What to Consider
Gas or Electric
A well-chosen dryer can become an irreplaceable help for any household. This appliance saves a great amount of time by eliminating the need for using the clothes line and waiting for the laundry to dry. The advantages of the dryer are obvious, while the disadvantages are few. Each user can find a dryer to suit their specific needs.
Gas or electric: There are gas and electric dryers available on the market. There are certain advantages and disadvantages to both types, such as installation costs and power consumption.
Types: There are vented, condenser and heat pump dryers. They differ in energy consumption and ventilation processes.
Sizes and capacities: Even if there are no space restrictions in the household, the size of the dryer matters. It might need to fit a certain niche or be stacked on top of the washer. The capacity will depend on the number of family members.
Colors: Some people prefer such interesting appliance colors as ruby red or electric blue. Their price should be compared with the white models. More often dryers with specific colors cost more than regular white ones.
Features: There are many different features a dryer can have. Some of them are vital for good performance, others can be ignored. The cost of the dryer will depend on the number of complicated features.
Controls: Even if it seems that the dryer is easy to use, the well-located and large controls are imperative for a worry-free operation of the appliance. This is especially important for complicated models with many options.
Cycles: Different models have different drying cycles. They should be chosen according to the user's needs.
Budget: There are several factors the cost of the dryer depends on, including the type, energy-efficiency, color, size and installation process.
Gas dryers are cheaper to operate. They heat up faster than their electric counterparts. The running cost of a gas dryer can be about 60 % less than of the electric ones. However, if there is no natural gas supply to the house, the conversion will be costly.
Electric dryers are usually less expensive than gas ones. They are more popular than the gas appliances and more different electric models are available on the market.
Vented dryers are usually the most affordable. The moisture produced during the drying process is vented outside a home via a specially installed ventilation duct. Such dryer will need to be installed near a door or a window in order to avoid long hoses. If a venting duct is not an option, vented dryers can be installed in a well-ventilated room. However, in such case, there are more chances of mold formation.
Condenser dryers separate the water from the moist air and leave it in a special container. This container can either be emptied out by hand or a dryer might have an additional option to do it automatically. Such dryer can be installed in a room with good ventilation. It requires no venting ducts.
Heat pump dryers don't create moisture during the drying process. These are the most energy-efficient appliances. They are also much higher priced than condenser and vented dryers. However, due to their energy-efficiency the running costs can be two times lower than other appliances.
Standard dryer is 27 inches wide and 36 inches high. The models with 6 cubic ft capacity are usually 25 – 26 inches deep. The models with 7 cubic ft capacity are about 29 – 32 inches deep. There are also some models with a 29 inch width.
Compact dryers are electric only. Generally they are 34 inches high, 24 inches wide and about 24 -27 inches deep. They usually come in vented and condenser types and can be stacked on top of a washer.
Capacity of dryers usually varies from 5.8 to 7.3 cubic feet. A dryer should be chosen to match up with a washer. The rule is that the dryer capacity should be twice as large as the washer capacity.
Side-by-side installation means placing a washer and a dryer next to each other. This placement makes both appliances easy to reach and use, but requires additional space.
Stackable models allow placing a dryer on top of a washer to save space. A special stacking kit is needed to achieve the washer and dryer stacking.
Built-in option is available for both side-by-side and stacked dryers with front door load. They can be installed beneath a counter or inside a cabinet. Such option will be more costly but will save some space.
Air dry cycle uses no heat. The dryer works at a room temperature and just tosses the clothes around to get rid of dust, hair and lint. At the same time it “fluffs up” the clothing.
Delicate cycle is very important for delicate lightweight fabrics, including loosely woven garments. The dryer uses very low temperatures to help the clothing last longer and keep its original colors.
Eco-drying cycle uses a lot less energy than other cycles. It monitors the dryness level of the clothing. This cycle helps reduce power bills and allows the clothing to stay in shape longer. However, the drying time is extended.
Steam cycle is an option available in the latest dryer models. This option creates steam inside the dryer. This cycle is great for refreshing garments that don't need washing but require wrinkle removal. A small amount of water is sprayed on the clothing before tumble drying.
Express cycle usually lasts about 15 – 30 minutes. The dryer increases the airflow which allows the clothing to be dried faster than usual.
Antibacterial cycle allows the temperature to rise high enough for a long enough period of time to kill 99.9% of bacteria. Such cycle is usually recommended for certain types of materials such as cotton.
Wrinkle protection cycle will tumble the clothing every several minutes after the main cycle is over to prevent wrinkle formation.
Specialty cycles are programmed into dryers in order to provide the right drying time and temperatures for different types of garments, including shoes, active wear, bedding, jeans and etc. All the user needs to do is select a cycle and let the dryer work. Such cycles are available in more expensive models.
Moisture sensors let the dryer know when to stop the drying process. They help avoid leaving damp clothing in the dryer and stop the cycle when the laundry is dry. This feature allows the dryer to be more energy-efficient.
Drying rack is an accessory that allows drying items without tumbling them. This includes delicate garments, hats and shoes. Some racks are installed inside the drums. Others are attached to the door.
Light inside the drum will simplify the loading and the unloading process. It will also ensure no clothing is left inside the dryer.
Noise reduction technology allows the dryer to be less noisy. This is especially important if the dryer is located near the living area.
Stainless steel drum is resistant to nicks, scratches, odors and discoloration. Stainless steel does a better job absorbing static electricity than porcelain. Accordingly, it helps reduce static.
Wi-Fi control option allows the user to operate the dryer at a distance by using a special application on a personal computer or mobile gadgets. However, leaving the appliances on when there is no one at home is not recommended.
Comfortable controls are very important for dryer operation. A large control panel and bright display save a lot of time and help avoid choosing the wrong cycle. This is especially important for more expensive and complicated models with a lot of different features.
Reverse-tumble drums change the direction during the drying cycle. This helps avoid clumping and tangling of the clothes while drying
Pedestal base allows lifting the dryer about 15 inches from the floor. It makes the dryer more comfortable to use since the bending is minimized. The pedestal also offers extra storage space.
Lint filter light goes on whenever the time has come to change the filter. A large and easy-to-access lint filter is very important for proper operation of any dryer.
Pull-down (hamper-style) door holds the laundry during the loading and unloading process but makes it hard to access the back of the drum.
Timer delay option allows to load the machine and set the time when the cycle should start. This helps reduce running costs by operating the dryer overnight when electricity tariffs might be cheaper.
Gas dryers are more expensive to buy but are cheaper to operate. If the house has a natural gas access, choosing a gas dryer is a cheaper option.
Basic temperature settings. More expensive buyers have more options for temperature controls. However, most users will do just fine with basic options: High or regular, medium or permanent press, low, delicate and air dry
Mechanical controls are not only easier to use, they are also much cheaper than complicated touch-screens and LCD-displays.
White dryers will usually cost less than red, blue, steel, green and etc. If saving money is a priority then the right decision would be to choose a plain white dryer.
Cycles and features. Many modern dryers have a large number of cycles and features available. However, most of them are not needed for day-to-day drier operation. Dryers with a limited number of options will cost less while serving the same purpose.