What to Know Before You Buy a Dryer

Washers and dryers Inside Electronics Store
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If you're shopping for a dryer there are a few things to consider, like what the must-have features are and what dryer convenience options you may also want to have. Be prepared before you head out, know what you want in a dryer and your dryer shopping time will be greatly reduced.

Gas or Electric

A gas dryer does save on electricity cost but requires an installed gas line to the home and special installation. If gas is available for a dryer, the outlay for a gas dryer model may be a good option if your dryer usage is high. An electric dryer costs less but requires installation and energy costs for a dryer varies with usage. Both types of dryers require proper venting to the outside. Always follow the dryer manufacturer's installation recommendations.

Capacity: Full Size or Compact Models

There are two dryer capacity styles—25" to 29" wide full, regular or oversize size dryers with around 7 cu.ft. drums, and 24" compact models with around 3 cu.ft. of drying capacity. Two things influence which style is best for you—space to install the dryer, and your drying needs. For a large family with sufficient laundry room space, choose an oversize dryer to dry large loads quickly. For a couple in a small home, a compact washer dryer set may be sufficient.

Performance Considerations

Dryer performance deals with how well and how quickly the dryer will dry your clothes. Dryer efficiency is measured by a great performance at a low operating cost. Choose a high performance and efficient dryer by selecting a dryer with moisture or dryness sensors, wrinkle-free options for less ironing, temperature options, and the lowest possible dryer Energy Star rating.

Must-Have Features

Dryer moisture or dryness sensors that adjust the drying time required or allows you to custom select regular, more or less dry, have similar benefits—reducing drying time and energy use. Temperature controls can allow for high quick dry for some fabrics, and low or fluff for delicates. A permanent press or press care dryer setting provides a cool-down period at the end of the cycle—this reduces wrinkles, saving you ironing time. A dryer drum light is also a must and is not always a standard feature.

Convenience Features That Are Nice to Have

Dryer lint filter position: on the top or inside the door? Choose by a preference for easy maintenance. How important is a dryer quiet package to you? This will depend on where the dryer will be located. Extra options and dryer cycles like preset, speed dry, more dry time and less dry time, are nice to have. A dryer rack is handy if you layout items to dry like sweaters or sneakers. When you’re choosing between a porcelain or stainless steel dryer drum, there's no difference in performance, but stainless eliminates the risk of rust and looks very stylish.​

Price Considerations and Purchase Tips

Dryers range from $300 to over $1000, and one with only the must-have features will generally cost around $400-$600. High tech stylish dryer models with glass doors, stainless steel drums, enhanced control panel and additional cycles will be in the highest range. If dryer cost is a consideration, choose features based on what matters to you and then add more dryer features to fit your budget.

Extended Warranties

Innovations in dryer features have driven the appliance cost considerably, but warranties have generally stayed the same at one to two years, depending on the manufacturer. If you are buying a higher-priced model, you may want to consider an extended warranty from the dealer for your new dryer. However, you should ensure that dryer servicing will be available in your area and that technicians are qualified for your particular dryer's make and model.​

Need a Washer to Go With Your Dryer?

Do you need a companion washer to go with your new dryer? These buying tips will help to find the perfect match for your dryer.