Pros: works perfectly, quiet, mid-range price
Cons: no way to turn buzzer off
During one of our family's bouts of stomach flu this past January, our dryer died. This was not something we could do without in Minnesota in winter, especially when I needed to do a lot of wash (I don't want to get too graphic here, but let's just say I was thrown up on more than once by a small child). We always buy our appliances at a local store, Quality Appliance, and that is where we asked for a decently priced dryer that would last a long time. They recommended the Maytag MDE2600AYW, which happens to match the washing machine we bought last summer (the Maytag LAV3600AWW). I have been very happy with this purchase.
The MDE2600AYW is a white dryer that loads through a door arranged on the front of the machine (as most dryer do). It features something called the "GentleBreeze drying system," which, according to the product literature I've found on the Internet, "uses a powerful airflow for fast, efficient drying and lower temperatures for gentle clothes care." Other features include a 7/15 cubic foot interior, delicates and permanent press cycles, and commercial-quality parts (I certainly hope so!). According to some of the product information I found online (at http://www.ajmadison.com/cgi-bin/ajmadison/MDE2600AYW.html), it also features:
IntelliDry? Dryness Control - automatically dries laundry to the precise moisture level you choose
Moisture sensor - displays dryness level of clothes during the cycle
Extended Tumble cycle option - prevents wrinkling by providing heat-free tumbling after cycle is completed
On/off end-of-cycle signal - alerts you when the clothes are finished drying
Drum light - makes it easy to see inside the dryer when loading or unloading
Quiet Series Plus sound system - insulation, sound-dampening pads and felt barriers combine to provide extra quiet operation
The dryer is about the size of other dryers that I have used. It is 43 1/4 inches tall, 27 inches wide, and 28 1/3 inches deep. It is white, which is the color I prefer in appliances; so far as I know it does not come in any other color. The control panel is white as well, with navy blue, light blue, and grey writing.
Quality Appliance installed the MDE2600AYW for me, a service they offer free with purchase. (They also removed my dead dryer for an additional $25). The gentleman who installed the dryer did it in about half an hour; I imagine that those of use who don't do this regularly would take longer to accomplish the task. He did leave behind the installation instructions, which look clear to me, but also like they would take me a long time to figure out. On the other hand, my husband, who has a natural affinity for getting machines of all kinds to work, would likely have no trouble with these instructions.
There are three controls on the back panel of the dryer; one for temperature selection, one for cycle selection, and one "start" button.
The temperature selection button offers four choices: regular, medium, low, or air fluff. I almost always use "low" for everything, as I've had bad experiences in the past (admittedly with clothing that should have been dried on low) with shrinkage. I just don't have the time or inclination to sort my clothing by drying temperature, so I go for what is safest, and it works very well. According to the dryer manual, regular is for sturdy cottons or items that are labeled "tumble dry," while medium is for permanent press, synthetic fabrics, lightweight cottons, or items that are labeled "tumble dry medium." The only exception I make to the "alwys use low" rule is when I am drying work pants for my husband; in those cases I often use medium to get a "permanent press." (We both hate ironing.) The air fluff tumbles laundry with no heat, which the manual suggests is for sensitive loads or items needing freshening. I might consider using this for hand wash lingerie, but I'm more likely to air dry those items.
The cycle selection control offers three main choices; permanent press auto dry, regular auto dry, and time dry air fluff. In each of these cycles, there are spots labeled "more dry" and "less dry," with a central spot marked off as well; the idea is that you can gauge how long you want your dryer to run based on the size of the load and the type of fabric you are drying. Again, for most loads I choose the regular auto dry cycle, and point the dial at "more dry." Since the dryer is supposed to sense when the clothes are dry, I figure it is fine to let it have the most time possible. I've never been able to determine if the time does vary, but then again most of my loads of clothes are pretty large. I do use the permanent press auto dry cycle for my husband's work pants, again in an effort to prevent the need to get the iron out. This works very well.
The "time dry air fluff" cycle allows you to choose an amount of time to dry your clothing. Times are marked off in minutes, and you can choose 60, 50, 40, 30 (damp dry - if you have items that are partially dry, this is the spot they suggest), 20, or 10 (wrinkle release), all followed by a 5 minute "cool down." I often use the wrinkle release option as I sometimes start my dryer late enough that I don't manage remove the dried laundry before the next day. This works very well for almost all clothing items; the only thing I have wanted to iron after this is a denim dress of my daughters that needs the bottom hem pressed down.
Finally, the "start button" is very simple; after setting the temperature and cycle controls (and tossing in a dryer sheet in most loads), I just press "start." There is no "stop" option, but if I need to add a straying sock or something, opening the dryer door will stop the action of the machine.
When the dryer load is done, it does buzz rather loudly; there is no mechanism for turning this off. I do wish I had the option of turning the buzzer off, as it can be heard upstairs and has disturbed my son as he tries to get to sleep in the room above the laundry room. On the other hand, it isn't so loud that it has ever woken the kids up once they were asleep, and I do like to know when my laundry is done. I just wish I had the option to turn it off at certain times of the day.
The dryer itself runs pretty quietly; I can certainly hear it while in the laundry room, but if I am in another room I have to really strain to hear whether or not it is running.
As with the Maytag washing machine, I can't predict the longevity of this dryer. We have had it for two months and it has been problem free, drying at least one load of clothing per day; I hope that it will remain that way for another 20 years. The salespeople at Quality Appliance recommended this machine specifically for longevity, and I am inclined to trust them. They have a good track record of offering sound advice to our family (we have loved every appliance we've bought from them, a total of 4 or 5), and because they are a local store, if they do not offer solid advice they run the risk of going out of business.
I received a "Maytag Clothes Dryer User's Guide" with my dryer, which includes safety instructions, information on how to use the controls, operating tips, care and cleaning instructions, dryer exhaust tips, a troubleshooting guide, and warranty information. This information is presented in English, French, and Spanish.
This dryer comes with a warranty, as do most appliances. For one full year from date of original purchase, any part which fails "in normal home use" will be repaired or replaced free. After the first year, the warranty is tiered, with parts being repaired or replaced free, but the owner paying for other costs, such as labor, mileage and transportation. The second year includes all parts of the dryer, the third through fifth includes the dryer tumbler. There is an additional limited warranty against rust-through that applies to the exterior cabinet of the dryer, including the door, which includes labor, mileage, transportation and other costs, as well as repair or replacement, for one year from the date of purchase. Then, from the second through the tenth year, the repair or replacement is free with the other costs to be covered by the owner.
I visited the Maytag (www.maytag.com) website to look for information on my dryer model, and as with the washing machine, I was unable to find any. I assume Maytag has discontinued this model, but it is still available both locally at Quality Appliance, as well as at several online websites. If you are looking online, I suggest Googling to find a good rate and a business from which you feel comfortable buying. I would also look around at Sears, as I imagine there are still a lot of these sitting on showroom floors. We paid $522.30 for this dryer, including installation (again, $25 of that was having the old dryer removed). To us this was a reasonable sum to pay for an appliance we expect will last us 20 years.
I really love my Maytag MDE2600AYW dryer. It wasn't too expensive, it is works well, and it runs quietly. My only complaint is that I can't turn the buzzer that indicates when my laundry load is dry off. That is a pretty minor flaw, and I would buy this dryer again in a heartbeat. 5 stars.