What is the LG F14U1TBS2?
LG’s latest line of flagship washing machines offers unique looks, Smart features and a raft of technologies designed to make washing easier, better and more efficient. The LG F14U1TBS2 has an incredible A+++ -40% energy efficiency rating, as well as other features up there with models costing twice the £600 asking price. That’s just the sort of thing that gets us hot under the collar (which we can then wash).
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LG F14U1TBS2 – Features
The headline feature here is that A+++ -40% energy efficiency rating. Using 40% less electricity that the EU’s A ‘triple plus’ rating means this machine should be incredibly frugal – and that the EU needs to re-think its ratings scale.
This model leverages LG’s unique Direct Drive inverter motor, which eliminates the traditional rubber belt and reduces noise, while its 6-Motion drum action aims to improve cleaning with a wide range of drum motions depending on program.
Its Truesteam function offers two modes: Steam Refresh for a quick spruce-up and de-crease of lightly soiled clothes, and a Steam Softener mode that softens fabrics without using fabric conditioner at the end of the wash. Both modes offer British Allergy Foundation approval, as they kill off up to 99.9% of allergens.
For those in a hurry, this LG’s Turbowash feature can be used with most programs to reduce time, water and energy consumption through jet-spraying the washing.
To ice the technological cake, the F14U1TBS2 is a Smart device. While not blessed with any direct Internet connectivity, it can link wirelessly to an NFC-compatible smartphone and download new programme cycles, as well as offering an interactive washing coach and enabling instant fault diagnostics with LG’s technical support team.
LG F14U1TBS2 – What’s it like to use?
While the touch controls, LCD screen and promise of smartphone connectivity may have technophobic potential buyers looking for a more traditional appliance, this LG is surprisingly easy to use. You simply scroll through the cycles clearly labelled on the fascia and then add options such as pre-wash, extra rinse, Medic Rinse – more on that later – and Steam.
Other directly accessible options include LG’s Turbowash, intensive for very mucky clothing such as muddy football kit, and manual temperature and spin speed adjustment. For ease of access to your most frequently used program you can save the cycle and its options as your ‘favorite’. As this offers near one-press washing with all your options included, we can almost forgive LG for the American spelling.
LG F14U1TBS2 – How noisy is it?
LG’s Direct Drive technology gets rid of the traditional belt and attaches the high-tech inverter motor directly the drum itself. Not only does this eliminate belt breakage problems it reduces noise too. The F14U1TBS2 measured just 72dB at full spin. That’s actually 1dB lower than LG claims and, while not as silent as some ultra-premium machines on the market, this is still very impressive, as it’s not much louder than you might have your kitchen radio.
The last LG washing machine we tested suffered a little from high wash noise due to the water sloshing about in the drum as it went through its wide range of motions. Not so with the F14U1TBS2, thanks to its effectively double-glazed porthole door. During the wash it measured a respectable 52dB, which is exactly what LG claims and no louder than an older refrigerator model.
LG F14U1TBS2 – Programs
The F14U1TBS2 gives you a broad spectrum of programs, but their intended use may not be as obvious as some of the old favourite programs such as ‘wool’ and ‘delicates’. The LG majors on Cotton (default 40 degrees) and Cotton Large (default 60 degrees), designed for larger loads of the same colour-fast garment with mostly cotton fabric mix.
An Easy Care mode is included for items that probably won’t need ironing after the wash, plus there’s a mix cycle that will handle anything from silk to wool, and several specialist programs including Allergy Care, Sportswear, Dark Wash and a dedicated Duvet programme. A Stain Care cycle is designed to really soak heavily soiled clothes, and there’s a Silent wash offering reduced speed and vibration for use at night.
LG’s Speed14 cycle quickly washes a small load (up to 2kg) in under 15 minutes and proved to be a winning feature on the last LG model we tested. LG’s Turbowash feature can be used with most programs, reducing washing time by up to a third through jet-spraying the clothes to improve both wash and rinse performance.
There are no less than three extra rinse modes, too: Intensive, Rinse and a Medic Rinse option that heats the rinse water to 40 degrees.
LG F14U1TBS2 – Washing Performance
This LG doesn’t offer a dedicated Eco mode per se, preferring to ensure that all of its programs run as efficiently as possible for the given load and temperature. That makes sense, although it means we can’t compare, like for like, our normal half-load 40-degree cotton wash in Eco mode.
The LG manual notes that the Cotton Large program (at 60 degrees) is the most efficient half-load program – better even than the standard Cotton program at 40 degrees – so this is how we tested this machine. This seems an oddly high temperature for a machine to be at its most economical, but as our results and that A+++ -40% rating suggest, it certainly is an efficient wash!
For this test we ran a full load (80% or 6.4kg) on Cotton 40 degrees wash and a half load (40% or 3.2kg) on the Cotton Large cycle at its default 60 degrees. The first load had a stain test strip with coffee, juice, ketchup, red wine, blood and engine oil, all nicely dried on for at least 24 hours, and was dosed with a leading brand of non-biological powder. In the normal cotton programme cycle with almost a full load, the LG took a fair time to do the wash at over three hours. This isn’t unusual for very economical machines, as their wash performance uses quite a lot of soaking time.
Power consumption was very low at just over 1kWh, while water consumption was about average for eco machines at this price category. The test stain strip came out impressively buffed, with the ketchup, juice, coffee and wine rendered invisible, and the blood and oil well faded. With a biological powder this would be a very fine wash result indeed. The main 1400rpm spin thoroughly wrung out our load, leaving just 2.5 litres (35%) of water in the washing.
Our test strip before (top) and after. A good result using non-bio powder, with just the oil and blood proving stubborn
It was the Cotton Large mode that stole the show, however. As noted, we ran this cycle at 60 degrees, which should have put it at a big disadvantage in comparative energy tests, but the results proved us wrong. With a 40% (3.2kg) load this cycle used just 0.55kWh and 44 litres of water over its 1hr 25mins run time. We have no doubt that the A+++ -40% rating was recorded using the Cotton Large cycle.
Interestingly, LG’s manual says that the Cotton Large cycle isn’t the most efficient at spinning water from your clothes, suggesting it would leave over 50% of the washing weight in water. We ran the cycle twice and on both occasions and got just 1.1 litres (31%) of water left in our 3.2kg wash. Go figure.
We’re big fans of steam washing, as it’s a quick and efficient way of freshening up clothes that aren’t too dirty. The LG’s steam cycle buffed three cotton shirts very well, and they emerged from the drum hot, steamy and quick to dry, with very few creases.
We had slightly more variable results with the Steam Softener mode and were a little nervous of subjecting fabrics like wool to 100-degree steam, although the old jumper we tested showed no signs of shrinkage. This program worked well for fluffier fibres such as twill shirts and heavy cottons, but less well for smoother materials where we would probably still default to using fabric conditioner. This will be something to experiment with to see which of your washing loads benefits the most from steaming.
LG F14U1TBS2 – Running Costs
As usual, the actual running costs are going to depend very much on how often you use the machine and on which programs. Taking our regular 240 washes per year, at 200 full loads on the Cotton cycle and 40 half loads on the Cotton Large cycle, the LG would give you plenty of change from £40 a year. That’s a very good result and we think you could get it even lower. By defaulting to the Cotton Large mode for all washes, this could easily dip down to nearer £30, making this one very economical washing machine indeed.
Should I buy the LG F14U1TBS2?
LG’s F14U1TBS2 is packed with really useful features, it’s easy to use and offers incredible energy efficiency. It washes and spins well. While it’s not the very best machine we’ve tested in any particular area, it comes pretty close in most respects and does so at a fraction of the asking price of the machines that surpass it. Add to this the phone functionality, downloadable programs and remote diagnostics, and the LG F14U1TBS2 looks like a very appealing all-rounder.
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