Compared to other budget dryers, we found this Kenmore’s control panel imprecise, while its large pull-out lint trap proved unwieldy.Throw in over-heated drying cycles, and you’ve got a blast from the past that maybe should've just stayed there.
Most of the tests we ran on the Kenmore 65132 (MSRP $719.99) produced almost totally dry clothes. Every test we ran also produced excessively high temperatures, even on the Low Temp setting designed for delicate clothing. With no way to turn down the heat, this dryer isn't great for long-term clothing care.
Flip down, pull out, crank left and right
This machine's design is similar to Whirlpool’s latest hamper-door dryer, the WED5000DW. Lots of people like folding warm laundry fresh out of the dryer, but bending over and reaching into the drum for each individual piece is a pain in the neck... or back. The pull-down hamper door—which is hinged from the bottom, rather than the side— gives you a useful surface on which to put a pile of laundry, right within easy reach.
The catch? It's—quite literally—a catch. The door snaps into place using a metal prong found right in the middle of the doorframe. It’s not an issue when you're taking clothes out, but you’ll want to be careful that nothing snags while you're putting clothes in.
Another weird element that we also saw on the Whirlpool were a pair of visible moisture sensors found on the rear surface of the dryer drum. At the end of each test load, we found some fabric had been torn away, catching on the edges of these sensors. If you’re drying heavy denim and the like, you should be fine, but delicate fabrics run the risk of tearing, while soft or fuzzy objects like towels could snag.
Up top, a large pull-out lint trap is found just in front of the controls. We’ve always found these lint traps rather unwieldy, plus the very act of pulling them out almost always results in lint falling to the floor and floating in the air.
After about 53 minutes, our 8-lb. test load came out of the Normal cycle (set to Normal Dry and High Heat) 99% dry. Given that temperatures peaked at 163.8°F, we're a bit surprised that the final 1% was still there.
The Delicates test (Normal Dry and Low Heat) wasn’t much better, though clothing did come out 100% dry after 52 minutes. Temperatures here reached 151.4°F, which might've been okay on a high-heat setting.
Hot, but not too long
If you’re planning to dry some heavy-duty fabrics, this dryer might be a good fit for you: Standard loads came out nearly 100% dry every time. Our bulky comforter didn’t quite make it, but 75% moisture removal in just 45 minutes is still pretty impressive.
Should your wardrobe consist primarily of dress shirts, blouses, or other items that aren’t quite as hardy, stay away from this machine. Every single cycle we tested on this machine ran hot. The coolest cycle we recorded peaked at 151.4°F—and that was on the Low Temp setting. And unlike many modern dryers, this Kenmore doesn’t have an energy-saving mode that lowers temperatures in exchange for longer drying times.
The crank controls leave something to be desired. When we ran our Quick Dry test, we set the controls to a 30-minute manual Timed Dry. Both times, our stopwatches clocked the dryer at 39 minutes. It’s one thing for a crank timer to be off by two or three minutes, but nine seems a bit much.
It should come as no surprise that this Kenmore is slim on extra features. Turn a dial to select Wrinkle Guard, which will keep the machine tumbling periodically after a cycle to minimize wrinkling. Three temperature settings are available, as well as a designated “Air Only” section on the cycle timer.
For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page.
Since this dryer uses a crank timer, there’s no designated “Rapid Cycle” available. Instead, we set the manual Timed Dry to 30 minutes on High Heat for our Quick test. Strangely, the dryer finished running not after 30 minutes, but about 39, which made us question the accuracy of the timer. With temperatures peaking at 162.9°F, there’s no reason that a 4-lb. load shouldn’t have been completely dry, and ours was almost there: it came out 99% dry.
The Bulky test was conducted by pairing High Heat with the More Dry setting. The timer rang out after just 44 minutes, but our comforter was only 75% dry. Temperatures as high as 157.4°F tend to dry the outermost layers of a large item first, leaving a wet core. If you want to get every inch of a blanket or comforter dry, you’ll have to take it out, shake it up, and put it back in.
Not a hot deal, just hot
There are plenty of decent, budget-friendly dryers with low learning curves on the market today. The Kenmore 65132 simply doesn’t rank among the best of them. Retail prices hovering around $450 may make this basic dryer seem appealing, but we’ve found better ones that cost $100 less.
Even in a high-tech laundry market with fancy control schemes and innovative technology, old-fashioned dryers aren’t rare, which means you can find something with commendable performance fairly easily. If you’re comfortable with the price point, consider the Maytag MEDC300BW, an effective alternative for folks who believe laundry should be simple.
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.
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