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(National) Oct. 6, 2004 - The $1200 Maytag Neptune Drying Center looks like your average dryer, but the company claims it adds a whole new dimension to laundry day. Consumer Reports' Pat Slaven tested it to see what you get for that kind of money.
The top of the Drying Center is a heated closet for clothes you would normally air dry, "The racks are removable, so you can pull the racks out and hang items on the top, or if you have a bunch of sweaters, say, or lingerie that you don't want to shrink you can lie them flat on the racks."
Pat tumble dried a regular load of wash in the dryer. The Neptune performed well, rating among the best of dozens of dryers tested. Next, Pat assessed the Drying Center's ability to shake out wrinkles from wet shirts as they dried, but they were "still wrinkled."
Very wrinkled dry shirts hung in the Drying Center came out much better. The wrinkles did " shake out," leaving the shirts much smoother and ready to wear.
Next, Pat tested the odor-removing removing feature, "This did a good job of getting food and smoke odors out of clothing. You hang your clothes up, put a dryer sheet in and a few hours later the odor's gone."
The center delivered impressive results with knits as well, drying them much more quickly than ones that were air dried. And, Pat's measurements showed they barely shrunk at all.
But, you'll need plenty of room for the Neptune Drying Center. It's more than six feet tall, and at 34 inches wide it takes up five more inches than an average dryer.
But, if you have the space and the money to spare Consumer Reports says the Neptune Drying Center does deliver very good results.
If you're not willing to shell out that kind of money for a dryer, don't despair. The magazine says you can get a very good dryer for much less. The Kenmore 6280 from Sears rated excellent in drying performance. It might lack the fancy drying center, but at $400 it's a Consumer Reports Best Buy.
A warning from Consumer Reports: Dryers can pose a serious safety hazard. As many as 20 people die each year in fires attributed to clothes dryers, most due to lint build-up because of clogged vents. Be sure to clean your dryer vent once a year to make sure it's lint free.