Fisher & Paykel EcoSmart DE62T27DW2 Review
A spartan dryer that only catches the eye due to its rare top-loading design.
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Hailing from New Zealand, the is quite the interesting appliance. Like the Fisher & Paykel SmartLoad DE62T27GW2, it's a top-loading dryer, something that is almost never seen. Its different approach to drying is a good one, too—most of our tests got clothes completely dry, or near to it. Do we recommend this Kiwi dryer? The answer is a resounding "yiss."
However, marching to the spin of a different drum doesn't necessarily mean the whole appliance is funky and fun to use. The controls are rather hard to handle, and some options that consumers consider standard these days—like a countdown timer—are missing. Luckily, this odd take on dryer technology isn't all that expensive. While it's available online for over $1000, we managed to find sale prices as low as $795.
Design & Usability
Does odd design mean odd handling too?
The is a completely white top-loading dryer which—surprise, surprise—isn't stackable. Its lightweight plastic lid is textured and therefore resistant to scratches and stains. Beneath, there is a second internal door, which seals into place to close the internal drum when the dryer is in use. Therefore, if you need to pause the dryer to fetch something, you have to wait for the drum to reset and the internal door to open, which takes about 10 seconds. The lint trap is completely different, too. Instead of a screen, it's an easy-to-empty, clear, plastic bucket located on the left wall of the interior drum, which is made with bright, stainless steel.
Handling requires a bit of explanation, because the dryer itself is very easy to use, but the controls can take a while to get the hang of. One you get accustomed to the fact that Timed Dry isn't a separate cycle on this machine, but instead an option to be used on other cycles, you're exponentially closer to mastering it. The fact that temperature control isn't an adjustable feature makes the layout a little frustrating, because any sort of customized drying involves hitting all the preset cycle buttons until you find the programmed temperature that you want. However, the buttons themselves are easy to read and the pictures are clear, so if you're okay with using the preset settings, this machine is a whiz to use—just push the button for the setting you want, close the lid, hit Start, and walk away.
Performance & Features
The unusual top-loading design lends no apparent advantage or disadvantage
The places more of an emphasis on preset cycles than on user customization. While it covers most of the basics, some normally-seen features on other dryers are missing here.
Standard cycles like Regular, Delicate, and Bulky, are substituted by what call Sheets, Air Dry, and Easy Iron. Beyond these, the somewhat drops the ball. The preset cycles offer different temperature settings, so you can either run them normally using the Auto-Sensor to determine when clothes are done, or turn the sensor off and run a cycle for 20, 40, or 80 minutes in lieu of a separate Timed Dry feature. Like the menu at In-N-Out, there are secret settings that you can unlock by pressing keys simultaneously. Make sure to read the owner's manual to figure out what those options are.
On that note, we should mention too that unfortunately, the Timed Dry feature (note: not Timed Dry "_Cycle_") is only available for three durations: 20, 40, and 80 minutes. Beyond that, cycle duration can only be affected by stopping the dryer before it's finished. With the Auto Sensor off, you also have different options for the final dampness level, but that's all. Now, for the most glaring issue—the inability to adjust temperature. You can only choose from the preset options, which have all been programed for certain temperature settings. In order to dry something at a specific temperature that isn't the norm for a particular preset cycle, you have to sift through all the options to find which one has been calibrated for the heat level you want—an annoying hassle, to say the least. At least there is a Wrinkle Free feature though, which tumbles clothes after the cycle has concluded in order to minimize crinkles.
Okay, on to the really important question: Will this machine effectively dry your laundry? Yes and no. Performance was just alright, as both the Normal and Delicate cycles completely dried laundry in a timely fashion—though both got pretty hot—while Bulky and Quick cycle tests failed to entirely finish the job. Just because this machine is different doesn't necessarily mean it's any better than its more conventional competition.
A spartan dryer that only catches the eye due to its rare top-loading design.
Get past the novelty of seeing a top-loading dryer and it's apparent that the really isn't all that spectacular. It did better than average...but just barely. In fact, it's less useful than a regular dryer, because controls are painfully limited, there's no separate Timed Dry feature, and the user has no ability to adjust the temperature control. These basic features are almost considered standard these days, so their absence on this machine is painfully noticeable.
Drying performance is, alas, just average. Retailers sell this machine for anywhere from $795 to over $1000. If you can't find sale prices, frankly, it's just not worth it. Discounts, however, make this a machine a fairly decent buy, so if you find it for less, it could at least add some novelty to a somewhat mundane chore.
While this appliance did pretty well overall, our tests proved that the top-loading design didn't seem to have much of an impact on the results.
Check out test results for these two everyday cycles on the
The Regular cycle, which we used for our Normal cycle test, did just fine on the . Clothes got completely dry in 69 minutes, which is long but essentially par for the course. The only trouble here was the temperature—which, if it gets too hot, can damage bright, soft fabrics over time. We like to see heat of roughly 144º, 10° less than this cycle's 154º.
The Delicate cycle performed similarly, achieving 100 percent water removal on our test loads in just 89 minutes. Again, the 133º peak temperature was a bit warm for delicates, though not as hot as many other models that we've tested.
Temperature, Time and Water Retention
We test this machine's temperatures, times, and water retention rates for Quick and Bulky cycles
The lack of a separate Timed Dry feature on the means we essentially had to create our own Quick cycle. We set the machine to its Regular cycle, turned the Auto Sensor off, and ran it for 20 minutes to see how this machine would handle a speedy load of laundry. During that time, it managed to get our test materials down to 65 percent of their bone dry weight. This puts it in about the middle of Quick Dry performance in general; clothes may not have been completely dry, but many dryers with preset Quick Dry options don't do as well as the did. It also maxed out at 109ºF, meaning damp clothes that you just want to tumble for a bit won't be hit by detrimental, sweltering heat.
The Bulky cycle didn't entirely hit the nail on the head either, as it only got our test comforter down to 86 percent of its bone dry weight. However, it did this in just 59 minutes, which is impressive (comparatively speaking). Many dryers this size which run a Bulky cycle in an hour won't get materials this dry. That being said, it was still slightly damp when it finished, and would need to have another go before it was ready to be used, but that's not so bad, seeing as temperatures didn't rise above 140º—a fairly moderate temperature.