Laundry

Maytag Centennial MEDC555DW Dryer Review

Not as much of a bargain as it appears

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The Maytag Centennial MEDC555DW (MSRP $649) is the manufacturer’s newest budget dryer, and will appeal to consumers who like simple, low-frill white goods. Unfortunately, this old-school appliance—complete with crank timer and pullout lint trap—isn’t quite as effective as some of the other budget entries we’ve tested.

Exceptionally high heats aren’t going to do your clothes any favors, and the lack of features make this model less of a bargain than it may seem. If you're just looking for a basic dryer, there are many others that sell for less than this one's $535 sale price.

To read our full review of this dryers's matching washer, the Maytag MVWCC555DW, click here.

By the Numbers

Excessive drying temperatures drastically hindered the scores on the Maytag Centennial MEDC555DW (MSRP $649). If you want gentler drying for your clothes, look elsewhere.

Design & Usability

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This old-school dryer is as straightforward as they come.

Handles and knobs galore

From a design perspective, there’s not much to say about the latest Centennial: it’s more or less a big white box. The Maytag logo above the door helps break up the monotony, while the metallic backing on the control panel adds a little flair.

The spacious interior contains a traditional white drum and two visible moisture sensors in the back. White drums are more prone to rusting or flaking than stainless ones, but the sensors actually pose more of an immediate problem.

Visually identical to the sensors we found inside the Whirlpool WED5000DW budget dryer, they caught and tore at the threads of our test items. At the end of each cycle, threads would be caught on the metallic edges of the sensors. Keep this in mind if you plan to dry anything more delicate than denim.

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Back on the outside, a pullout lint trap is built into the top of the dryer. It's just as cumbersome and unwieldy as the lint trap on the dryer you're likely replacing, but actually scraping off the lint is surprisingly easy.

Normal & Delicate

After 58 minutes, the Energy Preferred setting on the dial produced clothes that were 99% dry. That seems pretty good... until you realize that temperatures peaked at 169.2°F, which is way too hot. Most dryers get clothes that extra 1% dry at temperatures more than 20 degrees lower.

Delicates was also a disappointing cycle. Despite using the Low heat mode, temperatures still peaked at 150.6°F. That’s more in line from what we’d expect to see on a High setting, and not at all appropriate for a Delicates cycle. And even we such heat, clothes only got 98% dry after 51 minutes.

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Despite the use of a crank timer, most of the cycles actually rely on sensors.

Quick Dry & Bulky

High heat is certainly the friend of rapid drying, as evidenced by the results of our 30-minute Quick Dry test. After just half an hour and temperatures peaking at 145.9°F, our test load came out 85% dry. It’s not quite as good as the comparable Whirlpool WED5000DW, which got clothes dry 91% in the same amount of time, but it’s still commendable.

A Heavy Duty (or 70-minute manual dry) cycle proved up to the challenge of drying our bulky comforter. 87% of excess moisture was removed. Again, not quite as good as the aforementioned Whirlpool, but still an excellent result. Temperatures for this cycle peaked at 155.1°F.

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All you get for extra options is a Wrinkle Control feature.

Performance & Features

It's feelin' hot, hot, hot!

On the whole, temperatures in this dryer run high. Every cycle we tested was abnormally hot, including the Delicates cycle. Delicates was the only test we ran with Low Heat selected, and even then, it was way too warm.

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Despite the use of a crank timer, most of the cycles actually rely on sensors.

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Be careful with delicate fabrics; the moisture sensors in the drum have a vicious bite.

On the other hand, clothing did come out almost perfectly dry every time—even following the 30-minute manual quick dry and our notoriously difficult Bulky test.

Of course, cycles aren’t as accurate on dryers with crank controls. Sensor-based options like Jeans, Delicate, and Energy Preferred (this model's equivalent of a Normal cycle) are rough estimates determined by the heaviness and dampness of your laundry. Using the vague manual timer, too, is more of an estimate than a precise countdown.

Unsurprisingly, secondary options on this Maytag are slim. You can choose from one of four temperature settings—including Air Fluff—and a 90 minute Wrinkle Control. The fourth crank—which doubles as the start button—is used to toggle the cycle signal.

For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page.

Not Really a Bargain

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The white interior drum is quite spacious for a budget model.

There are better, cheaper alternatives

At first glance, the Maytag Centennial MEDC555DW seems like a good deal. It’s easy to use, looks pretty good, and costs very little—most retailers carry it for about $535.

But on second glance, however, some cracks start to appear. Excessively hot cycles—without proportionally shorter cycle times—get clothes dry, but could cause premature wear and tear.

More importantly, there’s absolutely no reason to spend that much on such a basic dryer. A lower-end Maytag, the Centennial MEDC300BW has fewer cycles but better performance, and can be found for almost $200 less.

If you’re not fond of the Centennial’s design, consider the Hotpoint HTDP120EDWW. It’s marginally smaller than the Maytag, but offers the same low-key drying tech for about $450 at retail.

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