Laundry

Whirlpool Duet WED72HEDW Dryer Review

Good at the basics, but this Duet's song falls flat if you choose a specialty cycle.

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The affordable Whirlpool Duet WED72HEDW (MSRP $899) competes for the attention of budget-conscious consumers who aren’t looking for a lot of bells and whistles. Limited customizability and a bare bones cycle list keep the learning curve low, while responsive touch screen controls keep the usability high.

Sale prices drop as low as $699, which put it on par with the Kenmore 81182 and Samsung DV42H5000EW. However, both of those dryers outperform this low-cost Whirlpool. Or, if you're willing to spend about $100 more, you can snag Whirlpool's superior WED87HEDW. It's the next model up from this one, and it's also one of the best new dryers we've tested.

By the Numbers

Like many budget-friendly dryers, the Whirlpool Duet WED72HEDW (MSRP $899) is at its best when using basic, workhorse cycles. Based on our tests, if you stray too far from Normal, performance begins to suffer.

Normal & Delicate

Very few dryers drop the ball on the Normal cycle, and this Whirlpool is no exception. After only 48 minutes, with peak temperatures of 150.8°F, this cycle got our 8 lb. tests loads 100% dry.

Delicates came in at a close second with commendable performance. Cycles averaged 1 hour and 8 minutes, with peak temperatures of 114.1°F. At the end, our test loads were 99% dry. A little extra moisture never hurts if you want to finish off your laundry with a warm iron, making this another excellent cycle.

Design & Usability

Whirlpool Duet WED72HEDW Front

This dryer is about as basic as you get without crossing over into old-school crank timer territory.

White goods defined

On the outside, this machine is more or less identical to the Amana NED5700BW. You’ve got white plastic galore and a powder-coated enamel drum. A curved border around the control panel gives this Duet some needed flair, and goes a surprisingly long way to provide the dryer with a degree of personality.

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Touch screens can be finicky, but this one performs flawlessly. Every button is responsive, the dial moves smoothly, and there’s never any doubt as to what cycle is selected or which features (few though they be) are active.

The white interior won’t surprise anyone. Powder coated drums are more prone to rusting or flaking over time compared to stainless ones, but you've got to spend more to get that upgrade.

Quick Dry & Bulky

Whirlpool Duet WED72HEDW Controls

If you like simple appliances with a low learning curve, this might be a good dryer for you.

Quick Dry, on the other hand, wasn’t quite as stellar. A manual cycle that allows you to adjust its duration, Quick Dry defaults to 26 minutes in length. At the end of that time, our test load had only dried by 70%, which is still far too damp to be wearable. That was in spite of the high peak temperature of 159°F, which is hot enough to risk over-drying on a longer cycle.

Bulky was no better. This test, which uses a large comforter, is more or less designed to fail. Almost no dryer can tumble something that large and expose all areas of moisture without the consumer manually shifting it around mid-cycle. Even with that in mind, this Whirlpool still performed below average. After an average cycle time of 52 minutes, our comforter was only 55% dry despite a high peak temperature of 155.4°F.

Performance & Features

Sticking to the basics

Unsurprisingly, this no-frills dryer did the best when dealing with frequently used cycles. The Normal and Delicates cycles performed exceptionally well, getting clothes perfectly dry each time. On average, the Normal cycle only took 48 minutes to get eight pounds of clothes 100 percent dry—which is particularly impressive.

When we moved into more specialized tests, like Quick Dry and Bulky, things started to break down. Despite very high heats in both cycles, neither did a great job drying out sample loads. If your laundry demands are as straightforward as this machine's control panel, you’ll be fine, but don’t expect perfection from every cycle.

Whirlpool Duet WED72HEDW Cycles

The cycle list covers all the basics, more or less.

Those cycles are Bulky and Heavy Duty, as well as the manual Timed and Quick dry options. Three available dryness levels are more or less standard here, however you're restricted to only four temperature settings. Many modern machines give you a few more levels to choose from.

The feature list is just three items long. You’ve got a control lock and wrinkle shield, as well as an EcoBoost setting. If you’re concerned about damaging less hardy fabrics, turn it on and temperatures will be reduced for gentler drying (at the expense of longer drying times, that is).

Whirlpool Duet WED72HEDW Controls

If you like simple appliances with a low learning curve, this might be a good dryer for you.

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

Set Your Sites Higher

Whirlpool Duet WED72HEDW Interior

A white powder coated drum is pretty much guaranteed for dryers in this price range.

Move up the line, or move on to another dryer

The Whirlpool Duet WED72HEDW does a good job with basic drying and can be found for just under $700. That might make it seem like a great bargain. However, when you consider that the Samsung DV42H5000EW—which has more cycles, many more features, and superior drying performance—is available for the same price, the Duet doesn’t seem as sweet a siren song.

Or, you could spend a little more and step up to the next Whirlpool in the Duet line. The WED87HEDW has an excellent performance-to-price ratio, and provides you with plenty of extra features that help make the expense seem worthwhile.

You could do a lot worse than the WED72HEDW. But if you keep shopping, or spend a little more, you could also do a lot better.

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