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Gas vs. Electric Dryer: Which One Should You Choose?

Understand the main differences between a gas vs. electric dryer and determine which is best for your laundry room.

Getting Started

When shopping for a new washer and dryer, the choices seem endless. Simply choosing a dryer alone, which offers fewer cycle options than its washer counterpart, can be overwhelming. From deciding between vented or ventless, to choosing a size capacity, a dryer has many features to consider.
However, when buying a dryer, there is one decision more crucial than any other: choosing a gas vs. electric dryer. Let's take a look at the main differences between a gas and an electric dryer, and determine which is best for your home and family’s lifestyle.

The Main Differences

The main differences between a gas dryer and an electric dryer come down to several variables:
  • Installation and Features
  • Energy Consumption
  • Clothing Treatment
  • Purchase and Energy Costs

Installation and Features

Before you begin shopping for a dryer, you should verify which connection you currently have. Take a look at Abt’s Dryer Buying Guide to understand your connections, as this alone may determine whether you purchase a gas or electric dryer.
Electric dryers are much easier to install, plugging in like any standard appliance right out of the box. But electric dryers typically operate on a 240-volt current, which you probably won't have if your previous dryer was a gas model.
With a gas dryer, the installation will be costly. Even if you already have a gas line connection, a professional install is advised, which costs extra. Gas dryers can be fueled by natural gas or liquid propane gas. They also need to be vented outside, where you do have the option of ventless dryer models.

Energy Consumption

When it comes to energy consumption, gas dryers are much more efficient. The gas combusts, instantly heating the chambers, which means no energy is lost in the process.
Electric dryers, on the other hand, have to convert the power into heat, which means you lose that energy. The only occasion an electric dryer would be more energy efficient is if your electricity is generated through home solar panels, or a solar or wind farm.
However, you can decide to purchase an Energy Star-certified dryer, which is guaranteed to use approximately 20 percent less energy. Dryers with the Energy Star label offer more advanced features, such as sensor drying, pilotless ignition, automatic shutoff and a cool-down cycle that tumbles without heat to keep clothes from wrinkling.

Clothing Treatment

As mentioned, Energy Star-certified dryers offer features like sensor drying, which can prevent unnecessary wear and tear on your clothes. Through a moisture-sensing device, it can automatically shut off when your clothes reach the desired dryness.
But Energy Star labels aside, gas dryers tend to dry loads much faster and this, in turn, means less tumbling and wear on your clothes. Gas dryers are also generally more gentle on materials because they can dry at more accurate temperatures, evaporating moisture as needed.
Electric dryers are less ideal when it comes to wear and tear on your clothes because they take longer to heat.

Purchase and Energy Costs

As you shop for a new dryer, you may notice that each model offers both a gas and electric version. Gas dryers typically have a higher purchase cost, ranging from $50-$100 more than their electric models. The mechanical components are more costly, which drives the price up.
In general, electric dryers are more affordable. However, you can still come across a high-end electric dryer with a similar cost to that of a gas dryer. But it will come with all the bells and whistles you could ever want.
In the long run, gas dryers have a higher upfront purchase cost. But as mentioned, they dry faster, which means more energy savings.

Should You Choose a Gas or Electric Dryer?

Is My Dryer Gas Or Electric?
Still have a question?
The fact is, you may not have a choice in the matter. It could simply come down to what connections you have in the laundry room. However, some homes have both gas and a 240-volt electrical connection, which opens up many more dryer brands and options.
Ultimately, though, it truly comes down to your home’s needs, budget and the dryer features you prefer. Once you check out the Buying Guide link mentioned above, take a look at some top brand models to explore your options.

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