LG’s flagship washing machines have been impressing us for a few years. The 12kg Centum FH6F9BDS2 is the latest range-topper from the brand. It packs in a Direct Drive motor with 20-year guarantee, downloadable programmes, and a staggering A+++ -60% energy efficiency.
Genuinely capable of double-digit wash loads, great wash and spin test results and the lowest running costs we’ve every tested, this LG is a true star performer. It isn’t cheap and it’s quite a complex beast, but get used to its quirks and the LG Centum is a truly outstanding washing machine.
You know the powers that be are running out of energy-efficiency ratings when several washing machines already score A+++. That’s three grades better than good old A rating. So what happens if you make a washing machine more efficient than that?
Enter LG’s Centum FH6F9BDS2, boasting a 60% reduction in resource use over the already super-frugal A+++ rating.
As befits such a super-efficient machine, the technology, design, operation and even price tag are at the top of the game. It leverages all of the company’s previous innovations such as the 6-Motion Direct Drive motor, True Steam cycles and Turbowash. It also packs in compatibility with LG’s new Smart ThinQ app. Remote control and monitoring, downloadable programmes and programme customisation can all be handled via your smartphone.
The whole machine has a heavily bow-fronted design that will push out into your kitchen a little. The design is eye-catching and does give a few more centimetres of drum depth too. The curve extends right up to the fascia plate, so the display is angled slightly up towards the user. That makes it very easy to read, even if you’re standing over the machine.
High-tech and wow features aside, the Centum hits all the key requirements with ease. Basic operation is straightforward using the programmer knob and touch-display selectable options. The soap drawer is traditional and the drum is huge. We really do mean ‘huge’.
Thanks to the Direct Drive motor and some fancy engineering in the drum suspension, LG is claiming a whopping 12kg load. We scoffed at this ambitious claim… until we successfully managed to get near-10kg of real world washing in there. That ticks our 80% test for drum capacity. 10kg of dry, screwed-up washing is a pile about the size of the Isle of Wight.
In use the selector knob is well weighted, with a good click at each position. It neatly illuminates a segment next to the chosen programme. We found the touchscreen a little finicky, though. Sometimes it would respond quickly. At other times it was a little slower. That encourages you to do a second press, which would then pull up a different feature in the sequence.
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The display is colour, high contrast and crisply detailed, with plenty of information to guide you through options. Yet there’s no getting around the fact that menus have been translated from Korean – often badly. Several of the pop-up instructions simply don’t make any sense at all.
The manual is considerably more intelligible, even if some of the grammar and sentence structure sends my editorial OCD into spasm. Those hiccups aside, operation is otherwise seamless. The pause button will genuinely pause the wash and allow you to open the door to add garments, if required.
The app is slicker still – which is probably the first time we’ve ever said that of a washing machine app! It’s very straightforward, all the info and options are neatly laid out, and even downloading new programmes is obvious.
The countdown timer only updates if you refresh the app. We guess this is a battery-saving measure to avoid continuously polling the washing machine over you network. The machine does message you when it’s ready to be unloaded, though.
LG Centum FH6F9BDS2 – What programmes does it have?
With machines such as the LG Centum, that’s a bit like asking how many apps does your smartphone have? It’s a variable feast. There are plenty of new programmes to download through the app and LG is working on more all of the time.
Straight out of the box, the FH6F9BDS2 has 13 main programmes. That might be a lower headline figure than some of its competitors, but the LG doesn’t simply count multiples of the same programme at different temperatures.
There are two Cottons programmes, however. The main Cottons wash offers better wash performance by engaging all of LG’s 6-Motion technology and is pretty quick. The Cottons Large is actually the main ‘Eco’ wash, so forgoes some of the fancy drum motions in favour of longer dwell and soak time… making for some seriously lengthy washes.
Just to skip forward to the tests here for a second, we found the ‘Large’ suffix of this programme a bit misleading. It washed very well and very efficiently with much smaller loads, too. However, since energy efficiency is a function of how much washing is washed, a Large load will always be most efficient.
Easy care, Mixed Loads, Sports Wear, Duvets, Wool (Gentle Care) and Dark garments all have their own dedicated cycle, with maximum loads between 3kg and 5kg. There’s a 1000-spin Silent wash, a dedicated Stain Care cycle and a fast 20-degree Speed 14 wash.
The Allergy Care programme is designed to best remove allergens such as house mites, pollen and even pet hairs, claims the manual. LG’s Steam Refresh programme does just that for dry garments in need of a freshen up and wrinkle removal.
The last programme is the download option. Right now, there are 13 downloadable programmes to choose from across three categories. These encompass Home & Family, Sports & Leisure and Fabric Care. You can only download one programme to the machine at a time, though. If there are a couple of cycles here you want to use, you’ll have to download them each time.
The main drop-down app menu has a number of other interesting features. You can run a drum-cleaning cycle, monitor your energy usage per cycles or on a month-by-month basis, and engage LG’s remote diagnostics should things go wrong. The energy monitor uses an arbitrary scale, rather than fully detailed in kWh, but it does give you an idea of you peak washing months.
The ThinQ App has a number of other Smart Home related features should you have other LG Smart home devices such as air-con, heating controls and so on.
LG Centum FH6F9BDS2 – How noisy is it?
The energy label’s indication of noise output and the measured reality are rarely the same thing. It cuts both ways, too: some are quieter; some are far rowdier. The LG Centum is firmly in the quieter camp.
The energy label suggests a 52dB wash noise and 71dB on the spin. Both figures are impressive in their own right. In reality, though, the Centum is a whole lot quieter.
The water in-rush noise is well suppressed, so is only a light trickle sound. There aren’t too many valve-clicks to disturb the peace and quiet, either. Once the LG is washing, it burbles along at an average sound output of just 45-46dB. That’s stupendously quiet for a washing machine. We have tested nosier fridges!
The full 1600 spin isn’t quite so adrift of the energy label at 69dB. That’s up there with the best, if not quite class-leading. Coming in under 70dB for a 1600 speed spin with near 10kg of clothing is very good, whichever way you look at it.
LG FH6F9BDS2 – How well does it wash?
Assembling 80% of the LG’s stated maximum 12kg load capacity took some doing. We used pretty much every test t-shirt, tea-towel and sheet in the lab, and had to do some personal stripping-off to hit the 10kg mark.
It all went into the LG’s cavernous drum. The door is ample wide enough for even bulky items.
With a full 10kg load of screwed-up cottons, the drum was packed tightly. We pulled out a few garments to bring the load down to 9.5kg, replacing how most people perceive a ‘full load’. It also meant I didn’t freeze to death in the lab.
In went the test stain strip with 24-hour dried-on blood, coffee, turmeric, blackberry juice, ketchup and engine oil. A measured (large) dose of non-bio liquid went straight into the soap drawer and we set this first wash to Cottons Large at 40ºC. This is essentially the Centum’s Eco-wash.
And Eco is was too! It used just 0.49kWh of electricity and sipped less that 40 litres of water for the entire load. That’s comfortably the lowest resource consumption per kilogram of clothing washed we’ve seen. Outstanding. This LG certainly lives up to its A+++ -60% billing.
While the wash did take a lengthy 4hrs 23mins, wash results were good. The blood, coffee and blackberry juice were removed completely. There was a light shadow on the ketchup and the tough turmeric and engine oil were still visible, albeit much diminished.
Weighing the washing after the cycle was quite a shock, too. While the near-12.5kg total weight took some lifting onto the scales, it could have been a whole lot heavier if the spin efficiency was poor. As it was, the LG registered just 29.5% of additional water weight in the load. This is equally outstanding for such a whopping load.
Testing various cycles over a few weeks also threw up some interesting results. Not least of which is that this LG is super-efficient across all of its programmes. While some A++ and A+++ machines have just one programme that saves resources, the Centum is frugal across the board.
Therefore, the normal Cottons wash proved very handy indeed. The LG 6-Motion action further improved wash performance, with cycle run-times coming down to well under two hours. Yet the machine used only 10-15% more water and only marginally more electricity than the full ‘eco’ Cotton Large cycle. Brilliant.
The only slight issue with this outstanding efficiency was that smaller loads didn’t make a huge resource saving over full loads. On the Cotton Large programme, energy was around 0.40 to 0.49kWh and 38-45 litres of water from the smallest 3kg test load right up to our 9.5kg full load.
The take-home message here is to save up that washing and make the most of the LG’s outstanding capacity. That said, our ‘half load’ was 5.0kg. We’ve tested plenty of machines for which 5kg represents a full load!
LG Centum FH6F9BDS2 – How much will it cost to run?
The calculations show the LG is incredibly efficient and will cost very little to run. Where this LG steps ahead of a lot of its premium peers is its efficiency across all of its available programmes.
The Direct Drive technology, clever drum motion and huge drum make for very efficient washing per kilogram of clothing, whether cottons, wool, sports clothing or your duvet.
For the sake of consistency, however, we calculate at 240 washes per year, split 200 full loads on Cotton and 40 half loads split 50/50 Cottons and Cottons Large.
In that scenario. the Centum would use around 12,460 litres of water (200 x 55l + 20 x 38l + 20 x 35l) and just 128kWh of electricity (200 x 0.55kWh + 40 x 0.45kWh). That’s £43.60 in water (@£3.50 per cubic metre is supply/waste) and just £19.20 in electricity (@15p/kWh). Yes, less than twenty quid a year of juice!
If you have the time to do those four-hour long Cotton Large cycles, your 240 washes would cost even less. You could drop your annual washing costs to just £37.10 in water (10,600litres) and a bonkers £17.40 (116kWh) of electricity.
Not only are those figure impressive in their own right, that regime would have seen you wash a monstrous 2100kg of clothes. That’s probably my entire wardrobe – 50 times over!
Washing machine running costs simply don’t get any lower – or any more resource-friendly – than LG’s excellent Centum FH6F9BDS2.
Why buy the LG Centum FH6F9BDS2?
Huge capacity and staggering efficiency across its wash programmes make the LG Centum FH6F9BDS2 one of the most green and frugal washing machines on the planet. Add in its wealth of programmes, great wash and spin performance and stealthy quiet running, and the Centum is an outstanding premium machine.
LG’s SmartThinQ app is one of the easiest to navigate and there are already plenty of new programmes to download… albeit one at a time. The machine’s slightly reticent touch controls and some confusing text messages on the display are the only negatives in an otherwise first-class, outstandingly efficient package.
Massive capacity, incredible energy efficiency, smart controls and great performance put the LG Centum in the very top tier of washing machines.