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Samsung FlexDry DV9900 Dryer review: Samsung FlexDry packs two dryers into one

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If you're going to spend almost two grand on a brand new clothes dryer, it better have every bell and whistle in the book. The new $1,900 Samsung FlexDry DV9900 (roughly £1480 or AU$2560) offers that and then some. With two dryer compartments folded into one machine, it lets you dry standard-sized loads in its main drum, and smaller loads of delicates in a separate drying compartment in the lid. Thanks to built-in Wi-Fi you can monitor and control both dryer modules with your phone as well.

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7.9

Samsung FlexDry DV9900 Dryer

The Good

The Samsung FlexDry DV9900 has two dryer dryer sections for handling large and tumble free laundry items separately and simultaneously. It's attractive, elegantly styled and performs well. It offers many standard dryer cycles and steam modes. It talks to a mobile app over Wi-Fi so you can control the dryer with your phone.

The Bad

It's large, expensive, and can't be stacked vertically to save space. With a total of 7.5 cubic feet, it has less capacity than some competing machines.

The Bottom Line

Samsung FlexDry's two drying compartments offer some impressive time-savings, but its sky-high price tag places it out of reach of all but the most well-heeled shoppers.

Of course this is a massive amount to pay for a new clothes dryer no matter what it can do. That figure climbs even higher if you plan to pair the FlexDry with Samsung's companion washer, the $1,900 WV9900 FlexWash, that also boasts two washing compartments. If your budget can swing the expense and you often wash loads with lots of delicates, then the FlexDry is worth the investment.

Design and features

To say the Samsung DV9900 FlexDry is merely large is a gross understatement. Towering at a height of 47 inches and stretching 27 inches wide by 32.5 inches deep, its physical presence is imposing. This appliance is clad in a skin of black stainless steel too (also available in white) making it more a 4-foot tall obelisk than a traditional domestic dryer. Even so, the FlexDry is almost a foot shorter than LG's DLEX5000 dryer when mounted on top of its WDP4V pedestal.

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The Samsung FlexDry is a massive, attractive and unique laundry machine.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The dryer's primary control panel provides 12 cycles to tackle everything in the main drum from the "Heavy Duty" fabric in bedding to "Towels," "Active Ware," "Delicates" and "Perm Press."

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The FlexDry lacks a cycle knob but still has plenty of cycles and settings to choose from.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Hooking up the dryer to a cold water line supplies the machine's three steam modes. A short "Refresh" cycle pumps steam into the drum for a few minutes while "Wrinkle Away" runs for 20 minutes or more to power through tough creases. For removing unpleasant odors and hopefully germs from certain textiles, the "Steam Sanitise" mode applies a mixture of high heat and water vapor to sturdy fabrics.

Despite its size, the FlexDry offers a total drying capacity of 7.5 cubic feet. That's less that what some other monster machines provide such as the Kenmore 69133 (8.8 cubic feet) and LG DLEX 9000V (9 cubic feet). The FlexDry strikes a handsome profile though. This appliance is all smooth curves, rounded edges framed in silver highlights. The front of the dryer lacks the usual cycle dial, a knob that typically dominates every other control on an appliance's panel. As a result, the FlexDry has the sleek, clean look reminiscent of a fancy audio receiver -- not something meant to hide in the laundry room.

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The top of the FlexDry opens up to accept delicate clothes and other tumble-free items.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Are two dryers better than one?

The answer really depends on what kind of clothes you launder most often. As a family man, my dirty hampers contain all manner of items from swimwear, exercise garments and yoga pants spun from synthetics to polyester blend shirts, cotton socks and dress shirts, jeans and yes underwear.

To make life easier I wash everything in cold water and don't separate anything. If I come across a few items in a load that are particularly fragile, I'll remove them to hang dry before tossing everything else into the dryer. I know it's a poor strategy since my laundry likely isn't as clean as it could be. I also waste time waiting for delicates to drip dry before I can wear them.

The FlexDry's upper dryer solves some of this problem. Built to wick moisture away from delicates, rather than tumble dry them, the chamber is a shallow box built into the lid on top of the machine that fills with hot air. A slim section of controls above the main panel provides cycles to control the upper drying chamber.

A special "flexible rack" rests on supports to suspend it above the bottom surface of the upper dryer. The idea here is to lay your items flat across the rack. Air from below will then pass through the rack's mesh screen surface and dry articles on top of it.

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Control and keep taps on the FlexDry through the Samsung Smart Home app.

Brian Bennett/CNET

Smart app

A growing number of washers and dryers come with an app that lets you either control or monitor your laundry from a smart phone. The Samsung FlexDry follows the trend. Like select GE and LG appliances along with its matching Samsung FlexWash washing machine, the FlexDry connects to the internet via Wi-Fi. Once you get it online, you can receive wash status alerts, monitor current status and in some cases control both of the FlexDry's dryer systems with your phone.

These functions are made possible via the Samsung Smart Home mobile app. For testing purposes I used a Galaxy S6 handset since since according to Samsung the FlexDry's smart functions have been "optimized" for its Galaxy S and Galaxy Note series phones. Nevertheless, the app should also work with other devices given they run versions of Android 4.0 or iOS 8.0 and higher.

For safety's sake, however, gas-powered models of the FlexDry don't support remote control over dryer cycles. Likewise, to enable the feature on electric FlexDry machines you must be physically present and press one, two or both "Smart Control" buttons (for delicate and main dryer units).

As connected appliance apps go, the Samsung Smart Home experience was relatively pleasant. Unlike LG's Laundry app which is a convoluted nightmare of mysterious icons, services and redundant features, Samsung's software has a pretty clean layout. The only issue I had was that I couldn't maintain "Smart Control" over both the top and bottom dryer units at the same time. When I enabled remote control over one I then lost command over the other. Whether this is by design, a software glitch or due to a flaky internet connection is unclear.

Performance

The FlexDry DV9900 proved a competent clothes dryer during lab testing. We design our tests to measure how much moisture a dryer can remove from fabric as well as the time required to finish the job. We also try to control as many variables as possible during testing, including environmental conditions and test materials. For our trials we selected the machine's normal cycle (suitable for "cottons and linens" as described by the manual) and its medium temperature setting.

Dryers compared

Dryer Electrolux EFME617S Perfect SteamGE GFDS260EFWWGE GTD45EASJWSGE GTD81ESSJWSGE GTD86ESPJMCKenmore 65132Kenmore 69133Kenmore 81383Kenmore Elite 81072LG DLEX 3570VLG DLEY 1701VLG DLEX 5000LG DLEX 9000VSamsung FlexDry DV9900
Capacity 8 cubic feet 8 cubic feet7.2 cubic feet7.8 cubic feet7.8 cubic feet7 cubic feet8.8 cubic feet7.4 cubic feet9 cubic feet7.4 cubic feet7.3 cubic feet7.4 cubic feet9 cubic feet7.4 cubic feet (total)
Cycle Types 912412144910141212141412
Avg Cycle Time 54 min48 min48 min67 min60 min41 min38 min46 min43 min41 min44 min42 min43 min43 Min.
Avg water amount removed 5.5 pounds5.7 pounds5.5 pounds5.6 pounds5.6 pounds5.4 pounds5.3 pounds5.7 pounds5.4 pounds5.4 pounds5.5 pounds5.6 pounds5.5 pounds5.4
Energy Star Certified YesNoNoYesYesNoYesNoNoNoYesYes NoYes
Avg Power Usage Per Year 608 kWhNANA608 kWh608 kWhNA608 kWhNANANA607 kWh607 kWhNA607 kWh
App NoNoNoYes, Android/iOS (optional upgrade)Yes, Android/iOSNoNoNoNoYes, but functions limited.NoYes, Android/iOSYes, 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)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 machine's main dryer took an average of 43 minutes to complete our test loads -- practically if not completely identical to the cycle times of previous dryers we've put to the test including the LG DLEX 9000 (43 minutes), LG DLEY 1701V (44), Kenmore Elite 81072 (43), LG DLEX 5000 (42) and Kenmore 81383 (46).

The swiftest machine we've tested so far is the Kenmore 69133 (38 minutes), a unit actually built by Whirlpool.

One figure which describes the full drying power of a dryer is the appliance's water evaporation rate. Essentially it outlines the amount of water on average a dryer can remove from test loads of wet cloth over a period of time.

The FlexDry DV9900 notched a respectable evaporation rate of 0.126 pound per minute, slightly above average and places it a hair behind the LG DLEX9000 (0.128 pound per minute). The Kenmore 69133 (0.139 pound per minute) and LG DLEX 5000 (0.135 pound per minute) remain the most powerful dryers we've put through the ringer. Check the evaporation rate table below for more details.

WATER EVAPORATION RATE (IN POUNDS PER MINUTE)

Kenmore 69133 0.139LG DLEX 5000 0.135Kenmore 65132 0.133LG DLEX 3570V 0.133LG DLEX 9000V 0.128Samsung FlexDry DV9900 0.126LG DLEY 1701V 0.124Kenmore Elite 81072 0.124Kenmore 81383 0.122GE GFDS260EFWW 0.121GE GTD45EASJWS 0.115Electrolux EFME617S Perfect Steam 0.103GE GTD86ESPJMC 0.095GE GTD81ESSJWS 0.084
Notes: Longer bars indicate better performance

Conclusion

A swift clothes dryer like the bare-bones Kenmore 65132 costs as little as $600 and the simply gorgeous LG DLEY 1701V runs for $1,000 or less. That makes it hard to swallow the exorbitant price of the $1,900 Samsung FlexDry DV9900. Consider those machines instead if conserving cash is your goal.

Of course like LG's stylish number, this appliance is easy on the eyes as well and performs tricks no other home dryer can. The FlexDry may not have the capacity and power of huge driers with immense drums, the $1,800 LG DLEX 9000V and $1,100 Kenmore 69133 come to mind, but the FlexDry can run two loads at once, or a separate, smaller load. If your weekly laundry includes lots of fussy items that you don't want to tumble dry, the FlexDry's secondary delicates dryer will save time they'd otherwise spend dripping on the rack. For those with the means, that alone will make this buying decision easy.

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7.9

Samsung FlexDry DV9900 Dryer

Score Breakdown

Design 8Usability 8Features 9Performance 7