We were blown away by Samsung’s stupendously good DV90M5000IW. At just under £800, it wasn’t cheap, but it justified its ticket well. Here we have the more upmarket M8000, bringing Wi-Fi smart app control to the series’ 9kg capacity and A+++ heat pump energy efficiency.
It’s good too. With class-leading, super-low running costs, intuitive controls and handy features aplenty, it’s a real winner. The smarts do add to the price, though, so equally efficient models further down the Samsung range look like better value. If you want all that tech and full smart app control, however, the DV90M8204AW is going to be a hard act to beat.
Increased airflow, optimised drying cycles and reduced heat loss are all part of Samsung’s ever-improving heat pump tumble dryer strategy. It certainly worked well in the DV5000 series we reviewed in August, earning it a whopping 5-star score. Can the even more feature-rich DV8000 series achieve a Spinal Tap-esque 11?
In terms of core specifications, there isn’t much in it. This model comes to the table boasting an A+++ energy rating, a monster drum, genuinely capable of holding 9kg, and an equally large door opening. No problems stuffing in your queen-size duvet here.
The cosmetic design is thoroughly contemporary, with a classic twist. The central knob is old-school logical, while options are selected via buttons on the comprehensive display. We really love the simple but effective water-level indicator on the condenser tank too.
Behind that huge, sophisticated, black-tinted door is a cavernous drum with LED lighting. The main filter just inside the door is Samsung’s dual system, utilising finer mesh within a coarser outer mesh. The upshot is that there is only one filter to clean between dries. Most of the competition have one filter at the door and another lower down, at the condenser.
The display is crisp and bright, in an electric blue colour. There are touch controls for wrinkle prevention and dryness level, as well as time and smart controls, and numerous icons to indicate where you are in the cycle. There is even a button to turn off the cycle-end jingle. That’s just as well, as its 15-second melody gets wearing quicker than an X Factor winner.
This machine offers comprehensive smart control from the Samsung Smart Home app. It replicates most of the main features, allows you to create macros, save custom programs and even monitor energy usage over time. Samsung’s Smart Home app has been mentioned before but, like any good app, continues to evolve. We particularly like the new energy monitor addition.
14 programs are on offer, split into manual cycles and ‘Optimal Dry’. The latter uses moisture, heat and heat-exchanger sensors to continually adjust the drying time on the fly, reducing energy and preventing over-drying.
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Further nice touches include a plumbing-in kit, shoe-drying rack, reversible door, three drying levels, and plenty of load options.
Samsung DV90M8204AW – What’s it like to use?
You’ve got to love this tumbler’s super-logical mix of old- and new-style programming. The big central programme selector knob could not be any more straightforward, and the programme names speak for themselves.
Simple buttons for dryness level, delay end and wrinkle prevention at the end of the drying cycle are equally clear. The machine works out everything else, stating the absolute maximum time the load is likely to take. It was always much quicker. Despite its high-tech underpinnings, this Samsung dryer is a breeze for day-to-day use.
Very few tumble dryers can genuinely dry their maximum load weight in real-world clothes. Shirts, T-shirts and jeans tend to fluff up with daily wear, creating a huge volume of laundry that simply won’t fit in the drum. Not so this Samsung, with its inner drum only centimetres narrower than the full width of machine.
Combined with the huge porthole door, we managed to get 9kg of cotton clothing into this dryer. In the real world, you are unlikely to load your tumble dryer to this extent. We usually use 80% of the maximum stated load for that reason. the DV90M82048W had no problem with 7-8kg dry weight of wet washing.
You get to select one of three arbitrary dryness levels. While not labelled in the traditional ‘iron dry’, ‘cupboard dry’ and ‘extra-dry’ way, they should amount to the same thing.
Only the ‘Air Wash’ and ‘Mixed Load Bell’ features are not exactly self-explanatory. Air Wash is simply a freshen-up cycle for dry clothes. The Mixed Load Bell is much smarter.
This feature allows you to dry mixed fabrics, removing quicker-drying items earlier in the cycles, so as not to over-dry them. During the wash, a bell pings to let you know some of the materials are dry. You pause the load, remove the dry clothes, and let the still-damp materials continue to tumble.
As load completion time is variable, you won’t really know when the load will end. Thankfully, the Wrinkle Prevention feature is handy for keeping clothes from creasing too badly. Alternatively, the Smart Home app will ping your phone a message to let you know when the load is finished.
We messaged it back, requesting the load was folded and put away in the cupboard. That didn’t seem to work…
Samsung DV90M8204AW – How noisy is it?
Just like its junior sibling, the DV90M8204W is much quieter than the energy label would suggest. That is unusual, as most dryers are nosier than their claimed sound rating. We’re not complaining, though, as this Samsung is very quiet indeed.
It produced a very consistent 57-58dB, measured at 1m away from the door in open space. That is precisely the same as the DV5000M series machine, suggesting some pretty similar internal workings.
Again, the sound is very smooth and consistent. There’s very little harsh stop-start noise, and the sound is a gentle drone. There are quieter machines out there, but few are as consistent throughout the cycle. If you are trying to have a kitchen power-nap, this tumbler is ideal.
Samsung DV90M8204AW – What programmes does it have?
The core material specific programmes are all present and correct. We give top marks to the comedy sheep icon next to the Wool wash. Not sure how we missed that masterpiece on the last Samsung dryer we tested, as it was there too!
Cottons, Delicates, Synthetics, Wool, Towels, Outdoor Wear and Bedding are all catered for under the fully automatic Optimal Dry programme selection. The catch-all ‘Mixed Load’ programme benefits from Samsung’s clever Mixed Load Bell.
We haven’t the faintest idea how the machine senses different levels of material dryness in the same load, but it certainly worked. The only downside is having to rummage around in your semi-dry washing mid-cycle to ensure your silk undies are removed while your heavyweight denim carries on drying.
You get four completely manual drying options, covering warm air drying, cool air drying, a timed dry and ‘Quick Dry 35’. This aims to dry a small load of synthetics and light cottons in just 35 minutes. That sort of weight equates to a couple of outfits, or four shirts.
As touched on earlier, Samsung’s Air Wash program is a ‘freshen-up’ style program for dry clothing that could simply do with a livener to remove odours. You get three levels of Air Wash intensity to choose from, depending on level of odour. If you need any more than level three, it’s probably best heading towards the washing machine.
As an aside, in other countries, Samsung calls this feature ‘Air Fluff’, which sounds much more fun.
Pretty much every option and display parameter on the front of the machine is replicated within the Smart Home app. You can create a favourite programme for regular use and monitor energy usage on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. It’s all very smart, but given that you still have to load and unload the dryer, it still falls shy of being a true killer application.
Samsung DV90M8204AW – How well does it dry?
Starting with a huge challenge, we loaded up the DV90M8204W with a whopping 8kg (dry) of mixed cotton clothing. That is close to 1kg more than we would typically load a 9kg machine with. Fresh out of a 1400-spin washing machine the load weighed 10.5kg wet. That is a really big load – probably an entire week’s washing for a small family.
We set the dryness to Level 2 on the Cotton programme. The display indicated a maximum run time of three hours and eight minutes. Just two and a half hours later, the ‘load end’ message popped up.
Our energy meter suggested a stupendously low 0.86kWh of electricity had been consumed – that would be 30-40% lower than even its supremely efficient sibling, the DV500M series. Wowser!
All was not roses, however. While we expected ‘Level 2’ to deliver a cupboard-dry moisture level, the load was too damp. With over 250g of moisture (>3% of dry load weight) left in the load, we would call that ‘iron dry’.
We put the load back into the dryer as-is and set the programmer to Cottons on Level 3. This ran for nearly an hour, using a further 0.33kWh of electricity. While the result was not what we would call extra dry (0-0.3% moisture), it was a very dry ‘cupboard dry’ standard… Sort of what we would expect from Level 2.
The upshot was that the DV90M8204AW used almost the same amount of electricity to bring a large 8kg load to cupboard dry as the DV5000M model, but it took two trips in the dryer. We re-washed the same load and tried again on Level 3 from the outset, achieving the same result (cupboard dry) in a single, quicker 1.2kWh run.
With slightly quirky and inconsistent results mucking up our tests, we ran a total of 10 full loads on the DV90M8204AW to draw some firm conclusions. The main take-home message is that Level 3 equates to ‘cupboard dry’ on a full load, not ‘extra dry’ as we’d anticipated.
So what if you want your clothes 100% dry? If you pop them back in the machine for another trip on an automatic programme, it quickly detects very low moisture and turns off. That leaves you with the manual timed cycles to get clothes extra-dry if required. Not ideal.
On half loads, the moisture level was more in keeping with what we would expect, and Level 3 does indeed deliver perfect dryness with loads under about 5kg. Energy is stupendously low at around 0.65kWh, which is near identical to the DV5000M model. Throughout all our tests, creasing was very low, making clothes easy to iron straight out of the drum.
The DV90M8204AW is a spectacularly efficient machine, very flexible and genuinely capable of taking a huge washing load in one go. The slight inconsistencies in drying level depending on load size seem odd. We didn’t notice that anomaly with the equally efficient and less expensive model further down the range.
While the DV90M8204AW is an excellent performer in almost every area, if you don’t need the smart controls or sexy black door, the less expensive DV5000M looks like the real star of the range.
Samsung DV90M8204AW – How much will it cost to run?
Samsung’s heat pump tumble dryers are among the most energy-efficient we have ever tested. Their performance across the heat pump range is simply breathtaking, so you can’t go wrong. The running costs with of this machine are near-identical to the lower-spec DV5000M, and both are as frugal and green as tumble dryers get.
If you used this machine 150 times per year at 100 full loads (80% or 7.2kg to replicate real-world use) and 50 small loads up to 3.4kg, on the Cottons programme, it would use just 155kWh of electricity per year. We remain amazed at that result, as it is comfortably below every other tumble dryer we have tested – regardless of capacity! Factor in the genuine 9kg load capacity, and these tumble dryers are way ahead of the competition in delivering super-low costs per kg of clothing dried.
At 15p/kWh on average, that will cost you just over £23 per year, according to my tests. That is bonkers low. Every other tumble dryer manufacturer on the planet has some catching up to do.
Why buy the Samsung DV90M8204AW?
Taken on its own merits, the DV90M8204AW is a resounding success, despite its four-figure price tag. The massive capacity, easy controls and ridiculously low running costs tick all the right boxes. Wi-Fi smart controls just ice the cake. Big loads came in a little damper than we’d prefer, but as the level is adjustable, this can be tweaked to suit.
The only rock on the DV90M8204AW’s smooth tumble to Trusted Reviews stardom is its little brother, the DV90M5000W. That is just as big, just as efficient, slightly more consistent, and comes in over £200 cheaper if you are happy to forgo the smart controls. Mind you, if you have a fully connected home, that Mixed Load Bell programme and the ‘cycle end’ messages were handy…