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Kenmore's latest washer is perfect for technophobes

If you just need clean clothes, you’re reading the right review. You won’t find many baubles or unnecessary features on the Kenmore 25132 (MSRP $549.99). It’s just a 4.3-cu-ft. box that fills up with water and spins, and you can find it at Sears on sale for as low as $449.

Of course, that’s just the beginning of what you’ll pay. While cleaning, it does use quite a bit of water–roughly double that of an efficient front loader—but at least that water is put to good use. The 25132 removes stains as well as much more expensive washers, and its uncomplicated controls will make anyone an expert come laundry day.

To read our full review of this washer’s matching dryer, the Kenmore 65132, click here.

Design & Usability

Fit for any basement

There are washing machines designed to beautify your kitchen, with nice edges and aesthetics that match your decor. Then there are washers meant to sit in your basement. The Kenmore 25132 is one of these. At least you know the money you’re shelling out for this washer goes directly into its ability to wash your clothes, not into the design.

The machine looks rather old-school: the metal lid slams closed, and the controls are all knobs. These knobs make it very clear which features you’re turning on or off, and the cycle selection is broad yet easily deciphered. Those who’ve washed clothes in the last fifty years will know exactly what to do.

Performance & Features

Wet work



Reviewed.com / Jonathan Chan

A clean control panel



Reviewed.com / Jonathan Chan

Kenmores are designed and built by other companies. The 25132 has familial resemblance to some Whirlpool washers.

Many consumers will be attracted to the Kenmore 25132’s low upfront cost, but its higher long-term cost is also worth considering. The 25132 uses a lot of water, about twice as much as the average front loader. To put that into context, you’ll be spending close to $550 in water and electricity to run the 25132 over its minimum expected lifetime–doubling its overall cost.

At least all that water is justified by strong stain removal. The Whites cycle (hottest setting, plus two rinses) rocketed to the top of our tests. It took an hour and a half and 32 gallons of water, but the end result was a clean comparable to washers that cost twice as much. Heavy Duty is a slightly quicker option, and the penalty to stain removal is marginal.

If you need clean laundry in less than an hour, your options are limited. The Express cycle completed in forty-four minutes, but the results were less than stellar. Stick with the longer, more effective cycles.

Stain Boost


Reviewed.com / Jonathan Chan

Stain Boost allows you to prolong selected cycles.

The 25132 also has a solid repertoire against many different types of stains. Some washers tend to struggle against oil and sweat stains because they depend on hot water. Since the 25132 didn’t spare a single drop, it got the job done.

From the outside, the Kenmore 25132 looks just like your mother’s washer. However, there are two internal features on the newer side. First is the impeller. Almost gone are the days of pole agitators sticking up through the drum and occupying valuable real estate. Now we have impellers that more efficiently transfer motion through water.

The second feature worth writing about is the Stain Boost option, which simply extends any cycle. Stubborn stain on a delicate item? Extend the length of the Delicates cycle. On the 25132, it’s as simple as that.

For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page.


For one year after the date of purchase, the Kenmore 25132 is covered for any defects of material or workmanship. With proof of purchase, free repair or replacement may be granted at Sears’ discretion.


Tried and true

Washing machine design, aesthetics, and efficiency have all come a long way. This top loader willfully disregards such evolution but, as a consumer, it’s hard to ignore clean clothing at so low a price. Formulas like this worked well in the past, and they still do today. The ability to extend any cycle with Stain Boost is a welcome extra. …Even though it’s the only extra.

Unfortunately, this machine uses tons of water which is something you should keep in mind. In addition to environmental concerns, using an inefficient washer can double the impact of its purchase price on your checkbook.

Anyone in the market for a washer with a low up-front cost that cleans clothes the old fashioned way should take a hard look at the Kenmore 25132. A sale price of just $449 makes it a great deal, but make sure to factor high operating costs into your budget.

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