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GE GTD45EASJWS dryer review: Powerful budget dryer has cranky knobs, not bells and whistles

No, this isn't a relic from laundry rooms long past, it's the fresh GE GTD45EASJWS dryer which uses antique controls yet performs on par with appliances that are twice as pricey.

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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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5 min read

The $650 GE GTD45EASJWS dryer is a throwback to an age before laundry appliances resembled sleek home-theater gear or digital computer systems. Judging from its all-mechanical knobs and dials (not to mention the lack of a screen or even lights), this machine could easily be a relic from the 20th century. Don't be fooled by the GE GTD45EASJWS's antiquated looks, though, because inside its hospital-white facade are powerful components capable of pulling moisture away from wet laundry loads in short order.

The Good

For a modest price, the GE GTD45EASJWS dryer provides relatively short cycle times and removes water from wet clothes with impressive speed. The dryer also comes equipped with moisture sensors that automatically shut the machine off to avoid overdrying.

The Bad

The GE GTD45EASJWS dryer lacks steam modes and other specialty cycles. The bare-bones appliance doesn't have a display or status lights and uses all-mechanical controls, many of which feel frail and cheaply made. Also, the dryer's control panel is mounted in back, which rules out stacked configurations or placing the machine on a pedestal.

The Bottom Line

The budget-friendly yet high-performance GE GTD45EASJWS dryer makes a lot of sense for penny pinchers, but those who expect higher quality design, controls and features should look elsewhere.

This isn't a showcase product suitable for your dream home laundry room. For that, you'll have to spend at least twice as much on artfully designed dryers like the $1,100 Electrolux 600 series and $1,500 LG DLEX 5000. Still, while the GTD45EASJWS dryer is devoid of trendy steam cycles or the myriad of fabric-specific modes that you'll get with other modern competitors, the appliance's basic abilities also mean it's dead simple to operate. If you're in the market for a new dryer but must stick to a strict budget, this GE model is worth a serious look.

Design and features

If I didn't remove some of its packaging myself, I could have easily confused the freshly minted GE GTD45EASJWS dryer with a laundry appliance from decades past. This contraption cuts a classic profile meant to match traditional top-loading washing machines and has controls placed on a back-mounted panel. It contrasts the modern trend of appliance makers who now favor front-loading washers and dryers with forward-facing controls. As a result of the old-school control layout, this dryer doesn't support pedestal upgrades or stackable arrangements to save space or create more storage in your laundry room.

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The control panel harkens back to classic 20th century design.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The GE GTD45EASJWS dryer's panel lacks LED indicators, a display, or lights of any kind. It's downright spartan compared with the confused mess on GE's own GFDS260EFWW model, and appears a half-century behind the cutting-edge consoles you'll find on the Electrolux EFME617S Perfect Steam and LG DLEX 5000. The GE GTD86ESPJMC, another dryer with a rear control panel, benefits from an updated design that sports eye-catching blue LEDs, and a smoothly spinning cycle dial.

This GE GTD45EASJWS dryer's cycle knob is anything but smooth. It takes a surprising amount of force to rotate and makes disconcerting grinding sounds while you do so. Whether the cause of the dial's jarring motion is due to gears, sprockets or chains, turning this control feels unpleasant, to say the least.

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The main cycle dial handles the dryer basics.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Still, one upside to this machine's basic control panel is it's a breeze to understand. That's in stark contrast with the GE GFDS260EFWW which uses an almost unreadable screen and command center littered with mysterious text, complex diagrams and buttons packed too tightly together. The GE GTD45EASJWS dryer's main dial rotates to select your desired laundry cycle. Aided by the dryer's moisture sensors, the machine can automatically process casual clothes, delicate fabrics and more durable cottons. The knob also lets you kick the appliance into manual mode based on elapsed time instead of data from the water sensors.

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Smaller knobs control secondary cycle options.

There are three smaller dials as well for toggling the dryer's secondary functions on and off. These include "Extended Tumble," "Temperature" and "Signal" (essentially a buzzer alert). Other than those four knobs and a small "Start" button, the control panel is bare. Also be aware that because there's no screen or display counting down how much time is left within a running cycle, the only heads-up you get is the cycle signal that buzzes when the dryer is just about complete.

Performance

Despite its vintage design and bare-bones feature set, the 7.2-cubic-foot capacity GE GTD45EASJWS dryer excels at its primary mission. After running the machine through our gauntlet of scientific tests, I was stunned at how well this clothes dryer performed. Keep in mind that our test procedures are built to measure how much water a dryer can remove from fabric and how long it requires to accomplish the task. We also strive to neutralize as many variables as possible during testing, including environmental conditions and test materials.

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The GE GTD45EASJWS dryer has a 7.2-cubic-foot capacity drum.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Using a pair of HE (high-efficiency) thermistors that track internal drum moisture, the GTD45EASJWS dryer took an average of 48 minutes to complete our test loads. For each trial we selected the machine's "Optimal Dry" cycle (meant for both cottons and linens) and its "Cottons Regular" temperature setting. This time matched the GE GFDS260EFWW (also 48 minutes) and 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 GTD45EASJWSGE GTD86ESPJMCLG DLEX 5000
Capacity 8 cu. ft. 8 cu. ft. 7.2 cu. ft. 7.8 cu. ft.7.4 cu. ft.
Cycle types 91241414
Avg. cycle time 54 min.48 min.48 min.60 min.42 min.
Energy Star Certified YesNoNoYesYes
Avg. power usage per year 608 kWhNANA608 kWh607 kWh
App NoNoNoYes, Android/iOSYes, Android/iOS
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)

This GE dryer sucked an average 5.5 pounds of water from wet fabric during its cycles, identical to the Electrolux Perfect Steam (5.5 pounds) but less than the GFDS260EFWW (5.7 pounds), GE GTD86ESPJMC (5.6 pounds) and LG DLEX 6000 (5.6 pounds).

More important: the GE GTD45EASJWS dryer's water evaporation rate of 0.115-pound per minute, a stat which highlights an appliance's raw drying ability, places the machine ahead of both the Electrolux Perfect Steam (0.103-pound/minute), and GE GTD86ESPJMC (0.095-pound/minute). That said, both the GE GFDS260EFWW (0.121-pound/minute) and especially LG DLEX 5000 (0.135-pound/minute) demonstrated greater drying horsepower.

Water evaporation rate (pounds per minute)

LG DLEX 5000 0.135GE GFDS260EFWW 0.121GE GTD45EASJWS 0.115Electrolux EFME617S Perfect Steam 0.103GE GTD86ESPJMC 0.095
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

Conclusion

With a chassis inspired from product generations past, the $650 GE GTD45EASJWS dryer certainly doesn't look like a high-performance laundry appliance. Don't be too hasty to judge, though. Underneath the machine's dated design lies the hardware to dry clothes like a pro -- performance that beat out dryers that cost nearly twice as much, such as the $1,099 Electrolux Perfect Steam EFME617 and $1,200 GE GTD86ESPJMC. Simply put, budget shoppers would be foolish not to put this GE dryer on their short list.

Demanding home-appliance consumers with more coin to rub together and a higher standard to meet though, might do well to pass up the GE GTD45EASJWS in favor of products with modern styling and controls, plus steam and specialty fabric cycles. Case in point: the Electrolux Perfect Steam EFME617. which compellingly offers all the above along with a bigger drum to handle more clothes. You also have the option of placing the dryer on a pedestal accessory or stacking it vertically with its companion washer.

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6.6

GE GTD45EASJWS dryer

Score Breakdown

Design 5.5Usability 7Features 5.5Performance 7.5
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