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Difference Between Electric and Gas Dryers

Are you in the market for a new home dryer? To make your laundry day more convenient, selecting the right dryer is crucial. One of the initial decisions you’ll face is choosing between a gas dryer and an electric dryer. While both serve the same purpose, they differ in energy sources and operation mechanisms.

Here’s a detailed comparison between electric and gas dryers to help you decide which one’s better.

What is an electric dryer?

An electric dryer is powered by electricity. It employs electric heating elements to generate hot air, which circulates through the drum to dry clothes. It goes into the standard 240-volt electrical outlet.

Equipped with a control panel, electric dryers enable you to set drying times, choose specific cycles, and adjust temperature settings. They are generally easier to install than gas dryers, but may take a bit longer to dry clothes.

What is a gas dryer?

In contrast, gas dryers use natural gas or propane to generate heat and electricity and dry wet laundry. The key components include a gas burner, a heat exchanger, a thermostat, and an exhaust system.

Similar to electric dryers, gas dryers have a control panel for setting drying times, choosing specific cycles, and adjusting temperature settings. Wet clothes are placed in the drum, which rotates during the drying cycle to ensure even exposure to heated air, powered by the motor.

Installing a gas dryer involves connecting it to a natural gas line or propane tank. Professional installation is often recommended for a secure and safe connection.

Difference between Gas and Electric Dryers

Energy Source

Electric dryers use electricity and draw power from a standard electrical outlet. You need the standard 240-volt outlet and you’re good to go. Gas dryers, on the other hand, use natural gas or propane and need a gas line or propane tank. They plug into a standard 110/115-volt outlet.

Heating Mechanism

Electric dryers use heating elements that generate heat through electrical resistance, warming the air circulated inside the dryer. In contrast, gas dryers have a burner that ignites natural gas or propane, creating a flame. The heat from this flame is then transferred to the air passing over a heat exchanger.

Installation

Electric dryers are generally easier to install as they only need a dedicated electrical outlet. However, gas dryers require a connection to a gas line or a propane tank. Professional installation is often recommended for a secure and safe connection.

Drying

Gas dryers are more efficient in terms of drying times. The combustion process in gas dryers heats up the air faster than electric heating elements, potentially leading to quicker drying of clothes. The former dry loads in about half the time electric dryers take to dry and with less static cling.

Operating and Maintenance Costs

While electric dryers usually have a lower upfront cost, the cost of electricity may result in higher operating expenses over time. Gas dryers, on the other hand, may have a higher initial cost but can be more cost-effective to operate due to the typically lower cost of natural gas compared to electricity.

Gas vs. Electric Dryers: Comparison Chart

Summary

The best dryer for you will depend on your individual needs and priorities. If natural gas is significantly cheaper than electricity in your area, a gas dryer may be a more cost-effective choice in the long run. If you don’t have a gas line readily available or cannot vent a dryer to the outside, an electric dryer may be your only option. Carefully weigh the pros and cons of each type before making a decision.

FAQs

What is better, electric or gas dryer?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer! Both have their fair share of pros and cons. If you often need to dry clothes quickly, a gas dryer may be a better choice. However, if you prioritize features like steam cycles or ventless options, an electric dryer may be more suitable.

Can I use an electric dryer instead of gas?

Yes, but it depends on your laundry setup. An electric dryer needs a 240-volt outlet, which may require additional installation. It also needs proper venting outside, just like a gas dryer.

How do I know if the dryer is gas or electric?

Look for a gas line connection near the dryer. If it doesn’t have one, it’s probably electric. Check the manual or the manufacturer’s website for confirmation.

Do gas dryers need to be vented?

Absolutely! Gas dryers produce carbon monoxide, which is dangerous if not vented outside. Make sure your vent is properly installed and maintained.

What are the cons of a gas dryer?

Here are some cons of gas dryers:

  • Higher initial and installation costs. 
  • Professional maintenance is needed.
  • Carbon monoxide risk (proper venting is crucial). 
  • Fewer advanced features.

Does an electric dryer need to be vented?

Yes, they still need to vent moisture outside to prevent mold and mildew growth. Most electric dryers use vented exhaust, but some newer models offer ventless options.

Do electric dryers just plug in?

Yes, most electric dryers simply plug into a standard 120-volt outlet. However, some high-performance models require a 240-volt outlet, which may require additional wiring.

Can an electric dryer produce carbon monoxide?

No, electric dryers don’t use gas and therefore cannot produce carbon monoxide.

Is it OK to vent an electric dryer inside?

No, even electric dryers need to vent moisture outside. Venting inside can cause mold, mildew, and structural damage. Always use a proper vent to the outside.

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2 Comments

  1. You left out the most environmentally and economical option. Air drying either on a clothesline or on a clothes drying rack. I have not had a dryer for two years. Our clothes last longer now and we save almost 8% on our utility bill. It is surprising – most of the world does not use clothes dryers. Americans are just starting to go back to the natural way to dry.

  2. You forgot to mention that although electric sockets, plugs and extensions may be readily available, an electric dryer needs a dedicated 220v outlet, which unless you already have an electric dryer or an electric hot water heater, you probably don’t have anywhere in your house, and will need to have an electrician install from your electric panel.

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References :


[0]“Which is Better Electric or Gas Dryer?” Best Buy, www.bestbuy.com/discover-learn/gas-vs-electric-dryers-which-type-of-dryer-should-i-buy/pcmcat1654541036158. Accessed 27 Jan. 2024.

[1]“Gas vs. Electric Dryers.” The Home Depot, www.homedepot.com/c/ab/gas-vs-electric-dryers/. Accessed 27 Jan. 2024.

[2]Threewitt, Cherise. “Gas vs. Electric Dryers.” U.S. News, 6 Aug. 2021, www.usnews.com/360-reviews/home-goods/dryers/gas-vs-electric.

[3]Leverette, Mary M. “Gas vs. Electric Dryer Comparison Guide.” The Spruce, 19 Jan. 2024, www.thespruce.com/gas-dryer-vs-electric-dryer-2146251.

[4]Image credit: https://www.canva.com/photos/MAEE6AsJNOk-new-residential-frontload-washer-and-dryer/

[5]Image credit: https://www.canva.com/photos/MAC9Iij0OZs-clothes-in-laundry-basket-with-washer-and-dryer/

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