Say hello to the $1,100 600 series Front Load Perfect Steam Dryer from Electrolux. Like a lot of modern dryers, it pairs a stylish and eye-catching design with a long list of specialty cycles. The machine also boasts a large 8-cubic-foot capacity to power through large loads and uses steam to smooth out wrinkled fabric and refresh clothing.
That said, though the Electrolux Perfect Steam is luxurious and performs adequately, its control panel could be more clearly laid out. Still, the interface on this dryer is easier to use than many GE models such as the app-connected $1,200 GE GTD86ESPJMC and $1,100 GE GFDS260EFWW, which also comes with an 8-cubic-foot drum. In the end, that usability makes the Perfect Steam the better dryer choice, especially if you prefer not to pay extra for fancy smart-home abilities.
The Electrolux EFME617S Perfect Steam dryer comes in conservative hues of Island White (like our EFME617IW test model) and Titanium, but it's the striking, circular LED display that helps it stand out. Evocative of stylish Nest smart thermostats, this round display sits at the center of a large control dial. It's bright and engaging; the knob is not only easy to see from a distance but clearly legible from very wide angles, not just when you're facing the dryer head on.
I only wish the display could communicate more info. As it stands, most of the screen is consumed by massive digital numbers representing the estimated time remaining in the current cycle. The display will also tell you (in tiny text) when it's time to clean the dryer's lint filter, but that's all.
The appliance's secondary options and settings live on a control panel to the left of the cycle dial. Smooth and with a surface that's flush against the front face of the machine, the panel's capacitive keys activate at a feather-light touch and give the dryer a pleasingly sleek appearance. In practice I found the panel's uniform, text-heavy layout tough to comprehend at a glance. A few more (and larger) symbols or icons would be a big help here.
I appreciate that both the Perfect Steam EFME617S and its washing machine partner, the $1,100 Perfect Steam EFLS617S, support stackable arrangements to save space or better accommodate your laundry room floorplan. Additionally you can outfit these appliances with handy pedestal accessories ($299 per) which function as storage drawers and raise their front-loading doors to an easier-to-reach level.
The Electrolux EFME617S Perfect Steam dryer is equipped with enough specialty cycles to properly handle everything from towels, casual wear and heavy-duty items to delicates. Nine cycles in all, the dryer also creates steam to instantly "refresh" clothes which may have been sitting in the drum or hanging in the closet too long. Called "Instant Refresh" by Electrolux, and similar to LG's "Steam Refresh" function, the cycle takes just 10 minutes to complete. The GE GTD86ESPJMC dryer has a similar ability, but it requires a slightly longer period (16 minutes).
One big difference between this dryer and its higher-priced cousins is the machine has no smart home abilities to speak of. Specifically neither the Perfect Steam EFME617S dryer nor its washing machine counterpart can push relevant alerts concerning cycle status out to mobile devices. This is a capability both the LG DLEX 5000 and GE GTD86ESPJMC machines have in their skill set.
After putting the Electrolux EFME617S Perfect Steam through its paces at the CNET's appliances lab, I can confirm that this dryer can hold its own. Essentially, our tests are designed to measure how much moisture a dryer can remove from fabric and how long it takes to do so. Furthermore, we also work to eliminate as many variables as possible during testing, including environmental conditions and test materials.
Equipped with electronic sensors that track fabric wetness, the EFME617S Perfect Steam took an average of 54 minutes to run through our test loads using its "Normal" cycle (for mixed items) and at its "Medium" temperature setting. This showing is a hair shorter than the GE GTD86ESPJMC (60 minutes) but substantially longer than the LG DLEX 6000's relatively brief average cycle time of 42 minutes.
|Dryer||Electrolux EFME617S Perfect Steam||GE GTD86ESPJMC||LG DLEX 5000|
|Capacity||8 cu. ft.||7.8 cu. ft.||7.4 cu. ft.|
|Avg Cycle Time||54 min.||60 min.||42 min.|
|Avg Power Usage Per Year||608 kWh||608 kWh||607 kWh|
|App||No||Yes, Android/iOS||Yes, Android/iOS|
|Warranty||1 year limited (parts, labor)||1 year limited (parts, labor)||1 year limited (parts, labor)|
Still, the Perfect Steam managed to remove an average of 5.5 pounds of water from wet loads during its test cycles, which approaches the average achieved by both the GE and LG machines (5.6 pounds). Ultimately though the EFME617S Perfect Steam's water evaporation rate of 0.103 pounds per minute, a crucial measure of a dryer's raw power, places it behind the LG DLEX 5000 (0.135 pounds/minute) but ahead of the GE GTD86ESPJMC (0.095 pounds/minute) by a nose.
As for the Perfect Steam's "Steam Refresh" mode, I found it operated with moderate success. In an anecdotal test, I ran the 10 minute process on one of my particularly wrinkle-prone shirts (100 percent cotton). The result, though far from being crisply ironed, was a garment with fewer wrinkles and smoother fabric.
The $1,100 Electrolux EFME617S Perfect Steam dryer is sleek, attractively styled, and dries clothes with relative speed for its price tag. The machine's large 8-cubic-foot capacity also means it can handle big garment loads without breaking a sweat. Of course, when you shell out over a grand for a dryer like the Perfect Steam, running into a control panel that's not quite crystal clear is a letdown.
Still, the Perfect Steam isn't as frustrating to use as the $1,100 GE GFDS260EFWW, a similarly equipped appliance which also has a large drum (8 cu. ft.) but dimly lit keys and faint display. I'd choose the Electrolux Perfect Steam dryer over the $1,200 GE GTD86ESPJMC too despite its fancy app connectivity. Sadly the GE model suffers from a poor display, longer cycles times, plus an unexciting design.