Time and Temperature Settings
Every clothes dryer offers at least three settings: delicate, regular, and permanent press. Each setting is a pre-determined combination of dry time and air temperature.
A more advanced model will have separate controls for the time — anywhere from 5 to 80 minutes — and the temperature: high, medium and low. This gives you more flexibility and allows for a greater range of time/temperature combinations for different types of clothing.
In either scenario, the dryer uses a thermostat that does not sense moisture, but simply brings the heat to a set level. If you find yourself shrinking or fading clothing on a regular basis, it is worth looking for a model with moisture sensors and/or monitors.
Moisture Sensors and Monitors
More advanced dryers have moisture sensors that measure humidity in the drum and stop the cycle when the load is dry, not just when it is hot. This limits the potential for shrinking, wrinkling or damaging fabrics and saves energy.
Moisture monitors will show how damp the load is at any given time, allowing for early removal of an item that dries more quickly or to take something out to iron while still damp.
High-end dryers will not only have moisture sensors but also as many as 16 settings; 10 is about average.
Optional Dryer Cycles to Consider
Auto dry: Ends the cycle when the air temperature rises to a pre-set standard
Cool-down or wrinkle-free: After the clothes are dry, the drum spins for several minutes without heated air to prevent wrinkling.
Damp dry: A 25- to 30-minute heated cycle that leaves clothes damp
Extended tumble: Keeps tumbling the load after the completed cycle to prevent wrinkles from setting in
Favorite: Allows you to program the settings you use most often.
Fluff: No heat, just air, for drying items that are damaged by heat
Speed dry: A short, high-heat cycle.
Timed dry: Allows you to determine the length of the cycle.