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Recently, I've had the challenge of having to squeeze four people (and three cats) into my small three bedroom house, so I've been trying to create as much space as possible. I've never had a dryer, but I started getting sick of all the clothes taking up space everywhere, so I decided it was time to bite the bullet and buy one.
My parents tend to go out and just pick the cheapest/first thing they see, but I tend to do a lot more research. I wanted a condenser dryer for the convenience, plus it had to have a decent load capacity and an easily changeable lint filter. Once I began researching, my requirements became a lot fussier - light to show when lint filter's full, easily accessible water filter, sense drying technology, low energy consumption, high energy rating...the list seemed endless. Of course, many of these aren't essentials, but I'm a big fan of anything that makes life easier (and cheaper in the long run).
This dryer has a maximum capacity of 7kg and has an energy rating of B. Despite that is consumes an average of 3.92kwh per cycle (based on the dry cotton cycle). This is a considerable amount compared to washing machines, which seem to average 1-2kwh. The measurements are H85.5, W60, D59.6cm, but for all intents and purposes it looks like a standard size under-the-counter kitchen appliance to me.
(Just a note to add that the picture above is misleading - the WhirlPool AWZ8577 is in fact a white tumble dryer with a visible door on the front and no LCD display).
Other features include:
- 6 heat settings
- Delay start option
- Reverse tumble option
- 180º wide opening door
- 6th sense technology
- Lint drawer full indicator
- Water full indicator
That's what it's like on paper, but how does it measure up in real life? Well, for a start, it is noisier than I expected, considering it's quieter than all the other dryers I looked at. It's in our conservatory, and admittedly the house is small, but you can hear it everywhere across the ground floor. The noise is greatly reduced with the door shut though, and it's not an annoying noise so it's easy to phase out. Watching TV doesn't present a problem either, despite the fact that the TV is in the room next door. So it's not too bad, and you wouldn't notice it in a utility room or other room you can shut the door on.
A typical cycle seems to take less than an hour, but I'm yet to fill it to full capacity as my old washing machine only takes about 3kg. You can dry clothes to three different degrees - Iron Dry, Cupboard Dry, and Ready to Wear. I have to say that often things will require two cycles to be completely bone dry, although this may be to do with the fact that I'm not filling it up enough or using dryer balls. The sensor technology in the dryer means that it ends the cycle when it thinks the clothes are dry (as far as I understand it), so this may be something to do with it as well.
You can also select the temperature, from between 10 and 90 degrees, and also choose between Cotton and Synthetics. The delay mode is useful if you're charged less for energy at night, and the lights to indicate a finished cycle or the need to change the lint/water filters are a bright yellowy green.
As this is a condenser dryer, it's extremely simple to set up. You just plug it in as you would a kettle or toaster, and you're ready to go. The trade-off is that there's a plastic water holder integrated into the machine, which you have to empty every so often, but this is easy to pull out of the machine (almost like a drawer), and has a screw top to avoid spilling. The lint filter is located underneath the door, and again that just pulls up so you can pull the fluff off when needed. The other advantage of a condenser dryer is that it warms the room up a bit too, which is particularly useful in winter.
The outside is white and plastic, and the door is on the front, so if you need to put it under a counter you should have no problems. Mine is just freestanding, and I find the top very useful to dump baskets and bags of clothes on. The build quality isn't amazing, but when you open the door the inside is a well-finished brushed chrome and the sheer size is impressive. A 180 degree opening door is neither here nor there for me, but some people may appreciate it. The door is quite large so it's not hard to fit large items in there; it's much bigger than my washing machine door.
One thing that the machine is lacking is an estimated end time for cycles. This doesn't particularly bother me, and the cycle is quite fast anyway. It hasn't caused a problem yet, even in a shared house where we don't necessarily know when someone's put a load of washing in.
I bought this machine from bootskitchenappliances.com for £287. I also got around £10 of Advantage card points and about £4.50 cashback from topcashback.com, so it's worth shopping around a bit for extra discounts. For the price I think it's extremely good value for money. I looked at probably around 200 current condenser dryers and none of them compared in terms of features and price. Because of that, the little niggle that the clothes should be a bit dryer is one I'm happy to overlook, and they are usually fine for hanging up even if they aren't dry enough to wear.
Short name: Whirlpool AWZ8577