Cue the LG DLHX4027W, America’s very first heat pump dryer. While the technology isn’t new to the rest of world, it is new in the US, and LG has beaten all the other manufacturers to the punch in bringing it here.
We got some hands-on time with one of the first units out of the factory, and have to say we're pretty impressed. With a bevy of cycles at your disposal, an unprecedented level of cycle customization, and interesting new uses for smart phone technology, this dryer seems to have it all. We'll know for sure as soon as we're finished testing, and will have a full review soon.
It’s all about the 'closed loop'
So, what the heck is a heat pump dryer?
Well, let's start by explaining how the dryer in your home probably works. A conventional, vented dryer pulls in outside air, gets it really hot, and then throws all the heated air and excess moisture outside through a vent. It’s a one-way transfer of heat that results in a lot of wasted energy.
Heat pump dryers, on the other hand, operate using a closed energy loop. A bit of air is sucked into the dryer—where it’s put through a device that works very similar to an air conditioner—and pulls out moisture from damp clothes. Similar so far, right?
From there, the hot air is blown through an evaporator. The air is cooled and the water is collected to be drained out the back via a hose, much like the one on your washing machine. Rather than be blown away, that cooled air is reheated and pumped back into the dryer drum where the process starts all over again.
The whole thing is a bit more technical, involving refrigerants and heat exchangers, but that’s more or less how it works in a nutshell. That closed energy loop could save you anywhere from 40-60% of your dryer energy costs each year, depending on which source you check and which cycles you typically use.
It could also save your clothes, because a heat pump dryer stays a lot cooler than a vented one.
As simple as pushing a button
Certain cycles engage the heat pump more than others. Options like Low Temp Dry+ is one of the more efficient cycles, while activating the EcoHybrid feature on Normal will ramp up the efficiency only moderately. Once we’re able to run a full series of tests on a production model, we’ll have more details on just how restrictive the use of the heat pump really is.
Historically, the only downside to heat pump technology has been extended drying times. But if you’re in a rush to get some clean clothes, this LG can function as a perfectly normal dryer. You’re never locked into a two-hour Normal cycle if speed is your primary concern. This machine turns the choice over to the consumer, and choice is always a good thing.
Extra features like the Sanitize and Sports Wear cycles keep this machine versatile, while the steam drawer gives you even more options without the need for extra plumbing.
This may also be the first dryer that lets you download extras right to the control panel. There’s a label on the controls for a Download Cycle, plus a Tag On feature represented by a hand holding a smart phone. We'll have a lot more details on both once we’ve had a chance to play around with the dryer some more.
Traditional high-end exterior
Despite how unique it is, the LG heat pump dryer doesn’t look like some futuristic piece of technology. In fact, it just looks like a dryer.
With finishes available in white or graphite (as the DLHX4072V), this machine would look at home next to any high-end washing machine. Bright lights on the controls make the interface easy to read, and responsive buttons allow you to bend a cycle to nearly your every whim.
The cycle dial itself is a little harder to read than you might expect. Bright lights direct your eyes to a thin line branching out to the relevant cycle, and it's hard to see from an angle. Inside, you've got a stainless steel drum—a must-have for any high-end dryer. A stylish blue light illuminates the stainless interior for when you’re loading or unloading the latest batch of shirts.
The biggest laundry innovation since front load washers
If Americans are willing to let their laundry take just a little longer, heat pump drying could be one of the easiest ways to reduce energy consumption in the home.
Tons of cycles and extra features mean the DLHX4027W isn’t skimping on anything you’d expect to find in a high-end dryer.
With an MSRP that’s estimated at about $1,599 for the white model (graphite will be $100 more), it’s definitely the most expensive kid on the block. But there’s a chance that tax credits and rebates will be available, much the same way it was for the first hybrid cars, and still is for electric vehicles or solar panels.
If that turns out to be the case, this LG might cost roughly the same as a regular higher-end dryer at the end of the day. With so much energy savings in store, that price starts to look a lot more reasonable. We're looking forward to testing this machine to find out just how well it works as a clothes dryer.
Meet the testers
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.See all of Matthew Zahnzinger's reviews
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