Our first impressions of the Whirlpool Smart Front Load Electric Dryer with 6th Sense Live technology

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September 8, 2013 4:17 PM PDT / Updated: September 9, 2013 10:55 AM PDT
Whirlpool

The $1,699 Whirlpool Smart Front Load Electric Dryer with 6th Sense Live technology is one of four existing 6th Sense products announced earlier this year. There's also a refrigerator, a dishwasher, and the dryer's companion unit; a $1,699 Smart Front Load Washer . All of these appliances can connect to the Android or iOS My Smart Appliances app. This free, multitasking app was designed to help you stay more on top of your household chores. Did you shove your wet clothes in the dryer before leaving for work but forget to hit "start?" No worries, you can activate the cycle remotely.

From what I've seen so far, the 6th Sense line sounds like an elegant solution for home automation fans interested in upgrading their home appliances. We'll be sacrificing our laundry soon to bring you a full review of this appliance, but there's one thing I can say with confidence: this dryer is pretty much guaranteed to have more features than your current model.

So, what can it do? Well, the My Smart Appliances app really is the stand-out feature here and it comes with multiple functions. There's Air Flow Status, which lets you know if air flow is restricted for some reason. That can increase your drying time and and use more energy.

The dryer also comes with Wrinkle Shield. If you know that you won't be able to remove your clothes from the dryer immediately, you can turn on Wrinkle Shield from your smartphone or tablet and it will continue to tumble dry your clothes for up to 2 hours.

Whirlpool

Remote Start is another option available through My Smart Appliances. It's pretty much exactly what it sounds like--it lets you start your dryer remotely. You can pause the cycle from the app, too.

There's also Energy Report. With this feature, your dryer relies on a moisture sensor to adjust the cycle's temperature and time. This is supposed to help you track your energy usage and let you know how your habits influence your utility bill.

These functions perfectly mirror the options available through the Whirlpool washer unit. If you read my first take of the washer, you'll see that I'm especially fond of the FanFresh feature, which periodically tumbles your garments if you forget to remove them from the washer. The dryer's Wrinkle Shield does pretty much the same thing--I love this concept and am curious to see how well it performs during our upcoming testing. This app will also send you little notifications called Smart Nudges. That could be anything from alerting you that your dryer has completed a cycle to the overall status of your dryer.

The Quick Refresh Steam Cycle allows you to toss in a few garments when you're in a hurry so you can wear that thing that was crumpled next to your bed in just 15 minutes. Whirlpool also says it has equipped this dryer with sound-absorbing materials so you shouldn't be able to hear it running across the house. And, like the Whirlpool 6th Sense washer, the dryer also has an EcoBoost option. The idea is to use less heat, but run for a longer time--your clothes will still end up dry, but you are more likely to save energy and money.

Whirlpool

This $1,699 7.4-cubic-foot electric smart dryer competes directly with the $1,499 7.5 cubic-foot Samsung Electric Touch Screen LCD Front-Load Dryer, and LG's $1,599 7.3-cubic-foot Electric SteamDryer with Smart ThinQ Technology. Once again, both the Samsung and LG have large touchscreens. The Whirlpool comes with an LCD screen that's controlled by a series of knobs and buttons yet costs $100-$200 more.

As far as mobile apps, the Samsung offers Smart Control and the LG offers its Smart ThinQ companion software. The Samsung and LG apps offer fewer remote features than the Whirlpool app. I downloaded the LG Smart Range app for my first take of the LG Smart ThinQ LRE3027ST range. It was very difficult to set up and has some critical limitations. I also find fault with LG's decision to make different apps depending on the appliance. There's a Smart Refrigerator app, a Smart Range app, a Smart Laundry and Dish, etc. That leaves a chance that the laundry app is better than the range app, but it doesn't seem to be very well organized. Shouldn't one product line stick together? Whirlpool's My Smart Appliances app includes all of their smart appliances, so you can monitor them simultaneously.

We'll be hauling in our laundry to work soon to find out which washer-dryer duo performs the best overall. That way, we can do all the dirty work (literally) so you don't have to. The Whirlpool doesn't have a touchscreen, but it seems to have the most efficiently designed app of the three models we're testing. That's huge, since these are supposed to be smart appliances. If you're spending hours on setup or have to constantly switch among various apps, how smart is it really? That's what we're here to find out, so stay tuned for our complete reviews of the Whirlpool, Samsung, and LG dryers.

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Where to Buy See All

Whirlpool Smart Front Load Electric Dryer with 6th Sense Live technology, Model WEL98HEBU

Part Number: WEL98HEBU
MSRP: $1,699.00 Low Price: $1,434.60 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Drying Features moisture sensor control
  • Drying Programs & Options enhanced touch-up
  • Exterior Color silver
About The Author

Megan writes reviews in CNET's Louisville, KY office.