LG DLE1101W Dryer Review
Plaudits for the design, boos for disappointing performance.
It's hard for us to pass a clear judgement on the LG DLE1101W (MSRP $699.99) electric dryer, even now that our testing has concluded. On one hand, its performance was decidedly subpar. That alone is enough for some consumers to cross it off their mental shopping list, but there's another side to this machine worth examining. For a very reasonable price, you get a number of options and cycles typically found on more expensive models. It's definitely a polarizing machine which, for that reason alone, merits a closer look.
Design & Usability
Small steps toward a truly original design.
While the unusual blending of front and top loader design elements is more striking on its washer counterpart, this LG still manages to make a definitive visual impression. The gently sloping top may not break the boxy mold that seems to limit most of the dryers on the market today, but it certainly cracks it. Fortunately, it's flat enough that your laundry baskets shouldn't slide off when you're not looking. It's better quality than a budget dryer, but it doesn't quite stretch into high end territory.
What's really interesting about this particular model is the location of its control console: the front of the top panel, pointing straight up. It's a surprisingly effective spot, so much so that we wonder why manufacturers haven't utilized this approach more often outside of Asia, where it's fairly common. Placing the controls there negates having to reach over the dryer or crouching down to deal with a panel located right above the door. LG's design isn't perfect—the console itself isn't quite cluttered but comes pretty close and some of the font may be a bit small for certain consumers—but the effective use of backlighting makes it very readable, and we applaud the innovative approach to what is arguably the blandest large appliance in many homes.
Performance & Features
A pretty package doesn't guarantee satisfying performance.
Don't be fooled by the interesting design choices: this dryer is decidedly mediocre. Of our four tested cycles, only Normal turned out to get perfect results—and even then, it was thanks to surprisingly high temperatures. On the other hand, the Delicate cycle stayed nice and cool but still left our clothes a bit damp after just over an hour of tumbling. The Speed Dry and Heavy Duty cycles just didn't pull through in any sense, despite exhibiting temperatures that were just as overpowered as what we saw on Normal.
What makes the poor results even more disappointing is the inclusion of a modestly impressive slew of extra features. Ten different cycles—six of which are sensor-based—cover all basic drying needs, plus you have the option to save a customized cycle of your very own. A damp dry signal, wrinkle care option, child lock, four temperature levels, and five dryness settings all make for a relatively comprehensive package. True, it doesn't have a steam hook up, and we have seen models that have a substantially broader range of cycle options, but it's a decent selection compared to other models in this price point.
A good price for a comprehensive machine, if you can get around the performance flaws.
Whether or not you decide to purchase this particular LG dryer depends a lot on what you're looking for. If you want a basic hot box to dry clothes without anything fancy whatsoever, there are definitely simpler models available at a lower or similar price that will do a better job in the end. If you're looking to try a dryer that offers a little more depth of function but don't want to get into the $1,000+ market, however, than perhaps this could catch your eye. Some customers circumvent poor sensor drying by crafting their own cycles, an approach that would go hand in hand with the LG's ability to save a customized setting. With online sale prices as low as $625, the whole package may be good enough to trump this dryer's less-than-perfect performance.
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