At this year’s Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) in Las Vegas, Electrolux gave us a peek at its new 24-inch front-loading washer and dryer—the company’s first compact pair for the U.S. market.
With sizing and features more typical of European laundry machines, they’re a boon for those who live in confined environments. They’re counter-depth—34 inches high by 24 inches wide—meaning a washer or dryer can be installed in a kitchen, and they can also be stacked in a closet or pantry.
But the dryer also offers another flexibility feature that's exceedingly rare in the U.S. market: It's ventless.
Since it uses a condenser to extract moisture from wet clothes, the Electrolux dryer doesn’t need to send exhaust outside. Additionally, by recycling the heat back to the drying clothes rather than piping it outdoors, the appliance is more energy efficient. The compact washer and condenser dryer market is currently dominated by Bosch, who has been selling 24-inch laundry in the U.S. for years.
Condenser dryers aren't for everyone—they're slower than their vented counterparts. But if you're a condo dweller who is short on space and doesn't have access to a vent, this Electrolux pair gives you another option.
Ventless dryers have been common in Europe for years, where energy costs are significantly higher than in the U.S. But the relatively simple technology these dryers employ has been slow to cross the pond. A big drawback has been the time required to dry a typical load of clothes.
In the Electrolux EIED200QSW Front Load Compact Dryer (MSRP $995), the humidity is condensed and collected in a plastic drawer that can be pulled out easily. We’d estimate that the drawer holds a little over a gallon when full, and we were told a typical load of clothes fills the drawer by about one-quarter. So, every two or three loads, the drawer needs to be pulled out and emptied into a drain.
It's not a big inconvenience, just a small consideration. If you have a drain handy—which you likely will, since your washer will require one—you can pipe away the condensed moisture using the included direct drain kit and skip emptying the bin entirely.
The dryer has seven different cycles that cover options from durables to delicates. With 4 cu. ft. of capacity, the Electrolux can handle a larger load than typical compact dryers. This unit also features reverse tumble, which minimizes lint and wrinkling. Finally, the door is reversible, allowing a degree of customization and adaptability to challenging spaces.
Of course, condensers aren't the only ventless dryers out there. Bosch's ventless dryers use condenser technology, and they've been some of the few compact choices available to U.S. consumers. Now, Electrolux is joining the fray.
The other option is to go with a heat pump dryer, but so far these have been priced quite a bit higher than the $995 Electrolux is asking. Full-size heat pump dryers were introduced to the U.S. last year by Whirlpool and LG, units that tested well in our lab.
The companion to the ventless dryer is, of course, the Electrolux EIFLS20QSW Front Load Compact Washer (also MSRP $995). Unlike its 220V buddy, the washing machine runs on standard 110V. And despite its name, Electrolux says the washer's capacity is actually greater than any other compact (defined as smaller than 25 inches) on the market at 2.4 cu. ft.
That makes it a good option for couples or small families living in reduced space. The unit can be stacked with the dryer to fit in tight closet spaces or to simply maximize room in tiny apartments.
Electrolux's Perfect Steam technology is included with the washer, providing a deeper clean for better stain removal. The company says this is the first compact washer to feature a steam clean function.
There’s also the ExpertCare wash system, which varies the wash motion, provides bottom-vent steam, and finishes with a fresh water rinse. The washer has 14 specialty cycles, covering everything from pet beds to stuffed animals and wool.
The Electrolux Compact Washer and Ventless Dryer has a leg up on rival import models in that no converter boxes are required for the electrical hookup. Better still, there are no proprietary systems that require the two appliances to be linked together to function. You can buy one and not the other, if that suits your needs.
At $995 apiece, these machines are at the high end of the compact market, but the dryer in particular is less expensive than other ventless options. The hardware necessary to lock the washer and dryer together is $50, and it includes a useful pull-out work board for folding. Pedestals for these units—a pricey $299 each—at least enclose folding laundry baskets.
This washer-dryer duo could be a strong candidate for city-dwellers in search of a laundry room upgrade—or for anyone looking to downsize their living space. Energy efficiency also makes the dryer attractive for those seeking to minimize their environmental footprint, or just save a bit on the energy bill.