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What Dryer to Choose?

Posted by hcc3 (My Page) on
Fri, May 18, 12 at 13:41

After exhaustive research in to washers I'm 90% decided on a Speed Queen. It's not perfect, but I think it's the purchase my wife would make if she were making the decision.

Now that I'm worn out researching this purchase I have to consider a new dryer. My current dryer broke two weeks ago. Our washer is on its last leg, so I'm going to replace both at the same time.

However, my (very) cursory research suggests new dryers don't have the reliability and other issues new washers have, which opens up the realm of possibilities exponentially. It also complicates matters, as I see plenty of dryers in the 7.0 cu ft capacity and up with more features than the Speed Queen dryers at the same price.

What to do? I could buy a non-matching set and try to sell them together, or sell the washer alone when I'm comfortable that the leap in technology comes with the reliablity and efficacy I expect for the cost. Doing either probably makes selling a little more difficult because I believe buyers would prefer a matching set. On the other hand, it's foreseeable that we keep both until they go kaput. I suppose that's less likely with the washer; with four young kids the time will come (in about 5 years) when all four are playing competitive sports and doing multiple other activities generating enough laundry daily to require an Army Quartermaster Company. I don't think a 3.3 cu ft washer will fit our needs at that point.

I apologize for doing a little bit of thinking out loud, but any advice on matching vs. non-matching dryers, features that are must-haves or highly desirable for a large family with a large variety of garments (everything from knit garments to athletic apparel to military uniforms and sheets) is much appreciated!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: What Dryer to Choose?

It depends on what you want. Personally I like a matching set (even though mine is in the basement).

Do you want a basic dryer with a time dry or one with a moisture sensor, steam option and all the bells and whistles?

My personal favorite is the 8.0 cu ft. capacity Electrolux.

But you might do better with the Speed Queen work horse.

Whirlpool still makes a pretty reliable dryer also.

It really boils down to what you want/like.
You really can't go wrong with the Speed Queen's in regards to quality. The capacity my be smaller so you'll have to weigh your options, costs etc...

Best of luck.

RE: What Dryer to Choose?

Agree dryers are different deal....pretty simple by comparison. They all do the same thing the same way with the exception of a few added cycles and features (which I don't use.)

Make sure it's big enough for an entire washer-load. Do get auto-dry sensing feature with at least three levels of dryness to select. Be sure it has some available drying temperatures other than just "hot". Beyond those basics, I don't get too excited.

And, of course, make sure your vent-path is clear.

RE: What Dryer to Choose?

hcc3: "I have to consider a new dryer. ... I could buy a non-matching set and try to sell them together..."

You are considering buying a dryer and already you are thinking about possible hitches in selling it? Really? Years from now, if the dryer is working well, why would you want to sell it? What for? If it is not working well, what difference would it make to a potential buyer -- assuming that you could find any potential buyer for an old used dryer that no longer functions well -- whether it matches the washer that likely would have died a couple of years earlier, anyway?

Think about your needs now and for the next few years. As others have noted, dryers are all pretty simple; they do one thing: pass hot air over wet laundry while they tumble the laundry, that's all. With one signal exception: moisture sensors that shut down the dryer rather than bake already dry clothes while wasting energy, the technology of clothes dryers has not changed significantly since the category was created. The reasons for choosing a dryer that matches the "styling" of a washing machine are based on vanity, not function.

Apart from differences in capacity and price, there are only two major criteria distinguishing the clothes dryers that have moisture sensors (the great majority of clothes dryers do have moisture sensors). The first is the energy source to heat the air, gas or electric. Check your utility rates, and you will know what is best for you.

The other great divide is where the hinge of the door of the dryer is located: on one side of the door, or at the bottom of the door (the latter called a "hamper door"). Because our laundry room is in a basement with a cement floor that is difficult (o.k., impossible) to maintain spotless, we would never own a dryer with a side opening door -- because inevitably, we occasionally will drop pieces of laundry on the floor when transferring the wet laundry from washer to dryer, and we prefer that, when they drop, they drop onto the lowered hamper door of the dryer than to the cement floor. If you have laundry room floors so clean that a state hygiene inspector would eat off of them, then you may not find a hamper door to be as essential a feature as we do.

Fortunately, Whirlpool Corporation has been making essentially the same model of simple hamper door dryer under various model designations and brand names (prominently, Sears Kenmore) for about five decades, and it is one of the most inexpensive dryers in the marketplace. Parts for it are available wherever any appliance parts are sold, and always in stock; but that design is so thoroughly field proven, so thoroughly honed, that it almost never needs repair. Think of the original VW bug or the classic McGraw (later McGraw-Edison) Edison Toastmaster 1B14 and B700 toasters -- 16 million B700s were sold. The Whirlpool Model WED4850XQ (electric heating element) and its cousins in the Sears Sears Kenmore line and their respective gas-heated cousins in the Whirlpool and Kenmore lines -- recognizable by the combination of a hamper door in front and a lint filter that is serviced from the dryer's top deck below the control panel -- are cut from the same cloth as those classics.

RE: What Dryer to Choose?

I'm told that some of the newer Whirlpool hamper-door dryers use a more advanced moisture-sensing technique. In addition to the sensor strips, there are temperature sensors on the air intake and output. The temperature difference, along with the amount of heat being applied, apparently lets them calculate how much moisture is being evaporated. I just got one recently, and the autodry works better than in my past experiences. I'm also told that it has two heating elements, so it can apply two stages of heat, low and high.

The 29"-wide Whirlpool dryers with hamper door have the lint filter on the top. The 27"-wide models have the lint filter inside. The more advanced hamper-door models in the current lineup are 27" wide.

RE: What Dryer to Choose?

Thanks, all. I think I'll look in the Memorial Day sale ads and see what looks like the best discount on a 7.0cu ft dryer (this is the size of the Speed Queen dryer that matches the washer I'm buying) or greater that has the features described above and go with that.

Best to all,

RE: What Dryer to Choose?


I am interested in the features you talked about. However the Whirlpool site (like most) is so loaded with gibberish, I can't tell which of their several hamper-door models have these features. Can you say model number of what you have, please?

RE: What Dryer to Choose?

I have the WED5700XW, and would guess that the WED5500XW, WED5550XW and WED5600XW work similarly. The dealer delivered a replacement unit today because of a curious issue with the first one, which I had for three weeks. The issue was that, on the automatic cycles, the Wet and Damp lights wouldn't illuminate on some loads...but the damp dry signal would sound, and the loads were dried to an appropriate level of dryness. It's too soon to tell if the replacement works the same way. I can live with it if it does, since drying performance is fine, and the numeric display tells me how much time is left.

RE: What Dryer to Choose?

Thanks. Noted all.

RE: What Dryer to Choose?

suburbanmd: "I have the WED5700XW, and would guess that the WED5500XW, WED5550XW and WED5600XW work similarly. The dealer delivered a replacement unit today because of a curious issue with the first one, which I had for three weeks. The issue was that, on the automatic cycles, the Wet and Damp lights wouldn't illuminate on some loads...but the damp dry signal would sound, and the loads were dried to an appropriate level of dryness."

That single data point suggests to me that a good addition to the newer Whirlpool dryer models -- as with any modern appliance controlled with microchips -- would be a decent surge/spike filter at the outlet. Older appliances with mechanical controls shrugged off surges and spikes in the electrical feed, and the electric heating element inside the dryer eats high current for lunch; but microcircuits are relatively fragile and vulnerable to dirty current. Finding a surge protector with a plug blade geometry compatible with a 220V outlet and with an an electric dryer's plug blade geometry may require the expenditure of some shoe leather, but good surge protectors are cheap protection.

Here is a link that might be useful: This might work

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