When buying a dryer, one of the most important decisions you have to make is what capacity dryer to get. After all, if your dryer is too small, you'll end up doing load after load of laundry. Bigger isn't always better, though; if you get a dryer that's too large, you'll waste a lot of energy heating up its oversized drum for a small load of clothes. Read on for a few things to keep in mind when deciding on a dryer capacity.
Don't be fooled by phrases like "high-capacity" and "super high-capacity." These are marketing terms without a fixed meaning. Instead, pay attention to the dryer's capacity in terms of cubic feet so you know exactly what you're getting. Most dryers provide 3.4-9.0 cubic feet of capacity.
One common recommendation is to choose a dryer with twice the capacity as your washer. So if your washer holds 4.0 cu. ft., you'd want a dryer that holds 8.0 cu. ft. Fabrics tend to compress when they're wet, so this extra space gives your laundry room to expand as it dries.
Use a ruler or measuring tape to find out exactly how much space you have for a dryer. Remember to leave an extra three inches on each side to account for wiring, vents and heat clearance when measuring. If you have the whole basement to work with, then space won't be an issue. If you live in a small apartment, on the other hand, you might have to choose between a laundry center or an all-in-one washer and dryer, which have smaller capacities than standalone models. Remember that some dryers can be stacked together with a front-load washer to save space.
Do you have a lot of large items that you'll want to wash, such as rugs, comforters and coats? If so, a compact dryer might not be big enough. You'll need a bigger dryer (and washer) to accommodate these items without taking a trip to the laundromat.
A new dryer will last for many years to come, so think about your laundry needs for the future. If you plan on starting a family, for instance, you might need a bigger dryer soon. If your kids are old enough to move out, on the other hand, maybe a smaller dryer is more appropriate for you.