The GE GTD42EASJWW (MSRP $600) has what’s necessary to dry clothes, and little else. It’s a simple machine, with virtually no extra features and a limited cycle list. Yet special features like an aluminized alloy drum and sturdy controls keep it from feeling cheap.
The same can be said for plenty of dryers—most of them are relatively uncomplicated, after all. Yet this model has two things going for it: A low price, and a paired washer that’s one of the best traditional top-load machines we’ve ever tested. If you’re after simplicity on a tight budget, this GE is worth your attention.
Design & Usability
Sturdy and simple
It’s a big white box. What else were you expecting?
This straightforward, 7.2-cu.-ft. electric dryer is about as basic as it gets in terms of design. The silvery edging on the control knobs and bright blue highlights on part of the cycle list are the only stimulation your eyes are going to get.
Speaking of knobs, one of the things we really appreciate about this model is how sturdy the controls feel. They all have weight, and don’t feel cheap. We only wish imprecise manual timers would disappear forever, but that’s not a surprise in this price range.
Inside, you’ll find an aluminized alloy drum, a feature shared by all the GE dryers in this series. It’s not as durable as the stainless steel you’d find on high-end models, but it’s far more durable and corrosion-resistant than enameled competitors. Something else we were surprised to see was the interior light, which should help you keep track of runaway socks and other errant items.
The lint trap, unfortunately, is terrible. GE redesigned it to keep loose bits of crud and dust from collecting in the gaps around the trap’s edges, and in that sense it works, but it also caught on the edges of its slot every time we tried to use it. GE: It’s time for a re-redesign here.
Performance & Features
Better drying than you’ll pay for
This dryer never got a load of laundry 100% dry, but on the other hand, overdrying is a classic pitfall of inexpensive dryers, and the GTD42EASJWW fell into that trap. Delicate fabrics got a bit too warm, but otherwise the Normal and Quick cycles (using the Regular Heat setting) each came close to total dryness. If you just crank the timer a little further, an extra five minutes should help dry larger loads.
In fact, adjusting the time is about all you can do to alter a cycle. There are four distinct cycles—Cottons, Casuals, Delicates, and Timed Dry—that can be paired with one of four temperature settings. You can mix and match to your heart’s content, but other than that, the only other decision left to make is whether Extended Tumble is on or off.
For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page.
The warranty on this GE is as basic as the machine itself: You get one year of parts and labor coverage. If anything breaks that’s the manufacturer’s fault during your first year of ownership, GE will take care of it.
Simple, But Effective
Streamlined laundry at a low cost
While the GE GTD42EASJWW may not be the cheapest or the best dryer you can buy, it’s very close, and one of the best available in this price range. Most retailers are selling this model for about $499, but we’ve seen some go as low as $449—an absolute steal.
Sure the drying profile isn’t perfect—especially for delicates—but at this end of the spectrum you’re not going to find perfection. What you will find are basically correct temperatures, adequate cycle times, and a refreshing lack of pointless features and cycles. If you just want to toss in your laundry and hit a button, the GTD42EASJWW is an easy recommendation.