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Dryer Door Styles

by Olly Mason

Compared to washers, dryers aren’t the most dynamic appliance. That can be an advantage when the main decision for purchasing a dryer comes down to performance and function, but there are other minor details that can also have major impacts on the overall user experience. One of those fine lines is a dryer door. A dryer door serves one function, but its mechanics can be the solution or problem of your laundry routine. Follow along as we detail three dryer door designs, along with the benefits and considerations each offers.

Front Load vs. Top Load Dryers

First, let’s clarify what we mean by top load and front load dryers. All dryers technically use a front-facing door, but traditionally, the term top load dryer is used for laundry pairs with a top load washer. Likewise, front load washer and dryer pairs use matching side-swing doors, and occasionally feature reversible doors, as seen on several GE and Electrolux dryer models. Let’s go deeper into the attributes that distinguish each type.

Hamper-Style Dryer Doors

Closeup of hamper style dryer door on Whirlpool model

First up, the hamper-style dryer door. This type of dryer door opens forward and down rather than to the side, creating a makeshift “hamper.” When open, the surface is ideal for holding clothes before loading (like checking pockets before drying, for instance), and can even be used to fold clothes on the spot. As an added perk, the platform also serves as a safety net that catches clothes when they fall, preventing them from hitting the floor and becoming soiled again.

Perhaps the biggest incentive a hamper-style dryer door provides is that there are fewer installation limitations. Unlike drop-down doors, dryers with side-swing doors are restricted to their surroundings, such as walls and cabinetry, which dictate how far the door can open. This can be solved by reversing the orientation of the door to open on the side that’s free, but not all models come with the option of a reversible door.

In contrast, by opening forward, a hamper door makes it easy to access the inside of a dryer from any angle and the only consideration to keep in mind is the clearance directly in front of the unit. Since the chances of a wall or cabinet blocking a pull-down dryer door are slimmer than the chances of an obstruction to the side of a dryer, this style of dryer door can be used in more spaces, either on the left or right side of a washer. 

Side-Opening Dryer Doors 

Person grabbing items from inside a front load dryer

Side-swing dryer doors are most commonly used with a matching front-load washer. The design also creates an even work path between a washer and a dryer, which can help to reduce the amount of bending between unloading and loading, especially since the design provides better access to the back of the drum. Where a hamper door is ideal for placing clothes, side-swing doors make it easy to place a laundry basket below when each unit is on a pedestal. As a result, dropping clothes into a basket can be done in one fell swoop.

As mentioned above, this design can lead to some challenges when placed next to a wall or even next to a washer. Ideally, front load washers and dryers should use doors that open in the same direction (both open to the left, for example) in order for both units to open simultaneously without the doors colliding.

Dual-Opening Dryer Doors  

Side by side view of LG EasyLoad dryer door function

Newer dryer models, such as those from the LG 7300, 7800, and 7900 series with an EasyLoad dryer door, make it easier to accommodate any kind of laundry space with a door that opens both down and out. Take a closer look in this video.

As seen in the example above, the design doesn’t come without flaws. Most notedly, the front-loading door function has a max opening position of 40 degrees, and that creates a slope ideal for clothes to drop right into the drum, users cannot use the door to retrieve clothes. Instead, once clothes are finished, they need to be removed using a side-swing door function. That means installation still depends on a laundry space’s and any possible obstructions. All the same, the flexibility that this innovation provides is a step forward toward utilizing every inch available in laundry rooms of all sizes.

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