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Basic dryers are a good value

Lower-priced dryers might lack advanced features like speed dry or digital displays, and most don't have designer touches like fancy finishes, but this shouldn't be considered a deal-breaker, experts say. As long as your dryer offers a choice of temperatures, timed and automatic drying options, and a few fabric settings (such as cotton, delicates and permanent press), it should be able to handle any type of laundry. Many dryers costing less than $700 perform just as well as more expensive dryers in independent tests, but they generally score lower for convenience and noise levels.

According to reviews, the electric LG DLE1001W (Est. $600) and its gas version, the LG DLG1002W (Est. $700) are terrific performers. These dryers are the companions to the LG WT1001CW (Est. $600), which we name as a best top-load washer in our washing machines report.

One expert reviewer notes that though this 7.3-cubic-foot dryer doesn't score as highly as some in its tests, drying performance is nonetheless excellent overall, and the price tag is roughly half the price of machines that get better ratings. Both the electric and gas versions get identical feedback.

User reviews are largely glowing. As is the norm, the electric DLE1001W draws the most response, including nearly 320 comments at BestBuy.com. Of those, fewer than 10 rate the dryer less than 4 stars and 98 percent say that they would recommend it to a friend. HomeDepot.com hosts nearly 180 reviews, though some are also drawn from LG's web site. Regardless, most love their LG dryer; it earns a 4.9 star rating. Though based on fewer reviews (roughly 65), the gas version earns the same score.

Despite the low price, this isn't a bare-bones dryer. The most notable feature is immediately apparent. Like its matching washer, this LG dryer ditches the old-fashioned rear control panel and moves controls and displays to the front lip of the machine. That makes things easier to see, and easier to reach. Also on board is LG's SmartDiagnosis, which allows for easier remote diagnosis of any issues that crop up, either by phone or via a smartphone app.

You also give up a few things compared to pricier dryers. Though there should be more than enough programs and options to handle any drying situation, more expensive dryers have more -- sometimes lots more. There are also no steam capabilities. Forget about fancy finishes; with apologies to Henry Ford, you can have any color you want, as long as it's white. Judging by the feedback thus far, however, none of these "drawbacks" are deal killers for happy owners.

For those looking to conserve space, conserve money, or both, the LG DLE3050W (Est. $700) is an interesting choice. It's the mate to the LG WM3050CW (Est. $700), which gets kudos in our report on washing machines as a top choice among lower priced front-loading machines (see that report's discussion of cheap washers for more information).

These units are stackable, keeping their footprint to a minimum -- a key attraction for washer-dryer combos, and are at, at the very least, competent performers. Pricewise, the pair are competitive with combos as well.

Of the two appliances, the LG WM3050CW draws the higher accolades, but the 7.3-cubic-foot LG DLE3050W is no slouch. Reviewed.com clearly likes the washer more, and says that for owners of that machine, that could be reason enough to buy the dryer. "It's not the greatest budget dryer we've ever tested, but it's solid," writes Jonathan Chan. Performance is judged to be uneven in the various cycles, but the normal cycle dries "quickly and reliably." Extras include a moisture sensor and an NSF antibacterial cycle.

Users, on the other hand, are far more positive. It draws lots of user reviews, with HomeDepot.com hosting more than 275 of them drawn from its own customers as well as those posting originally at LG.com. The dryer's overall rating there is a more-than-solid 4.8 stars, with roughly 97 percent saying that they would recommend it to a friend. This dryer comes in white only, but a gas version, the LG DLG3051W (Est. $700), is offered.

Maytag and Whirlpool dryers also score well

We also saw some good feedback for the 7-cubic-foot Maytag Centennial MEDC400BW (Est. $550). This dryer serves as a companion machine to the Maytag Centennial MVWC425BW (Est. $540), which we name the best cheap washer in our washing machines report.

User reviews are plentiful -- over 1,300 posted at HomeDepot.com -- and most are complimentary. The dryer rates a solid 4.6 stars, with 95 percent saying that they are satisfied enough with their purchase to recommend it to a friend.

The dryer receives one expert review as well. That reviewer also looks at the LG DLE1001W and rates the LG machine slightly better in its drying performance. However, the MEDC400BW is no slouch, and no notable downsides are reported. The gas version, the Maytag MGDC400BW (Est. $630), scores identically. The dryer is light on features, but includes a moisture sensor.

The Whirlpool WED4800XQ (Est. $500) is similar, and a touch cheaper, especially when on sale. At first glance, it appears that user reviews are plentiful, but closer examination reveals that although unbiased and uncensored, most originate at LG's site itself. Still, more than 1,400 total user reviews available at HomeDepot.com give the dryer good scores, and it earns a rating of 4.6 stars. No expert reviewer has weighed in.

Like the Maytag dryer above, you'll find limited but adequate drying cycles and options. Again, the most notable feature is the inclusion of a moisture sensor -- something that separates these dryers from those that cost still less. Experts say that at the very least, a moisture sensor is a must on a modern dryer. A gas version, the Whirlpool WGD4800XQ (Est. $550). is also available. All of these Whirlpool and Maytag dryers are available in white only.

Elsewhere in this report

Best Reviewed Dryers
The six best dryers you can buy today, as identified by expert reviews, user reviews, and ConsumerSearch analysis

Best Dryers
These dryers are top performers and feature packed. We report on the top choices

Buying Guide
Need a clothes dryer but don't know where to start? Our Buying Guide explains how to find a dryer that meets your needs, and your budget

Our Sources
Links to the reviews we used to find the best clothes dryer. Expert and user review sources are rated and ranked according to their helpfulness.

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LG WT1001CW 3.6 Cu. Ft. White Top Load Washer - Energy Star
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from Amazon.com
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
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Maytag MEDC400BW Centennial 7.0 Cu. Ft. White Electric Dryer
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from Amazon.com
Average Customer Review:  
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LG DLG1002W 7.3 Cu. Ft. White Gas Dryer
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from Amazon.com
New: $819.00
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
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LG DLE1001W 7.3 Cu. Ft. White Electric Dryer
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from Amazon.com
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
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LG DLE3050W 7.3 Cu. Ft. White Stackable Electric Dryer
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from Amazon.com
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
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LG DLG3051W 7.3 Cu. Ft. White Stackable Gas Dryer
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from Amazon.com
New: $942.49
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
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Maytag MGDC400BW Centennial 7.0 Cu. Ft. White Gas Dryer
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
Average Customer Review:  

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