Whirlpool WED4950HW dryer review
Don't underestimate this affordable dryer
If you’re going to economize on any appliance, the dryer is a good candidate. And if you’re in no hurry to get a load dry, never need to steam, sanitize, or otherwise process your clothes, and only want to turn a knob and push a button to get things going, the Whirlpool WED4950HW (available at Home Depot for $477.90) does it at an extremely friendly price.
The WED4950HW is a basic, affordable dryer that works very well. It doesn't have many features or cycles, but as we discovered when we spent a week testing it in our laundry labs, it gets everything completely dry.
The Normal cycle runs very hot, which is fairly common in lower-end dryers. The average temperature of 166° can be tough on more fragile fibers, but if you’re mostly washing loads of jeans, work clothes, and cotton towels, they can probably take it.
Design and Features
This dryer’s retro design will look perfectly comfortable in your laundry next to a white top-load washer of any kind. The top-mounted lint trap, analog controls, and white interior drum are exactly what you’d expect at this price point: straightforward, and easy to use.
The hamper door design is fairly convenient for unloading the laundry without too much bending, but we found that clothes can get stuck on the lock if you don’t pay attention when you pull them out.
While we applaud the idea of the Wrinkle Shield feature—which periodically tumbles the load to help keep wrinkles from forming—we couldn’t get it to work on our test model.
As far as performance goes, set expectations to high, and the Normal cycle temperature to low. You want dry clothes, but you do not want them to come out stiff or crispy. We measured the dryer’s temperature at 166° on Normal, and even dialing down the temperature only brought it down to 158°. Wear and tear issues aside, a dryer this hot may help to kill germs. That's a plus, if you're washing your baby's cloth diapers.
The load came out 100% dry in 72 minutes. That’s not speedy, but you’ll probably never have to re-run a load to get it drier.
Custom cycles on a budget
While pricier dryers give you more features and better cycle choices, you can use the existing settings creatively to get the dryer to do what you want. Of course, you can do this on any dryer. For this one, we did the work for you.
• If you want to dry bulky bedding, use the Heavy Dry cycle with the High temperature setting. In our tests, the load was done in an average of 78 minutes, and it actually ran cooler than the Normal cycle, at 151°.
• To get this dryer to run a Delicate cycle, turn the knob to Less Dry, and set the temperature to Medium. Your lingerie will tumble at about 154°, and it will emerge 100% dry in 57 minutes.
• When you want to dry a load without waiting an hour, you can emulate a Quick cycle by dialing up a Timed Dry at the 20 minute setting. This dryer surpassed expectations with that, drying a load in 18 minutes.
Whirlpool gives this dryer a one-year warranty from the date of purchase, paying for replacement parts and repair labor, as long as the issue is related to materials or workmanship.
What the users say
Owners who wrote reviews on several sites are almost universally happy with this dryer. They say that the light is helpful, the hamper door makes it easy to unload, and that clothes always come out dry. This machine is a good value as far as they’re concerned, because it’s relatively quiet, and at 7 cu.-ft., the drum has room for plenty of clothes.
The bottom line
The Whirlpool WED4950HW would work well for you if you want to remove the dampness from your laundry, without taking too much money from your bank account. This model reminded us a lot of the Maytag MEDC465HW. That model, which scored higher than the Whirlpool in our tests, has a similar, simple interface, plus a few additional features. Compare the two, and decide which one would be best for your laundry room.
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