Pros: Variety of settings& features, large capacity, buzzer, noise, drying rack, gentle, modern attractive construction
Cons: Bugs in setting up cycle, rotary dial function, expensive, weak steam, non-specific manual
I've had this dryer for a little over a year now. This is my first experience with LG and with a dryer that steams. I think maybe my expectations were set a little high with the wonder of what a steam dryer could do. But, I was replacing a 25 year Hotpoint unit, so I was willing to take any plunge.
After purchasing the matching washing machine, and hearing all the great reviews about it on consumer reports, I thought it was a no-brainer. I was a little nervous about the lack of brand reliability reporting on LG since they've only been making these for the past few years. I know LG is based out of Korea, and ever since the washing/drying machines have come out, they've blown the competition out of the water. The other contenders for me, when I was first researching, was Whirpool Duet and the Samsung front loaders for a time, although the Samsungs were claiming to use some fancy silvering technique to offset environmental impacts of detergents?? but it was never proven that it actually worked. Besides, they were too expensive and my priority was energy and performance efficiency. The Whirpool Duets I was never able to actually see in person, but going in, I knew they didn't have as many features I was looking for. It seemed everywhere I went to check them out, they never had the model I was interested in as a floor model. Just the LG's. If this was a clever marketing ploy, I have to say, it worked. There was no way I was going to purchase something that cost this much without being able to actually see it in person. I saw some other model Whirlpool Duets. I have to say, they all seemed to look the same to me. For me, what narrowed it down was the fact that the LG had more features and settings.
I purchased the electric dryer in white, with no pedestal and the simple LED display. To get different colors, you can spend an extra $100. I decided this was not necessary for my purposes. They will be sitting in a side washroom, but for those who have an open washroom connected to an entrance mudroom or kitchen, I would put forth the extra money for the colors since they are so attractive looking. They have this pearlized affect in the sun. They are stunning. It's unfortunate they do not offer them in gray, however, since I can image people with their units in the kitchen would like to pair it with stainless steel appliances. The colors only come in red and blue.
I picked the LED display rather than the fancier LCD display 1) because it was less expensive 2) my rule is to always pick a simplified mechanism or machine. The more bells and whistles electronics have, the more likely (and pricey) the repair job will be. 3) I was at a Sears appliance outlet and the only units in this brand and model available were the LCD ones because something was wrong with the LCD panel. Now, they may still work properly, but who wants a broken screen? 4) who really cares about the display? I mean, really, they both essentially say the same thing. Who cares about the LED one being slightly more old school looking. It gets the job done all the same.
The layout of the panel is rather ingenious. It's goes in order from the steps you need to select before beginning the cycle so it's not as scary as it may first appear. Step 1, place your water for the steam in the drawer on the far left which are all labeled quite clearly. Step 2, turn on and select a preset from the rotary dial in the middle. Step 3 select any additional features to include on the right and start. It will beep at you if you try to select something that is not compatible with the preset you've chosen. Sometimes this is annoying because there are so many different combinations to choose from, it makes it confusing to know what goes with what and what doesn't. It seems to beep at me a lot. I try not to take it personally...haha. But seriously, I have to refer to my manual often to see what my options are or are not, or just go through trial and error and endure lots more beeping. Sometimes if I've selected a preset and then my features, and then I change my mind about the preset, I cannot do this. I have to turn it off and back on again, or if the cycle is just started, and I change my mind, I cannot go back. I must turn it off and on again and start over.
The other thing about the rotary dial, that was at first charming but is now downright annoying, is when you first turn on the unit, the preset begins at the middle top. To select Air Dry, for example, you have to turn the knob all the way to bottom right. Fine. If not for the fact that it switches presets every two clicks you rotate the dial which is about 20 degrees. This means that rather than twisting it quickly to what you want in half a wrist turn, it takes three times as much twisting...oh, and the sound it makes as you click through is twice as much than the number of presets to choose from. This is great feedback in theory because you feel the click as well as hear it, but it's seriously inefficient. I sound like a crazy person for complaining about this, but it's annoying when you must turn it off and on again to reset things because you've changed your mind and the number of beeps to get to where you're going is repetitive, or you just want to quickly select things and move on. It's a time waster. There is no way to turn this sound down, while still have the End-of-cycle "alarm" available. The noise level selection includes both these sound instances.
The manual, by the way, is really nicely laid out. They have easy-to-read graphs and some helpful, albeit generic, examples for each setting or feature.
4- Heavy Duty
5- Perm Press
7- Ultra Delicates (wool)
8- Speed Dry (manual dry - you pick your time amount and settings)
9- Air Dry (manual dry)
1- Damp Dry Beep
2- Wrinkle Care
3- Rack Dry
4- Anti Bacterial
2- Medium High
5- Ultra Low
1- Very Dry
2- More Dry
3- Normal Dry
4- Less Dry
5- Damp Dry
Also includes Child lock, Drum light, Reversible door, and End of cycle alert which you can set the loudness of (includes the other beepers). The beep is a lovely charm, that sounds a little in between a melodious monotone ringtone, and a doorbell. The short beeps when you turn the dial are one note.
Its capacity is rather huge. I can even fit my queen feather blanket for a monthly fluff, which I love. I have had no problems with it's size. It's stackable which is nice to have the option even though I have not done this.
The noise is very quiet. There is virtually no vibration no matter what setting you have it on. I often forget it's on, until the End-of-cycle beeper sounds.
The LED shows the live minute countdown or a simple "ERR" or "PO" error message when the cycle has had to stop due to a circuit short or power outage. The cycle will continue again when you hit the start/play button.
The settings are very gentle in general, and I like that I can set it to speed dry and that the unit comes with a drying rack for sneakers or delicates, or items with large metal pieces, or anything really you don't want banging around in order to protect the steel drum inside from denting. The rack is very handy and easy to use. In fact, while it's not in use, I use the rack for a cleaner/detergent shelf of sorts on top of the washer. They say they don't want you to accidentally spill detergents on the surface of your machines, as this may breakdown the paint over time and damage the surface.
The steam setting can be great. One time my husband and I went out to a Japanese grill restaurant where they cook in front of you and came back with our clothes stinking of a smokey kitchen stove. We simply threw them in for a 3 minute fresher-upper and they were back to neutral smelling, no problem, and just as promised. However, I've tried to do this before with a drawer full of "drawer smelling" clothes that sat untouched all summer. When I begin to rotate seasonal clothing in my wardrobe for fall, I was looking forward to using my steam machines for a quick fix. It didn't work quite as well. I tried three times to "steamfresh" the drawer full of "cotton linen" satchel smell, to little effect. I even asked it to add extra water and extra hot steam. I guess the good news that came from that little experiment is that I can use the toughest steam setting and not have to worry about my clothes getting ruined. All my clothes were fine, nothing shrunken or burned as my worst nightmares suggested, but they still smelled of old drawer satchels. The other thing about the Steam feature that's lacking is that the manual doesn't specifically explain what items or materials are OK in this setting. I'm afraid, for example, to put my feather blanket in there, or to put dry clean only clothes in this setting. I understand they probably do this for liability reasons, but it would be nice to know the risks beforehand.
The other downside to drying performance I noticed was that sometimes with a mixture of materials in the dryer, the "auto" function it has called SensorDry to determine your load's dryness level, gets thrown off. I think this feature is associated with only the delicate and manual cycles, although the user-manual and front panel display don't make this very clear at all. This feature is supposed to be an energy and clothes saver by sensing the load's dryness and will auto end the cycle if it determines the load is dry and doesn't need extra dry time. This is great if you have delicates and don't want to risk shrinking them and you're standing by to unload when completed. Also great when the load really is dry and doesn't need to continue because you've overestimated the setting. However, I can't always be there as soon as it finishes. Often times I've had to reset it to continue drying my clothes after a full cycle has completed, and even though I set it for 25 minute speed dry (manual operation), it automatically turns off after 10 minutes or less and my clothes are still damp. Sometimes I set it and forget it, and it will end prematurely and by the time I get back to it, several hours later, the load is mildewy smelling because it stayed damp for so long, and then I have to wash them all over again.
The lint tray is pretty good at catching everything, but you can tell the quality of a dryer when you don't have that much lint to collect. I rarely have to clean out that much lint. The LED panel will flash a message to "check filter" which is a nice reminder, but slightly confusing. At first I thought something was wrong, and then I thought my dryer had telepathic abilities and knew when I did not check my filter. But, turns out this is default display when you turn it on. One piece of advise, I would check your lint tray for any loose lining when you first purchase. When I had my brand new units delivered and installed, the lint tray felt lining along the edge was ever so slightly loose and torn in one spot. It got worse with time and use, and eventually I had to ask for a replacement. This lining is crucial too as it creates a seal from lint collecting and getting into the innards of the unit.
Because of the lack of brand reliability, I purchased the extended warranties. Although I had a chance to cancel them after a year with no penalty and after a free check-up by a professional (which showed the unit was in good working order), I kept them. This is strictly your decision if you wish to purchase one or not. I couldn't tell you if you should or not. I did because I wanted to be sure I'm covered in case anything bad happens. I've heard some unfortunate instances where people didn't have coverage, and a very pricey repair bill came quite abruptly and prematurely. For me, too, I wish to take these units if ever I sell my house and move, so I want them to last a long time. If I were to do it over again, I would probably cancel the warranty for the dryer. Dryers just tend to last longer than washers as a general rule, and my extended warranty only covers 3 years. Anything that goes wrong, most likely won't happen in 3 years.
When the professional was in my house for the annual check up, I did manage to gather some helpful tidbits I'd like to share with you. For one, pricey repairs are very likely with these complicated machines. They have lots of circuit boards, and sophisticated computers inside. Also, once a year it's a good idea to quickly root out any built-up lint that may have gotten past your lint tray and into the drum area. Take out the tray, turn on and run the machine, and with a long round bristled brush, sweep through the opening and slightly under the drum. Wiggle the silver flexi-tube to loosen any other excess materials. DON'T force open the door when you've paused a cycle. A key icon will appear on the panel indicating the door is locked. Wait for the click sound and the key icon to disappear before attempting to open the door.