The same can be said for plenty of dryers—most of them are relatively uncomplicated, after all. Yet this model has two things going for it: A low price, and a paired washer that's one of the best traditional top-load machines we've ever tested. If you’re after simplicity on a tight budget, this GE is worth your attention.
Sturdy and simple
It’s a big white box. What else were you expecting?
This straightforward, 7.2-cu.-ft. electric dryer is about as basic as it gets in terms of design. The silvery edging on the control knobs and bright blue highlights on part of the cycle list are the only stimulation your eyes are going to get.
Speaking of knobs, one of the things we really appreciate about this model is how sturdy the controls feel. They all have weight, and don't feel cheap. We only wish imprecise manual timers would disappear forever, but that's not a surprise in this price range.
Inside, you'll find an aluminized alloy drum, a feature shared by all the GE dryers in this series. It's not as durable as the stainless steel you'd find on high-end models, but it’s far more durable and corrosion-resistant than enameled competitors. Something else we were surprised to see was the interior light, which should help you keep track of runaway socks and other errant items.
After first testing this dryer, we told GE the lint trap was a pain to take out and replace. Based on our complaints—and similar ones from consumers—GE informed us that their engineers redesigned the lint trap on this model. If you have an early version of this dryer and hate the lint trap, GE can provide you a replacement.
Oddly enough, our Normal test—usually the gold standard by which all other cycles are judged—didn’t provide the best results from this GE. (It was Quick Dry, but more on that later.) After about 1 hour 3 minutes on Cottons set to Optimum Dry and Regular Heat, our test laundry was just 92% dry. Were this an automatic sensor dryer, we’d be concerned, but just five more minutes on the dial should get your clothes to a wearable state. Temperatures peaked at 148.6°F here, which is almost ideal.
The Delicates cycle is this dryer's worst. We used the Delicates option at Less Dry and Low Heat, and after about 50 minutes our clothes were only 82% dry. That’s much too damp to wear, despite a peak temperature of 134.9°F, which is too hot for delicate fabrics.
As mentioned above, our Quick Dry test—which is a manual 30-minute Timed Dry cycle with Regular Heat—came closer to complete dryness than any other cycle. After about 33 minutes (courtesy of the inaccurate crank timer) and peak temperatures of 144°F, our small load was 96% dry.
This GE also did well tackling bulky items: Our soft, down comforter was 87% dry after 1 hour 21 minutes. Our test settings—Cottons at More Dry on Regular Heat—didn’t quite remove all excess moisture, but it came closer than a lot of other machines we’ve tested. Considering the temperatures stayed below 147.6°F, we were rather pleased.
Better drying than you'll pay for
This dryer never got a load of laundry 100% dry, but on the other hand, overdrying is a classic pitfall of inexpensive dryers, and the GTD42EASJWW fell into that trap. Delicate fabrics got a bit too warm, but otherwise the Normal and Quick cycles (using the Regular Heat setting) each came close to total dryness. If you just crank the timer a little further, an extra five minutes should help dry larger loads.
In fact, adjusting the time is about all you can do to alter a cycle. There are four distinct cycles—Cottons, Casuals, Delicates, and Timed Dry—that can be paired with one of four temperature settings. You can mix and match to your heart’s content, but other than that, the only other decision left to make is whether Extended Tumble is on or off.
For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page.
The warranty on this GE is as basic as the machine itself: You get one year of parts and labor coverage. If anything breaks that's the manufacturer's fault during your first year of ownership, GE will take care of it.
Streamlined laundry at a low cost
While the GE GTD42EASJWW may not be the cheapest or the best dryer you can buy, it’s very close, and one of the best available in this price range. Most retailers are selling this model for about $499, but we’ve seen some go as low as $449—an absolute steal.
Sure the drying profile isn’t perfect—especially for delicates—but at this end of the spectrum you’re not going to find perfection. What you will find are basically correct temperatures, adequate cycle times, and a refreshing lack of pointless features and cycles. If you just want to toss in your laundry and hit a button, the GTD42EASJWW is an easy recommendation.
This article was updated on May 31, 2016 to reflect updates that GE made to this dryer's lint trap.
Meet the tester
Logistics Manager & Staff Writer@ReviewedHome
Matthew is a native of Brockton, MA and a graduate of Northeastern, where he earned a degree in English and Theatre. He has also studied at the Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin and spends most of his free time pursuing a performance career in the greater Boston area.
Checking our work.
We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.Shoot us an email