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Dryers Buying Guide

A dryer is a vital part of your laundry system. Find out what you need to know before you purchase one of these around-the-house helpers.

 

Dryers have a major impact on your clothes’ lifespan and appearance. The more types of fabrics and variety of colours in your family’s wardrobe, the more maintenance is involved in ensuring your clothes are laundered properly. With all the exciting high-tech options available on dryers today, we really have come a long way from the trusty old clothesline. Dryers come with a variety of settings and cycles that can make doing laundry a breeze and also keep your clothes looking and feeling their best.

Types of Dryers

All dryers operate in the same way. They use a motor to tumble the clothes and a fan to circulate the heated air. You will have to consider what power source your dryer will have (gas or electric) and if there are any size restrictions in your home.

Electric Dryers

An electric dryer requires a 240 volt electrical hook-up, which is twice the strength of a standard household outlet. Most laundry rooms or basements come equipped with this type of power outlet, which will have three or four prongs. If your laundry space does not have a 240 volt outlet, you can have an electrician install one.


Overall, electric dryers are initially less expensive than their gas counterparts, but can be more expensive to operate over time and will cause an increase in your electrical bill. Electric dryers do not differ from gas dryers in terms of quality or variety of options. Electric dryers are more common and therefore more models are available to purchase.

 

Gas Dryers

A gas dryer uses natural gas as its power source for drying. This means your laundry space must be equipped with a natural gas line in order to operate a gas dryer. You will also need to hook your gas dryer up to a standard 110-120 volt electrical outlet. The initial cost of a gas dryer is about $50 - $150 more than an electric, but after a few years, the cost will balance out as natural gas is a less expensive power source.

 

Compact Dryers

Compact or space-saving dryers are usually 24” wide or less. They are good choice for apartments and condos or for singles. They are often stackable, because of their smaller size and weight. They have half the drum capacity (about 3.5 cubic feet) of full-sized equivalents. The opening will also be smaller, making them slightly less easy to load and unload. Compact dryers are always electric, but they will use less power than full-sized dryers.

 

Combination Units/Stacked Laundry Centres

If you are looking for both a washer and dryer and have limited space, you can also look at combination units. These consist of both a washer and dryer attached and stacked. They typically have the dryer on top with the washer on the bottom, and the washer is usually a top-load style. They are great for small spaces; however, a potential downside is the fact that they are attached so if one part of the unit breaks, you may have to consider replacing the entire machine.

 

Size & Capacity

It is important to measure your laundry space before purchasing a dryer. Any doorways leading to your laundry room should be measured to ensure a full-sized dryer (about 28” wide) will fit into your space. If you live in a condo or have narrow hallways or stairs, purchasing a compact (24” wide) might be your best option.


If you have the room for a full-sized dryer, look for one with about twice the capacity of your washer. The larger the drum, the less wrinkled fabrics become. Also, with a larger capacity, you will run fewer loads which means a savings of both time and money. Over 7 cubic feet of capacity is best for tackling family-sized loads. Sheets, comforters and other large items can easily be accommodated at this size.