Good Features And Drying

4/5
This was the first appliance we've had by Smeg, and overall have been pleased so far. It has many similarities to units by the likes of Bosch and Siemens. It's not the perfect machine as there are a few things that detract from it, but we'll go over the important aspects. There is both an 8Kg and 9Kg version of this machine, and are comparable. We went with the 9Kg version because there was little price difference with the 8Kg. The Smeg DHT91LUK machine is well constructed overall, things slide in and fit where they should with ease, such as with the various filters and water collection. The front panel with the controls does feel a bit cheap compared to some others, but was robust enough to handle being pushed when installing the unit under the kitchen worktop. The power cord, however, was too short and needed an extra 0.5m to reach the plug socket, as it was barely long enough to reach past the washing machine. We had a short extension cord to help with this, but it's something to keep in mind. Leveling the machine was slightly tricky, as there is a gusset around the base of the machine that makes getting access to the feat a little difficult, but this is something that only needs to be done once. The dust and lint filters were good. The primary filter inside the machine is a fine, silky mesh and catches a lot of dust, and is very easy to clean out. There is a second filter in the bottom of the machine with a black foam that also needs to be cleaned periodically, this can be done with a brush. A spare filter is supplied. The water collection is based in the top of the machine, where normally the detergent drawer for a washing machine is placed. It goes the full length of the machine, so it's quite long and would become heavy when full. When emptying the water, not all of it flows out, and catches in a small pocket, so it's hard to empty it completely. There is a waste pipe that can be fitted to the back of the unit (included), that allows for automatic emptying, although the instructions were a little difficult to follow to setup. There is a bright light fitted to the inside of the drum which comes on when the door opens, which was a pleasant surprise. The alarm when drying completes can be disabled, which was also a welcome option (there's a volume control option). The front door can also be reversed to open towards the left, rather than the right, if you so wish. The Smeg dryer is a sensor-based dryer, like all units today, and does have the same issues as all others when it comes to not drying things quite enough, but there are numerous workarounds to this issue. It does help to dry things on the right setting; for example, do not use the synthetics cycle for cottons, as it will be very damp. You can set several levels of dryness through both the program used, and with the extra dryness setting. If you still run into issues (like we did with a microfiber duvet), you can put the machine into manual timed mode (a critical feature on these sensor dryers), which was very straightforward to do and got the duvet very dry. Unlike many of the other dryers, this one has a reverse spin action, so clothes are not folded over themselves repeatedly but instead alternates spin direction like a washing machine, reducing creasing. The machine will also go into an anti-crease mode when drying completes, by spinning up every couple of minutes for a few seconds, preventing clothes from settling on each other. This can be disabled so save power if you wish. The dryer is one of the new generation heat-pump designs, which are basically the same as a condenser, but just uses less power to be more efficient. All the heat is trapped inside the drum, instead of vented out. There is not a lot of waste heat spread around the machine, and opening the door is like opening an oven, so it seals well. Most washing loads were dried within an hour or less, and we did not find it to take the full 4 hours it predicted on the machine. In fact, you can basically ignore the timer on the display, since it finishes significantly faster, even with heavy loads. However, because the machine is a heat-pump, it can not be used in a cold room, like a garage or conservatory during the winter, and has to be kept inside, but at least it doesn't need venting. We can not say how well the machine will last in the long run, but the company is reputable, so we at least have a name to go by. Overall, satisfied with the machine, as any shortfalls with it can be easily worked around or alternative modes used to dry.