Maytag Neptune MDG5500AW Gas Dryer

Pros: Lots of handy features; sensor dry; energy-saving; large capacity; display of time remaining
Cons: Expensive
Rating: 5 out of 5

We wanted a gas dryer–the hookup was already in place, and it’s my understanding that a gas dryer ends up costing less in the long run than an electric dryer. The Neptune has a “sensor dry” mode–which I’ll get into in more detail shortly–which means that it’ll only dry your clothes until they’re done; no more over-baked laundry and no more still-wet clothes. No more wasting gas or electricity by continuing to dry your clothes after they’re done! The dryer has a large capacity: 6.0 cubic feet, I believe. Every load we’ve washed has fit into the dryer with room to spare.

It also has lots of spiffy settings which I’ll get into in a minute. Okay, so we don’t use some of them. But they’re still neat. It also looks pretty cool, with that nifty touchpad display. You can even switch the door to the dryer so that it opens from the opposite side, if you want. The dryer digitally displays the time remaining in the cycle. This is so handy! No more guesswork, wondering when your laundry will be done.

A More Thorough Discussion of Features

Each setting is set through the use of smooth touch-pads, which makes the display easy to clean. They’re responsive to touch–we’ve never had difficulty setting them. There are bright green indicator lights for everything, so it’s easy to see whether the features are set the way you want them to be. Settings are kept from one load to the next.

Sensor Dry: The sensor dry function allows the dryer to automatically sense the moisture in the load of clothing, and it will shut off the dryer when the load reaches your selected “dryness level.” You can, of course, choose to use a “normal” time dry setting instead, where you tell the dryer how long to run.

Dry Temp: There are four temperature levels you can choose from, from “extra low” to “regular.” I always use regular, which is the highest setting, and yet my clothes never come out feeling too hot or “over-baked.” (You have no idea how upset the cats are!)

Dryness Level: You can choose from any of five settings from “damp dry” to “very dry.” Again, I usually use very dry, and yet my clothes–even the delicate ones–never seem to have been abused the way they often were after a load in the dryer at the apartment building we last lived in. This is a very effective, yet very gentle, dryer. Note: I find that a full load of wash, done on “regular” until the load is “very dry,” can take up to an hour.

Signal: The dryer can signal when it’s done (and it gives a 5-minute warning). You can set the volume from quiet to loud.

Estimated Time Display: There’s a digital display that estimates the time remaining in the load. Depending on the load, that time may change during the cycle if you’re using sensor dry (for instance, sheets always take less time than the dryer thinks they will). The closer the load is to done, the more accurate the “time remaining” is likely to be, we’ve found. I don’t think the dryer has ever under-estimated how much time it would take–it errs on the side of over-estimation, which I like.

Wrinkle Prevent: This adds an extra-long cycle of intermittent tumbling in unheated air to the end of your dryer load to reduce wrinkling. I don’t bother, but our house-mate uses this before every business trip.

Wrinkle Release: This is a quick way to smooth out clothing that’s been crumpled in a closet or suitcase.

Air Fluff: This is a short cycle designed to “freshen” items that have been sitting in the back of a closet for a couple of years.

The lint filter catches lint well, although you’ll want to clean the area around it once in a while.

Handy Manual

The manual is very helpful. It comes with safety tips, clear and easy-to-use instructions, and special laundry tips for things like comforters, blankets, curtains, cloth diapers, pillows, plastics, etc. There are simple care and cleaning instructions, directions for replacing the inside light (which makes it very easy to see what you’re doing and whether you’ve removed all of your laundry), directions for reversing the door, and trouble-shooting instructions.

We love our dryer! No longer do our clothes get over-baked. We don’t waste resources by drying them too long, and we don’t waste our time by going down to check on the load when it’s still wet. If we want to see when the load will be done, we just check the display. And those green lights look delightfully evil when the basement lights are off! (Now there’s a feature you won’t see listed in an ad.)

Only once did I find that the dryer thought a load was done when part of it wasn’t, and that’s because I was trying to dry things of very different consistencies together (a thick comforter and a bunch of sheets). This dryer has performed flawlessly for a year and a half, and we’re still very glad that we purchased it!

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