How to buy a dryer
A dryer buying guide
If you're in the market for a new dryer, you'll find that modern dryers are more energy efficient, have more useful features and are styled in a wider range of colors and details than ever before. With so many choices on the market today, buying new home appliances can be fun. Get an overview of how to buy a dryer with this dryer buying guide.
>> Consider dryer hookup
To own a dryer, you'll first need the correct hookup. If you're replacing or upgrading an existing machine, make sure to get the same type (electric or gas) dryer to replace it. If you're installing a new dryer, know that a gas dryer will typically require a gas line, venting and a 120V outlet. The main advantage to using a gas dryer is that it uses less electricity than a comparable electric model. Full-size electric dryers may require a 240V outlet; compact dryer designs may require a 120V outlet. Check the voltage requirements on the individual dryers you are considering to help determine which dryer to buy.
>> What kind of space do you have?
When determining how to buy a dryer, you should consider how much space you have to install the dryer. Even if the area for the dryer is small, there are options that help you work with the available space. One type of dryer is a compact unit. Another type a stackable dryer. This will free up the floor space your dryer uses and make for an easy fit in the tightest areas.
Some types of dryers require venting, and some are ventless. If you want to install your dryer in a closet area that can't be vented, you'll need to go with a ventless model. In addition, if you need to install a dryer in a closet space, consider a condensation dryer. Instead of using just tumbling action, heat and a venting system, a condensation clothes dryer will condense the moisture in the hot air to water and drain it through a pipe, which allows the dryer to be installed in more locations.
>> Consider load capacity
Generally, the size of the dryer puts an upper limit on the load capacity of your dryer, although different dryers with the same dimensions can have different capacities. The more laundry you do at a time, the larger load capacity you'll need. Whatever capacity dryer you buy, avoid overloading it. Overloading a dryer makes the load take more time and energy than a properly loaded dryer. Also, matching your load size to the dryer capacity will result in clothes that are softer, fluffier and have fewer wrinkles. Finally, overloading a dryer will shorten its life span.
>> Noise considerations
The next step in learning how to buy a dryer is to consider how much noise the dryer will make. For example, if you'll use your dryer in a laundry room or basement area, then dryer noise won't be a big consideration. If you want the unit in the kitchen or a laundry closet, then you'll need to consider a quiet dryer that won't interfere with other activities (or someone's sleep) in your home. Dryers now increasingly come with "quieting" technology to hush one of the loudest appliances in your household. Look for features such as extra insulation and sound-dampening pads.
>> What temperature controls do you need?
Most fabrics last longer and keep their color if they are dried using the correct temperatures. Most dryers offer basic temperature and timed settings, such as whites, colors, permanent press and delicate. Mid-range models will also offer air fluff, heavy duty, more dry, normal dry, damp dry or less dry options.
Higher-end dryers tend to come with seven or more temperature drying cycles beyond the basic settings, such as these:
- bulky items
- wrinkle-free (cycle is around 140 minutes of intermittent tumbling to help prevent wrinkles)
- 'personal' cycle that that can be customized by temperature and time
- wool care
>> Consider energy efficiency
When you see an Energy Star rating or symbol on a dryer, it means that model is typically 10-20% more energy-efficient than a comparable model without the rating. However, very few consumers know to look for the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) rating. This rating provides more additional information of the energy efficiency of the dryer. There are only three CEE ratings: I, II and III, in order of increasing efficiency. This makes it easy to do a dryer comparison. (Many washing machines, even some portable washing machines, also have a CEE rating.)
Dryer designs with moisture sensors shut off automatically when they detect that the laundry is dry, reducing energy use. This will also extend the life of your clothes and delay color fading — a triple win.
>> Usability factors
Find out if the type of dryer you're considering has any special maintenance necessary to keep it running smoothly. Ventless dryers, for example, often require extra cleaning and draining once a month, depending on the volume and frequency of the loads you do.
The positions of the lint filter and door can be an important deciding factor if you have mobility issues. If you have back problems, a top loading dryer with a lint filter on top would make the task of laundry much easier. If you use a wheel chair, a front loading model with an on-door lint trap is ideal.
Dryers are truly a durable time- and labor-saving appliance. This dryer buyers' guide has identified the major factors to consider, so you know how to buy a dryer and can decide on the best dryer to buy for you.