Many homeowners shopping for a new dryer see the two different varieties – gas and electric – and wonder if there’s any benefit to going with one versus the other. For those looking to replace their current dryer, often the question turns into “which hook-up do you currently have?”, since most homes only have one already and the cost-benefit of switching doesn’t add up. However, for those building a new home or those with both hook-ups in place already, there can be some differences between choosing a gas or an electric dryer which you should be aware of for those building a new home or those with both hook-ups in place already, there can be some differences between choosing a gas or an electric dryer which you should be aware of as you shop around for the perfect dryer for your home and needs.
There are several varieties of electric dryers, but all of them are powered through a 240V current and use a heating coil. The ventless electric dryer uses a condensation dry method, but since there isn’t a vent for the exhaust, it also uses a heat exchanger which cools the air and condenses the water vapor. This vapor is then expelled through a drain pipe or collected in a tank. While this type of electric dryer does need routine maintenance to ensure optimal performance, it is also ideal for small laundry spaces.
Also on the market are heat pump dryers, which use a heat pump to generate the heat. While dry cycles on these dryers takes a little longer, they are also gentler on fabric and consume less energy than a typical electric dryer.
Gas dryers, on the other hand, use gas burners to generate heat. There is also an electric fan that circulates the heated air through the unit, so you’ll also need a 110V electric connection in addition to the main gas line. Lately, as energy efficiency standards have gotten stricter, we’ve seen more brands offer gas units with condensation and heat pump options. While these options do increase efficiency, they also have around half the capacity of a full-sized dryer, making them less than ideal for a family-sized household.
Which is Best?
If you have to choose between gas and electric, the best option is going to depend on a few factors, primarily financial in nature. Gas dryers, on average, cost more up-front than electric dryers. However, they cost less to operate over time than electric models because of the amount of gas you have to use per load compared to the amount of electric – the cost per load of a gas dryer is roughly 15 to 20 cents, where a load in an electric dryer is around 30 to 40 cents. In general, if you are doing one load of laundry a day and plan to stay in your home for over two and a half years, a gas dryer represents a better value over the long run. However, your space needs may have to take precedence over financial factors, and this is where an electric dryer can make more sense.
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