Laundry

Whirlpool Duet WED94HEAW 7.4 Cu. Ft. White Electric Dryer Review

One of the newest Duet dryers with lots of perks and a shiny finish. The drying performance? Not so shiny.

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Introduction

Whirlpool recently launched several new products in the laundry category, one of which was the . This brand new dryer, which retails for $1299, is certainly an expensive new endeavor on the part of the manufacturer. It certainly looks worth it: we were very excited to see the shiny white finish with stainless trim, fresh out of the box and ready for testing. However, the actual drying performance proved to be somewhat lackluster; it doesn't really shine over anything else in its price range (or under its price range, for that matter) that we've tested recently.

While the cycle list and extra features are certainly solid, those two elements by themselves don't really justify spending that much money on a dryer. Luckily, some retailers are already offering this at discounted prices as low as $1000. If the inclusion of steam-based features is a plus for you and you don't mind paying extra for a fancier design, go for it; otherwise, you'd be better off saving some money and getting a better machine that's been on the market for a longer period of time.

Front

While it's not smashing through any stylistic walls, this manages to look very nice. The glossy white exterior gives it a higher-end look than traditional enamel finishes, and it's complemented quite well by lots of stainless steel trim on the door and controls. Also, the controls use vibrant blue indicator lights that really pop, making it exceptionally easy to read.

Front Image

Controls

Controls 1 Photo

You can select from ten different options using this shiny cycle knob.

Controls 2 Photo

Plenty of customization and extra features makes this a very versatile machine.

Interior

Interior Photo

Even though the back of the drum is enamel, the rest of the interior uses traditional stainless steel.

It's got a standard lint trap; no innovations here. It's easy to clean, and sliding it in or out isn't a problem.

Lint Trap Photo

Nothing remarkable here, folks; it's just a lint trap.

Sides

Sides Photo

Plain white enamel sides make for a traditional look.

Back

Back Photo

The small knob near the bottom right corner is the water input for steam-based functions.

Speed & Performance Overview

Generally, the wasn't actually that impressive of a machine. Not one cycle produced consistently dry material, though at least the Normal and Delicate cycles came close. The Quick Dry and Bulky tests were unusually poor, as our test items were still quite damp at their conclusions. Cycle durations were of standard length, a factor that's exceptionally disappointing when you consider that temperatures were fantastic; nothing ever got too hot, meaning clothes were handled very gently.

Normal Cycle Performance

Normal is the work horse cycle for the majority of consumers, and anything less than perfect is rather disappointing. The averaged a moisture removal rate of 99 percent, which is good...but still not perfect. Everything else was exactly what you might expect: a peak temperature of 146 degrees Fahrenheit, and an average cycle length of about an hour. It's the exact same thing that we see time and again on countless other dryers, and yet something here prevented the from achieving perfect results. Well, at least you wouldn't have to worry about clothes over drying.

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Delicates Cycle Performance

Like the results of our Normal cycle test, the 's Delicate setting was almost perfect, but didn't quite nail it. Following standard expectations, the cycle lasted an average of about one hour and 45 minutes—a bit longer than usual, but not detrimentally so—and peaked out at 108 degrees. The temperature here is fantastic, with low heat working to preserve the quality of your clothes while still getting them dry. Even so, it only managed to get clothes 99 percent of the way dry. This may be less of an issue than with the Normal cycle, as delicate garments are often taken out to drip dry or get ironed (something easier to do with an items that's still just slightly damp), but it's still less than perfect. It may seem like we're picking nits for one percent, but if you're going to pay this much for an appliance, you should get one that's going to follow through completely.

Related content

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Bulky Cycle Performance

After running for over an hour at temperatures as high as 130 degrees, our test comforter was only 67 percent dry. While very few dryers manage to successfully pass our Bulky test, many machines have gotten our test materials that dry in less time. That fact that it took as long as it did and still did so poorly is what we found most disappointing.

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Quick Dry Cycle Performance

We used the Quick Dry cycle for the test of the same name, and were very disappointed. After just 13 minutes and reaching temperatures of only 104 degrees—clearly the needs some more time to really get the heat going—our sopping materials came out having been removed of just 44 percent excess moisture. There is one caveat here: the manual states that the Quick Dry cycle is designed to work with loads of about three or four items. We always use a standard four pound load, which naturally consists of more items than that. However, we've tested other machines that state the same thing and have gotten better results nonetheless.

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Dry Cycles

With a total of ten different cycles to choose from, the manages to cover all the standard bases and then some. In addition to your typical Normal, Delicate, and Bulky settings, you've also got an option for Towels, Casual clothing, and Heavy Duty items plus a cycle to sanitize your garments. The one feature that utilizes the dryer's steam hook up is the Steam Refresh option, designed to remove wrinkles and light odors from garments.

Controls 1 Photo

You can select from ten different options using this shiny cycle knob.

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Customization

Five different temperature settings and three dryness levels offer average levels of customization for the . It's enough that you should be able to tweak your cycle to suit any need, but not enough to over complicate things. Additionally, you can set the dryer's damp dry signal to loud, soft, or off completely, whatever suits your preference.

Controls 2 Photo

Plenty of customization and extra features makes this a very versatile machine.

Additional Drying Options

While you may not get quite as many features as you'd expect for a dryer that costs over $1000, the still manages to provide an impressive slew of options. Rather standard features such as the Wrinkle Shield, a drum light, and a control lock are all included. In addition, the offers an Eco Boost setting which is designed to maximize energy efficiency, as well as a static reduce feature that adds small amounts of moisture to the tumbling via the steam attachment. While there's only one cycle that takes advantage of that steam hook up, it's worth noting that you can turn on a specific Steam feature for any sensor-based cycle; this adds steam right at the end, just before the cool down portion of a load, presumably to reduce wrinkling and to make it easier to iron particular garments.

Controls

The visual element of the control panel is perfect: everything looks great, is easily readable, and stands out from the general white enamel exterior. The problem with the controls are the buttons. Instead of having actual buttons that depress when pushed, the uses flat sensor buttons—you push on them, but nothing moves. It's like a glorified touch screen, but without the smooth responsiveness that people come to expect from that kind of technology in this day and age. You may be fine with it, but after pushing on the power and start buttons for a few cycles, we got rather sick of it. At the very least, the machine plays a catchy little tune when it turns on and off that somewhat made up for the quirky buttons.

Controls 1 Photo

You can select from ten different options using this shiny cycle knob.

Controls 2 Photo

Plenty of customization and extra features makes this a very versatile machine.

Door

The door itself works fine. It opens with minimal force, though it wouldn't always catch the first time we would try to shut it. Often, we would close the door and it would bounce back open, requiring us to essentially shut it a second time. On one hand, that means the hinges and latch are quite firm—no worries about the door swinging shut on you while trying to load laundry—but it's just a slight annoyance worth mentioning.

Interior Photo

Even though the back of the drum is enamel, the rest of the interior uses traditional stainless steel.

Lint Trap

It's got a standard lint trap; no innovations here. It's easy to clean, and sliding it in or out isn't a problem.

Lint Trap Photo

Nothing remarkable here, folks; it's just a lint trap.

Conclusion

For a consumer willing to spend $1299 on a dryer, there's a wide selection of high-quality products available for sale. One of those products is the recently released , a brand new model that just hit stores about two or three months ago. In this pricey little package, you'll find a strong selection of specialized cycles, a decent number of extra features (including quite a few that take advantage of the steam hook up)...and adequate, occasionally mediocre drying. For $1299—or as little as $1000, depending if you find the same online sales that we did—the lackluster drying is a pretty big issue. Lots of drying options and a very attractive exterior only go so far when the core performance can't hold up. We've looked at a lot of dryers that were simpler, uglier, and less versatile than the , but they cost less and dried more. If appearances are important to you, then consider this machine. If your biggest concern is the best drying you can find on a budget, however, you'll want to keep shopping around.

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