Maytag Bravos XL MEDB750YW Review
The MEDB750YW tries hard, but falls short of professional quality.
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Like the cast of a high school musical, the Maytag Bravos XL MEDB750YW tries very hard to do a good job but falls somewhat short of professional quality. The list of available cycles is almost comprehensive and varied, it's almost efficient and almost as effective as other machines. What it boils down to is that the Maytag Bravos XL, like Shrek the Musical, is a high priced item that just doesn’t have the same level of depth as its contemporaries.
A $999 MSRP puts the Bravos right smack dab in the middle of a chorus line of high-quality dryers. With a price tag like that, consumers may be able to get a much more comprehensive, effective, and user-friendly appliance if they hunt around a little. True, there are sale prices as low as $690, but with the amount of variety in stores today, this machine still doesn't quite measure up.
Design & Usability
A machine that turns on and off...on its own.
At least the set looks good: The sizable buttons and large fonts make it easy to navigate, and the bright orange lighting certainly doesn't hurt either. You'll always know what your dryer is currently set for, and the catchy little tones emitted when turning the cycle knob make adjusting your laundry almost pleasurable. In a wonderfully efficient move, Maytag has designed this dryer so that it turns on automatically when you open the door. No more extra button presses, no holding down the start button for three to five seconds—this machine offers as streamlined and enjoyable a drying experience as is possible.
The large door may look imposing, but it's painless to use. Minimal force is needed to open it, and you can shut the door without having to slam it. Depending on how far you open it, it may start to flop open or swing shut, so you'll want to be careful how you arrange your laundry room if you want to make sure the glossy white finish doesn't get scratched.
After all the fancy design elements and musical controls, we're left with a lint trap that is incredibly ordinary. It's very straightforward with respect to removal and cleaning, and quite lightweight as well.
Performance & Features
Does this 's steel-trimmed beauty just run metal-deep?
All the chrome trimmings and orange lights can't hide poor performance. Other than its relatively gentle Delicate cycle, this dryer just doesn't have much going for it. On every cycle we tested, the Bravos XL failed to return test loads back to their bone dry weights. They cycles weren't timely either, topping a solid hour every single time. The Normal and Delicate cycles got laundry mostly dry, but since when is that good enough for an $999 machine? We've seen much less expensive dryers get the job done, and there's no reason why you shouldn't expect the same from this one.
There are five temperature levels for the manual cycles, including an "air only" setting, four dryness levels for the sensor-based cycles, and a "+" and "-" button to alter the times. One thing we discovered that could speed things along—If you hold the buttons down, it starts cycling through time by five minute increments rather than individual minutes. For all of that, though, the is a bit short on extra features. There's a standard wrinkle prevent, which will keep tumbling clothes after a cycle is done to deter bunching and creasing, and a damp dry signal.
There is a pretty good cycle selection, at least. With the inclusion of a preset Sheets cycle, as well as two separate cycles for Bulky and Heavy Duty, this dryer manages to have slightly more options available compared to what you would find in a purely basic layout. Beyond these settings you just have the Normal and Delicate presets, in addition to a few variations on a standard Timed Dry. Nothing terribly fancy here, but enough that all your basic drying needs are likely to be met.
No standing ovation for this Bravos XL
The single fact that this was one of the few dryers which turned on when you opened the door (a surprisingly pleasant feature, and one which made using any other dryer a bit more frustrating by comparison) made us hope that the would do well. Alas, the initial hope promised by superficial achievement turned out to be as disappointing as David Hasselhoff's musical turn in Jekyll & Hyde.
Frustrating performance and almost no extra features would be one thing on a cheaper dryer, but an MSRP of $999 makes the failings of this one hard to swallow. For that type of money, even when you consider the low sale prices of $690 that we could locate online, consumers should get something better. You don't want a dryer that almost gets your clothes dry, just like you wouldn't want a washer that almost gets your clothes clean. The competition in the market today is steep enough that an appliance with a Normal cycle that doesn't get clothes completely dry shouldn't even be close to the top of your shopping list. The failed to get even a modest round of applause, let alone the standing ovation that its brand name might imply.
Testing reveals that beyond a relatively gentle Delicate cycle, this dryer just isn't cutting it. From cycle duration tests to water retention trials, the flunks out.
Cycle Duration, Temperature, and Water Retention
The Bravos XL doesn't pass its tests
Though the Normal cycle seemed to do everything right, with temperatures peaking at 149ºF—fairly standard—and a ho-hum run-time of just over an hour, it still couldn't get our clothes completely dry, stopping when fabrics were only 98 percent of the way there. Now, you may be wondering what all the fuss is about for a measly two percent, but consider this—there are other models that cost the same or even less than the that manage to hit that 100 percent bone dry goal, so why should you have to settle for a machine that can't beat the competition?
Next up—the Quick dry cycle. In 18 minutes, the only managed to get our test materials down to 68 percent of their bone dry weight. Given that the cycle is so short, you could theoretically put your items in for another go-around to finish the job, and with peak temperatures hitting a gentle 105ºF, it couldn't hurt. Notice, though, that this Small Load cycle is designed for batches of clothes containing roughly three to four articles. Our Quick Dry test is conducted using a standard four pound load that had substantially more items, so to be fair, one should keep that in mind when considering our results.
Like the Normal cycle, the 's Delicate test just couldn't hit that perfect 100 percent mark for moisture removal, despite heating up to 127ºF. This is actually on the hotter side of average as far as a Delicate cycle goes, so its inability to get our test material completely dry at that type of heat is rather disappointing, especially given the fact that the cycle took over an hour to finish.
Finally, the Bulky cycle achieved just 75 percent of the original bone dry weight, which actually isn't terrible given the typically poor performance that we see on this test. However, 75 percent in an hour just isn't encouraging, and if you do lots of heavy duty washing and drying, there are other machines out there with sensors that will actually take the cycle to a proper finishing point. Like the results of our other tests with this machine, the falls short of non-conditional praise.