What you need to know before buying a dryer

July 27, 2015

With all the different types of dryers on the market, picking the right one can be a challenge. But with these simple tips, you can find a dryer that works for you.

What you need to know before buying a dryer

When looking for a dryer, you need to assess your needs first, then consider size, features and power source (gas or electric).

  • As with a washing machine, choose a dryer that has cycles and features that best fit your needs.
  • Measure the width, depth and height of your available space before going to the store.
  • Finally, set yourself a budget and stay within it.

The bare minimums you'll need

As you're shopping, look for these basic dryer features:

  • Variable cycles (including regular, permanent press, delicates, tumble-without-heat, damp-dry and timed-dry)
  • End-of-cycle signal
  • Reversible door
  • Easy-to-empty lint filter
  • Drum light
  • Quiet operation

Too big, too small or just right

  • Clothes dryer sizes are measured in terms of capacity or drum size. Full-sized models have a drum capacity of 0.14 to 0.2 cubic metres and are 69 to 74 centimetres wide.
  • Some manufacturers divide their full-sized models into "super plus," "super," and "extra large."
  • A larger drum can dry bulkier items, including quilts or bedspreads, and larger loads will be less wrinkled when they finish drying.
  • Compact (also called "apartment-sized") dryers can handle only small loads, but they can be stacked on top of a compact washer or placed in other tight spots.

Think about energy costs

  • Some compact dryers can operate on regular 120-volt current. Larger models must run on a dedicated, grounded 240-volt outlet.
  • Retailers and manufacturers usually feature electric dryers in their ads. But nearly every standard dryer is available as a gas model too.
  • Electric dryers cost about $40 to $50 less than gas dryers, but gas dryers are considerably cheaper to operate.
  • The amount you save in energy bills in the first year alone could make up the difference for the cost of a gas dryer.
  • If you don't have natural gas or bottled gas, you'll need to go electric.

There's three major factors to consider when buying a dryer: size, operating cost and features. Once you have those all picked out, set a budget and find the dryer that has the things you require.

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