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The best dryers for 2020

If you’ve ever found your clothes still soggy when you finish the laundry, you know the importance of a reliable dryer. A dryer is essential, but with all the choices out there, finding the best dryer for you is no easy task. The Electrolux EFME627UIW is at the top of our list since it’s an attractive and reliable unit with germ-killing options.

We’ve rounded up the best dryers for 2020. Whether you need a cheap dryer, smart dryer, dual dryer, or large-capacity, we’ve got you covered.

At a glance

The best dryer: Electrolux EFME627UIW Front Load Perfect Steam Dryer with Predictive Dry and Instant Refresh

Why we picked the Electrolux EFME627UIW:

Though it may not have endless cycles, the Electrolux Front Load Perfect Steam Dryer with Predictive Dry and Instant Refresh has a lot of ways to dry your clothes — or just refresh, sanitize, or get them nearly allergen-free. Sometimes an overwhelming amount of cycles isn’t a good thing; lots of people just stick to “normal” and vary the temperature based on what they’re drying. But this Electrolux has some you’ll want to pay attention to, like allergen (which cranks up the heat to kill dust mites), 15-minute fast dry (for small loads), and instant refresh (which airs out clothes that are clean but less-than-fresh).

Buttons to the side of the Nest-like dial let you add steam to get rid of wrinkles and static, as well as change the time, temperature, and spin speed. Inside the drum, sensors keep track of how wet your clothes are, so they don’t overdry and harm the fabric. Electrolux also offers an impressive 10-year drive motor warranty.

The Electrolux EFME627UIW is no doubt a luxury appliance, with a price tag to match, but you get a spacious drum, steam, and germ-killing features. Best of all, its companion washer, the EFLS627UIW, is also an excellent machine.

The best large-capacity dryer: Maytag MEDB955FC

Why we picked the Maytag MEDB955FC:

With 9.2 cubic feet of capacity, this Maytag dryer can hold a large load of laundry but also give it room to tumble around. It has an extra interior fin, so your clothes don’t tangle while drying. It also has features like PowerDry and Advanced Moisture Sensing to dry your clothes as quickly and evenly as possible.

You get 10 drying cycles, including one especially for touch-ups, another that uses steam to refresh your lightly worn items, and the sanitize cycle kills 99.9% of three common household bacteria. You can further control the temperature, dryness level, and wrinkle settings. There’s even an air-only setting for instances when you want to air fluff without heat. If you’re looking to save some money (especially since this is a fairly pricey machine), there’s an Energy Saver button that extends the dryer time but lowers the heat.

If you’re always leaving your laundry until you have a veritable clothes mountain, the Maytag MEDB955FC will be up to the task.

The best dual dryer: Samsung FlexDry

best dryers samsung flexdry lifestyle

Why we picked the Samsung FlexDry:

There’s no getting around that the Samsung FlexDry is big and spendy. But the extra bulk is for the dedicated Delicate Dryer, a space on top where you can lay sweaters and other items you wouldn’t normally toss in the tumbling drum. Lots of dryers let you insert a rack into the machine itself, but this Samsung model lets you leave the drum open for traditional loads while taking advantage of heated air. It never gets truly hot but still dries stuffed animals and clothing faster than letting them drip dry.

In addition to the top compartment, the drum has plenty of space. The 7.5-foot capacity dryer has oodles of cycles, including sanitizing options. Using steam, you can increase the machine’s versatility with wrinkle-fighting and refresh cycles. The FlexDry also works with Samsung’s Smart Home app, so you can see if your load is finished without trekking down to the basement. If you have some items you absolutely refuse to toss in the regular dryer, this appliance just might change laundry day for you.

Pair it with: Samsung FlexWash

Read our full review of the Samsung FlexDry Dryer.

The best smart dryer: Whirlpool Dryer WED9620HC

Why we picked the Whirlpool WED9620HC:

It’s amazing how many smart features Whirlpool has packed into this 7.4-cubic-foot dryer. You can customize up to 36 cycle combinations to get the perfect cycle for exactly what you’re trying to dry, controlled by an intuitive touch control panel that can learn and suggest options for you based on your laundry habits. This is all backed up with great moisture-sensing technology, with three sensors to track moisture and temperature and avoid over drying.

The Whirlpool WED9620HC also boasts plenty of unique additional features to help out. A sanitize cycle is specifically designed to eliminate common household bacteria, while a wrinkle shield plus setting uses tumbling and steam to prevent wrinkles from setting in. It even has an option for reducing static on your clothes. You can start the dryer remotely via the Whirlpool app, and maintenance is super easy too.

Pair with: Whirlpool Washer WFW9620HC

The best cheap dryer: LG DLE7100W

Why we picked the LG DLE7100W:

As one of the more reliable dryer brands, LG is known for making laundry machines that last. This model is no exception. It may not have all the extra features you’d see in a more expensive dryer. For instance, it doesn’t connect to Wi-Fi, so you can’t control it with your phone. But it does offer a lot for a low price. It has eight drying cycles, including a wrinkle care option, a freshen up program, a program for bedding and bulky items, and a speed dry option. The display is easy to navigate, as it has a dial and LED display indicators.

The LG DLE7100W‘s built-in sensor dry system detects moisture levels in your clothes during the cycle and automatically adjusts the drying time accordingly, while a smart diagnosis feature makes it so you can quickly and easily maintain your machine. It even has a duct clogging indicator to let you know it’s time to clean your dryer’s ducting.

Pair it with: LG WT7100CW

The most reliable dryer: Speed Queen DR7000WE

Why we picked the Speed Queen DR7000WE:

Speed Queen prides itself on creating dryer models that “last 25 years in your home,” so if you’re looking for reliability, this is the place to start. The 7-cubic-foot dryer sports commercial-grade components and a full set of digital controls that are made to stand up to moisture, heat, vibration, and power surges.

With the Speed Queen DR7000WE, you can select a specific moisture level if you want, or use one of the seven presets and four auto dry cycles, then trust the dryer’s moisture sensors to know when your clothes are finished. There’s also an eco cycle to save on energy, and an extended tumble setting to keep tumbling clothes without heat after the cycle is over. We also like the reversible door that allows you to place the dryer in more locations.

Pair with: Speed Queen TR7 Washer

Research and buying tips

How hot does a dryer get?

Not as hot as you may think. Even though your clothes feel really hot when they first come out of the dryer, your dryer isn’t reaching temperatures like your oven or curling iron. On low heat, it may reach around 125 degrees Fahrenheit, and on high heat, you might be looking at 135 or 145 degrees. According to GE, most 120V dryers will hit 145 Fahrenheit during operation. Just because your dryer doesn’t reach several hundred degrees, this doesn’t mean you don’t need to be careful of dryer fires though.

How long do dryers last?

You should expect your dryer to last between 8 and 12 years provided you care for it properly. However, if you don’t take proper care of your dryer — you overload your unit, you don’t clean your dryer regularly, and you don’t follow the manufacturer’s maintenance instructions — your dryer could go out on you within a few years.

How do you stack a washer and dryer?

Use a stacking kit, which is a support system for stacking the two appliances on top of each other. Most stackable appliances have their own designated stacking kits. You should also use compatible units and place the washer on the bottom and the dryer on top, because the dryer is typically lighter than the washing machine.

What is the best dryer brand?

Consumer Reports points to LG as one of the most reliable dryer brands. Some other reliable machines come from brands like Maytag, Estate, Whirlpool, Amana, Kenmore, Electrolux, and GE.

How does a ventless dryer work?

A vented dryer pulls the surrounding air from the laundry room, heats that air and uses it to dry the clothes, and then pushes the humid (lint-filled) air through a vent and outside of the home. A ventless dryer, however, pulls air into the machine, heats it, and then recycles the air and heats it again. The moisture goes down a drain or into a tray that you empty, and there’s no air being vented outside.

How many watts does a dryer use?

A dryer will use somewhere in the range of 1,500 to 6,000 watts, depending on the model and type of dryer. A safe overall estimate is around 3,000 watts.

Is a gas dryer better than an electric dryer?

Gas dryers tend to be cheaper to operate than electric dryers, but they also tend to be more expensive upfront. Gas dryers also tend to heat up faster (hence they may dry your clothes a bit faster), and they’re also cheaper to maintain.

How much does a dryer weigh?

Most dryers weigh between 100 and 200 pounds. If you have a pedestal, that may weigh an additional 40 to 50 pounds.

Is there a dryer that will fold my clothes?

Robot vacuums have made it so we don’t have to actually physically vacuum. There are products coming onto the market that are attempting to make it so we don’t have to fold laundry. For instance, at CES 2019, an automatic folding machine called FoldiMate was debuted. The machine lets you feed clothing into a flat slot, and it comes out neatly folded. You can join a pre-order wait list to purchase the FoldiMate.

As of yet, there’s not really a good option for a dryer that will take clothes from wet to neatly folded, but this is not to say we won’t see something like that hit the market in the near future.

Should I use dryer sheets?

Ideally, no. Dryer sheets are sheets of fibers coated with stearic acid or fatty acids. Over time, these acids can damage your clothes and the inside of your dryer’s lint trap. However, it’s up to you to decide whether the benefits of dryer sheets are worth the risks.

How do I know when my dryer needs to be replaced?

If your dryer isn’t drying your clothes (even after you’ve cleaned the duct and lint trap), or if it has mechanical issues that pose a safety issue or if those mechanical issues cost more to repair than the value of the machine, it’s time to replace your dryer.

Should I buy a dryer now or wait?

Many people discover the best time to buy a dryer is when their current one starts shaking and clanging, then dies mid-cycle. But if you have some advance warning, it can be beneficial to wait. Many manufacturers start rolling out new products in September or October, meaning retailers want to make room for the new inventory by lowering the prices of previous models.

There are exceptions to this rule. A lot of stores offer deals during holidays or lower prices at other times of the year.  It’s not just Black Friday, either. You can often find bargains during long weekends like Memorial Day, Labor Day, and President’s Day.

Some appliance stores organize annual blowout sales to get people in the store and get rid of old inventory. You should contact local stores and find out about these events. One located in Seattle, for example, has a yearly sale in early November that draws crowds looking for lower prices.

How does Digital Trends test dryers?

Dryers are a big purchase for anyone, and doing research before purchasing a new appliance is key. If you’ve read our reviews, you may wonder how we reach our conclusions. We measure the performance of the dryers by looking at the temperature inside of the drum, how long it takes for the appliance to dry the clothes, and other factors.

Because our dryers are open for everyone in the Digital Trends office to use, we solicit a lot of feedback from our staffers when considering things like ease of use. This means that we take into account more than just one or two people’s opinions, and it also means the machines go through a fair number of cycles by the time we’re done with them.

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