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Gas vs. Electric Dryers

Laundry Showdown: Gas vs. Electric Dryers
 

When looking at dryers for your laundry room, you'll need to choose between gas or electric dryers. For the most part, both types deliver comparable performance: both do a great job of drying your clothes, and both come in a variety of capacities with a range of special functions. The main differences are related to installation, cost, drying speed and energy efficiency. Read on for a detailed description of the differences between natural gas and electric dryers.

Gas Dryers

Electric Dryers

Vent required

YesNot always

Initial cost

HigherLower

Cost of upkeep

LowerHigher

Power requirement

Dedicated gas line240 V outlet

Drying time

ShorterLonger

Gas Dryers
 

Advantages of Gas Dryers

  • Less expensive upkeep – Gas models are usually a bit less expensive to operate than electric dryers, although this depends on the cost of natural gas and electricity in your area.
  • Faster - Gas dryers heat up and dry clothes faster than electric dryers do, helping to increase the possible energy savings.
  • Less tumble time – Since natural gas dryers trend towards the warmer side, this reduced tumble time helps to limit the wear and tear while you dry clothes.
  • Best for large families – You'll see the most operational cost savings if you're doing ~1 load of laundry per day. So, if you're always needing to wash clothes, then you'll benefit most from the savings of a gas model.

Limitations of Gas Dryers

  • Vent required - All gas dryers require a vent to the outside.
  • More expensive initially - Gas dryers tend to be a little more expensive than comparable electric dryers.
  • Gas line required - Gas dryers require a dedicated natural gas line that must be professionally installed.


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Kenmore gas dryer

Electric Dryers
 

Advantages of Electric Dryers

  • No gas line required – Electric clothes dryers do not require a gas line.
  • Ventless models - Some electric dryers do not need to be vented to the outside, making electric your only choice if you can't vent your dryer.
  • Less expensive initially - Electric dryers tend to be a little cheaper than comparable gas dryers.
  • Best for infrequent drying – If you're doing laundry only once or twice a week, the savings from a gas model become markedly less impactful. Go ahead and stick with an electric model if you're not washing clothes frequently.

Limitations of Electric Dryers

  • More expensive upkeep - Though it depends on the usage & energy costs in your area, electric dryers are typically a little more expensive to operate than gas dryers.
  • 240 V outlet required - Most electric dryers require a 240 V outlet, which most laundry rooms will have. If yours doesn't, however, you'll need to use a converter or hire an electrician. A typical wall outlet in the United States is 120 V.
  •  Slower - Electric dryers tend to heat up more slowly and take longer to dry your clothes than gas dryers do, which means that electric dryers use more energy.
  •  Increased wear and tear – With a longer tumble time, this can sometimes increase damage to clothing while it's tumbling.


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Kenmore electric dryer

So…Do you choose a gas dryer or an electric dryer?

The two biggest factors that you'll need to consider are:

  1. Your home's current set-up.
  2. Your family size/laundry habits.

If you're not planning on staying in your home for longer than a few years, then shelling out the cash to convert a home to gas from electric probably won't be worth it.

Energy savings are seen the most from homes that use gas and are doing laundry close to once a day. If you're only doing a load a few times a week at most, then you can probably stick with an electric dryer. For large households, where laundry seems like a never-ending mountain, you'll definitely benefit from investing up front on a gas model.

laundry room