laundry

Whirlpool Duet WED72HEDW Dryer Review

Good at the basics, but this Duet's song falls flat if you choose a specialty cycle.

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The affordable Whirlpool Duet WED72HEDW (MSRP $899) competes for the attention of budget-conscious consumers who aren’t looking for a lot of bells and whistles. Limited customizability and a bare bones cycle list keep the learning curve low, while responsive touch screen controls keep the usability high.

Sale prices drop as low as $699, which put it on par with the Kenmore 81182 and Samsung DV42H5000EW. However, both of those dryers outperform this low-cost Whirlpool. Or, if you're willing to spend about $100 more, you can snag Whirlpool's superior WED87HEDW. It's the next model up from this one, and it's also one of the best new dryers we've tested.

Design & Usability

Whirlpool Duet WED72HEDW Front
This dryer is about as basic as you get without crossing over into old-school crank timer territory. View Larger

White goods defined

On the outside, this machine is more or less identical to the Amana NED5700BW. You’ve got white plastic galore and a powder-coated enamel drum. A curved border around the control panel gives this Duet some needed flair, and goes a surprisingly long way to provide the dryer with a degree of personality.

Touch screens can be finicky, but this one performs flawlessly. Every button is responsive, the dial moves smoothly, and there’s never any doubt as to what cycle is selected or which features (few though they be) are active.

The white interior won’t surprise anyone. Powder coated drums are more prone to rusting or flaking over time compared to stainless ones, but you've got to spend more to get that upgrade.

Performance & Features

Sticking to the basics

Unsurprisingly, this no-frills dryer did the best when dealing with frequently used cycles. The Normal and Delicates cycles performed exceptionally well, getting clothes perfectly dry each time. On average, the Normal cycle only took 48 minutes to get eight pounds of clothes 100 percent dry—which is particularly impressive.

When we moved into more specialized tests, like Quick Dry and Bulky, things started to break down. Despite very high heats in both cycles, neither did a great job drying out sample loads. If your laundry demands are as straightforward as this machine's control panel, you’ll be fine, but don’t expect perfection from every cycle.

Whirlpool Duet WED72HEDW Cycles
The cycle list covers all the basics, more or less. View Larger

Those cycles are Bulky and Heavy Duty, as well as the manual Timed and Quick dry options. Three available dryness levels are more or less standard here, however you're restricted to only four temperature settings. Many modern machines give you a few more levels to choose from.

The feature list is just three items long. You’ve got a control lock and wrinkle shield, as well as an EcoBoost setting. If you’re concerned about damaging less hardy fabrics, turn it on and temperatures will be reduced for gentler drying (at the expense of longer drying times, that is).

Whirlpool Duet WED72HEDW Controls
If you like simple appliances with a low learning curve, this might be a good dryer for you. View Larger

For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page.

Set Your Sites Higher

Whirlpool Duet WED72HEDW Interior
A white powder coated drum is pretty much guaranteed for dryers in this price range. View Larger

Move up the line, or move on to another dryer

The Whirlpool Duet WED72HEDW does a good job with basic drying and can be found for just under $700. That might make it seem like a great bargain. However, when you consider that the Samsung DV42H5000EW—which has more cycles, many more features, and superior drying performance—is available for the same price, the Duet doesn’t seem as sweet a siren song.

Or, you could spend a little more and step up to the next Whirlpool in the Duet line. The WED87HEDW has an excellent performance-to-price ratio, and provides you with plenty of extra features that help make the expense seem worthwhile.

You could do a lot worse than the WED72HEDW. But if you keep shopping, or spend a little more, you could also do a lot better.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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