In the market for a dryer but don’t know where to start? Whether you’re after a smart dryer, budget dryer, large dryer, or any other kind of dryer for your home, we’ve got your back. For this article, we got our hands on 2020’s finest dryers, including the Samsung FlexDry and Maytag MEDC465HW, to find the ultimate dryer for every household’s needs. Read on for our top 2020 dryer picks for affordability, reliability, capacity, and overall function.
At a glance
- The best dryer: Electrolux EFME627UIW
- The best large-capacity dryer: Maytag MEDB955FC
- The best dual dryer: Samsung FlexDry
- The best smart dryer: LG Mega Capacity Steam Dryer
- The best cheap dryer: Maytag MEDC465HW
- The most reliable dryer: LG DLE7100W
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 8.0-cubic-foot dryer 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.
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, this Maytag dryer will be up to the task.
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 one-cubic-foot top compartment, the drum has 6.1 cubic feet of space. There are oodles of cycles, including sanitizing options and one specifically for bedding. 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 dryer, this appliance just might change laundry day for you.
Pair it with: Samsung FlexWash
Read our full review of the Samsung FlexDry Dryer.
Why we picked the LG Mega Capacity TurboSteam Dryer:
It’s not just smarts you’re paying for with this pricey LG dryer, but design. With its 14 cycles, there are a few ways to get clothes dry or do a quick steam refresh. It also has sanitize options if you prefer your fabrics germ-free. It even has a cycle that lets you disinfect non-washable items.
What makes it so smart? The Wi-Fi-enabled dryer has a compatible app that can help diagnose any issues that arise. It can also take advantage of LG’s Smart Grid feature to save you a bit of money when energy costs are lower. It will also, of course, let you know when your clothes are dry. To us, it makes sense to pair a smart washer and dryer of the same brand in the hopes that they might one day talk to each other.
Pair it with: LG WM3770HWA
Why we picked the Maytag MEDC465HW:
There’s no doubt the Maytag is a no-frills, low-cost option. The list of features it doesn’t have — like steam, a sanitize setting, and tons of cycles — is longer than the one detailing those it does have. Still, it’s a solid performer and does present some nice options. The Intellidry sensor tracks moisture and air temps for better drying performance, while the wrinkle control feature keeps clothes tumbling for 40 minutes, so they stay fresh and wrinkle-free after drying completes.
Perhaps the best thing it has going for it is its capacity: 7.0-cubic feet. It’s not as big as mega-capacity options, but that’s still a lot of space for decent-sized loads.
Though its base price is $700, we’ve seen it for closer to $500 (or less) on sale, which seems more in line with its bare-bones approach. Still, if you’re looking to spend under $500 on a dryer and aren’t interested in bells and whistles, this Maytag might be worth a look.
Pair it with:
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.
A 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
Research and buying tips
- How hot does a dryer get?
- How long do dryers last?
- How do you stack a washer and dryer?
- What is the best dryer brand?
- How does a ventless dryer work?
- How many watts does a dryer use?
- Is a gas dryer better than an electric dryer?
- How much does a dryer weigh?
- Is there a dryer that will fold my clothes?
- Should I use dryer sheets?
- How do I know when my dryer needs to be replaced?
- Should you buy a dryer now or wait?
- How does Digital Trends test dryers?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Most dryers weigh between 100 and 200 pounds. If you have a pedestal, that may weigh an additional 40 to 50 pounds.
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. The FoldiMate machine was supposed to release in late 2019.
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.
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.
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.
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.
However, that’s not a hard-and-fast rule, and stores often have frequent deals coinciding with holidays. It’s not just Black Friday, either. You can often find bargains during long weekends like Memorial Day, Labor Day, and President’s Day.
It might behoove you to find out if your local appliance dealer has an annual blowout sale. One located in Seattle, for example, has a yearly sale in early November that draws crowds looking for lower prices.
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 like to take into account benchmarks, like how long it takes to dry clothes and the temperature in the drum, as well as less objective metrics like design.
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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