Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Sister To My New Washer, My New Whirlpool WED9400S Dryer Satisfies!

The Good: Dries clothes without excessively raising the electric bill, Surprisingly quiet, Easy operation
The Bad: Stifling initial expense
The Basics: Rather expensive to begin with, the Whirlpool WED9400S Dryer seems relatively inexpensive to operate and is very easy to use!

In suddenly finding myself maintaining two homes, I have had the weird and wonderful experience of having more appliances to review and I've finally gotten around to doing that (the incentives work!). A few days ago, I reviewed my brand new Whirlpool WFW9400S front loading clothes washer (reviewed here!) and to keep my various reviews balanced, it has taken a few days to getting around to its mate. In my new house, I have a WED9400S Whirlpool energy efficient dryer and it is pretty wonderful because I purchased it together with the other unit and I have this stacked atop the washer (no water means this unit it lighter when operating and can be put atop the washer.

Before this, I only had my Frigidaire clothes dryer (reviewed here!), which was pretty wonderful, especially when it came to energy efficiency. My new Whirlpool WED9400S is pretty wonderful in its own right, though and I am finding the more I use it the more I like it, which is a pleasant surprise. After all, in my old place, virtually everything was Frigidaire and while I liked all I had, this gives me some experiences with a different brand. Right off the bat, the WED9400S has a lot more options and controls than my old Frigidaire and while the simplicity of the old unit was nice, the options with the new are pretty wonderful, too.

The Whirlpool WED9400S Dryer was chosen for me and the only real say I had in it was the color, which is a silver finish. I'm a sucker for stainless steel or the closest I could get for this appliance (it's a dull silver-gray color). Like virtually every dryer, this spins clothes around in the z-axis while passing hot air through it. This unit is electric - not gas - and it stacks atop the WFW9400S Front Loading Washer without the need for any other equipment. What impressed me in this regard was that while the WED9400S gets some speed going to the cycling of clothes, it is incredibly stable atop its sister washer.

This is a 7 cu. ft. dryer that I was originally drawn to because of its capacity (fairly large) and energy efficiency for that size it went with the washer that was being purchased anyway, so it made sense. What I don't quite understand is why the washer only 3.8 cubic feet and this has seven, but I assume the additional space is needed to pass the hot air through the clothes and actually operate. Another fairly useless measure (at least for me, whatwith not having scales in my laundry room or the patience to weigh wet clothes!) is that this dryer holds fifteen pounds of wet clothes. I've never had any problem with transferring whatever I have put in the washer into the dryer. Of course, that gets the drying started with a pretty intense spin cycle.

As a result, the WED9400S is remarkably environmentally friendly. It has better-than-average energy efficiency and while it runs on 240 volts (grounded), I've never in the month I've been running this had to put anything in beyond one forty-five minute cycle. The venting for this dryer was already in place when I bought the place so I cannot speak for how easy it is to connect this. The WED9400S sits thirty-eight inches tall by 27" wide with a front to back depth effectively of almost 32" (the front panel is a clear door that curves outward, adding a little more depth to the front than the unit would otherwise have).

As far as the installation goes, I remain somewhat ignorant; I watched the units get installed but it was pretty much a low impact event for me. I did, however, read through the manual and between the installing the dryer (made very easy by the exhaust port being at the proper level) and the stacking of the dryer on the washer, it looked remarkably easy. Reading along in the manual, the directions in the manual were quite handy; they included full details for leveling the unit. I have never had any problems with movement, which still impresses me given how the unit stacks and how quickly the drum inside can move.

Outside installing ducts - which, if you already have a dryer you won't need to worry about - this unit is basically a plug in and go type machine. One of the very convenient aspects of the machine is its easy to use controls. Usage is ridiculously simple. The Whirlpool WED9400S Dryer has fairly intuitive controls and after a few months of usage, I've found it to be very simple. Simply look at what materials are in the load, hit the button for that material, and depress the "start" button. In addition to the Use & Care Guide (a pretty obvious collection of notes on how to take care of the dryer) there is a whole cheat sheet with Dryer Operating Instructions. In truth, though, this unit, which is controlled by a series of push buttons for air temperature and activation, is a remarkably easy appliance to use. This Whirlpool seems to follow the same industry standard as their washers, which attempts to make operating this unit more or less idiotproof and this is very easy to use and diagnose problems when they occur. Indeed, since the first time I set the unit, I have essentially only had to hit the "power on" and "run cycle" buttons and it goes off!

There are ten cycles, with different temperatures, but I tend to just go with normal poly/cotton clothes at high heat and everything from jeans and t-shirts to underwear and towels dries within fifty minutes. One of the neat functions which I've seen used, but have not had cause to use on my own unit, is the moisture detection function. When set, the WED9400S evaluates the clothes in the dryer and if they are not getting dry enough, it beeps and adds ten or fifteen minutes to the drying time. This is an automatic function and it simply resets the digital timer display when it occurs. It's actually an intriguing bit of technology and I'm torn between being impressed at how efficiently my unit runs and disappointed that it has never so "rebooted."

Furthermore, this is a ridiculously quiet clothes dryer. The spin cycle on the accompanying washer is louder than this dryer with its normal or Quiet Mode operation. As a result, I have had times when I am working in the room adjacent to my new laundry room and have no idea where in the drying cycle the dryer is until the buzzer goes off. That type of quiet is pretty wonderful for this machine!

Operating the dryer once a week has not increased any of my electric bills, but this is a bit cost-intensive at the outset. It's tough to shell out $800 for a dryer, just to match the washer, but it does not seem all that expensive to operate. Between that, the ease of the controls and the fact that, above all else, this dryer WORKS, the Whirlpool WED9400S is a pretty wonderful clothes dryer.

Because I have had no problems after two month's use, I cannot speak to the customer service with the one-year warranty, but given how easy it is to use, I assume if anything went wrong it would be more of a freak accident than a design flaw. It is reassuring to know there is a warranty but given how I am flying solo and using this only once a week, I could not justify any extended service plan on it. Again, with the easy of the push-button controls with the various fabric and temperature settings, there are so few parts that even move, it's hard to imagine anything breaking down!

For other laundry-related reviews, please visit my reviews of:
Whirlpool WGD5200 Gas Dryer
Purex Complete 3-in-1
Purex Complete 3-in-1 Spring Oasis


For other home and garden product reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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