate, and when to drain although fortunately it does have a pump inside so it doesn't rely on gravity to drain. However the issues that drew me to give it only a "fair" rating as far as meeting expectations are two-fold: 1) My biggest disappointment was the spin dryer. While other reviewers were raving about it I personally find it to be completely useless. It is indeed much smaller than the washing basin, which is not a huge problem in of itself, but the fact that it cannot handle anything heavier than a couple of socks without unbalancing is pitiful. I have tried and tried again with all sorts of different pieces of clothing in different combinations, I have read and re-read the manual looking for something I'm doing wrong but can find nothing. If I put any garment in the spin dryer heavier than a pair of underwear or a couple of socks the thing will throw itself against the side of the machine with such violence I'm sure I've inadvertently activated some kind of self destruct mechanism. No amount of balancing will solve this. Running even one towel through the spin dryer is ineffective and requires earplugs no matter how carefully I try and balance it. I ended up giving up on the spin dryer altogether, requiring me to wring out each piece of clothing I wash (they are still sopping wet at the end of the wash/rinse cycle) before drying it. My indoor clothes drying scheme was effectively defeated by this failure as it's somewhat time consuming to get the clothes dry enough that they do not drip all over the floor without that spin dryer. So I have now ended up ordering a portable dryer to compliment the Danby, which while not the end of the world was something I was hoping to avoid. 2) This is far more minor, but I find it worth noting that there has been a greater learning curve with this machine than I anticipated, as well as a lot more time involved in its use. I end up washing the clothes often more than one full 15 min cycle to get them thoroughly clean, with a rinse in between and another one or two after. In between each cycle of course I must manually drain and refill the machine. After it all I am noticing my clothes still come out considerably more stiff after being washed in this machine than when I use the traditional washing machines at the laundromat. There is probably a fairly easy solution to the stiffness thing which I know I will eventually discover, and I believe a good part of it is discovering the right ratio of laundry to soap (doesn't seem to be the same ratio required as in a traditional machine,) how long to rinse, and just generally some trial and error. I've noticed already for example that the Danby cleans more efficiently if I don't fill the drum more than half full of clothing. It does the job either way, but it seems faster to just run multiple smaller loads than to keep running one larger load through the wash cycle over and over. All that being said the clothes do come out smelling, looking, and feeling quite clean by the time I get done. In fact, though I can't prove it, I suspect part of the reason I'm having to spend less time washing clothes as I go along is because the machines at the laundromat actually weren't getting my clothes as clean as this Danby is. Or perhaps I'm just getting better at it (wishful thinking.) Still, some might be wondering, considering the hard time this machine and I are having getting to know one another and the spin dryer disappointment, why it is that I would still give it a four star rating. The reason is that I paid $299 for this machine on walmart.com and even for a machine without a spin dryer (which to my mind is basically what I got) that's not a bad deal. I may still be learning how to use it but the bottom line is it is cleaning clothes very well for me and while there are portable washing machines in significantly lower price brackets they all appeared markedly inferior. None seemed to have a full-height agitator or anywhere near the capacity of this Danby. So even though I have since been looking online to see if I could have gotten a better deal on a machine with no (biffed) spin dryer the answer seems to be: not much. So I might as well keep playing around with it and see if I can get the spin dryer to work at some point. If not little is lost financially speaking. (That being said if you should find a less expensive spin-dryer free machine that is comparable in features and user feedback I would recommend going for it over this one.) I can still only run around half of a regular load of laundry at a time but in the world of portable washing machines that seems to be doing fairly well. I can, for example, wash my set of twin XL bed sheets and covers (I split it into two loads as it cleans better but I wouldn't strictly have to) and while I suspect a luxurious thick queen-sized bedspread would be too much for it that's again to be expected in the portable washing machine world. I have had no problems with it damaging clothing, and it has a gentle cycle I haven't even tried out yet. There was no assembly required for me and thus no hoses or clamps to put on wrong or otherwise invite leaks and malfunctions. The manual actually calls for attaching the drain hose, but I'm not sure why as it attaches somewhere inside the entirely enclosed metal exterior which would require considerable disassembling to get to and it was already attached when I opened the box anyway. The instructions call for cleaning all three filters & guards between loads but this has proven completely unnecessary for me. Only the lint filter in the center of the agitator seems to actually collect any dirt, and all three are easy to clean anyway. So all in all maintenance really seems to be a breeze with this machine. As of the writing of this review I have not had it long (only a couple of weeks) but it has been the picture of reliability for me so far. It proved a bit difficult for me to haul around by myself but it doesn't really weight all that much and once it was set up and on its happy little four wheels it is fairly easy to move. The lack of a need for traditional washing machine hook-ups was critical for me and with the Danby I don't feel like I'm giving up much for the convenience. It's a good machine, it really is. For all that it could have been better, I would still recommend it.
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