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Kenmore 65132 dryer review: There's a speed demon hidden behind this dryer's stodgy looks

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The Good The Kenmore 65132 dryer powers through wet clothes quickly and has controls that are simple to use. The appliance also has a very low sticker price.

The Bad The basic design and boring exterior of the Kenmore 65132 dryer won't excite anyone. Outside of automatic drying cycles, this Kenmore dryer is devoid of fancy extras. Also, it has a lint screen that's awkward to manipulate.

The Bottom Line The plain Kenmore 65132 dryer offers swift performance for not much cash but no extras either.

6.7 Overall
  • Design 5.5
  • Usability 6.5
  • Features 5.5
  • Performance 8

Clad in a very basic design, and sporting simple mechanical controls, the $600 Kenmore 65132 dryer won't win any points for style or sophistication. Neither will the laundry appliance wow you with extra features. But despite its modest appearance, hidden within this unassuming Kenmore machine you'll find a surprising amount of clothes-drying power.

The Kenmore 65132 dryer is affordably priced especially when you consider how well it performs. Its old fashioned interface means it can be cantankerous to operate at times too Still, it's hard to find a dryer this powerful at any price let alone one this affordable. Another penny-pinching option is the $650 GEGTD45EASJWS dryer which offers similar performance yet is a little easier to use.

Design and features

All white and almost completely unadorned, there's no escaping that this cube-shaped appliance is essentially a bland rectangular box. The only mildly interesting element is the Kenmore dryer's back-mounted control panel. Specifically, the panel's top edge slopes gently upwards at its center, then softly drops back down again -- exciting stuff.

The Kenmore 665132 dryer looks boring and basic.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Measuring 43 inches tall by 29 inches wide and 28 inches deep, the Kenmore 65132 is relatively compact and offers a smallish 7-cubic-foot-capacity drum. It's similar in size, shape and capacity to the $1,000 LG DLEY 1701V (7.3 cubic feet), another laundry appliance meant to squeeze into cramped laundry rooms. Of course, LG's machine costs close to double the Kenmore's asking price, is packed with features, and flaunts a beautifully designed exterior.

The only design flair to speak of is a curving control panel.

Chris Monroe/CNET

This Kenmore dryer's controls are just as sparse as its appearance. There are just four dials on the machine and no screen or display whatsoever. Moving from left to right, the first knob sets cycle temperature according to fabric type; Low (delicates), Medium (casual), High (cotton). Next is the main control, the cycle knob, which selects whether the dryer operates automatically using its moisture sensors, dries by timer, or just runs cool air through the drum.

Last are dials to engage the Wrinkle Guard function, a final fluff cycle to stop wrinkles from setting in, and a Cycle Signal toggle that sounds an alarm when the dryer has reached the end of its cycle. This knob also doubles as the dryer's start button. There are certainly no bells and whistles on this machine, such as fancy steam modes or specialized garment cycles. The upside, though, is that the dryer's uncluttered controls are simple and straightforward.

The dryer door is small and doesn't open all the way.

Chris Monroe/CNET

There are aspects of this machine's basic construction, however, that I'd rather do without. For instance the drum door's exposed metal hinges give the appliance a shoddy and unfinished feel. I also don't like shape of the door, which is wider than it is tall and swings downward instead of left or right. The door doesn't open all the way either but instead stops at a 90 degree angle (parallel to the floor). All this makes the door's opening feel small and much too narrow.

What I find most annoying, though, is the Kenmore dryer's lint screen. Long, thin and made from flimsy metal mesh, it's awkward to handle and bends easily. It also takes some elbow grease to yank the screen out of (or push it back into) its bay.

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