A reliable dryer is worth its weight in gold, but choosing the best dryer for your needs is certainly more complicated than simply picking out one that always works and comes with a great warranty. Second only to your refrigerator in the amount of energy consumed, a dryer can either add or save significant amounts off your electricity bill.
Generally speaking, every dryer that you’ll find on the market today uses one of two main power sources for the heating elements. Gas dryers, as their name suggests, generate heat by using gas or propane from a traditional input line. Electric dryers, on the other hand, simply plug in to a 240-volt outlet and start working. With that said, both gas dryers and electric dryers use a purely electric fan.
While both dryer types work in roughly the same manner, by drawing in air from the surrounding environment and passing it through a heating element while rotating and tumbling the clothes inside of the unit, each power source certainly comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. The latest dryers come with smart features for either type of power source, so choosing between an electric vs. gas dryer really comes down to making a trade-off between paying the initial cost of the unit and potential energy savings on the back end.
Advantages of an Electric Dryer
While electric dryers tend to use a bit more energy than gas dryers, most electric units do have a lower up-front cost. For high-frequency use, however, you’ll often find that electric dryers generate a lower cost per load of laundry than their gas-powered counterparts. It’s true that gas often costs less than electricity, but the up-front savings can be significant enough to make up for the difference in power costs over time.
In addition, top appliance manufacturers tend to make more electric-powered dryer models than gas models. If you’re looking to have maximum choice over the latest automation features, then you’re probably going to want to start by looking at electric dryers first.
You’ll also have a lot of flexible installation options if you opt for an electric dryer. Since you need nothing more than a four-prong outlet and a 240-volt power source to operate the unit, you can install an electric dryer in most areas of your home. This flexibility comes in handy if you’re looking to put your dryer in a smaller laundry room that doesn’t have a gas line or convert a tidy closet into a convenient area to wash your clothes. An electric dryer also installs in most garages.
Furthermore, electric dryers can be easier to repair. Since working with a gas line can be dangerous, repairing a gas dryer typically requires a professional to come out to your home and evaluate the situation. With an electric dryer, however, you can simply disconnect the unit’s power cord if you need to replace a part. Even if you aren’t a DIY guru, you’ll still have a reasonable chance of being able to repair an electric dryer yourself.
Their flexibility and ease of maintenance also make electric dryers easier to pack up during a big move. You’ll need to pay a professional to disconnect the unit from the gas line before having the movers pack it up, and then you’ll need to pay another professional at your new location to come over and reconnect your gas dryer. By contrast, moving an electric dryer is as simple as unplugging the dryer’s power source, getting it to your new home, and then plugging it back again with no professional help required.
Advantages of a Gas Dryer
While electric dryers certainly have an impressive list of advantages, gas dryers bring their own extensive collections of benefits to the table. For starters, a standard gas dryer will cost the average homeowner a good bit less in utility expenses over time. These savings might only be a few cents per load, but the pennies certainly add up over time. With many households using the dryer hundreds of times per year, the utility savings that you’ll unlock with a gas dryer can equate to hundreds of dollars over the lifetime of the unit. Many of the best gas dryers are available for under $900, so the utility savings come to represent a significant percentage of a new unit’s cost. Thus, you can think of a gas dryer as an investment that mostly pays for itself over time.
On top of the savings that they can provide, gas dryers also preserve the life span of delicate clothing more effectively. Since these units use energy more efficiently, they are able to dry clothing with less tumbling than an electric dryer. If you own a lot of higher-end garments that don’t require dry cleaning, then a gas dryer is usually going to be your best option.
Finally, many gas dryers come with special moisture sensors that adjust the unit’s drying speed on the fly. When you combine these sensors with other intelligent features, you get the high-tech performance of an electric dryer with all of the aforementioned energy savings. In short, the right gas dryer can offer the best of both worlds.
Choosing between a gas dryer vs. electric dryer can take some work, but the good news is that it’s hard to go wrong with either option. Electric dryers offer DIY maintenance for nearly anybody, a lot of new automation features, and versatile installation options. Gas dryers, however, are extremely energy efficient and can be the best choice for drying a delicate wardrobe. To properly compare a gas dryer to electric dryer options that are available today, you’ll want to take a detailed inventory of your needs first. Regardless of which type you pick, it’s extremely important to make sure that unit is made by a top manufacturer with a comprehensive warranty policy.