Kenmore 81383 Dryer review: This dryer lacks style but has plenty of practical features

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MSRP: $1,050.00

The Good The Kenmore 81383 dryer has plenty of special cycles and steam modes. The appliance's controls are also straightforward and easy to operate. The dryer offers satisfying cycle speed, and you can stack it vertically or place it on a pedestal accessory.

The Bad While practical, the Kenmore 81383 dryer's design is generic and unexciting. Instead of using a dedicated water line, you must fill the dryer's water reservoir by hand. The Kenmore 81383's 7.4-cubic-foot capacity is small compared with the drum size of other dryers.

The Bottom Line With its solid performance and extensive features, you won't be disappointed by the capable Kenmore 81383 dryer, but this machine's boring exterior won't thrill anyone.

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6.7 Overall
  • Design 5.5
  • Usability 7
  • Features 7
  • Performance 6.5

The $1,050 Kenmore 81383 clothes dryer doesn't flaunt a snazzy design or metal and glass like the $1,000 LG DLEY 1701V. It also lacks both the drying speed and the large capacity of its bigger sibling, the $1,100 Kenmore 69133 dryer. Still, this appliance does have some appeal, specifically to the logically minded who shop with their heads instead of their hearts.

What the Kenmore 81383 offers is a practical mix of useful features and satisfactory performance for its price. You can also purchase upgrades for this model which allow its owners to either place it on a pedestal or stack it vertically with companion washers. Of course, these add ons are common among front-load style laundry appliances and can't entirely mitigate the Kenmore 81383's forgettable exterior.

Design and features

With its subdued gray color scheme, which Kenmore calls "Metallic Silver", and a generic profile, this dryer is by no means flashy. Indeed you could easily mistake it for one of countless other front-loading units on the market. It's certainly no head-turner like the LG DLEY 1701V, which sports a design that's simply beautiful.

This Kenmore dryer's generic design could be found on any number of machines.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Measuring 39 inches tall and 27 inches wide by 30 inches deep, the Kenmore 81383 is more compact than other dryers I've recently taken for a spin. Of course those appliances, such as the Electrolux EFME617S Perfect Steam (8 cubic feet), Kenmore 69133 (8.8 cu. ft.), and Kenmore Elite 81072 (9 cu. ft.) all have roomier drums and spacious capacity to match. They make the 7.4-cubic-foot capacity you'll find on the Kenmore 81383 feel cramped by comparison.

The Kenmore 81383 dryer places its controls front and center.

Chris Monroe/CNET

As a machine built to pair well with front-load style washers such as its companion, the Kenmore 41393 washing machine, the Kenmore 81383's controls sit on its front face. Contained in a panel right above the drum, all the dryer's buttons and keys are large and within easy reach. I also appreciate the big knob that turns without much effort and clicks softly into place when you select a dryer cycle.

Designed to handle different garment and fabric types, the dryer provides many cycles to choose from as well. Ten in all, they range from "Delicates" and "Casual" to "Heavy Duty" and "Bulky/Comforter," just to name a few. The appliance is also equipped with steam modes to refresh, dewrinkle and even sanitize items. Instead of using a dedicated water line, however, the dryer relies on a small reservoir you must fill by hand periodically.