Maytag Maxima XL MED8000AG Dryer Review
A flagship model that fails to catch a favorable wind.
This past April, Maytag released a trio of laundry sets under the Maxima XL moniker. So far, they've all uniformly underwhelmed. The Maytag Maxima XL ME8000AG (MSRP $1549), the most expensive of the three, is no exception.
While you might expect a more expensive version of one appliance to perform better, the 8000 did roughly just as well as its cheaper counterparts. In fact, the only apparent difference between this machine and the 7000 model (whose MSRP is $150 lower) is the inclusion of Maytag's SoundGuard drum.
Design & Usability
Sleek exterior, chunky controls, and catchy tunes.
Unlike the 6000 and the 7000, which are available in something called "cosmetallic," the 8000 is listed on Maytag's site as having a granite finish. We had them all lined up in a row, and let me tell you something folks: they all looked exactly the same. They're gray. Shiny, reflective, and high-end, but still gray. As nice as the machine looks, with its bright control lights and stainless steel drum, the gray—beg pardon, granite—exterior picks up every speck of dust. If that doesn't bother you, than the 8000 is definitely a machine that has style, in a sort of squat, dark, and handsome kind of way.
Some of the labels on the control panel may be a touch too small for some consumers. The size of the font may have something to do with how much is crammed onto the display. The console is rather crowded, but fortunately the white text really pops off the black backdrop.
In terms of basic functionality, the set of dryers resulted in some divided opinions among the review staff. While a few folks found the capacitive touch screen cumbersome, I personally had no complaints. The cycle knob feels good and firm, and turns without a problem. Smooth touchscreen-like buttons were responsive, and each had a cute little chime that went along with it. Turning the machine on and off even caused it to play a little tune. We had wanted to compose a small instrumental piece using the three washers and dryers, but we had difficulty ironing out the recording contract.
Performance & Features
Mediocre performance doesn't match the price.
What really disappointed us was just how average the MED8000AG really was. Not a single element of its performance merited the $1549 price tag.
True, clothes were completely dry at the end of a Normal cycle, but it got way too hot and lasted too long. They also got completely dry when put through the Delicate cycle, but drying times were also too long here, creeping up towards two hours. Thankfully, that particular setting did what it was supposed to do: drying clothes at a low, gentle heat.
The Rapid Dry and Bedding cycles—our choices for the Quick Dry and Bulky tests—were blatantly ineffective, leaving our test clothes too wet to be usable. These performance qualities aren't anything we haven't seen before; it's the fact that they're coming out of a $1549 dryer that make it disappointing rather than tolerable.
Ten cycle, five temperature settings, and five dryness levels are quite standard, as is the inclusion of assorted steam functions. Extra features such as steam boost, a damp dry signal, and a control lock are nice, but they're all things that can commonly be found on cheaper models.
The major factor here, and the only one which differentiates this one from the 7000 model, is Maytag's SoundGuard drum. Supposedly, a special interior will muffle the potentially annoying bangs and clacks made from buttons, zippers, and other metal items. We don't formally test dryers for noise levels, but our naked ears didn't detect $150 worth of sound reduction.
Falling on Deaf Ears
A quiet dryer that failed to catch our ear.
When something as new as the Maytag Maxima XL MED8000AG comes into our labs, we get excited. We'd like to think that a fresh, new product is going to push some boundaries. Unfortunately, this Maytag doesn't really push anything except the limits of someone's wallet. With performance equal to that of a machine nearly half its cost, as well as the features and customizable options of a far more mid-range dryer, there's not a whole lot about this product that should give consumers an incentive to choose it over something else.
Sure, the SoundGuard drum is a nice touch, but without incrementally improved drying capabilities, consumers might as well go with the 6000, more reasonably priced at most retailer sites for about $1000. You can typically find the 8000 online for about $1200, but without the incremental superiority to back it up, you might as well save the $200 and go with the cheaper version.
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