With cool blue lights, a decent amount of cycles, and moderate customizability, it looks and feels pretty darn user friendly. Unfortunately, folks who care less about fit and finish and more about strong performance may find it hard to justify spending so much on a machine that's no better at heart than many cheaper products.

The WED88HEAC isn't bad by any means, but you shouldn't jump out of your chair to buy it unless you can find it on a significant sale. You may have a better chance at a bargain with the WFW88HEAW, which comes in a white finish that makes for a slightly lower price.

Sleek and striking, but not functionally unique.

The Whirlpool's shiny gray—sorry, Chrome Shadow—exterior features steel highlights on the door and the control knob, as well as white text, blue indicator lights, and chirping sounds whenever a setting or cycle is changed. It's stylish and smooth, though it doesn't do much to innovate in terms of layout or aesthetic.

It's stylish and smooth, though it doesn't do much to innovate in terms of layout or aesthetic.

When you get right down to basic usability, this dryer manages to satisfy. The door and lint trap function as they should, though the door handle may be a touch low for some users. The capacitive touch controls worked more or less fluidly, without requiring us to jam our thumbs over the symbols to start a cycle or change settings. At the end of the day, though, they they don't seem to offer significant improvements over the functionality of regular buttons in any way.

Mid-range drying on a high-priced machine.

The Normal cycle was effective, if a touch too hot; the Delicate cycle was also strong, if a touch too lengthy. Quick Dry proved completely useless when it came to our standard 4 lb. load, though a smaller batch may have faired better, while the Bulky cycle flat out failed to dry our test comforter. It's nothing we haven't seen before, but such mediocre performance underwhelms in this price bracket.

Nothing we haven't seen before, but such mediocre performance underwhelms in this price bracket.

The story is the same when it comes to features. Ten cycles, including one specifically designed to use the dryer's steam capabilities, offer up a small degree of variety without being overly impressive. Five temperature settings and three dryness levels offer a range of flexibility that most consumers have grown to expect from every product aside from the most basic, budget models.

You've also got a damp dry signal, a wrinkle shield that can be used with or without steam, and an eco boost for (theoretically) more energy efficient drying. Conspicuously absent on a high-priced machine is the ability to save a customized cycle, as well as a short, steam-based, static reducing cycle.

Wait for a more appropriate price.

With an MSRP of $1,299, Whirlpool has pit its newest Duet electric dryer against some very stiff competition. Some of the best machines we've ever reviewed are at or near that same price, and unfortunately Whirlpool's newest entry into the laundry market simply can't hold up against those products.

Mid-range versatility and performance don't match that high-end price tag, and sale prices don't quite ease the sting: the lowest we could find got down to just $1,075. For this Duet to outclass similarly priced competitors, it needs a bigger price cut.
The key thing to stress here is that the Whirlpool WED88HEAC electric dryer is not a bad machine. The quality of its drying is on par with many mid-range models, with all the strengths and weaknesses that come with that category. Were it not for the overpriced MSRP, this machine might have been easy to recommend. Take a look at the results of our comprehensive dryer testing and judge for yourselves.

Heat and length keep the basics from coming out perfectly.

The Normal cycle was the best of the bunch, a fact which should never be taken for granted. Removing all of our excess moisture in just under an hour, this cycle was almost perfect. The only thing holding it back? Too much heat. We like to see our Normal cycles stay within about 140-145ºF at the most. This machine peaked at 151.7ºF, however, just a bit too hot for our taste.

The Delicate cycle, too, was nearly perfect. It got clothes completely dry, and managed to remain at a cool and gentle temperature. With the highest point of heat reaching just 111.7ºF, there's no question that this gentle cycle will take good care of your clothes. The downside here was that in ran longer than normal. Our two test loads averaged a drying time of one hour and 44 minutes. Delicate cycles always take a while, but a perfect score for us clocks in around an hour and a half or less.

Better off sticking with the basics.

Despite starting strong, the Whirlpool dropped the ball when it came to our more challenging test loads. For cycles that don't engage a dryer's sensor, such as the WED88HEAC's Quick Dry, we leave it to the initial timed setting: in this case, 13 minutes. At the end, the dryer had only reached a peak temperature of 113.1ºF. It clearly wasn't hot enough, as our test load only had half of its excess moisture removed.

The Bulky test didn't do any better. Finishing after about 54 minutes, our large test comforter had lost only 65 percent of its added moisture. The touted quad baffles hadn't done a great job rotating our comforter either: while the edges of the dryer reached a peak temperature of 122.7ºF, the damp interior of our comforter never broke 100ºF.

Meet the testers

Matthew Zahnzinger

Matthew Zahnzinger

Logistics Manager & Staff Writer


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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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.

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