Jun 25, 2023

The Samsung Bespoke Ultra Capacity Front Loading Washer and Dryer review

For years now, doing laundry has been a ritual of guesswork. You guess what wash and dry setting is right for the items you want to clean. You guess how much detergent is the right amount for what you’re washing. You guess how long each cycle is going to take. All of these guesses can lead to a lot of issues — jeans ruined, sweaters shrunk, clothes coming out smelling just like they did before. It’s been the same routine for years, so much so that I thought well, every single washer and dryer is just inherently flawed.

But then I met Samsung’s Bespoke Washer and Dryer with AI Optiwash (more on that in a bit). These machines promise to take the guesswork out of laundry, with ultra-smart settings all wrapped up in a super-high-end-looking package. But are they really worth the more than $2,000 price tag? What makes a washer and dryer worth that much anyway? We tried the machines to find out.

The ultra-smart washer and dryer combo from Samsung promises to take the guesswork out of laundry, using AI and features like auto-dispensing detergent to make laundry easier than ever.

I’ve never thought a washer-dryer combo could be truly aesthetically appealing, but as it sits now in our basement among every other unit’s plain white machines, well, it is. The brushed navy model that I received (it’s available in silver and forest green too) literally sparkles. All the controls are on neat touchscreens that even I, a very non-techie person, could easily understand and maneuver. When stacked on top of one another, the single dial in between the machines controls both — a lifesaver for people who aren’t very tall — so you can oscillate between changing the settings of the dryer and washer at the tap of a button. (If they’re placed next to one another, each machine has its own touchscreen and dial.) The dial is what changes the many, many settings for each machine, and you can further customize your wash or dry cycle (temperature, spin speed, etc.) via the touchscreen.

The capacity of each of these machines is impressive too. The washer has more than 5 cubic feet of storage while the dryer has more than 7. Then there’s the smartly designed foldable lint filter, which you can remove from the machine and open up away from your clothes so you won’t accidentally fling lint back into the machine (something I’ve done on more than one occasion), and a shoe rack that holds shoes down in the bottom of the dryer tub so they don’t have to fling around. And finally there is that sweet little song that plays once a wash and dry cycle has completed. It’s a Samsung signature, and I hope it never changes.

Speaking of those controls and settings, it’s important to note here that I have never properly sorted laundry in my life. Towels would always be thrown in with my clothes. My bras and underwear would get thrown in with sheets. If it fit in the machine, it went in the machine. But this machine’s design helps reinforce good laundry behavior. Because of the preset options for Towels, Delicates, Sheets, Activewear and more, for the first time in my entire life, I understand why it’s important to not throw every piece of dirty cloth you have into the washer at once.

On the washer, there are a whopping 14 different wash settings: Normal, AI Optiwash (more on that very soon), Bedding, Towels, Small Load, Delicates, Heavy Duty, Super Speed (which is just a normal cycle but faster), Steam Whites (a super hot wash with steam), Steam Sanitize (a deep clean with steam), Steam Normal (for everyday items), Activewear, Rinse + Spin and Self Clean (which cleans the machine for you).

To change the settings for a wash cycle, whether that be for towels or sheets, just turn the dial and the new preset setting shows up on the screen. From there you can change things like temperature, spin speed and the soil level for that selected setting by pressing the touchscreen.

On the dryer, there are also 14 settings: Normal, AI Optimal Dry, Bedding, Small Load, Super Speed (which dries in just 30 minutes), Towels, Time Dry (which allows you to input a custom time), Delicates, Heavy Duty, Wrinkle Away, Steam Refresh (which helps rid of odors), Activewear, Steam Sanitize and Perm Press. You can customize the temperature, time and dryness level for most settings via the touchscreen as well.

In my experience, using these settings made an enormous impact. The dryer knew how to properly spin so my sheets didn’t get all knotted, for example, and things like bras and underwear were treated with care.

Adding even more to this sense that these machines are trying to make laundry easier than ever, the washer can actually store up to 32 loads worth of detergent and fabric softener, and then automatically dispense exactly the right amount into your wash with each setting. This is a small detail that I have absolutely loved, and it’s taken the worry out of thinking you added in too little or too much detergent, or forgetting to throw in a Tide Pod at the last second.

Now let’s talk about the feature that makes these machines really feel like they’re from the future. With the AI Optiwash setting, you throw in whatever you want to wash, and the machine can detect the type, weight and soil levels of your laundry and adjust the wash accordingly, adding in the correct amount of detergent as well. For those times when you have a mixture of clothes, towels and more and don’t really care about the setting you need to put in there, this is a lifesaver. Similarly, the AI Optimal Dry setting on the dryer uses a moisture sensor to detect the level of dampness of your items. Then it’ll automatically select the correct dry cycle, temperature and time needed to properly and thoroughly dry your clothes, sheets and more. When in doubt or just washing a ton of different types of laundry at once, these AI settings have proven to be exceptionally easy and do the job well.

This particular washer and dryer connects to an app. It was actually a part of the machines that I was dreading. I, probably like you, often hate when any one product that makes me download yet another app in order to use it. But Samsung’s SmartThings app is one of the few I’ve encountered that is actually really worth it, and dare I say, enjoyable to use.

Once you connect your machines to the app (which is actually easy with the QR code stickered on both machines), you can control and monitor the washer and dryer remotely. For example, after you put in a load of laundry, you can check and see how much time is left and even get an automatic text notification when it’s done. The machine can even tell you when you’re running low on detergent and softener. You can also add another wash cycle or tumble dry remotely for when you feel like it really needs it, all without physically going back to the machine. Our washer and dryer is in the basement, and the fact that this saves me going up and down three flights of stairs each time to check and make sure the cycle is done is something that I am forever thankful for.

This feels less like a critique of this particular dryer and more of how drying lots of towels and sheets at once is simply not the way to go. Regardless, what we did find is that both the Towels and AI OptiDry settings on the machine had a hard time perfectly drying heavier fabrics like towels. This is something I’ve experienced in machines my entire life, but since this one is so admittedly fancy, we have to point it out. For all other settings — Sheets, Clothes, Delicates — the dryer did a fantastic job at getting each piece equally bone-dry. Our ultra-thick towels were the only real challenge for this machine, but the solution was just adding on an addition SuperSpeed cycle after the Towels one, and then they turned out fluffy and perfect.

With all these bells and whistles, the washer-dryer combo isn’t cheap. However, when you look at the options out there for washer-dryer combos, this Samsung model isn’t exactly exorbitant. The average price of a combo model is currently between $1,200 and $2,500. Though the full price of the Samsung machines is $3,200, it’s frequently on sale, and currently going for $2,100. In comparison, the suddenly viral GE Profile all-in-one washer-dryer is now marked at $2,500, and LG machines start at $1,600 and go up to $2,100. So while yes, it is expensive, that is what washer-dryer combos are going for right now, and for the money you get a lot of extras that other machines don’t have.

What I have loved most about this machine is the more I use it, the more laundry pet peeves I find out it’s solved. The controls are easily reachable and understandable. The app makes it so I don’t have to keep going down to the machine to check when it’s ready. The correct amount of detergent is automatically shot into the washer so I don’t have to worry about adding in Tide Pods or measuring out detergent every single time. The lint catcher actually keeps lint away from the clothes upon removal. And when I am impatient, the SuperSpeed setting can do a full load of laundry in an hour. All of those things combined makes the Samsung Bespoke Washer and Dryer feel like a truly exciting duo to own for years to come.