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A Beginner's Guide to Buying a Dryer

A Beginner's Guide to Buying a Dryer


Drying clothes has come a long way since the days of hanging them on a clothesline. The latest dryers offer a wide variety of settings and functions that make doing laundry a breeze. New machines feature multiple styles, heat types, cycles for different loads and much more. If this is your first time buying a dryer, here are some types, settings and considerations to think about.

Dryer with Washing Machine

Types of Dryers


Electric Dryers

This type of dryer runs off electric power. Just plug it into a 240-volt outlet and dry clothes, towels and linens in no time.


  • Low entry-level costs - Typically, an electric dryer is more affordable than its counterpart. This makes it an ideal machine for a homeowner on a budget.
  • Ventless availability - Some electric models don't require venting outside the home, making it the perfect option for apartments or homes without the ability to vent.

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Kenmore Electric Dryer

Kenmore Gas Dryer

Gas Dryers

With the help of a dedicated natural gas line, you'll be able to dry quickly while being energy efficient.


  • Speed - A gas model tends to heat up quickly and dry clothes faster. This also means less energy consumed to dry a load of clothes.
  • Less expensive to run - Natural gas is often more affordable than electricity, making a gas dryer more inexpensive to run over its lifetime.

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Dryer Features

Dryers have become high-tech appliances with a wide variety of settings and awesome features. Not all of these features and cycles are available on all models. Let's take a peek at them so you can decide which ones you need.

Popular Features

  • End-of-cycle signal - Forgetting about the dryer and letting clothes get wrinkled is a thing of the past with this feature. The signal will notify you when the dryer is done so you can quickly fold them before wrinkles set.
  • Post-dry tumbling - Once the cycle is done, wrinkle protection will periodically turn your clothes to keep them fresh if you can't make it to the dryer right away.
  • Moisture sensor - A moisture sensor will detect how wet your clothes are during the cycle and adjust the time and temperature accordingly.
Popular Dryer Features
  • Smart drying - With the help of your smart phone, you can remotely start, stop and check the status of your dryer from anywhere. Many smart dryers also allow you to check on issues and help you troubleshoot when there's a problem.
  • Anti-vibration and low noise - To help you maintain a bit of peace and quiet, modern dryers are built to vibrate less and operate at a low decibel rating.
  • Delayed start - Pick the time when you want the dryer to start, so it isn't interrupting your daily life.

Dry Cycles

Dry Cycles

  • Air dry cycle - An air dry cycle is best for items that can't take any heat, such as rubber backed rugs and sensitive sweaters.
  • Anti-bacterial/sanitize cycle - This cycle reaches a high enough temperature to ensure 99.9% of germs are killed. This is perfect after you or one of your children has been ill to make sure they're free of germs.
  • Cool down cycle - With this option, you're allowed to finish drying clothes using heat already in the dryer. This is one great way to cut down on energy consumption.
  • Damp dry cycle - This cycle runs shorter and alerts you when clothes are still damp. This is perfect if you have items you want to iron or hang dry to finish avoiding any shrink.
  • Delicate dry cycle - For items like delicates and spandex workout gear, the delicate dry cycle uses low heat and minimal tumbling to dry sensitive items.
  • Heavy duty dry cycle - When you've got a load of towels, bedding, jeans and other bulky items, this cycle uses high heat to dry them.
  • Normal dry cycle - Normal dry is perfect for medium size loads that don't require special care.
  • Permanent press dry cycle - Using medium heat, this option helps smooth out wrinkles and minimize the creation of new creases.
  • Speed/quick dry cycle - When you need a shirt, school uniform or another item dried immediately, this is the cycle to get the job done.
  • Steam cycle - Some items can be freshened up with a quick steam. It will relax the clothing enough to get rid of pesky creases.

What Should I Consider When Buying a Dryer?

  • Capacity - If you're single or living in a small apartment, 4 to 6 cu. ft. is enough to get your loads dry. About 6 to 6.9 cu. ft. is the perfect size for a small to medium family. Large families can benefit from a dryer with a capacity 7 cu. ft. or larger.
  • Stacking - Some models are stackable or can be stacked with the right kit. Make sure you have enough space in your laundry area to handle stacked units.
  • Venting - Make sure that the model you choose will easily connect to your home's venting system. Improper venting can pose and extreme risk to you and your home.
  • ENERGY STAR compliance - ENERGY STAR appliances are rated to help you reduce energy consumption and save money over time.
What to Consider When Buying a Dryer

Before you make a choice, make sure you also learn how to measure for a washer or dryer.