A clothes dryer is one of those appliances you might take for granted, right until the moment it decides to fluff its last towel. If your dryer has run its course and wearing damp clothes isn’t at the top of your to-do list, you’ll be happy to know that the latest dryers are energy-efficient powerhouses.
Dryer Buying Guide Quick Reference Handout
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Types of dryers
There are two different types: full size clothes dryers and compact clothes dryers.
Full size clothes dryers
Most homes have a full-sized dryer. They’re usually 27 inches wide and available in both electric and gas models. An electric dryer will require a 240-volt outlet to plug into, while a gas dryer will require a 120-volt outlet as well as a gas hookup. If you don’t have electric or gas hookups you’ll need to call in an electrician or a gas fitter to set up your laundry room.
Compact clothes dryers
A compact dryer is slightly smaller than a full size dryer. This type of dryer measures 23.6 inches wide. They are usually electric and can easily be stacked on top of a compact washing machine.
Questions you should ask yourself before buying a new dryer
How do you choose the right dryer for your home? Here are a few questions you can answer so you can choose the best dryer for you. If you’d like to brush up on washing machines before choosing your dryer, take a look at the washing machine buying guide.
1. Do you need an electric or gas dryer?
Dryers can use a lot energy. To dry your clothes the dryer has to use electricity to spin the central chamber or drum. That spinning is what keeps your clothes moving during the drying cycle. Dryers also require energy to power the fan that blows hot air into the drum, and that’s where electricity and gas come in. Some dryers are powered by electricity, while others are powered by natural gas.
There are pros and cons for both gas and electric dryers. Gas dryers usually have a higher upfront cost than electric dryers, but the fan will warm up faster in a gas model so the cost per load of laundry may be a little less. Electric dryers don’t require a gas line in your laundry room, but the cost of running one will depend on how much energy costs in your area.
If you break down the difference between a gas dryer and an electric dryer into real numbers, a gas dryer will average between 15 to 33 cents per load while an electric dryer will cost between 32 to 41 cents per load. If you do five loads of laundry per week in a gas dryer, it will cost you approximately $1.65 for all five loads. Those five loads in an electric dryer will cost you around $2.05. Over the course of the year using your electric dryer will run you an average of $533, while a gas dryer may cost an average of $429.
2. What dryer capacity do you need?
Capacity is the name of the game when it comes to dryers, and although bigger is better when you do between five to 10 loads of laundry per week, you might not have the space in your laundry room to install a high capacity dryer.
Dryer capacities average from as small as 4.0 cu. ft. in a compact dryer up to a generous 7.9 cu. ft. You can even find dryers with a 9.5 cu. ft. capacity for large loads and less drying time. In order to properly dry your clothes, a dryer should have twice the capacity of your washing machine.
3. Can your laundry room fit a full sized dryer?
You’ll need to allow for approximately 6 inches of clearance behind your dyer for hookups and dryer vents, plus 1 inch between your dryer and your washing machine.
When you’re measuring for size, keep in mind the depth of your space. If you’d like to have a high capacity 6 cu. ft. dryer, it will be approximately 25” to 25” deep. 7 cu. ft. models will be as much as 32” deep. Those extra inches can make a lot of difference if you need to close a closet door in front of your laundry pair.
4. Which way does your dryer door swing?
Space and personal preference will be the deciding factors for whether you choose a top-down door or side mount dryer. A top-down door will make a nice shelf you can use to fold laundry, while a side mount door can be easier to load and unload clothes. Most side mount doors are interchangeable so you can decide which way it will swing before you set up your dryer.
5. Should you stack your dryer on top of your washer?
If you’re constrained by space, you can still choose a high-capacity dryer. Just add on a stacking kit to create a stackable washer and dryer, as they will sit on top of each other so they can fit in a small corner.
Technology and features on new dryers
Even if your dryer still works, the latest dryers have new technology and features that will make you want to upgrade.
1. AI powered laundry machines
If you choose a smart dryer from a manufacturer like LG or Samsung, your new dryer could have AI (artificial intelligence) on board. A dryer with AI can learn which cycles you use and what your preferences are, then suggest a dryer cycle for you.
This type of dryer can also ‘sync’ to your washing machine. To use the dryer syncing feature you’ll need two compatible models of washer and dryer. The washer will detect what cycle you used for your load and transmit that information to your dryer so it knows what cycle to choose to dry your clothes.
2. Smart dryers
Some dryers have Wi-Fi built-in. With a smart dryer, you can connect your dryer to your home’s network and add it to your brand’s compatible app. Once added you can control your dryer from your phone. If you’d like to know when your cycle is finished, you can receive a notification on your phone. If you’d like to remotely start or stop your cycle, you can do that. A smart dryer will give you the option of downloading custom cycles or using the app to troubleshoot any issues you may be having with your dryer.
The latest smart dryers can also ‘sync’ to your washing machine. To use the dryer syncing feature you’ll need two compatible models of washer and dryer. The washer will detect what cycle you used for your load and transmit that information to your dryer so it knows what cycle to choose to dry your clothes.
3. Heat pump dryers
If you’re interested in saving energy while drying your clothes, a heat pump dryer is a great choice. This type of electric dryer will take heat from the air in the room anf use it to dry your clothes.
4. Ultra large capacity
If you’ve always wanted a dryer that can handle a king sized comforter, you’re in luck. Some models of dryer have ultra large capacity that will easily handle a large blanket, huge load of towels, or a big pile of t shirts. Ultra large capacity dryers start at 7.4 cubic feet.
5. Turbo steam
Steam is one of the most sought-after features on dryers today. With a steam cycle you can refresh your outfits and relax the wrinkles away. To create steam a small amount of water will spray into the dryer drum while tumbling, and the drum will rotate to fluff, remove wrinkles, or refresh your clothes.
Turbo Steam is available on some models of dryer, and it will let you have your item dry and ready to wear in 10 minutes flat.
6. Moisture sensors
With moisture sensors in your dryer, your machine will measure how dry your clothes are and shut the dryer off when it’s done. This saves on energy and stops your dryer from over drying your clothes.
7. Quick cycles
The standard time for drying clothes is usually an hour, but with a dryer that has quick cycles your dry time will be cut in half. The latest dryers can dry your clothes in 1/2 hour.
8. Auto-dry cycles
It used to be that you’d have to set your dryer for timed dry and hope the load was finished by the end of the cycle. With Auto-dry cycles, you’ll never have to guess how long you need to dry. Your clothes will continue tumbling until they are dry, and some auto-dry cycles have settings like more-dry or less-dry so you can pull your clothes out while damp.
Clothes that sit in the dryer drum after they have finished tumbling may wrinkle, and if you want to keep them fresh choose a dryer with Wrinkle Prevent. It tumbles your clothes periodically so they stay fresh until you can get to them.
10. Drying racks
When there is something you’re worried about drying because you don’t want it to tumble in the drum, the dryer rack will be your best friend. Choosing a model with a dryer rack means you can dry everything from shoes to delicate sweaters you’d like to lie flat.
11. Sanitation cycle
If you have allergies or you want to dry your bedding on high heat to kill bacteria and germs, choose a dryer with a Sanitation Cycle. It blasts through 99.9% of common household bacteria.
12. End-of-cycle signal
Older dryers would emit a buzzing noise when they were finished drying, but the latest models have changed their tune and now play a catchy song at the end of the drying cycle. You can turn it off if you’d like to skip the music, but it’s a handy way to know when your laundry is ready to go.
Save energy with an Energy Star dryer
Dryers can add to your electric bill, and if energy savings are on your mind, choose a model that’s ENERGY STAR-qualified. You can find the perfect model for your by looking at its EnerGuide rating. The lower the number, the less energy it uses.
When buying a new Energy Star-qualified dryer, you should also keep in mind that you may qualify for a rebate from your energy provider.
Dryer accessories for your laundry room
There are a few different dryer accessories you can choose for your laundry room. A laundry pedestal will prop your dryer up and give you drawer space. A stacking kit will allow you to place your dryer on top of your washing machine so it will fit in small spaces, and you’ll need a variety of hoses and clamps to connect your dryer when its time to connect your new dryer.
Whether you’re choosing your new dryer as part of a laundry pair or you are buying a replacement on its own, you’ll find your favourite appliance brands will carry a large selection of dryers. You can choose models from a number of brands, like Samsung, LG, Whirlpool, Bosch, GE, Electrolux, Insignia, and Maytag, among others.
For more resources on dryers, check out Best Buy Canada’s major appliance help hub.
Take the next step
Will you choose a new washer and dryer set or a brand new dryer? All you have left to do is choose the perfect appliance by taking a look at all of the dyers available on Bestbuy.ca.
It’s good to know how to buy the right dryer. It’s hard to choose with all the choices out there, so this is great. We probably need a generous-sized one because we’ve got four kids and they all wear a lot of clothes!