Dryer Buying Guide
May 7, 2019 by Waverly Wilde
Hang-drying clothes is time-consuming and messy, and it can leave creases and wrinkles in all your favorite outfits.
That’s why it’s vital to invest in a dryer that takes care of your clothes in all the ways human hands and the elements just can’t. But what should you be looking for while you’re on the hunt for a great dryer? At Howard’s we have dryer options for every household, with features that can help you save time and money, all while making your life much easier. Our team of experts here at Howard’s has put together this guide to help you pick out the perfect dryer for your home. So, read up on what you should be thinking about when you shop for a dryer, and learn everything you need to know to get the right dryer for you.
When it comes to dryers, price points have everything to do with features. If you’re looking for a model that dries fast, runs silently, and has all the latest connectivity features and functions, expect to shell out close to $1,000 on your new dryer. If you’re looking for something smaller and more basic, you can find models for $500 or below. How much you’ll spend all depends on the features that you think will make your life easiest. So, when you start budgeting your purchase, think about how much laundry your family goes through, and how important it is to you to have all the latest bells and whistles on your new laundry machine.
Size and Capacity
Capacity is a big deal for a good laundry machine. Appliance experts recommend getting a dryer that has twice the capacity of your washer, if you have enough space in your home. That way, wet clothes have plenty of space to spread out and dry efficiently. When picking out a new dryer, consider both the space you have available and your family’s laundry needs. Here are the major options you’ll get to pick between when it comes to dryer size and capacity:
Most standard dryers are about 27 inches wide. Sometimes you can find extra capacity models that run a few inches wider, but usually dryers will be taller or deeper to accommodate the extra space. Having a washer and dryer the same width means that your washer and dryer will fit more easily side-by-side. When you’re eyeing a special dryer, be sure to measure your space and make sure your laundry room, basement, or kitchen has enough room.
Compact dryers are great for saving a little extra money if you don’t do much laundry, or for saving space in a small apartment. Measuring in at around 24 inches wide or smaller, compact models can fit easily under counters or in closets if you don’t have a dedicated room for your laundry.
• Combo Unit
Stacked laundry units with both a washer and a dryer used to be the name of the game in space-conscious living situations, but all-in-one washer-dryers are quickly making headway. Any kind of combo unit is great for small living spaces, but you’ll have to take into account the dimensions of your home. Stacked units typically include a washer on the bottom and a dryer on top—they typically have smaller capacities, but are great for tucking away into tight corners or in closets, since they’re slim and narrow. All-in-one models have more variable sizes and capacities, and tend to have that sleek laundry-chic look so many buyers are looking for, but they can sometimes be bulkier and less effective at drying clothes.
The big question at the heart of your dryer search is going to be electric versus gas. These are the two main types of dryer on the market, each with their own special features and challenges. Be sure to know the difference and decide what will work best for your home before you begin to browse.
Electric dryers tend to be more common and less expensive than their gas-powered counterparts—though not by much. They are typically easier to install and maintain, making them popular with people who move house often, or don’t want to deal with tricky maintenance. If you don’t already have a gas line running to the area where you plan to install your laundry appliances, this option will be much easier to install and set up. Note that the majority of standard-sized electric dryers will require a 220-volt outlet, so be sure to check your home outlets before you buy.
Though they’re a bit more expensive, gas dryers tend to be more efficient, which can save you money in the long run. These dryers are popular for drying clothes in about half the time compared to electric models, and they last a long time. Some people are able to hang on to their gas dryers for over a decade! They’re a durable and energy-efficient option that, despite a slightly higher price tag, are well worth the investment.
Vented or Ventless
Another major consideration to take into account is whether you want a vented or ventless dryer. Vented dryers are more common by far, but there are some pros and cons to each that you should weigh before taking the plunge.
Vented dryers work by pumping damp air from the dryer directly outside of the house through built-in vents. Most dryer models on the market are vented, and they have the benefit of being cheap and fast at drying clothes. However, they do require some additional installation, and you have to have vents already placed in your home. They tend to have higher energy costs over time as well.
• Ventless Condenser
Condenser dryers pull air directly from the room and heat it up. The air flows into the dryer drum, absorbing moisture, then gets cycled through the condenser to remove moisture, where it’s reheated and sent back into the drum. This system is more efficient than vented models, and has lower energy costs in the long run, though these models are typically more expensive, and they will need to be emptied regularly or connected to a hose to drain the extra water.
• Ventless Heat Pump
Heat pump dryers have been popular in Europe for years, but they’re only just starting to gain traction in the US. They use a similar system to condenser dryers, but they’re even more efficient. Easy installation and huge energy savings are just a few benefits of these models, but they do typically have higher price tags and can be harder to find. Currently, only Whirlpool and LG offer heat pump dryers in America, but with countries like Switzerland banning comparatively high-energy vented dryers from the market, that could be changing soon.
The world of dryer features has exploded in the past few years. Where dryers previously had one basic function–dry–you can now find washers with all kinds of high-tech advancements that do everything from making clothes cleaner to enabling operation via your smartphone. When picking out a dryer, think about what features would fit best into your laundry routine.
As with washing machines, steam cycles have become an increasingly common option for clothes dryers in recent years. The steam setting works by adding moisture and heat during or after the drying cycle to help release wrinkles. This helps keep your clothes looking crisp and cuts way down on time spent ironing.
• Extended Tumble
If wrinkly clothes are a big concern, a dryer with an extended tumble feature will rock your world. For up to an hour after the cycle is complete, these dryers can run a heat-free tumble cycle, to keep clothes fresh before you pull them out of the dryer and prevent wrinkles from setting in.
• NSF Listed
Great for households with pets or allergies, an NSF-listed dryer has extra germ-fighting power and can help provide an extra blast of sanitation. Some dryers even have special “sanitize” cycles that can help eliminate bacteria and germs, pet dander, and more.
• Noise Dampening
Noise can be a big issue for dryers. Cheaper models tend to rattle the floor and vibrate the walls with every tumble—not exactly ideal for when you’re trying to run a quick load after the kids go to bed. But there are plenty of high-end models that pride themselves on silent cycles—or at least cycles that minimize all the racket. For a small price bump, you and the kids can sleep soundly during that last load of laundry.
• Moisture Sensor
Some dryers come with a special sensor that can detect exactly when clothes are done drying. That way, if you set your drying cycle to 30 minutes, but the load is done in 20, the dryer automatically stops when it senses the clothes are dry. This helps save energy and money, and it keeps your clothes from getting worn out from overdrying. This function is required on Energy Star-certified dryers, so if eco-friendliness is a priority, you might want to look for a washer that includes it.
Like many other household appliances, dryers are getting smarter and smarter. Lots of companies offer WiFi-connected dryers that can be controlled from an app on your smartphone. You can start cycles remotely, get detailed information on energy usage, and even connect to a smart home voice assistant on many models.
If you’re still struggling to decide exactly which dryer will make your dreams come true, check out a few of our favorite products, perfectly suited to your priorities. You can find all these models right here at Howard’s, so come check out our selection today!
• Shoppers on a Budget
This high-quality, no-frills GE model is a great budget buy and is surprisingly gentle on clothes. It has plenty of space for large loads and lots of features to keep your clothes looking great. A moisture sensor helps keep energy costs down and wrinkle prevention settings let you forget about your clothes as long as you need. It’s a perfect fit for any home, and at an unbeatable price too!
• Small Space Dwellers
Perfect for small spaces with large laundry needs, this compact condenser dryer is both spacious and effective. Just 24-inches across, this little dryer has a whole 4.2 cubic feet of drying space inside, with simple controls and features to rival any full-sized dryer. It’s ventless too, so even if you can’t punch any holes in the walls of your new place, you can still have the convenience of an in-home dryer.
Samsung consistently offers up top-of-the-line smart appliances, and their latest laundry offerings live up to the hype. With steam cycles, moisture sensors and WiFi connectivity, this dryer has everything a tech addict could hope for in an appliance. This particular model lets you sync up to other smart home devices, monitor cycles, get alerts straight to your phone when a load is done, and even schedule cycles remotely!
• Eco Enthusiasts
One of the few heat pump dryers available in America, this ventless Whirlpool is gentle on clothes and great for the environment. It’s Energy Star-certified and has an Advanced Moisture Sensor that stops the machine as soon as clothes are dry, saving energy, time, and wear-and-tear on your clothes. It even protects your clothes from wrinkles, saving that extra bit of energy you’d use on an iron.
• Big Families
This mega-capacity dryer is a real powerhouse and the perfect choice for families on the go. With 8 whole cubic feet of space, this Electrolux has tons of features that make a load of laundry simple. With a fast dry cycle, Predictive Dry sensors, and a special system that protects clothes from coming out too damp or too dry, it takes all the stress and guesswork out of laundry. It’s quiet too, for when you just can’t wait until morning to get those gym clothes clean.