When the time comes to buy a new clothes dryer, the choice (gas dryer vs electric dryer) can get difficult. Both have their pros and cons, but how to determine which one is the best for your home and budget?
To help you solve this dilemma and make the right choice, we’ll cover all the essential differences between gas and electric dryers.
What’s the Difference Between Gas and Electric Dryers?
Expectedly, the main difference is their energy source.
Electric dryers use electricity, while gas dryers use natural gas (a mixture of gasses, predominantly methane) or propane gas if they are equipped with an LP (liquid propane) conversion kit).
How to Make a Difference Between a Gas and an Electric Dryer?
Determining a dryer’s power source isn’t always the easiest task, as that feature isn’t always the most straightforward and obvious one.
Here’s how you can do it:
- Find the info on your seller’s webpage.
- Look at the back of your dryer (if there’s a stainless steel/yellow gas line connected to a shut-off valve, you have a gas dryer).
- Check out your electric panel (if you find a double slot breaker marked 30 (amps) or more, you have an electric dryer).
- Ask your technician (send them a photo of the wiring at the back of your dryer)
- If you own a washer-dryer combo, it’s most likely electric.
An Electric Dryer vs a Gas Dryer—Factors to Take Into Consideration
Choosing the right type of dryer for your home depends on a few factors. So, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of the most important things to consider when choosing between these two options.
Electric dryers are generally a better choice for smaller homes, while gas dryers are better for larger spaces. This is because gas dryers tend to be larger and produce more heat, requiring more space and better ventilation to prevent mishaps.
Electric dryers are generally quieter than gas dryers (the blower in an electric dryer is located on the back of the machine, while the gas burner is located on the front).
For those living in a smaller apartment, making the wrong choice can make a big problem, as it isn’t easy to fall asleep, work or study with dryer noises in the background.
Capacity (Laundry Load)
Capacity is one of the key factors to consider when choosing a dryer.
Contrary to popular belief, modern electric dryers can be just as large as their gas counterparts (if not larger), typically ranging from 7.3 to 8.3 cubic feet. These are generally big enough even for bulkier items such as fluffy comforters. However, there are extra-small (3.4 cubic feet) and extra-large (9.2 cubic feet) options out there too.
Gas dryers typically take much less time to dry a load than electric dryers. They do so twice as fast as electric dryers since they need much less time to reach high temperatures.
This is why:
- A gas dryer’s gas burner produces more heat than an electric dryer’s heating coils.
- A gas dryer’s fan is located on the front of the machine, so it circulates air more efficiently.
Gas dryers should be cleaned more frequently than electric dryers.
Professionals recommend cleaning a gas dryer’s ducts at least twice per year. On the other hand, electric dryers should be cleaned once a year (more frequent cleaning might be necessary if you’re a particularly heavy user).
A Gas vs an Electric Dryer Cost
Let’s analyze the costs and find out whether you can save up a buck by choosing one option over the other.
Electric dryers are usually less expensive than gas dryers. The price difference is about $100, so this is an important factor to consider. Furthermore, gas dryers tend to have a higher resale value and can add to your overall home value.
Installation Costs (Gas vs Electric Dryer Hookup)
Gas dryers require the presence of gas hookups in your home. Additionally, installing a gas clothes dryer takes longer, which translates to a higher installation cost.
On the other hand, electric dryers only need an electric outlet, making electric dryers more convenient for more frugal homeowners.
Generally, gas dryers are more efficient than electric ones because they have lower energy use. Electric dryers require considerably more time to heat up and reach higher temperatures, so they’re more costly when compared to gas dryers.
The difference in efficiency means that gas dryers will cost less to operate over time.
Drying bedding (e.g., your soft bamboo sheets) or clothes using a gas dryer generally costs 15–25 ¢ per load. On the other hand, drying cost per load amounts to 30–40 ¢ with electric dryers.
The Effect on Utility Bills
Electric dryers typically use more energy than gas dryers. This means that, in the long run, you may end up spending more money on your utility bills if you opt for an electric dryer.
Overall, gas dryers are considered to be more eco-friendly than electric dryers since they require less energy to operate.
Gas dryer repairs are best left to professionals. Gas leaks are a major danger for your household, so you should ask for a qualified technician’s help anytime you smell a gas leak.
As a result, this type of dryer is more expensive to maintain.
A Gas vs an Electric Dryer Safety Precautions
Safety is another important factor to take into consideration.
There are several major safety concerns when it comes to gas-powered dryers.
Gas leaks occurring in a gas line or connections can have serious consequences.
They can lead to poisoning, whose symptoms include fatigue, severe headaches, dizziness, loss of consciousness, etc. What’s more, they can also lead to fire and explosions.
Excessive Lint Production
Gas dryers produce a LOT more lint than electric ones regardless of the clothing type. Since they have an open flame, if an excessive amount of lint accumulates, the flame can ignite the fibers as they tumble around and potentially cause a fire.
This is why you have to be super diligent when it comes to cleaning your gas dryer regularly (or using one of those nifty lint traps).
Electric dryers have their own set of problems, mainly related to thermostat issues. Problems with the cycling thermostat (the one that controls the temperature in the dryer) can lead to a dangerous heating-up and a potential fire.
So are gas dryers better than electric ones? In general, if you’re looking for efficiency and speed, gas dryers are a better option than electric ones.
On the other hand, if you’re on a budget or don’t have a gas hookup available, an electric dryer is also a good alternative.
If you’re still unsure which type of dryer is right for you, consult with a professional at your local appliance store. They’ll be able to help you choose the best model for your needs and budget. Keep in mind that a lot of the energy efficiency will depend on the features of the model itself.
Are gas dryers better than electric ones?
The answer to this question mainly depends on personal preferences.
If you have a gas line in your home and enough space to keep it well-ventilated, a gas dryer may be more affordable to operate in the long run.
On the other hand, if you have limited space, a smaller laundry load, or have allergies or asthma, an electric dryer may be a better option.
Can a dryer be both gas and electric?
Yes, a dryer can be dual-fuel, that is, both gas and electric. However, it’s important to note that not all dryers are dual-fuel. So, if you’re interested in getting one, make sure to check the specifications before going through with the purchase.
Is a gas dryer worth it?
There are a few factors to consider to be able to provide an adequate answer to this question:
- How often do you use your clothes dryer
- The cost of gas and electricity in your area
- Dryer’s cost
A gas dryer may not be worth the extra cost if you only use it a few times a month. However, the amount of money you’ll save by using gas instead of electricity may be worth the investment if you use your dryer on a daily basis.
Are electric dryers safer than gas ones?
Yes, electric dryers are generally considered to be safer than gas dryers.
Let’s go into the details of why one is safer than the other (gas dryer vs electric dryer).
While electric dryers have heating coils that can cause sparks, gas dryers heat the clothes and other textiles by producing an open flame that can potentially cause a fire if something goes wrong.
This doesn’t mean electric dryers don’t pose any hazard whatsoever. They, too, can cause a fire in case of malfunction or if not used correctly.