Has your clothes dryer seen better days? Or, maybe you’re weary of those late night trips to the laundromat? If you are thinking of buying a new dryer, there are a few factors to consider before investing. Which features are most important to you? Whether it’s due to environmental concerns or pocketbook worries – or a little of both – many people rank energy efficiency as a top priority. If you are one of those savvy, energy-conscious consumers, you’re probably wondering what is the best energy efficient clothes dryer?
Getting serious about energy efficiency in your home? Check here for more tips to save on energy costs.
When it comes to the best energy efficient clothes dryer (large capacity), Good Housekeeping’s top laboratory pick of 2019 is the Samsung 7.4 cubic foot gas dryer. It is Energy Star certified, has a motion sensor to prevent over-drying, an Eco-dry cycle that uses 25% less energy per load, and steam technology to reduce wrinkles and sanitize. Another popular model is Whirlpool’s 7 cubic foot electric dryer, with moisture sensing and wrinkle shield technology.
According to Energy Star’s 2019 ratings, compact, ventless electric dryers that use heat pump technology are the most energy efficient. But if you need a dryer that can handle large family-size loads, they may not be a good option. Although large capacity gas dryers are slightly more expensive to purchase than their electric counterparts, they are typically more energy efficient. It takes a lot of electricity to heat an electric clothes dryer. While gas dryers still require some electricity, they are heated with natural gas or propane. These fuels heat more efficiently, and in most regions, are less costly than electricity. Keep in mind, though, that if you don’t have access to a gas line, the initial costs of installing a gas dryer may be need to be weighed.
If you already use natural gas or propane for other appliances, the energy savings over time are likely to be worth the higher cost of a gas dryer. The average cost of drying 10 loads of laundry in an electric dryer is $3.60, compared to $2.40 in a gas dryer. A typically family of four does an average of 10 loads of laundry per week, which translates to a savings of roughly $65.00 per year when using a gas dryer.
When purchasing a big ticket item like a clothes dryer, there is no one-size-fits-all answer because everyone’s needs differ. Do you have a large family? If so, a large capacity dryer (around 7 cubic feet) is a must. Live in a small apartment? A compact, stackable washer and dryer may be the best option. Other popular features of today’s clothes dryers include:
- Vented or Ventless
If you cannot vent exhaust outdoors – either because the dryer will be installed in an interior room or because you live in a rental unit where cutting a vent opening is prohibited – a ventless dryer is likely your only option.
- Heat Pump Technology
This feature, found in ventless units, decreases drying time, is gentler on your clothes, and typically saves between 20 to 60 percent in energy costs when compared to conventional models.
- Moisture Sensor Technology
Sensors detect moisture levels and automatically shut off when clothes are dry. This not only saves energy, it’s also better for your clothes!
- Stainless Steel Drums
These are the most durable, but also more costly than coated drums which may eventually chip with heavy usage. Plastic drums damage easily. Roughened interior surfaces can snag and damage clothes. You’ll never have to worry about this with a stainless steel drum.
- Reversible Door or Hamper Door
Reversible doors allow flexibility in dryer placement by allowing you to flip the direction in which the dryer door opens. If you are likely to move your dryer to a new location, this may be a convenient option. Another handy option is a hamper-style dryer door, which opens from the top down and provides a “shelf” as you transfer clothes from washer to dryer.
- Wool Cycle
Some dryers are Woolmark Apparel Care certified. If you have heat-sensitive apparel, this may be a welcome feature.
- Sanitize Cycle
This high-temperature feature is great for drying infants’ clothing or for people who have allergies, skin sensitivities, or impaired immune systems.
- Other Specialty Features
Child locks, eco dry for light loads, wrinkle guard, speed dry, reverse tumble to limit tangling, steam refresh, and rack dry are a few options. (For more information, check out Good Housekeeping’s glossary of dryer terms.)
Energy efficient appliances may be expensive, but they are usually worth the cost. In the long run, you’ll save money on your home energy costs. By conserving energy, you’ll also help the environment. Not only that, but many electric companies offer rebates and other perks to consumers who upgrade to energy efficient appliances!
When buying a new dryer, look for models that have a higher Energy Factor (EF) rating and/or features like sensor technology and varying temperature cycles, but don’t forget to look at your needs and usage patterns. Buying a compact model with a high EF rating is not likely to save money if you can only fit half your typical load in the unit. If time always seems to be in short supply, you probably want a model that features fast drying cycles over other perks. Features like low-heat options, moisture sensors, and reverse tumble can save money by increasing the lifespan of your clothes.
No matter what type of clothes dryer you choose – whether it’s electric or gas, vented or ventless – your electrical circuits and outlets likely need to be upgraded. You may also want to install an exhaust fan to expel moisture from your utility room. For expert help with electrical upgrades or installations, contact Mr. Electric® online or call us at (844) 866-1367 to find a location near you.
If you are considering an energy efficient ventless dryer, check out this list of pros and cons from our friends at Mr. Appliance. Because they are part of the Neighborly family of home service providers, you can count on them for solid advice about all appliance-related topics.