The proliferation of Wi-Fi and smart devices has finally reached laundry with most manufacturers supporting the technology, albeit to different degrees. Currently G.E., Samsung, and LG offer smart laundry models controlled by apps on your smartphone. All you need to enjoy connected laundry is a smartphone, an Internet connection, and a Wi-Fi router. Be sure to check that the model you are interested in has smart capability.
Among smart laundry, G.E. has the most robust set of features at present. With the G.E. Laundry app, you can:
- Monitor cycle status and time remaining
- Extend the dryer cycle
- Receive an alert when the cycle has finished, but the door hasn’t opened
- Download custom cycles
- Monitor SmartDispense tanks
Some G.E. laundry models have Wi-Fi built-in, and others require the G.E. ConnectPlus Module accessory.
But the one thing that really sets the G.E. appliances apart is integration with Amazon’s Echo (a smart hub for your devices disguised as a Bluetooth speaker) to allow users to control appliances with their voice. To issue a command to your dryer, you might say “Alexa, tell Geneva to keep tumbling.” (“Alexa” awakens the Amazon Echo device, and “Geneva” is the keyword to operate G.E. appliances.) Currently, you can ask the washer if your clothes are clean, ask the dryer if your clothes are dry, and command the dryer to keep tumbling. Additional controls are expected in the future.
Samsung doesn’t accept voice commands, but you can do more with the Samsung Smart Washer app. With Samsung laundry you can:
- Monitor cycle time
- Receive an alert when the cycle has finished
- Extend tumble time in the dryer
- Set a cycle from your phone
- Schedule a cycle
The Samsung Smart Home Adapter (Laundry), a wireless USB dongle, is a required accessory to enable the smart laundry features.
LG’s models are currently only compatible with Android phones and work over NFC (not Wi-Fi). NFC (or near field communication) has a range of approximately 2 inches, so you’ll need to hold the phone directly next to the appliance. However, LG’s software is restricted to diagnosis of issues and installing new wash cycles, so you won’t be using it often or monitoring your clothes with it.
Smart laundry can make life easier, but there is one caveat: for safety reasons gas-powered dryers can’t be remotely controlled.