Finding the Perfect Electric Dryer for Busy Homes
Doing laundry is one of those endless chores that comes along with running a household. But having the right electric dryer can make the process a whole lot easier and faster! The dryer you choose has a big impact on how efficiently you can get those neverending piles of wet clothes dried and put away.
With so many options on the market, it can be tricky to decide which model is best for your needs. In this ultimate guide, we’ll cover everything you need to confidently choose an electric dryer. You’ll learn about the top electric dryers on the market right now, what features to look for, and get answers to common questions people have about electric dryers.
Let’s start by looking at the crème de la crème of electric dryers and what makes them stand out.
The Best Electric Dryers Available in 2022
After extensive research and testing, these four electric dryers consistently rise to the top for performance, features, reliability, and value.
This extra-large capacity electric dryer is perfect for handling massive loads from busy families. It has a roomy 7.4 cu. ft. drum that allows you to dry more in one go. This high-powered dryer will have your bigger loads dried fast thanks to the high-performance drying system delivering 1200 watts.
The commercial-grade components like the heavy-duty motor can stand up to frequent use without overheating or breaking down. It’s built with durability in mind with a durable stainless steel drum. And with features like wrinkle prevention and steam cycles, your clothes come out looking neat and wrinkle-free.
- Extra-large 7.4 cu. ft. capacity
- Powerful 1200 watt drying system
- Durable stainless steel drum
- Wrinkle prevention feature
- Steam cycle options
- Sturdy commercial-grade components
- Expensive price point
- Large size may not fit in all laundry rooms
This electric dryer from LG is packed with high-tech features you’d expect from one of the most innovative appliance brands. It uses LG’s unique sensor drying system to detect moisture and temperatures, automatically adjusting cycles for optimal drying. This prevents over-drying that can damage clothing.
The LG DLEX4000W also features wifi connectivity and can be controlled via a smartphone app. You can remotely start and stop cycles, get notifications when laundry is done, and troubleshoot issues. With the huge capacity drum, it’s ideal for large households.
Other useful features include sensor dry for optimal moisture detection, an internal water reservoir for steam cycles, and the ability to download custom cycles. The LG DLEX4000W is a smart choice for tech-savvy homeowners who want maximum control.
- Smart wifi connectivity and app control
- Sensor drying system prevents over-drying
- Large 7.4 cu. ft. capacity
- Internal water reservoir for steam cycles
- Ability to download custom cycles
- Expensive, high-end price point
- App connectivity issues reported by some users
This popular electric dryer from GE is packed with cycles and settings that make it versatile for drying all sorts of fabrics and items. With a generous 6.5 cu. ft. drum, it can handle medium to large loads. The dual thermistor temperature monitoring prevents clothes from overheating.
It has useful cycles like Activewear, which dries delicates and workout wear without damage. The Sanitize cycle eliminates up to 99% of common household bacteria. And the Steam Refresh cycle lets you refresh and de-wrinkle items quickly without washing.
With a stylish white or slate finish, this dryer looks great in any laundry room. The reversible door can open from the left or right side. It’s a reliable mid-range option suitable for most families.
- Wide variety of cycles for all types of fabrics
- Sanitize cycle eliminates bacteria
- Reversible door can open left or right
- Dual temperature sensors prevent overheating
- Steam cycles to refresh clothes
- No smart home integration
- Moisture sensor less accurate than pricier models
For buyers looking for a dependable electric dryer at a great value, the Whirlpool WED49STBW delivers. It has the basics covered with a wide selection of cycles, a moisture sensor, and useful features like a steam cycle.
The touch controls are straightforward to use. It may not have all the bells and whistles of pricier models, but its performance is solid. The unit also comes with a limited 1-year warranty from Whirlpool covering parts and labor. So you can be assured you’re getting quality at a reasonable price point.
This dryer earns praise for its quiet operation, lack of excess vibration, and lint trap that’s easy to clean out. Just note that the white exterior can get dirtier faster. But for shoppers who want a basic electric dryer without breaking the bank, it’s a winner.
- Very affordable price point
- Straightforward touch controls
- Wide selection of cycles
- Includes steam cycle
- Limited 1-year warranty
- No advanced features like wifi or custom cycles
- Exterior can get dirty easily
Now that we’ve covered some recommended models, let’s look at what features you should evaluate when shopping for an electric dryer. This will help you select the right one for your household.
Key Factors to Consider When Buying an Electric Dryer
With so many options and features to consider, it can get overwhelming trying to pick the perfect electric dryer. Here are the most important factors to keep in mind while shopping.
Type of Dryer
The first decision is whether you want a vented or ventless electric dryer.
Vented dryers are the most common type. They expel hot, moist air from the drum outside through an exhaust duct. This requires venting your dryer to the outdoors, typically through a hole in the wall. Proper venting is crucial since blocked vents are a fire hazard.
Ventless (condensing) dryers use a closed-loop system to condense and collect water vapor which gets pumped into a removable tank. They don’t require outdoor venting. However, they typically take longer to dry loads.
Think about your household size and laundry requirements. Larger families or homes that frequently wash bulky items like bedding may want an electric dryer with 7-8 cubic feet capacity or more. Smaller households can work with 4-6 cubic feet capacity.
Match the drum size to your needs so clothes have enough room to tumble freely for even drying. Crowded drums lead to wrinkling and tangled laundry.
Cycles and Settings
Look for an electric dryer with cycle options suited to different fabrics like towels, delicates, and permanental press items. Useful settings include:
- Variable temperature controls from low to high heat. The more options, the more customized the drying.
- Moisture sensors that auto-adjust drying time and temperature based on wetness. This prevents over-drying.
- Timer options for controlling cycle length manually.
- Silent modes for quieter operation, ideal for open floor plan homes.
- Wrinkle prevention features that periodically tumble clothes after the cycle to prevent wrinkles from setting.
Many electric dryers now come with steam cycle options to help smooth out wrinkles and refresh clothes between washes. The dryer injects hot steam vapor into the drum to reinvigorate fabrics.
Look for models with an internal reservoir that allows you to fill and use steam cycles without hooking up an external water line.
Laundry appliances located close to living areas should have low noise levels so they don’t disturb you. Look for electric dryers with sound dampening technologies and quiet operation around 60-70 decibels when running.
An ENERGY STAR certified electric dryer ensures energy efficient operation that can save you money on utility bills. Features like moisture sensors also improve energy efficiency by preventing over-drying.
Look for the yellow Energy Guide label stating estimated yearly operating costs and the ENERGY STAR logo when possible.
Size and Dimensions
Measure your laundry space beforehand to ensure there’s enough room for the electric dryer, both width and depth. Standard electric dryers are 27 inches wide. Larger capacity models can be 29-30 inches.
Make sure there’s sufficient clearance behind the dryer for ventilation. Never squeeze a dryer into too small of a space. This can block airflow and create a fire hazard.
Higher end electric dryers boast extra features like:
- Smart home connectivity – WiFi enabled models allow monitoring and control from smartphone apps. This adds convenience for starting, stopping, and monitoring cycles remotely. But the app connectivity can be glitchy at times.
- Sensor drying technology uses internal sensors to detect moisture and temperature levels, automatically adjusting drying times for optimal results. This prevents over-drying damage.
- Customizable cycle options allow you to modify default cycles and save new ones to create drying programs exactly suited to your laundry needs.
Electric dryers range from economical models under $500 to expensive luxury versions priced over $1,500. In general, expect to spend $700-900 for a mid-range electric dryer with a good selection of features. High-efficiency ENERGY STAR models tend to cost more.
Consider how frequently you’ll use the machine and whether advanced options like WiFi or customized cycles are worthwhile or not.
Brand Reputation and Reliability
Stick with well-known appliance brands like GE, LG, Maytag, Whirlpool, and Kenmore that have proven reputations for quality and reliability. Check reviews to see typical lifespans and avoid models with high defects or reliability complaints.
You want an electric dryer that will provide years of trouble-free performance.
Look for at least a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty covering parts and labor on the machine. More expensive electric dryers may come with 2-5 years of more extensive warranty coverage. Longer warranties show the brand is confident in the product’s reliability.
Following professional installation and proper care, a quality electric dryer should last approximately 10-13 years.
Now that we’ve covered key features to evaluate, let’s look at some frequently asked questions from electric dryer shoppers.
Answers to the Most Common Electric Dryer Questions
Here are answers to some of the common questions people have when trying to choose an electric dryer.
What’s the difference between electric and gas dryers?
The main difference is their heat source. Electric dryers use heating coils powered by electricity to warm the air. Gas dryers use a natural gas flame that directly heats the air. There are a few key differences:
- Cost of operation – Electricity is generally more expensive than natural gas. Gas dryers may be cheaper to run long-term.
- Drying power – Gas dryers typically heat up faster and have higher heat output. So they may dry loads faster, but electric dryers have improved a lot in power.
- Venting – Gas dryers require dedicated gas lines PLUS venting to outside like electric models. Electric dryers only need a 240V outlet and venting.
- Availability – Electric models give more installation flexibility since electrical outlets are universally available. Gas lines are required for gas dryers.
Overall performance is now comparable between gas and electric. Choose electric if you don’t have gas lines or want easier installation.
How much electricity does an electric dryer use?
The average electric dryer uses around 3 kilowatt-hours of electricity per load. This equals 3000 watts of energy used over 1 hour of drying time.
Exact energy use depends on the dryer capacity, cycles used, and type of drying system. More efficient ENERGY STAR models use 15% less energy than standard models.
At 10 cents per kWh average electricity cost, each load costs about 30 cents to dry. For an average household doing 8 loads weekly, estimate $120 in annual electrical costs for the dryer.
What voltage is required for an electric dryer?
Most electric dryers run on a 240-volt power supply. This provides enough power for the high wattage heating elements. Check that your electrical service panel provides a dedicated 240V circuit and outlet to handle an electric dryer’s electrical demands.
Some compact electric dryers may operate on standard 120-volt supply. But their drying capacity and performance is much lower. Always choose a 240V dryer for optimal efficiency and drying power.
How long should an electric dryer last?
With proper installation and care, expect your electric dryer to last anywhere from 10-15 years, possibly longer. High-end models may last up to 20 years.
To maximize lifespan, vent your dryer properly, clean the lint filter after each load, and have a technician perform periodic maintenance. Avoid overloading the dryer drum and hard impacts that can damage the suspension and bearings.
Regularly inspect your dryer for warning signs like overheating, strange noises or long drying times, indicating a need for service or repair before failure happens.
What maintenance does an electric dryer need?
Fortunately, electric dryers are relatively low maintenance. Follow these tips for long-lasting performance:
- Vent properly – Ensure lint ductwork is clear of blockages and vent hood is adequately drafted outside.
- Clean lint filter after every load without fail. Lint buildup can create fire hazards or reduce airflow.
- Vacuum exhaust duct/vent hood periodically to remove any accumulated lint residue.
- Check venting annually and ensure ducting is intact without holes or gaps letting lint escape.
- Clean dryer interior periodically by gently vacuuming the drum and interior cabinet to remove any built-up lint.
- Inspect door gasket and seals for wear, replacing if loose.
- Level dryer properly to prevent vibration issues over time.
Following the manufacturer’s guidelines will minimize maintenance needs for worry-free operation.
How do you install an electric dryer?
Proper dryer installation is key to safety and performance. Follow these steps:
- Position dryer near dedicated 240V outlet and gas line (for gas models).
- Ensure outlet is polarized with 4 prong receptacle – 2 hot wires, 1 neutral, 1 ground.
- Use 10/4 awg cable and matching 4-prong plug to handle 240V current.
- Connect ductwork from dryer to outdoor exhaust vent. Use rigid metal duct, not plastic.
- Level dryer using feet adjustments to prevent rocking and vibration.
- For gas models, hook up gas supply line using pipe thread compound.
- Turn on power and gas, then perform test cycle to verify heat, airflow, and exhaust venting are all working properly before use.
Always hire a professional technician if you have any doubts about electrical requirements or venting.
How do you vent an electric dryer properly?
Effective venting is crucial for drying time, efficiency, and fire prevention. Key venting guidelines include:
- Use rigid metal ductwork, not plastic or foil. Rigid duct doesn’t sag or compress to block airflow.
- Vent outside using shortest route possible – ideally under 25 feet. Avoid 90 degree turns.
- Use 4 inch venting duct and hood with damper flap to prevent backdrafts.
- Make sure vent hood has adequate clearance outdoors away from obstructions.
- Seal all connections with metal duct tape to prevent lint leakage into wall cavities.
- Smooth ductwork. No dips or low spots where lint can collect and clog duct over time.
- Inspect and clean venting regularly to remove any lint residue buildup.
Proper dryer venting is a must! Consult local building codes for all requirements.
What are warning signs my electric dryer needs repair?
Watch for these red flags indicating a problem with your electric dryer:
- Long drying times – Indicates weak airflow due to vent blockage or motor issue
- Lint escaping into room – Signals ruptured ductwork or loose vent connections
- Overheating – Check for restricted vent, motor failure, or bad thermostat
- Strange noises – Listen for scraping, squealing or grinding sounds
- Clothes not fully drying – Points to low heat generation from heating element
- Cycle not advancing – Timer or motor controller failure
- Burning smell – Potential overheated motor or electrical component issue
The sooner you detect problems, the lower your repair costs will be.
How much does it cost to repair an electric dryer?
Repair costs often range from $100 – $350 on average depending on the specific problem and parts required. For example:
- Heating element replacement – $120-$250
- Motor replacement – $150-$350
- Drum bearings – $150-$250
- Thermostats – $100-$180
- Belt replacement – $80-$150
- Moisture sensors – $100-$220
- Circuit board – $150-$300
Labor charges and trip fees also apply. More extensive repairs like drum or motor replacement will cost more.
When should I replace instead of repair my electric dryer?
Once your dryer is over 10 years old, replacement often makes more sense than sinking money into repairs, especially for major components.
Consider a new model when:
- Repairs exceed 50% of replacement cost
- You’ve had repeat repairs for the same problem
- Key parts like motor or drum are heavily worn
- Newer models have better energy efficiency and features