LG FH4A8FDH2N Review
- Very energy efficient washing
- Class-leading full and half-load wash results
- Huge choice of wash cycles
- Downloadable programmes
- Excellent spin performance
- Excellent drying performance
- Quiet running throughout
- Water use higher than the best washing machines
- Slow full-load wash
- Review Price: £649.00
- 9kg wash/6kg dry load
- 6-Motion drum
- TrueSteam cleaning
- 1,400rpm spin speed
- A energy rated.
What is the LG FH4A8FDH2N?
Do-it-all washing machines don’t come with much more “do it all” than LG’s FH4A8FDH2N featuring TrueSteam tech. Bringing pretty much all of LG’s washing and drying technologies together in a single, energy-efficient machine, this model delivers steam-power cleaning and warm-air drying in one continuous cycle for true wash-to-wear versatility.
Behind the enormous porthole door this 9kg wash/6kg dry machine packs an inverter motor with a 10-year warranty and direct drive to keep things quiet, eliminating belt issues.
There’s a huge range of programmes to choose from as standard, and if you require greater flexibility then LG’s NFC-enabled Tag On smart technology allows you to download new wash cycles from your mobile device. This washer dryer has plenty of smarts, but it can wash and dry your clothes as impressively as it talks tech.
LG FH4A8FDH2N – What is it like to use?
Don’t be put off by this LG’s bulging spec sheet, which features the sort of smart features you’d otherwise find on a phone. This LG washer-dryer may pack in some high-tech goodies but it retains the simple day-to-day usability of a large programme-selector knob and a sizeable, illuminated start button.
Want to wash a huge load of cottons? Load up the washing, select the programme, insert the detergent, and press go. Better still, for loads up to 6kg in size, the Wash+Dry mode will take clothes from dirty to ready-to-wear in around three to four hours.
The main programmes offer the usual suite of tweaking options for temperature, spin speed and additional rinsing via buttons beneath the simple but informative display. Right now, there are a further 18 programmes available via download from LG, and that list might be even more comprehensive by the time you read this review.
The basics of wash and detergent loading are as you’d find them on the majority of such appliances, with a pull-out detergent drawer located top left, a filter access flap bottom right, and a large central porthole door.
The opening itself is a good size for stuffing in duvets, but it does look rather bijou compared to the enormous door. The door features a trendy gloss-black surround with smoked double glazing, and chrome on the handle and trim-ring to match the mirror-polished central selector knob. Basically, this machine is a bit “bling”.
The drum itself promises LG’s 6-Motion action for gentle but thorough cleaning. This runs through a series of drum-rotation sequences that tumble, roll, swing, drop and scrub the clothes in a figure-8 motion, as well as rotating the clothes while jetting them with water to help remove ground in stains. It’s quite fascinating to watch.
The display uses green LED segment text and blue LED indicators – which, in our opinion, was a slight colour clash. And if you’re wondering why we even mention that trivial point of personal preference, it’s because that and the lack of drum light is pretty much all the criticism we have about the FH4A8FDH2N.
LG FH4A8FDH2N – How noisy is it?
The published figures indicate that the FH4A8FDH2N outputs 56dB, 65dB and 73dB when washing, drying and spinning respectively. They’re fairly high numbers by today’s current top-spec washing machine standards. However, while our measured figures don’t totally disagree with the spec sheet, the headline numbers don’t necessarily paint the whole picture. In reality, this LG is much quieter.
Both the wash noise and the spin noise figures stated are the absolute maximum noise that the machine generates during the wash. Not only did we find that peak noise was a couple of decibels lower than these figures (62dB and 71dB respectively), the duration of these peaks is minimal.
In the case of the spin, this LG measured 71dB-72dB for about 20 seconds at the very end of each of the spin cycles during the main 1,400-spin wash. For the most part, the sound gently builds through the spin as the speed ramps up to 1,400. Most spins run at just 65dB average noise output, which is a very quiet spin indeed.
It was the same story for the wash cycle. Yes, while the LG did output over 60dB several times throughout the wash, the vast majority of the wash cycle is way below this. Averaging the sound data over the entire wash part of the cycle gave us an average noise output of around 54dB. This is pretty quiet, and in any busy kitchen it simply won’t be heard. A great result indeed, and quite the opposite of what you’d think looking at the published figures for noise.
LG FH4A8FDH2N – What programmes does it have?
This is one of the first washing appliances we’ve tested where the answer to that question is something of a flexible feast. It’s a little like asking how many apps does your smartphone have? With a small library of downloadable programmes already available that can be added to the list of pre-programmed cycles, the options are comprehensive and likely to expand further into the future.
As standard, the on-board headline cycles encompass Cottons, Synthetics, Sportswear, Mixed loads and a specialist Duvet programme. The Allergy cycle helps to remove common allergens such as house mites, dust and pollen; the Gentle wash is aimed at wool and hand-wash items; and the dedicated Stain programme is geared up for such blemishes as wine, juice and so on, with a slightly more aggressive action cycle.
You get a 30-minute quick wash option for speedy spruce-ups and LG’s Steam Refresh cycle. This gives your clothes a 20-minute blast with steam and a tumbling action to freshen them up and remove creases. Clothes emerge from the Steam Refresh a little damp, but half an hour on a hanger should see them wearable.
For the dryer you get Eco, Cupboard and Normal Eco dry for cottons or linen fabrics, but we struggled to note any obvious difference between the two Eco programmes. There’s an Iron Dry setting, which dries clothes to the point they’re easy to iron without dried-in creases, and a lower temperature drying mode for delicate fabrics. You can also set the dryer to simply run for 30, 60 or 120 minutes.
For loads of predominately cottons up to 6kg, the Wash+Dry programme promises to go from dirty to ready-to-wear dry in a single programme. This combines a basic 40oC Cotton wash with Normal Eco dry sensor drying.
Not enough choice? Switch to the Download programme, fire up your smartphone and connect via NFC for plenty more. Right now, there are some 18 additional washing or drying programmes available including Baby Wear, Kids Wear, Jeans, School Uniforms, Rainy Season clothes, Colour care and a special programme for blankets.
More interesting still is the Quick Wash+Dry, which speeds up the one-cycle approach to washing for smaller, lightly soiled loads. There’s a dedicated shirt-dry programme and a single-garment wash for when you really must have that one specific dress for the party. Even more programmes are likely to become available over time, and my tech head does wonder if LG might create an open API for third-party developers.
In addition to all the main programmes, many can be adapted with a Delay start, Steam Wash, Steam Softener, Pre-wash, Intensive Clean, extra Rinse and, perhaps most useful, a drying cycle. You can also save any combination of programme and option as your favourite for one-click access. In terms of comprehensive programmes and options, this LG ticks all the right boxes and many more besides.
LG FH4A8FDH2N – How well does it wash and dry?
If we were to test every cycle and option available on the FH4A8FDH2N and its download programmes then this review wouldn’t be complete until 2018. So instead we ran a 40°C Cotton wash with a 7.2kg (80%) full load at 1,400 spin speed, a 40°C Cotton wash with 3.0kg (50% of 6kg) load all the way through to dry, and a 40°C Cotton wash with a 3.6kg (40%) load at 1,400 spin speed to simulate a typical half load.
In addition, we ran a half load (3.6kg) on the Steam Refresh programme to see if we could steam some life into some old shirts. The main full-load wash included a test stain strip with dried on blood, engine oil, turmeric, coffee and real blackberry juice, and was washed using a non-biological detergent.
In short, this LG produced a fabulous set of test results across the board. It washes superbly, spins very well, dries admirably and manages to use relatively little in the way of water or electricity while doing its business.
And so to the details…. The main wash used just over 1.1kWh of electricity. That would be excellent for a dedicated washing machine but is frankly class-leading for a washer-dryer that uses a heavier dual-purpose drum.
Water consumption was up there with the best washer-dryers of this size at just over 100 litres. While this is about 20% higher than the best dedicated washing machines of this capacity, it’s still very good by washer-dryer standards.
To top off the great eco results the 1,400 spin proved truly exceptional, leaving just 2.0kg of water (28% of wash load) in the clothes after the spin. Again, that would be a top result for a dedicated washing machine, but considering the FH4A8FDH2N is working with a dual-purpose drum, this is by far the best washer-dryer spin result we’ve seen. The knock-on effect is that less water following the spin will significantly reduce the cost of the subsequent drying cycle, which is very positive indeed.
Washer-dryers are rarely a patch (excuse the pun) on the best washing machines. They have to juggle a dual-purpose drum and design-budget compromises to combine two appliances into one large box. Not so this LG.
The stain strip emerged from the main wash programme test with the blood, coffee and even the dirty oil stain removed very effectively. Both the turmeric and blackberry juice stains were significantly reduced, leaving the sort of light remnant stains that biological powder would easily dismiss. This would be a great result for a £700 washing machine, so the FH4A8FDH2N’s wash performance is class-leading for a washer-dryer. Nice work, LG!
On the negative side, this sort of first-class wash performance allied to such good eco capabilities doesn’t come at speed. This is not a hasty machine.
The LG spends quite a lot of time stationary, soaking the clothes or running an intermittent 6-Motion action to help shift dirt. All this adds up to a long programme run-time.
In the case of the main wash, this amounted to a whopping 4hrs 14mins. This is half an hour longer than our previous longest wash-cycle test! There are speedier washes in the programme options of course – just don’t expect quite the exceptional combination of cleaning performance and low running costs.
With a half load automatically detected, the LG turned in yet another set of class-leading results. Under 0.4kWh of power for this wash is fantastic; water consumption at 42 litres is equally impressive. Spin efficiency dropped to 33%, although that is still way better than most other washer-dryers we’ve tested. The cycle was also shortened to just 1hr 42mins with our relatively clean load.
The LG FH4A8FDH2N bucks the trend of half-load washes being the poor relation to a full load, and turns in a fabulously effective, efficient and quick cycle.
However, it was little surprising that running the same half load on the Wash+Dry programme resulted in a huge hike in the electricity running costs. The whole cycle used just over 2.1kWh and more than doubled the run-time to nearly four hours.
The results were worth it. The clothes came out with an ideal 1-2% moisture remaining (0% would prove too creased, 5%+ feels damp) and creasing was minimal. Again, considering this is a washer-dryer, not a dedicated tumble dryer, those are very impressive results indeed.
The final Steam Refresh programme test involved half a dozen shirts, two lightly worn and four that had been folded up in a drawer for months. The 20-minute programme used a frugal 0.188kWh and produced six, hot and slightly steamy shirts. These needed a good half hour in a warm room to dry, but you could probably get away with a Steam Refresh and dash on a warm day. Creases had been effectively smoothed, although still needed an iron if it was an important meeting, and there was only the faintest hint of deodorant perfume in the pre-worn shirts. I’d happily have worn them again.
LG FH4A8FDH2N – How much will it cost to run?
For the sake of consistency, we work on an average UK household annually doing 200 x 40°C 80% max-load washes and 40 x 40°C 40% half-load washes with a 50/50 split on normal and Wash+Dry programmes.
With this usage, the LG’s energy use costs come in at just £41.89 for the year. That is, by good margin, the most electrically efficient washer-dryer we’ve tested. An outstanding result.
Running costs will ramp up somewhat if you’re on a meter, though. Using more than 22 cubic meters of water a year equates to around £80, based on the average nationwide in/out water costs at about £3.50 per cubic meter. This is about 20-25% higher than dedicated top-spec A+++ washing machines in this respect, but up there with the very best washer-dryers available today.
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Should I buy the LG FH4A8FDH2N?
Washer-dryers will always be a compromise, but the LG FH4A8FDH2N has hugely reduced the performance and efficiency gap between washer-dryers and dedicated appliances. It offers excellent cleaning performance, outstanding wash energy efficiency and near-perfect drying results.
Moreover, features such as Steam Refresh and downloadable programmes wouldn’t be out of place on the very best dedicated washing machines at this price. Yes, it will use a little more water than a dedicated washing machine and it isn’t quite as energy efficient as a tumble dryer (particularly a heat pump model), but if you’re short on space in the kitchen, the LG FH4A8FDH2N really does offer the best of both worlds.
Great washing results and high efficiency add up to this being the finest washer/dryer we’ve ever tested.