GE GFDR485EFRR Dryer Review
GE puts its flagship dryer on a pedestal
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Take a look at the GE GFDR485EFRR (MSRP $1,499) and the first thing you'll notice is that it stands just a bit taller. Thanks to a built-in riser, it stands 47-inches tall—ideal for easy loading and unloading without having to bend down. Unlike the optional platforms that can be purchased alongside some dryers, there's no drawer, and the riser is permanently fixed to the machine. You also don't have to spend extra to get it.
In our tests, the first thing we noticed was that it had no trouble drying a comforter on the Bulky cycle—no small feat. But we also noticed how hot the Normal and Quick cycles got, and how long they both took. There are plenty of temperature options on offer here, so you can always make the Normal cycle cooler. But you can't magically speed up the Quick cycle.
Science is the foundation on which our tests are built. Without standardized, repeatable testing to back up our opinions, they'd be worthless. In the interest of transparency, we like to show how we arrived at the conclusions we've made.
Design & Usability
A study in Scarlet
The GE GFDR485EFRR is bright red, and $100 more than its white-finished counterpart, the GFDR480EFWW. We've been told a picture's worth a thousand words, but a haiku beats both:
Red as the autumn
Detents click as the knob turns
Door is tough to close
According to GE's research, the RightHeight riser raises the opening height to an ideal level for loading and unloading laundry, but doesn't raise the top of the dryer so much that it's impossible to fold laundry or store things up there. In our labs, we do a lot of both of those things, and appreciated the lift when loading clothes even though this 5'8" reviewer found the top a bit tall. Because of the riser, you can't stack this dryer.
Although, this GE has a lot of features and cycles, it's all very easy to navigate. Selected options clearly light up when selected, which clears up control panel confusion. The only gripe I have about the design is the door, which requires a decent amount of force to open and close.
Normal & Quick
The Normal cycle test consists of wetting an eight pound load until it is 1.7 times its own weight. When we put it into the GE, the average run time was about one hour and four minutes, and clothes got 99 percent dry on average. The maximum temperature was a toasty 158ºF. Ninety-nine percent dry is dry enough to be wearable, which gives this machine a gold star in our book. But 158ºF is hotter than a lot of the competition. The Quick Dry cycle gets some points for getting our test load almost entirely dry, but it took over forty-five minutes to complete. Dry? Yes. Quick? Not so much.
Bulky & Delicates
We test the Bulky cycle by wetting a comforter and putting it into the dryer. This is a particularly challenging test, since the drums of most non-commercial dryers aren't big enough for a comforter to move around enough to get entirely dry. Even though Laundry 101 will tell you that you should take your comforter out midway through a cycle and untangle it, we know that most people don't follow that rule. We do the same thing, and often end up with a wet, knotted comforter that's only superficially dry. This GE managed to get the comforter 90 percent dry in a little over an hour and ten minutes. That's as good as we've seen.
The Delicates cycle only got test loads 80 percent dry. But the cycle took a little over an hour and kept a low temperature of 107ºF, so we'll give it a tentative nod. After all, the less heat and tumbling that delicate fabrics get, the better. If it comes at the expense of dry clothes, so be it.
Performance & Features
Awesome at drying bulky bedding, but dawdles elsewhere
Half the cycles that we tested showed the GFDR485EFRR to be a strong contender. The Normal and Quick cycles dried our test loads to wearable condition consistently. They got clothes, on average, 99 and 97 percent dry respectively. Unfortunately, the Quick cycle took 45 minutes—only about 20 minutes less than the Normal cycle. And that's no good when you're already late for work.
It also got as hot as 158ºF on the Normal cycle, which could wear clothes prematurely over repeated drying. We were curious why this machine got so hot, so we reached out to GE. Apparently it's an intentional choice: GE has looked at research that shows an extended tumble puts more wear on clothes than high heat, so they designed this dryer to get hot but finish quickly. Unfortunately, this dryer isn't as quick as some of the competition. We've tested dryers that only reach 140ºF and take less than an hour. This GE took an hour and four minutes. That's not bad, but its also not among the fastest tumbles we've seen.
Two things went well here: The Bulky cycle did get our test comforter 90 percent dry on average, which is impressive, since most dryers really struggle to dry thick comforters, twisting them into damp knots instead. The Delicates cycle, on average, got loads 80 percent dry, and managed to do with while only heating up to 106ºF.
On the features front, this GE has it going on. Though it has the options you'd come to expect on a higher end dryer, like steam refresh, one thing caught our eye: The Warm Up cycle. Lasting only ten minutes, it gives clothes that just-out-of-the-dryer feeling. Kramer would approve.
It's what you make of it
Overall, the GFDR485EFRR is a good machine. At $1,499, it's a bit pricey—but it's packed with features. Plus, you can save a decent amount of cash if you search for a sale price on the GFDR480EFWW. That model is painted white, but is otherwise identical to the GFDR485EFRR. If you were planning on buying a pedestal anyway, the no-cost RightHeight riser makes this dryer an even better deal. And the ten-minute Warm Up cycle is as enticing as a plate of freshly baked cookies.
So, what's wrong with it? Not much. But where our tests reward dryers that dry quickly with the least amount of heat, the GFDR485EFRR's Normal cycle gets really hot and isn't markedly faster than the competition. The Quick cycle has the same problem. But if you like everything else about this dryer, don't let that be a dealbreaker. Just use the custom options on the control panel to make a dry cycle that best fits your needs, and be prepared to wait a bit longer for dry clothes.