Clothes Dryer Buying Guide

A Guide To Discover Which Clothes Dryer Is The Best For Your Budget

The Greatest Appliances Clothes Dryer Buying Guide will show you everything you need to know to make an intelligent decision before buying your next dryer.

Wrinkle-free clean clothes, soft towels, and clean sheets should never be taken for granted. Having a reliable clothes dryer that works great and lasts for years is the best anyone can hope for. A dryer can run you anywhere from $450 to over $1,500, depending on the quality, features, and capacity. Below you will find the information you need to find the one that best suits you and your situation. If you just want to find out which clothes dryer is the best, check out our Clothes Dryer Reviews. You should also check out all of our Appliance Buying Guides.

image of a clothes dryer

To find information on clothes washers, check out our Washing Machine Buying Guide and Ratings.

image of LG gas clothes dryerSize Up Your Space

27-inches is the standard width of most dryers, however, increasing the capacity of a dryer usually results in a few inches increase in the overall width. Because of this, you will want to take the time to measure the area that you have available for the dryer, allowing a minimum of 5 extra inches in the back for the dryer venting setup. Measure the doors of the front door of your home as well as the door to the laundry room. To be safe, measure any other possible tight spaces you might have to navigate through with the dryer.

If it will be located beneath a counter, be sure to also measure the height of the space and the height of the dryer. If you’re locating the dryer close to bedrooms or the family room, you may want a model that scored in the very good or better range in our noise tests. You will know that they’re running, but they should be quiet enough to not bother you or disrupt your everyday activities.

For a great washer and dryer combo check out, “The Best Matching Washers and Dryers”. If you find you’re tight on space, check out our reviews on compact washers and dryers.

Count the Towels in Your Basket

Because the capacities of washing machines have increased, so have clothes dryers. However, everyone will not need to have a dryer that can contain two dozen full-size bath towels. This is a clothes dryer that earns an excellent capacity rating in our Reviews will allow. One that gets a ranking of very good for capacity is capable of holding 16 to 20 towels, and a good capacity scoring dryer is able to fit 13 to 16. The capacity of the dryers that were the lowest ranking were able to hold 6-7 towels. If you want to be able to dry a lot of bulky items, you will want to select a clothes dryer that scored a very good capacity rating at minimum.

image of frigidaire electric clothes dryerChoosing Between Gas and Electric

Obviously, electric clothes dryers are the most popular. However, after many years of testing and comparisons, it’s been learned that gas dryers perform just as well as the electric ones do. Electric dryers need a 240 volt outlet in order to work. If you opt for the gas dryer, you will need 120 volt outlet as well as a gas hookup. Although gas dryers typically run $50 to $200 more, you will make up the difference and more over time in energy savings.

Electric dryers are the big sellers. Decades of testing revealed that electric and gas dryers perform similarly. We now only test electric models, but their gas versions appear in our Clothes Dryer Ratings because we expect them to perform comparably. An electric dryer requires a 240-volt outlet. For a gas dryer you’ll need a 120-volt outlet and a gas hookup. Gas dryers cost about $50 to $150 more, but you’ll probably spend less on energy and more than make up the difference over time.

Four Fantastic Features

There are several sweet features to pick from. Keep in mind that typically you will find the more features, the more costly it will be. Here are four features to keep an eye out for.

Moisture Sensor

This should be a requirement, at minimum. Moisture sensors pick up on the laundry’s level of dampness and turn off the machine whenever the clothes are dry. Your clothes won’t get too dry and you’ll reduce energy consumption—much better than thermostats, which would usually cause the dryer to run longer than necessary. Even the clothes dryers under $500 now come equipped with moisture sensors.

Auto-Dry Cycles

You no longer have to guess at how much time you need to dry your clothes they way you like. As opposed to depending on timed drying, the auto-dry settings give you more-dry to less dry (if you like ironing slightly damp clothes) options and other settings in between.

Extended Tumble

If you’re unable to get to your clothes as soon as the dryer shuts off, don’t fret, the extended tumble feature will reduce any wrinkling by tumbling your laundry intermittently. Some are capable to tumble for as many as three hours.

End-of-Cycle Signal

A jazzy tune or a bunch of beeps lets you know that your laundry is done and ready to be pulled out of the dryer. Keeping it in there too long after the cycle completes will end up in more wrinkles, and more time wasted ironing clothes. If you want to turn down the signals so it doesn’t disturb light sleepers, some of the models come with the capability of reducing the volume of the end-of-cycle signal.