Laundry

Kenmore 89032 7.3 Cu. Ft. Electric White Dryer Review

For all the high scores that completely dry clothes earned for this machine, the Kenmore 89032 simply isn't as good as other similarly priced models available today. With cycles that get too hot for too long, this dryer not only isn't the cheapest on the market, it'll also cost you more in the long run due to the increased rate at which you'll likely have to replace your clothes. The minimal amount of preset cycles and almost complete lack of extra drying features means there isn't even any technical achievement that can make up for over heated drying.

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Introduction

The is a bit of a frustrating machine. There was so much promise, and yet each step of the way this appliance either fell short of the mark or had a caveat for every positive aspect. Sure, clothes got dry more often than not, but the high temperatures used to get them to that state resulted in over drying and potential damage to the material. Yes, there's a strong amount of cycle customization, but the number of actual cycles was sparse and extra features were virtually non-existent. For $940.99, the 's MSRP, you can get a quality dryer that looks just as good, has the same if not more cycles and features, and offers effective drying performance that will be gentler on your clothes while getting them just as dry. The fact that this particular brand is only sold through Sears doesn't help much, as sale prices are either hit or miss depending on your timing; we couldn't even locate any discounts for new models, though there are some refurbished units available for a much lower cost.

Front

This white stackable dryer takes a plain, traditional exterior and makes it pop. The door is a silvery ring that keeps the dryer from looking boring, and the cycle control is set into a pale blue plastic rectangle that draws the eye. Rounded edges and a slightly bowed front keep the device from looking too boxy. The white enamel drum inside the appliance is indicative of a lower-end design despite any pleasant flourishes on the exterior.

Front Image

Controls

Controls 1 Photo

Not too many cycles to choose from here.

Controls 2 Photo

The thin design and bright lights makes it easy to see the current settings.

Interior

Interior Photo

A plain white enamel interior drum.

The 's lint trap is quite sturdy, and has a flap that covers the lower half. This keeps lint from flying around or detaching when you remove it from the device, reducing mess until you're near enough to a trash bin to clean it off.

Lint Trap Photo

This lint trap has a flap covering the lower half.

Sides

Sides Photo

Nothing fancy here, just some more white enamel.

Back

Back Photo

With no steam option, you just have the usual lint exhaust in the back.

Speed & Performance Overview

This attacked clothes like a hammer, beating the water out of our materials using very high heat. Unfortunately, the hammer wilted away during the Heavy Duty cycle, where the sensors weren't adept enough to detect moisture that had been sucked into the center of our test comforter. Despite the high heats, most of the cycles took as long as they typically do in machines that use slightly lower temperatures, averaging about an hour for the Normal and Delicate cycles.

Normal Cycle Performance

The Normal cycle managed to get clothes completely dry, but the drying wasn't as effective as we've seen in other models. Temperatures reached a height of 156 degrees Fahrenheit, much warmer than some of the more advanced appliances that we've tested. Despite this high level of heat, the cycle still took almost an hour, meaning your clothes can run the risk of over drying and wearing out faster than they might in another machine.

Delicates Cycle Performance

Clothes came out of the Delicate test at 100 percent of their bone dry weight. Like the Normal test, though, temperatures got much higher than we usually like to see. Peaking at 148 degrees Fahrenheit, this is approximately 30 degrees hotter than you typically want a delicate load to get. You'll want to keep a close eye on any loads containing fragile fabrics, as temperatures that high can cause fading and damage with too much exposure.

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Bulky Cycle Performance

The dropped the ball on this one—moisture sensors stated that the test materials were done after 35 minutes on one Heavy Duty test cycle, and when we ran it again, it stopped after just 15. This was despite the fact that our materials were only 50 percent of the way to actually being done. The exterior of our comforter got dry, but sensors didn't pick up on damp sections that had gotten bunched up into the middle. Heat wasn't evenly distributed, either, with temperatures peaking in some spots at just 127 degrees Fahrenheit.

Quick Dry Cycle Performance

Likely a result of the unusually high temperatures, the 's Express Dry cycle got clothes down to 96 percent of their bone dry weight. This is exceptional for such a short cycle, which lasted just 30 minutes. In fact, this cycle may be better for regular drying than Normal, since clothes lost almost the same amount of moisture but were only exposed to the high heats for just half the time.

Dry Cycles

Nothing fancy here, just the basics. Normal, Heavy Duty, and Delicate cover the standard drying cycles, while the Timed Dry, Touch Up, and Express Dry offer some manual alternatives. It's a good dryer for people who just need the basics without all the extra clutter, like a cycle for workout wear or something specifically designed for drying towels.

Controls 1 Photo

Not too many cycles to choose from here.

Customization

While it may not have a lot of preset functions, this still offers some fairly extensive customization. Preset cycles can be programed to run at five different dryness levels, while manual cycles have five different temperature settings to choose from. Simple machines like this usually offer just three setting to choose from, or four at the most. The Timed Dry button cycles through 15 minute intervals, while the More and Less time buttons can narrow your cycle length down to the minute.

Controls 2 Photo

The thin design and bright lights makes it easy to see the current settings.

Additional Drying Options

Like the cycle options, the extra features are pretty sparse. There's the Wrinkle Guard setting, to keep clothes from bunching after the cycle has finished if you're not around to empty it right away. You've also got a control lock that keeps the settings from being adjusted once the dryer is working, a useful feature for households with inquisitive children. If you want anything beyond that, though, you'll want to get a fancier machine.

Controls

With only six cycles to choose from, the control panel is very easy to read. Buttons are fairly responsive, and almost all the labels are large enough to be seen clearly without having to get in close. It can be a bit of a hassle having to hit the power button and hold down the start button every time you want to use the appliance, but that's more of an annoyance than a serious detriment.

Controls 1 Photo

Not too many cycles to choose from here.

Controls 2 Photo

The thin design and bright lights makes it easy to see the current settings.

Door

The door works fine, without any major pros or cons that we could find. It opens and shuts without needing to use too much force, and the handle has grooves to place your fingers when gripping it.

Interior Photo

A plain white enamel interior drum.

Lint Trap

The 's lint trap is quite sturdy, and has a flap that covers the lower half. This keeps lint from flying around or detaching when you remove it from the device, reducing mess until you're near enough to a trash bin to clean it off.

Lint Trap Photo

This lint trap has a flap covering the lower half.

Comparison Overview

Neither the Maytag Bravos X MEDX700XW nor the can offer you a long list of varied and specific preset cycles. They can't offer you superior levels of cycle customization, or an elaborate arrangement of extra drying functions. What they can offer you is decent drying for a decent price. Neither machine is perfect with respect to its drying efficiency—both models had some cycles that got too hot, and they each had one test in particular that really dropped the ball—but for an MSRP of $899, making it $50 cheaper than the , the Maytag Bravos X offers similar quality for a slightly lower cost.

Performance

Both machines had somewhat high temperatures for the Normal and Delicate cycles, though the Maytag typically finished a few minutes faster. While it didn't do as well as the in the Quick Dry test, the Bravos was one of the few machines we've tested that offered superior drying for large, bulky items. If you frequently need clothes dried quickly, the is the better of the two; if you're typically washing and drying heavy, thick items like blankets or comforters, the Maytag is an excellent model.

Customization & Features

Neither machine offers a terribly comprehensive drying experience, though the ten cycles available on the Maytag Bravos nearly doubles the number of selections on the . Both appliances, though, have just two extra features. Like the , the Maytag has a wrinkle prevent option. It may lack an equivalent to the 's control lock, but instead it has a damp dry setting that will let you know when clothes are ready to be removed from the dryer and set on a clothes line to finish.

Design

While both models have a white enamel finish, the Maytag Bravos is the only one of the two that cannot be stacked with a washing machine. The controls aren't terribly large, but their simplicity allows for fonts and buttons sizes big enough to be easily readable. The biggest issue with these two dryers is the white enamel interior. This typically result in lower-quality drying than machines with stainless drums, and can flake, rust, or discolor over time.

Comparison Overview

The Whirlpool Duet WED9151YW may be somewhat smaller in size than the , but that doesn't mean it's smaller in quality. With typically shorter drying times and somewhat lower temperatures, the Duet is a smaller, more efficient, and cheaper appliance than the less-than-perfect . With a comparably thin selection of extra features, neither machine is going to give much more than the standard drying, but when you consider the Duet's $799 MSRP ($150 less than the before any sale prices), it's clear which model is the better buy.

Performance

Customization & Features

Despite its smaller size, the Duet actually has more programmed drying cycles—nine options over the 's six. The level of customization balances out, though. The Duet offers five different temperature levels for manual cycles but only three dryness levels for the preset ones; the offers four each. Both dryers have a rather spartan layout, with a wrinkle shield and control lock serving as the only two extra drying features on both machines.

Design

Neither machine is particularly fancy in appearance, with white enamel exteriors and basic control layouts. The blue background for the cycle select on the gives it a slightly higher quality of appearance, adding some visual variety, as does the silver door. The lighter cycle select knob and flimsy buttons on the Duet also create an image of lower-end quality, though the most important design feature—the interior drum—is the same on both machines. Their white enamel interiors can rust over time, causing discoloring of the interior and potentially damaging your clothes.

Comparison Overview

For just slightly more money than you'd be spending on the ($940.99 MSRP), consumers could own the Frigidaire Affinity FASE7073LW. This is a machine that offers more effective performance, a slew of extra features, and a stainless steel interior, all facets of a dryer designed to work well and protect your clothing. If you can find this appliance on sale, something which is easier to do than with the Sears-exclusive label, then you'll see its slightly higher MSRP of $1,049 quickly drop below the 's sticker price.

Performance

Customization & Features

The Frigidaire Affinity is, hands down, the superior dryer with respect to bonus features. With nine cycle options compared to the 's six, you have more preset options for greater laundry load variation. Also, in addition to the wrinkle release and control lock features shared between the two, the Frigidaire has an additional five extra functions, ranging from an energy saver feature to an anti-static switch. It also uses steam for assorted features, supplied through a cold water input.

Design

There's not very much that's visually remarkably about either of these dryers. They're both white, they can be stacked, and both have control panels that are easily readable. The 's controls may actually be a bit more user friendly, simply because the smaller number of extra features makes for a simpler and less cluttered display. The biggest difference is actually found inside the dryer. The has a white enamel interior drum which, over time, runs the risk of rusting or flaking. The Frigidaire, on the other hand, has a stainless steel drum which will last longer and is a much higher-end design element.

Conclusion

For all the high scores that completely dry clothes earned for this machine, the just couldn't achieve a spot among the top-level appliances. There was so much promise, and yet each step of the way this machine either fell short of the mark or had a negative qualifier for every positive aspect. Sure, clothes got dry more often than not, but the high temperatures used to get them to that state resulted in over drying and potential damage to the material. Yes, there's a strong amount of cycle customization, but the number of actual cycles was sparse and extra features were virtually non-existent. With 's being sold exclusively through Sears, it's also down to blind luck as far as timing for sales or other discounts. We couldn't find any new units for less than the $940.99 MSRP, and for that price you can get a quality dryer that looks just as good, has the same if not more cycles and features, and offers effective performance that will be gentler on your clothes while getting them just as dry.

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