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Best Electric Dryers for $800 or Less

Some dryers are pricey, but Consumer Reports' tests confirm that certain lower-cost models are up to the task

A woman unloading one of the best electric dryers for $800 or less.

Dryers haven’t changed as dramatically as washers in the past decade, yet some sell for well over $1,000. Manufacturers style dryers so that they can be paired with their matching washers, and the washer price drives the price of the dryer. But for $800 or less, you can still buy a great dryer that’s gentle on fabrics. 

Electric dryers are the big sellers, and that’s what we buy and test. “Electric and gas dryers have performed similarly in our tests for decades,” says Richard Handel, the test engineer who oversees our laundry appliance tests. “So now we test electric dryers, and we include their gas versions in our dryer ratings because we expect them to perform similarly.”

How We Test Dryers

To find out how well each dryer does its job, CR’s testers run loads of laundry of varying weights and fabrics. We time how long it takes to dry each load using the most appropriate setting.


Then we set the dryer to its minimum dryness level to find out whether clothes come out damp. Why? Some folks like to iron cottons when they’re slightly damp, or hang them and allow them to air-dry to prevent wrinkles and avoid ironing. We also set the machine to its maximum dryness level to find out whether it can dry laundry in the shortest possible time without exposing it to high temperatures.

Our panelists judge the dryer’s noise level as the machine dries an average-sized load, and we evaluate convenience, including the controls and how easy it is to load and unload the machine.

Best Electric Dryers for $800 or Less

You’ll see more than 150 full-sized electric and gas dryers in our dryer ratings, plus 15 compact dryers. The full-sized and compact dryers we test are from well-known brands such as GE, Kenmore, LG, Maytag, and Samsung, and brands that may seem less familiar, such as Asko and Miele.  

LG and Speed Queen stand out as the most reliable and the most well-liked electric and gas dryer brands in our survey. To make it easier for you to find the best dryer for your budget, we now incorporate lab-test results, predicted reliability, and owner satisfaction into one Overall Score, as you’ll see in our dryer ratings (washers, too). 

The eight electric dryers highlighted below appear in alphabetical order. They all have moisture sensors, which means they have a leg up on thermostat dryers when it comes to determining when laundry is dry, then shutting off the machine. This saves energy and proves to be easier on fabrics. For more details and options, see our comprehensive dryer ratings.

Kenmore 81182
Price: $700 
CR’s take: The Kenmore earned an Excellent rating in our drying performance tests. That means it can fully dry your clothes in a reasonable amount of time without reaching high temperatures—and can also leave clothes a bit damp, if you prefer. Available in white, the dryer’s door has a round window, so it looks just like a front-loading washer, with the controls on the front of the machine.  

Price: $765
CR’s take: Garnering an Excellent rating in our noise tests, this dryer quietly got the job done. It comes in white, and like the Kenmore above, looks like a front-loading washer. This dryer has a feature called FlowSense, which is a blocked-vent indicator. Our tests found that it detected fully blocked vents more reliably than an earlier version of indicators, and even stopped the dryer. But it wasn’t as good at detecting partially blocked vents. (A clogged vent increases drying time and energy use, but worse, the lint can cause dryer fires.)

CR’s take: Drying performance rated Excellent, and the LG’s strong Overall Score and appealing price make it a CR Best Buy. Available in white and graphite steel for a look similar to stainless steel, the dryer has a stylish window on a door that you open by pulling down, known as a hamper door, or swinging open—whichever works for you. This WiFi-enabled dryer also has a blocked-vent indicator. You can start or stop the machine from your smartphone and receive alerts when your laundry is done.

CR’s take: Earning an Excellent rating in our noise tests, this dryer quietly got to work. Choose between white and black stainless steel for a look that’s both modern and warmer than stainless. This LG also has a window on the door, and you can swing the door open or pull it down. The controls are placed atop the front of the machine—making it easier to read as you look down at them. Phoning it in? Yep, this dryer is WiFi-enabled. There’s also a steam feature, and our tests found that while steam left our cotton shirts with some wrinkles, it removed more odors from clothes than dryers without steam.

Maytag MEDB755DW
CR’s take: Quieter than the Maytag above, this dryer earned a Very Good rating in our noise tests. You’ll hear it running, but it shouldn’t disturb you. Available in white, the look is simple, and the dryer has a steam feature. That said, the moisture sensor remains the most important feature on any dryer, and you’ll see this called out in our dryer buying guide and noted in the Features & Specs section our our dryer ratings

Maytag MEDX655DW
Price: $600
CR’s take: This basic Maytag comes in white and scored only Good in our noise tests, meaning you’ll hear the dryer working because it makes annoying, sustained sounds. But if the dryer aces its task and is tucked away in the basement, do you care about the noise? However, Maytag received a Very Good rating for predicted reliability and for owner satisfaction in our latest survey. 

Whirlpool WED7500GW
Price: $700
CR’s take: The Whirlpool earned a Very Good rating in drying performance and boasts 26 cycle selections, several times the typical offering—and you may not need them all. There’s a window on the hamper door, and the controls are on the front. Available in white and chrome shadow, a finish meant to mimic stainless

Whirlpool WED85HEFW
CR’s take: This dryer rates Very Good in our noise tests, is available in white and chrome shadow, and looks like a front-loading washer. There’s a steam feature and an EcoBoost option. Unlike washers, dryers have fewer variables that can be altered to improve energy efficiency. That means either low heat and longer drying times or higher heat and shorter drying times. Our tests of the EcoBoost mode on other Whirlpool dryers found that those dryers used from 10 to 40 less energy than regular mode but took around 40 to 60 minutes longer to dry our 12-pound test load.

Electric dryers in Our Ratings.
Current Electric dryer Ratings

Recently Tested Clothes dryers

See our full list of Clothes dryer Ratings