10 Easy Pieces: Front-Loading Dryers
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Last week we rolled out our lineup of favorite front-loading washing machines. Now, our top picks in the dryer category. Dryers haven't changed all that much over the years; they still perform a relatively simple function. The primary differences in the new models are the energy source (gas vs. electric) and a handful of features that are worthy of consideration: steam technology, moisture sensors, and vent block sensors. Truth be told, most dryer purchases are driven by the washing machine selection. While washers and dryers don't have to be purchased as a pair, that's what most people do. Manufacturers have gotten wise and are designing matching washer/dryer combos to encourage consumers to purchase in pairs (and keep in mind that dryers are stackable only with the matching washer). Trying to keep the cost down? Consider selecting a white machine (there is up to a $100 premium for colors) and foregoing the steam option (there is debate whether steam technology actually translates into fewer wrinkles as manufacturers claim). Also, electric dryers are cheaper. However, the fuel cost differential between gas and electric should be taken into consideration for your actual long term costs. Our picks of full-size front-loading dryers partner well with our High-Efficiency Front-loading Washing Machine Selections (stay tuned for an upcoming roundup of compact machines). NB: While the models shown are electric, they are all available in gas option. Above: The LG Steam Dryer Series (DLEX2650) offers nine drying programs, five temperature settings, moisture sensor, and a duct-clogging indicator. Available in white or wild cherry red; $805.50 and $895.50 at AJ Madison. Above: Drum drying racks are worth considering; they're often available as an additional accessory, drum racks do come as standard in several models, including the LG Steam Dryer Series (DLEX2650) . The drum circulates around the stationary rack, allowing you to dry items as they lay flat. Above: The entry-level dryer from LG offers many of the features that the higher level machines provide (including eight sensor dry cycles and a duct-clog indicator) without the steam drying functionality. Available in white, the LG (DLE2250W) Electric Dryer is $715.50 at AJ Madison. Above: At the top end of the heap, the LG True Steam Dryer (DLEX8000V) has a "mega" 9-cubic-foot capacity, achieved in part by making the machine 29 inches wide (two inches larger than the standard size). The low-decibel quiet machine offers 14 cycles, duct-clog indicator, moisture sensor, touch electronic controls, and a drying rack. Shown in graphite steel, but also available in white; $1,345.50 at AJ Madison. Above: The Samsung Steam Dryer (DV365ETBGWR) is the entry-level steam dryer from Samsung. It offers moisture sensor technology and 13 drying cycles with four temperature options; $809 at Plessers. Above: Samsung is known for pushing the technology envelope in the appliance department: case in point, the Smart Control app for the Samsung Dryer (DV455EVGS) with Steam Dry Technology which allows you to monitor your laundry's progress from afar. Other features include a stainless steel drum, vent blockage indicator, and 13 preset drying cycles. Available in white or onyx; $1,169 and $1,259 respectively at Plessers. Above: Made in the US, the Whirlpool Duet Steam Dryer (WED86HEBW) touts a quiet dry-noise reduction system, advanced moisture sensing, and nine cycles with six temperature options. The entry-level Whirlpool Duet 27-inch Electric Dryer (WED70HEBW) offers nearly the same selection of features without steam; $894.60 and $714.60 respectively at AJ Madison (see more American-Made Appliances) . Above:The Maytag Maxima EcoConserve Series Dryer (MED6000X) is also made in Ohio by Whirlpool. The highly rated machine uses commercial-grade parts and features a direct water connector that eliminates the need to fill a reservoir for the steam-enhanced cycles. Designed with four interior baffles to promote clothing movement for better drying; $1,074.60 at AJ Madison. Above: The Electrolux IQ-Touch Series Dryer (EIMED551) has an 8.0-cubic-foot capacity, the largest of the 27-inch dryers on the market. This steam dryer (shown with its partner, the Electrolux IQ-Touch Series Washer EIFLS55I ) has moisture sensors, 11 cycles, and touch controls. Available in white and Mediterranean blue; $899.10 and $1,073.70 respectively at AJ Madison. Above: The GE Front Load Steam Dryer (GFDS260EFWW) measures in at 28-inches wide, offering an 8.1 cubic-foot capacity with twelve cycles and a stainless steel drum. It has a "detangle" feature that promises to keep sheets and towels out of a twisted mess by reversing directions during the cycle; $989.10 at Abt. For ideas on where to put your machines, see our image gallery of Laundry & Utility Rooms .