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AEG 9000 Series L9FEC966R review: Stylish, effective and expensive

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Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
929
inc VAT

If you have the money to spend, the AEG is a handsome, feature-packed and very capable washing machine

Pros 
Superlative 60℃ wash performance
Unusually effective quick wash
Cons 
Expensive
40℃ wash could be better
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Given how much we spend on clothes every year, it is a little strange how reluctant we are to spend our hard-earned money on a washing machine. But if you’re sick of your favourite little black dresses going grey or your designer jeans shrinking one size too small, then AEG’s 9000 Series could be the answer. The company promises it will take better care of your precious apparel – so confidently, in fact, the company describes it as the “guardian of your clothes”.

AEG L9FEC966R review: What you need to know

The L9FEC966R is a member of AEG’s top-of-the-line 9000 Series range of appliances. It’s a premium-priced, distinctively styled machine with a 9kg capacity, 1,600rpm spin speed and an A+++ energy rating.

And yes, it is packed with fancy-sounding features. “ProSense” technology tailors the wash programme to the exact weight of each load; “ProSteam” uses a steam generator to reduce creasing and odours; and “OKOMix” claims to be the first technology to distribute detergent and softener perfectly throughout every load.

Its woollens wash programme is Woolmark-certified, which means you can sling your precious hand-wash only jumpers in the wash without worrying about shrinkage, and there’s an Outdoors programme for your Gore-Tex jackets and pricey outdoor gear.

Smart home enthusiasts have nothing to get excited about, however. Unlike some of its similarly-priced rivals, the AEG has no Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity.

Buy now from John Lewis


AEG L9FEC966R review: Price and competition

You won’t be surprised to hear the following: a washing machine that costs the best part of a thousand pounds has some very considerable competition on its hands.

Bosch’s Serie 8 WAWH8660GB (around £799) is just one such rival, delivering fine washing performance and Wi-Fi remote control in a quiet-running machine. It’s no looker but it’s quicker, quieter and almost as good at tackling stains – it fares a bit better at 40℃, in fact. Similarly, the Siemens iQ500 WM14T790GB (around £850) is a formidable all-rounder, bettering the Bosch at 40℃ but misses out on the Wi-Fi features in the process.

The fly in this particular high-end washing machine detergent, however, is the Bosch Serie 4 WAN28201GB, which costs much less at around £399. You can forget about all the fancy-sounding features – it only handles 8kg loads and there’s no Wi-Fi – but wash performance is good across the board. In fact, it’s barely any different to substantially pricier models. Unless the remote control features or fancy technologies of pricier models actually tick a very specific box on your washing machine requirements our advice is always the same: spend less.

READ NEXT: Best washing machines

AEG L9FEC966R review: Features and design

If you’re used to all-white washing machines, the AEG is certainly a distinctive-looking sight. The huge brushed metal door contrasts starkly against the two-tone brushed-metal and gloss-black fascia and there’s a large, bold red-on-black display. If you’re looking for a machine to fit into a stylish new kitchen build, the 9000 Series may sell itself on looks alone.

Get past the striking looks, however, and there is one feature which we haven’t seen on any of the machines we’ve reviewed to date. Pull open the soap dispenser drawer and, where you might expect a tray for pre-wash detergent, you’ll see a "water softener" taking up a huge chunk of the drawer.

AEG says this has a host of benefits: reduced limescale buildup, improved colour fastness for clothes (especially little black dresses, according to the marketing) and softer-feeling clothes – but frankly we’re not convinced. Why? Well, because detergent already has softener in it and this is why detergent packaging stipulates different dosages depending on whether you have hard or soft water in your area.

The issue is simple: if detergents are used and dosed correctly then there is absolutely no requirement for any water softening or anti-limescale add-ons. Our suspicion is that the water softener is more useful as an insurance policy: it guarantees a more consistent wash performance and keeps limescale at bay even if you are one of those people who don’t follow the instructions on the packet.

One annoyance, however, is that the water softener takes up the space normally reserved for a pre-wash compartment. If you do want to run a pre-wash – for heavily soiled loads such as towelling nappies, for instance – then you’ll need to add the extra detergent in a dosing ball and add it to the drum.

AEG L9FEC966R review: Ease of use

The distinctive red-on-black screen doesn’t just look good, it’s also easy to get to grips with. The large central dial selects the various wash programmes and the display details all the various programme options, spin speed and time remaining.

A dedicated Plus Steam button allows you to add a steam cycle to any suitable programme, and the delay start button alongside is always welcome, especially if you don’t want the wash going in the middle of the night or while you’re within earshot.

That said, this is a relatively quiet machine: not as quiet as the Bosch Serie 8, whose spin cycle peaks at 71db versus the AEG’s 75db, but not a million miles off.

AEG L9FEC966R review: Washing performance

One of AEG’s bolder claims is that the L9FEC966R will provide the cleaning performance of a 60℃ wash at 30℃. This didn’t quite tally with our experience but that’s not to say the AEG did badly in our tests by any stretch. In fact, as in an exemplary performance in some areas.

If you judged the stain-killing prowess of the AEG by the results of its 40℃ cottons wash, though, you might not come away terribly impressed. Despite taking around half an hour longer than the top performers we’ve tested, the results are merely acceptable – not bad by any stretch but the programme doesn’t lift the stains as effectively as the best of the bunch. Energy consumption is modest, however.

By contrast, the performance in our 60c Cottons wash was a highlight. Again, it is a little on the slow side – similarly priced Siemens and Bosch models were about 40 minutes quicker in our tests – but energy consumption was around 14% lower than direct rivals such as the Bosch Serie 8. And most importantly of all, the results were stupendously good. So good, in fact, that the AEG made all but one of the toughest stains on our test swatch almost completely disappear.

It’s also something of a surprise to find that the AEG’s 20-minute 3kg quick wash is actually worth using. Most quick wash programmes are so poor at cleaning that they’re only useful for refreshing items which have been gathering dust in a cupboard, but the AEG’s is much better than most. It’s still a long way off the cleaning power of the full programmes, but where rivals’ quick wash programmes leave stains relatively unscathed, the AEG fades them significantly. If you need to quickly refresh work clothes it may come in very handy indeed.

READ BEXT: Best washer-dryers

AEG L9FEC966R review: Repairability and service life

When you’re spending this kind of money, it’s reassuring to find there’s a five-year parts-and-labour warranty included as standard. It’s just as well there is, though, as there are some very expensive electronic components behind the brushed-metal fascia. If anything goes outside of warranty, you’ll have to stomach a hefty bill.

As per usual, the AEG uses a sealed tank, so you’ll have to replace the entire assembly if and when the bearings fail. Suffice to say, if you’re spending this kind of money on a machine, an extended warranty may be worth shelling out for after the first five years are up.

If and when things do go wrong, though, it’s great to see that the AEG is replete with some key safety features. Anti flood protection comes as standard and there is both an emergency drain down facility and an emergency door release. If something does go awry, even a blockage, you can easily drain the machine and get it open to get your laundry out without having to call out for an engineer or, god forbid, reach for a screwdriver.

AEG 9000 Series L9FEC966R review: Verdict

At this price, we expect nothing less than superb performance, so we’re inclined to draw focus to the negatives. It’s a shame, for instance, that the AEG’s results in the 40℃ cottons wash are inferior to its rivals – not to mention substantially cheaper models such as the Bosch Serie 4.

That said, the L9FEC966R’s performance in our other tests is as good as we’ve seen, and the quick wash performance is much better than the average.

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