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GE GFDS260EFWW dryer review: A roomy GE dryer that's swift but saddled with awful controls

Big enough for huge laundry loads and able to dry quickly, the GE GFDS260EFWW's fatal flaws are frustrating controls and a poor display.

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Brian Bennett
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Brian Bennett

Senior writer

Brian Bennett is a senior writer for the home and outdoor section at CNET. He reviews a wide range of household and smart-home products. These include everything from cordless and robot vacuum cleaners to fire pits, grills and coffee makers. An NYC native, Brian now resides in bucolic Louisville, Kentucky where he rides longboards downhill in his free time.

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The best home appliances combine impressive performance, high style, and enjoyable operation into a single seductive device. The $1,100 GE GFDS260EFWW dryer unfortunately doesn't achieve this elusive mix. It's true, the machine removes water from wet clothes with relative swiftness and features a roomy 8-cubic-foot capacity to accommodate hefty loads. The dryer also ships with many useful cycles and settings tailored to match particular fabrics and clothing.

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6.7

GE GFDS260EFWW dryer

The Good

The GE GFDS260EFWW dryer pulls moisture from clothes quickly. The appliance also has a large 8-cubic-foot capacity to dry big laundry loads. It's also equipped with 12 cycles to handle specific garment and fabric types.

The Bad

The dryer's control panel is an outdated eyesore, and its display is difficult to read at any angle other than directly head-on.

The Bottom Line

The GE GFDS260EFWW dryer's cluttered controls and an often unreadable screen make the more thoughtfully designed Electrolux EFME617S Perfect Steam the wiser choice for the same price.

The shortcomings of this GE dryer, though, reside in how you operate the machine. Equipped with a dated electronic display that's a challenge to read from just about any angle, as well as a confusing control panel, the GE GFDS260EFWW is very frustrating to use. This fact is especially clear when compared with sleek, modern dryers featuring superior controls such as the $1,099 Electrolux EFME617S Perfect Steam dryer. While not flawless, the Perfect Steam is much easier to interact with and offers comparable clothes drying performance, making it the smarter choice for the same price.

This GE Dryer has lots of room and speed, but is a drag to use (pictures)

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Design

The GE GFDS260EFWW measures 39.66 inches high by 28 inches wide by 34.75 inches deep, and is equipped with a large 8-cubic-foot capacity drum. Understandably, it's a hair bigger than the smaller capacity LG DLEX 5000 (7.2 cu. ft.) but essentially the same size as the Electrolux EFME617S Perfect Steam which also has an 8-cubic-foot capacity.

Besides its larger-than-average girth, this GE dryer has conventional laundry appliance looks. Essentially a bland white cube, the machine's only flashy design element is a silver band of trim above its drum door. Also on the front face of the appliance is its confusing control panel. Text labels for the dryer's various cycles, modes and functions are too tightly packed together for quick comprehension.

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The control panel is very busy and confusing.

Chris Monroe/CNET

The circular knob, used for selecting your desired dryer cycle, is simple enough to operate. Unfortunately each tiny, orange light indicating which cycle you've landed on (by turning the knob) is faint. Worse, the light practically disappears when viewed at an angle.

Likewise, the digital screen showing the estimated time left in the current cycle suffers from the same problem. The display is illegible looking down on it from above or if your point of view is too far to the left or right. Even the machine's lights, which underline the status of temperature and dryness settings, lack any real brightness. Frankly, I prefer the GE GTD86ESPJMC's controls -- though they're also saddled with a poor digital display, they're far less jumbled, plus they use a knob with brightly lit LED indicators.

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The lights and display are hard to see from the side.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Features

Just like the Electrolux EFME617S Perfect Steam, the GE GFDS260EFWW dryer is not one of the elite vanguard of large home appliances equipped with an app connection and state-of-the-art smart abilities. For that, you'll have to spend a few hundred dollars more on a luxury clothes drying system such as the LG DLEX 5000 or GE's dedicated smart laundry unit, the GTD86ESPJMC.

This machine does offer plenty of specialty dryer cycles (12 in all) to process everything from delicates and activewear to bulky items, sheets, towels and cotton. The dryer also connects to a water line to supply various steam modes such as "Steam Dewrinkle" and "Steam Refresh." You'll also find control settings to tweak cycle temperature and dryness level. The latter function is made possible by an internal moisture sensor which monitors water amounts inside the drum in real time.

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This dryer offers a large 8 cubic feet of capacity.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Performance

After subjecting the GE GFDS260EFWW to rigorous scientific testing, it was clear that this dryer is a solid and intelligent performer. Our trials are designed to measure how much moisture a dryer can eliminate from fabric and how long it takes to do so. We also work to remove as many variables as possible during testing, including environmental conditions and test materials.

Relying on electronic sensors that keep tabs on moisture during each dryer cycle, the GFDS260EFWW dryer took an average of 48 minutes to run through our test loads. For the record we selected the machine's "Normal" cycle (for mixed items) and its "Medium" temperature setting. This result is faster than the Electrolux Perfect Steam EFME617 (54 minutes) and GE GTD86ESPJMC (60 minutes) but slower than the LG DLEX 6000's short average cycle time of 42 minutes.

Dryers compared

Dryer Electrolux EFME617S Perfect SteamGE GFDS260EFWWGE GTD86ESPJMCLG DLEX 5000
Capacity 8 cu. ft. 8 cu. ft. 7.8 cu. ft.7.4 cu. ft.
Cycle Types 9121414
Avg Cycle Time 54 min.48 min.60 min.42 min.
Energy Star Certified YesNoYesYes
Avg Power Usage Per Year 608 kWhNA608 kWh607 kWh
App NoNoYes, Android/iOSYes, Android/iOS
Waranty 1 year limited (parts, labor)1 year limited (parts, labor)1 year limited (parts, labor)1 year limited (parts, labor)

This GE dryer demonstrated lots of raw drying horsepower too, wicking away an average of 5.7 pounds of water from wet laundry during its test cycles. That's more than the Electrolux Perfect Steam (5.5 pounds), the GE GTD86ESPJMC (5.6 pounds), and the LG DLEX 6000 (5.6 pounds). The GE GFDS260EFWW's water evaporation rate of 0.121 pounds per minute, a critical indicator of a dryer's sheer effectiveness, puts it behind the LG DLEX 5000 (0.135 pounds/minute) and ahead of both the Electrolux Perfect Steam (0.103 pounds/minute), and GE GTD86ESPJMC (0.095 pounds/minute).

Water evaporation rate (pounds per minute)

LG DLEX 5000 0.135GE GFDS260EFWW 0.121Electrolux EFME617S 0.103GE GTD86ESPJMC 0.095
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

I wasn't blown away, however, by the GE GFDS260EFWW's "Steam Refresh" mode. I anecdotally ran the 15 minute process on one of my dress shirts (100 percent cotton) which tends to get crushed easily. The result was a garment with fewer wrinkles and smoother fabric but far from what I would call crisply ironed.

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Steam Refresh removed some but not all wrinkles.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Conclusion

Demonstrating its ability to dry lots of clothes quickly, the $1,100 GE GFDS260EFWW dryer's strong performance and large capacity alone are reasons to seriously consider this laundry appliance. Unfortunately, this dryer's confusing button layout, dim lights and poor display are deal-killers. These flaws render the machine very frustrating to use, a failing that's tough to live with -- especially for a product designed to last a decade or more.

I advise spending your money elsewhere, specifically on the $1,099 Electrolux EFME617S Perfect Steam dryer. With an identical price and same 8-cubic-foot capacity, the Perfect Steam offers comparable drying performance while being way easier on the eyes. Compared to the GE dryer, the Electrolux's controls and screen are a breeze to interact with as well.

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6.7

GE GFDS260EFWW dryer

Score Breakdown

Design 7Usability 4.5Features 7Performance 7.5
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