Easy to use, easy on the eyes.
Even with the black panel on the door, the 8100 retains the charm of simplicity. A basic white finish complements the dark control panel, and makes the text and images pop. The door opens and shuts without excessive slamming as well. Even the lint trap proved to be user-friendly: the firm mesh is easy to clean without feeling too rough on the fingers.
During our tests, green indicator lights on the control panel made it easy to know which features were active and what cycle was selected, while the buttons themselves offered an appropriate level of responsiveness. While a white drum keeps this machine from becoming a truly high-end appliance, we weren’t expecting stainless this price.
Not a rotten apple in the bunch.
Every single one of our tested cycles offered good performance, despite a few minor hiccups. The Normal cycle got just a pinch too warm, and the Quick Dry option clearly wasn’t meant for more than a few items at a time. Other than that, we had no complaints. Effective drying at appropriate temperatures finishing within a reasonable amount of time: it’s not perfect, but we’d be hard pressed to find a more complete package, outside of the $849 WED8000BW.
Feature selection was a bit slim, but all the standard bases were covered. You’ve got nine cycles to choose from: three timer-based, and six sensor based including a designated Sanitize option. Four dryness levels and five temperature settings—including unheated air only—gives you plenty of control over your laundry experience.
A damp dry signal and wrinkle shield are pretty standard on machines in this price range and up, but Eco Boost option is also a nice touch. It makes the cycles run a bit longer, but keeps the heat—and potentially your electric bill—down. You can also turn the dryer chime on or off, depending on how badly you want to know when your laundry is done.
For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page.
A cosmetic upgrade paired with beautiful performance.
When we originally reviewed the Whirlpool WED8000BW, we were definitely impressed. It performed well in all of our cycles and was easy to use. While the customization was a bit slim, it was still a fairly versatile machine. The Whirlpool WED8100BW is all of that plus a small aesthetic difference.
In this case, it really does come down to pure visual style: go for the basic model, or spend $50 to get a slightly fancier door. Either way, you’re getting great performance for a reasonable price. Neither are readily available yet—the new models should be trickling out to your local retailer soon—but if you don't feel strongly about the door one way or the other, just get whichever one has a lower sale price.
When examining our dryers, usually we find that one of the four tested cycles either does exceptionally well or exceptionally poorly. Not so with the Whirlpool WED8100BW: every single cycle offered up quality results that—while perhaps imperfect—were more than satisfactory.
Work horse cycles gettin’ the job done.
Our Normal test is usually the standard by which we can hold all subsequent tests. In the case of this Whirlpool, it was one of only two cycles that got clothes completely dry. It did so in about one hour and 11 minutes and kept temperatures under 153ºF at peak heat. While we’d have liked it to run about 10 degrees cooler and 15 minutes shorter to match the best dryers we’ve tested, these results indicate that this machine should be able to handle standard loads of sturdy clothing.
The Delicate cycle also got clothes completely dry, with peak temperatures reaching 129ºF. Again, we’d have liked to run about 10 degrees cooler, but this is still acceptable and should be cool enough to keep your fragile garments in good shape. An average time of one hour and nine minutes actually makes this Whirlpool one of the only machines where this cycle proved to be slightly faster than Normal.
A caveat for the Quick, but unusually effective with bulky items.
The Quick Dry cycle we used for our rapid drying test is actually meant for just three or four items at a time, definitely less than our 4 lb test load. Even so, in just 13 minutes it got 48 percent of the added excess moisture out of our garments. That’s quite good, and ratio of dryness to drying time fits in with the standard 30-minute quick dry model that serves as our benchmark. A peak heat of 110.4ºF means it’s doing a good job without overheating, too.
Perhaps most impressive was the Bulky cycle. Most consumers ignore the warning in their dryer’s user guide telling them to flip a comforter halfway through this cycle, so we intentionally make the same mistake. Even so, this dryer achieved 87 percent moisture removal—a result that’s hardly ever seen—and in just one hour and 8 minutes, no less! Peak temperatures reached 147.7ºF, which is fantastic, too. This kind of quality drying indicates a drum large enough to flip a bulky item around enough that any wet spot in the middle gets reasonable exposure to heat. It’s not perfect, but it’s darn close, and that’s more than we ever expect on this test.
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.
Our team is here for one purpose: to help you buy the best stuff and love what you own. Our writers, editors, and lab technicians obsess over the products we cover to make sure you're confident and satisfied. Have a different opinion about something we recommend? Email us and we'll compare notes.Shoot us an email