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Shopping Guide for Best Dryers

Some folks find it relaxing to hang laundry out on a sunny summer day. But it takes time to pin wet garments to a clothesline, and sometimes, Mother Nature strikes … and sun-dried clothing ends up getting soaked all over again.

A dryer offers a quick and convenient way to get clothes dry. These days, most homeowners wouldn’t be without one. Options range from basic units to feature-packed clothes dryers with high-tech functions.

Below, the BestReviews team has compiled a useful guide to help steer you in the right direction as you shop for a clothes dryer. We discuss the differences between gas and electric dryers as well as pricing info, safety tips, and dryer FAQ.

When you’re ready to buy a new clothes dryer, please check out the matrix above to learn more about our top picks.

If you’re concerned about saving energy, choose a dryer with a sensor that stops when moisture is no longer detected.

Types of Clothes Dryers

There are two types of clothes dryers: gas-powered and electric powered.

Types

Electric Clothes Dryers

These are easier to install, as long as an appropriate outlet is available. The upfront cost of an electric dryer is usually lower, too.

However, electric clothes dryers consume more energy in the long run than their gas-powered counterparts.

DID YOU KNOW?

Lint can collect in your dryer’s vent. It’s a good idea to clean the vent ducts a few times a year to reduce the risk of fire.

Types

Gas-powered Clothes Dryers

These must be connected to a natural gas supply to function. This typically requires installation by a professional, which will add to the overall cost of the appliance.

A gas dryer still needs electricity to function. Gas heats the unit, but electricity is necessary for almost everything else.

In spite of the higher upfront cost, a gas-powered dryer would likely save you money in the long run. Gas-powered dryers require less energy overall, as they reach drying temperature much quicker than electrically powered dryers.

Important Dryer Features to Consider

A new dryer is a significant investment. Before you buy one, find out all you can about the following aspects of the product. Heading into a big purchase with a keen awareness of what you’re getting for your money is valuable indeed.

Features

Dryer Controls

A dryer may have dials, button controls, or even touchpad controls. For a no-fuss experience, pick a dryer with a control panel that you find easy to use. If you’re looking at a dryer with buttons or a dial, make sure the dial turns smoothly and the buttons don’t stick.

FOR YOUR SAFETY

Avoid using too many dryer sheets. Overdoing it can produce buildup on your clothing.

Features

Dryer Size

Dryers are sold in three sizes: compact, regular, and oversized.

  • Compact dryers are best for those with space constraints or folks doing laundry for only one or two people.

  • Regular-size dryers should suit most individuals and families, but potential buyers should make sure they have room for the appliance.

  • Oversized dryers are best for those who find themselves frequently washing and drying large loads of laundry.
     

For most people, the amount of space available dictates the size of clothes dryer they can accommodate. If you have a good-sized laundry room, consider the number of people in your household and the amount of dirty laundry you produce on a regular basis. Large families may wish to opt for a clothes dryer with a bigger capacity.

Measure your space before starting to shop for a clothes dryer, and don’t just squeeze in the biggest sized dryer you can find; there should be enough room for proper air circulation around the perimeter of the dryer, too.

EXPERT TIP

Be careful when drying cotton fabrics. Clothing made of this natural fiber is prone to shrinkage in the dryer.


Staff  | BestReviews
Features

Interior Light

Not all dryers come equipped with an interior light. But a light is a useful feature to have, especially if you often find yourself doing laundry in the evenings.

For example, an interior dryer light might help you spot that missing sock you’ve been searching for.

If you put anything with an elastic band in the dryer, the band will likely lose its elasticity thanks to the high heat.

Staff
BestReviews
Features

Drying Modes

If you prefer simplicity, opt for a clothes dryer with basic drying modes only. But if you’d like a little more control over your heat, consider a clothes dryer with different drying modes.

  • A clothes dryer with a wrinkle-guard mode prevents clothes from sitting immobile inside the dryer. The dryer will tumble without heat to ensure your clothes come out looking smooth. It’s not a perfect solution, but it works in a pinch.

  • A clothes dryer with a steam function may also help you banish wrinkles. The results are hit-or-miss depending on the clothing items involved. A steam function won’t work as well as an iron, but it’s a convenient way to keep wrinkles at a minimum.

  • A dryer with a “quick-dry” mode uses higher heat to dry your laundry faster.

DID YOU KNOW?

An alternative to the dryer sheet is the dryer ball. Dryer balls soften fabric and help dry clothing quicker.

Features

Extra Features

Some dryers go further than the basics. For example, you might spend a little more to get a dryer with a moisture sensor. With a moisture sensor, you don’t waste precious energy drying clothes that are no longer damp or wet.

Some dryers can kill any lingering bacteria in your clothing as it dries.

Some models come equipped with smart features such as the ability to control the appliance via WiFi.

And some dryers come with a rack that can be removed and used to dry items that would bounce around if not contained properly, like shoes.

EXPERT TIP

Check to see where your dryer’s lint trap is located. Make sure it’s accessible and easy to empty.


Staff  | BestReviews

The Price of a New Dryer

You could spend anywhere from $400 to over $1,000 for a new dryer. Price varies based on several factors, including brand, size, and features.

Price

Basic

Basic and compact dryers cost as little as $400. These budget models are usually smaller in size and do not have fancy features or technology such as moisture sensors or WiFi connectivity.

In addition to cotton, wool is another fabric that can shrink if tossed in the dryer.

Staff
BestReviews
Price

Mid-range

As you go up in price, dryers typically look sleeker and come with more features and functions. Mid-range clothes dryers may cost anywhere from $400 to $900.

Price

High-end

Oversized clothes dryers are usually very high in quality and cost upwards of $1,000. High-tech clothes dryers with smart features also fall at the upper end of the price scale.

Dryer Safety Tips

Here are a few tips to help you make sure you’re using your clothes dryer safely.

Tips

Declutter your dryer area

A cluttered space could help a fire spread if one were to start.

Tips

Install your dryer correctly

This is very important. It may mean hiring a professional for an extra cost, but your safety is worth the expense.

Tips

Clean your dryer lint trap frequently

Not cleaning your lint trap increases the risk of fire.

CAUTION

Do not place shoes in the dryer. The rigorous bouncing can damage your appliance. It’s not good for the shoes, either.

Tips

Don't put too much in the dryer at once

Overcrowding a dryer can cause it to work overtime, which could result in overheating and premature breakdown.

Tips

Inspect your gas line regularly

If you have a gas dryer, regular inspection of your gas line is essential.

Tips

Don't start your dryer before bed or before leaving for work

You should be home and alert when your dryer is running in case of an emergency.

Are you unsure if a particular garment should go in the dryer? When in doubt, check your clothing’s label for care instructions.

FAQ

Q. It takes forever for my dryer to finish drying a load of laundry. What’s going on?

A. You may be stuffing too much laundry in at once for your dryer to work effectively. If this isn’t the case, your dryer may not be functioning properly. Have a professional check your dryer to make sure it’s safe to continue using.

Q. Does a gas dryer impart any sort of gas odor on clothing?

A. No. You should not smell any kind of natural gas when using a gas-powered dryer. If you do smell gas, there is a problem.

Q. Is there anything I shouldn’t put in my dryer?

A. Delicate clothing should be line-dried unless your dryer has a special delicate setting. Workout clothes with anti-microbial properties should also be dried in the open air. Placing shoes in the dryer can be detrimental to both the shoes and the dryer.

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