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GE GFD45ESSKWW Dryer review: This dryer lacks both speed and style

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If you're hunting for an affordable dryer that runs fast and turns heads, the $899 GE GFD45ESSKWW isn't it. This machine is slow and looks just like scores of other laundry appliances on the market. It does have a few worthwhile selling points, though. Its controls are simple to use and its large display is easy to read. On board are lots of cycles plus a few steam modes too.

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5.8

GE GFD45ESSKWW Dryer

The Good

The dryer has many cycles including steam modes. Its large display is easy to read and controls are simple to use. You can stack it or place it on a pedestal accessory.

The Bad

It dries loads slowly. It has average looks and a bland design. It doesn't have smart features and can't communicate with a mobile app.

The Bottom Line

The GE GFD45ESSKWW dryer's faults aren't worth living with unless you're committed to owning a front load laundry combo.

But to get the most for your money, you're better off spending your money elsewhere. High on your shopping list should be the $649 Samsung DV7750. It's blazingly fast, for a dryer, and quite attractive considering its low price. GE's own $799 GTD75ECSLWS dryer is also a better deal, as it's packed with impressive smart home features and lots of cycle options, and performs with a bit more pep.    

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This dryer has a bland design that's not very exciting.

Chris Monroe/CNET

An unremarkable exterior

With looks this bland, you could walk right past the GE GFD45ESSKWW dryer and immediately forget it. It's front-loading, with a completely nondescript white finish. Its control panel is plain white as well, which makes the dryer's front face appear almost featureless. By contrast, the Samsung DV7750 dryer is white too but offsets this with an eye-catching charcoal backsplash for its control panel.

Forgettable looks make this dryer tough to love

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At least the GE dryer's controls, keys and buttons are clearly labeled and laid out with enough space between them. Its LED screen is bright enough to see from across the room, and it's easy to read from various angles and heights. Compared with previous GE models, specifically the GE GFDS260EFWW, this dryer's controls are a welcome improvement.

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Interpreting the cycle knob is simple thanks to well-spaced labels. 

Chris Monroe/CNET

Turning the big cycle knob flips through the dryer's numerous cycle options. Besides the standard "mixed loads" program, you get 12 additional cycles for handling everything from "cottons" and "delicates" to "towels" and "bulky items." Also in this mix are a few steam modes. A "steam dewrinkle" hits full loads with water vapor to smooth fabric creases. The "steam refresh" cycle will tackle small loads (up to five items) to banish odors and wrinkles.  

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The display is big and bright enough to read from across the room.

Chris Monroe/CNET

The dryer's 7.5-cubic-foot-capacity drum is slightly larger than the norm for budget and midrange models (7.4 cubic feet). For a machine with a more spacious 8- or even 9-cubic-foot capacity, expect to pay anywhere from $1,100 to $1,500.

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The drum has a capacity of 7.5 cubic feet.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Thanks to its front-load design, built to pair with front-loading washers, you have the option of stacking it on top of a washer to save space.

Slow drying performance

Unfortunately the GE GFD45ESSKWW's performance was well below average compared with other dryers we've tested, in both cycle speed and drying power. 

Our tests quantify the amount of water a dryer can pull from wet loads and the time it requires to do the job. We also control for many variables during testing, including environmental conditions and test materials. In each test we ran the machine's "mixed loads" cycle (meant for "For loads consisting of cottons and poly-blends," as outlined in the manual) and chose its medium temperature setting.

Dryers compared

Dryer GE GFD45ESSKWWGE GTD75ECSLWSKenmore 65132Kenmore 69133Samsung DV7750
Capacity 7.5 Cu. Ft. 7.4 cu. ft.7 cu. ft.8.8 cu. ft.7.4 cu. ft.
Cycle types 13144913
Avg. cycle time 61 Min.48 min.41 min.38 min.37 min.
Avg. water amount removed 5.5 pounds5.5 pounds5.4 pounds5.3 pounds5.3 pounds
Energy Star Certified NoYesNoYesYes
Avg. power usage per year NA608 kWhNA608 kWh607 kWh
App NoYes, Android/iOSNoNoNo
Warranty 1 year limited (parts, labor)1 year limited (parts, labor)1 year limited (parts, labor)1 year limited (parts, labor)1 year limited (parts, labor)

The GFD45ESSKWW crawled through our tests at a sluggish average pace of 61 minutes. That's the second longest cycle time we've recorded for any dryer to date, a full 11 minutes slower than the current average cycle time for dryers (45 minutes). For perspective, the fastest dryer we've tested is the affordable $649 Samsung DV7750 (37 minutes) which zipped through its loads 24 minutes faster than this one. The Kenmore 69133 (38 minutes) comes in second but costs a steep $1,300.

Other budget-minded dryers proved agile here too. For instance the $600 Kenmore 65132 (41 minutes) is swift despite its rock-bottom price tag. GE's $650 GTD45EASJWS dryer was neck and neck with the $799 GE GTD75ECSLWS, both taking 48 minutes on average to complete their loads.

WATER EVAPORATION RATE (IN POUNDS PER MINUTE)

Samsung DV7750 0.143Kenmore 69133 0.139Kenmore 65132 0.133GE GTD45EASJWS 0.115GE GTD75ECSLWS 0.114GE GFD45ESSKWW 0.091GE GTD81ESSJWS 0.084
Notes: Longer bars indicate better performance

Keep shopping

Chances are you won't be terribly disappointed by the $899 GE GFD45ESSKWW dryer. It comes with a range of special cycles to accommodate various fabric and clothing types. GE threw in a few steam modes as well to reduce wrinkles and odors in your laundry items. 

Still, you won't be thrilled by the appliance's boring exterior and glacial cycle times either. Your money could go a lot further with a superior machine. If you're not wedded to owning a front-load washer and dryer combo, going with the $649 Samsung DV7750 is a savvier investment. Not only does the DV7750 cost less, it flies through dryer cycles in no time and looks good doing it.   

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5.8

GE GFD45ESSKWW Dryer

Score Breakdown

Design 5Usability 7Features 6.5Performance 5