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LG DLEX 9000V Dryer review: This speedy LG dryer has killer looks and a huge price tag

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Close your eyes and picture the pinnacle of domestic clothes drying. What you've imagined might very well be the $1,800 LG DLEX 9000V. Crafted in smooth curves and glossy surfaces, this dryer certainly looks luxurious, but, more importantly, it's big enough to handle large laundry loads with ease and powerful enough to process them quickly.

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LG DLEX 9000V Dryer

The Good

The LG DLEX 9000V dryer has a striking, attractive design, swift performance and a huge 9 cubic foot capacity. The dryer's front-mounted controls are simple to use and offer many specialty modes and steam cycles.

The Bad

The price is sky-high even for a well-appointed luxury laundry appliance. The companion mobile app has a confusing, cluttered layout. It's hard to close the door with force.

The Bottom Line

Sleek, powerful and fast, it's tough to beat the big LG DLEX 9000V dryer's mix of features, capacity and performance -- but its hefty price makes the machine's few flaws hard to ignore.

Still, the ultra-expensive DLEX 9000V isn't flawless. Despite its opulent price tag, the door feels flimsy, and the companion app and smart-home functions feel too complex to be truly useful. Forgive those flaws, though, and you'll be rewarded with excellent performance and features galore. That, along with the high style, makes this a compelling high-end appliance, especially for large families. If you're willing to consider a top-load style dryer without connected smarts, however, you can save a bundle by choosing the $1,100 Kenmore 69133 -- it's a close match that costs a lot less.

LG's big, deluxe dryer has plenty of power but costs a bundle

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Design and features

Essentially a larger version of the LG DLEX 5000, the DLEX 9000V benefits from all of its smaller sibling's design strengths and a few of its weaknesses as well. Specifically, the DLEX 9000V dryer flaunts the same handsome chassis (available in white or "graphite steel" finishes) that's made mainly from painted steel and chrome. Most of the dryer's front face consists of a smoothly curved door, which sports a window of darkly tinted glass.

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LG's DLEX 9000V dryer is sleek and attractive.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Behind the glass sits the dryer's huge 9-cubic-foot capacity stainless steel drum. This over-sized container offers much more room for clothing and bulky items than the 7.4 cubic foot capacity DLEX 5000. The obvious trade-off is a bigger physical footprint (40.9 inches tall, 29 inches wide, 33.4 inches deep).

Still, a front-mounted control panel helps to mask the dryer's girth, since it lives on the dryer's door and doesn't add undue height to the machine the way a top-mounted panel would. The panel's black plastic material also blends seamlessly into the door's dark glass window.

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The main control is a big cycle dial.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

At the center of this 4.5-inch tall strip is the dryer's main control, a cycle dial that spins and clicks gently both clockwise and counterclockwise. White LED lights ring the knob and glow to highlight precisely which dryer cycle it has selected. Overall, the machine's controls are very intuitive and a cinch to operate. One annoyance, though: The door itself feels too lightweight and flimsy, and doesn't slam shut comfortably. Employing any elbow grease to close it actually causes it to rebound back at you.

Just like the DLEX 5000, the 9000V offers 14 cycle programs to choose from. They range from basics such as "Normal," "Heavy Duty" and "Perm. Press" to advanced cycles for "Jumbo Dry" or "Bedding." There's even a "Downloaded" setting for activating special programs you've pulled from LG's servers in the cloud and installed yourself.

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A front-mounted panel has buttons that activate with a light touch.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

LG also sells pedestal accessories for the DLEX 9000V, in matching white ($300) and graphite steel ($330). These add-ons offer extra laundry storage, and also raise the dryer door so it's easier to reach.

Internet-connected smarts

Thanks to its internal Wi-Fi radio, the DLEX 9000V can link to the LG Smart Laundry app on your iPhone, iPad or Android device. Open it, and you'll be able to monitor the dryer's status and see how much time remains in an active cycle.

It's similar to what we've seen from competing smart appliances from GE, but LG's system is more ambitious. The GE Laundry software limits you to viewing current dryer status while LG's app lets you begin new cycles right from your phone or tablet.

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You can command the dryer through its mobile app.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

You can't start the dryer if you aren't home though, even through the app. If the dryer sits undisturbed for a few minutes, its "remote start" function switches off automatically. The only way to turn the option back on is to hold a physical button down, located on the appliance's control panel, for 3 seconds. I have no doubt this is a safety feature designed to prevent dryer cycles from firing up when no one's home -- either by you accidentally or via a malicious internet hack.

My experience using the app this time around went smoother compared with when I took it for a test drive on the LG DLEX 5000. Specifically, I didn't suffer any of the mysterious software crashes as I did before. That said, I did have to walk through the setup procedure (including installing, removing and reinstalling the app) a few times before it finally detected my test dryer.

Regardless, the app is still bloated with way too many features and functions, along with icons that are either redundant, have no clear use or both. I counted a full eight tiny icons that are closer to mini apps within the main app. Worse, two of them appear to have the same name, "Laundry." Opening the icons reveals that one is for "Laundry Stats" while the other is for "Laundry Tips."

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LG's app packs many features but is cluttered and the remote start function shuts off quickly.

Screenshot by Brian Bennett/CNET

Performance

Even though it's big, the LG DLEX 9000V dryer demonstrated nimble performance during lab testing. In fact, the appliance qualifies as the third most powerful clothes dryer we've tested to date.

For the record, we design our tests to assess how much water a dryer can remove from fabric as well as the time required to complete the task. We also strive to mitigate as many variables as possible during testing, including environmental conditions and test materials. For our tests we chose the machine's normal cycle (meant for "work clothes, corduroys, etc," as outlined in the manual) and its medium temperature setting.

Dryers compared

Dryer Electrolux EFME617S Perfect SteamGE GFDS260EFWWGE GTD45EASJWSGE GTD81ESSJWSGE GTD86ESPJMCKenmore 69133Kenmore 81383Kenmore Elite 81072LG DLEY 1701VLG DLEX 5000LG DLEX 9000V
Capacity (cubic feet) 887.27.87.88.87.497.37.49
Cycle Types 9124121491014121414
Avg Cycle Time (minutes) 5448486760384643444243
Avg water amount removed (pounds) 5.55.75.55.65.65.35.75.45.55.65.5
Energy Star Certified YesNoNoYesYesYesNoNoYesYes No
Avg Power Usage Per Year (kWh) 608NANA608608608NANA607607NA
App NoNoNoYes, Android/iOS (optional upgrade)Yes, Android/iOSNoNoNoNoYes, 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)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)1 year limited (parts, labor)

The DLEX 9000V took an average of 43 minutes to process our test loads -- close, if not identical to the cycle times of other dryers including the LG DLEY 1701V (44 minutes), Kenmore Elite 81072 (43), LG DLEX 5000 (42) and Kenmore 81383 (46).

This result might seem unlikely but not when you consider that all these machines are either LG appliances outright or undercover LG products rebranded with the Kenmore moniker. As such, they no doubt share hardware and software in common. The swiftest machine we've tested so far is the Kenmore 69133 (38 minutes), but it's actually a Whirlpool appliance in disguise.

To get a handle on the raw drying power of the LG DLEX 9000V, we looked to the appliance's water evaporation rate. Essentially this figure describes the amount of water on average a dryer can remove from test loads of wet fabric in a given period of time.

Here again the DLEX 9000V flexed its muscle, achieving an evaporation rate of 0.128 pound per minute, earning it a third-place finish behind the Kenmore 69133 (0.139 pound per minute) and LG DLEX 5000 (0.135 pound per minute). Check the evaporation rate table below for more details.

WATER EVAPORATION RATE (IN POUNDS PER MINUTE)

Kenmore 69133 0.139LG DLEX 5000 0.135LG DLEX 9000V 0.128LG DLEY 1701V 0.124Kenmore Elite 81072 0.124Kenmore 81383 0.122GE GFDS260EFWW 0.121GE GTD45EASJWS 0.115Electrolux EFME617S 0.103GE GTD86ESPJMC 0.095GE GTD81ESSJWS 0.084
Notes: Longer bars indicate better performance

Just like my experience with its smaller kin, the DLEX 5000, I was pleasantly surprised by the LG DLEX 9000V's steam functions. Compared with the majority of dryers I've used with similar abilities, wrinkled cotton dress shirts I ran through this machine's "Steam Fresh" cycle were smoother and had less creases. Of course, the results can't measure up to the crispness of using a real iron, but they'll work in a pinch.

Conclusion

You can't deny that the $1,800 LG DLEX 9000V is a whole lot of clothes dryer rolled up into one impressive home appliance -- and for the exorbitant amount of money that it costs, you'd expect nothing less. Not only is it stylish, loaded with features and easy to operate, but it also works quickly and its capacity is massive.

Of course, almost two grand is a heck of a lot of cash to drop on a single appliance. You can save a great deal by foregoing the front-loading design, and more still by passing up the bragging rights of owning an internet-connected dryer -- not such a stark sacrifice when those smarts are as clunkily executed as they are here. The $1,100 Kenmore 69133 dryer, for example, boasts a drum that's just as roomy, performance that's even more powerful and a design that's almost as attractive.

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LG DLEX 9000V Dryer

Score Breakdown

Design 8Usability 7.7Features 8.5Performance 8