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Types of Dryers and Which One Is for You?

clothes dryers
Apr 2021

A clothes dryer – otherwise known as a “tumble dryer” or simply “dryer” – is an appliance that has become a mainstay in Canadian households. It is meant to remove moisture from clothing, bedding, and other textiles. Typically, a dryer is used right after the load is washed in a washing machine. 

Are you looking to buy a dryer for your home? Or, perhaps you are finally about to replace your shabby and outdated model? There are several types to choose from – from the simplest to the most high-end ones. But regardless of the price or features, all clothes dryers pretty much work the same way. That is, they rely on heat, air, and motion to remove moisture, and, consequently, dry your clothes.

With so many options to choose from, how do you know which one is for you? In this comprehensive article, as one of the top appliance repair service, we will provide you with everything you need to know about the different types of dryers, and how to choose the best one for your needs and specific situation.

What Are the Different Types of Clothes Dryers?

Several types of clothes dryers exist, each with varying features and respective pros and cons. With that said, one is not better than the other, and it all comes down to your needs, preferences, or even budget. Here is a quick rundown of the most common types available in the market.

electric dryer

1. Gas Dryers

As the name indicates, gas clothes dryers use gas to generate the heat needed to dry the clothing and textiles. They expend less electricity to power the unit, and often heat the clothes faster, translating to a quicker drying time. But, keep in mind that this type of dryer requires a ventilation system, which means that it is not ideal if you are short on space. 

Who Is It for 

A gas dryer is perfect for you if you want an energy-efficient model that dries the clothes slightly faster while saving up on power. Keep in mind that it tends to be pricier than other models. However, being energy-efficient means that it is much cheaper to operate, especially in the long term.

2. Vented Dryers

Vented dryers are perhaps the most common type of dryer in the market. Essentially, they work by heating up the air and sending it to the drum. The hot air is vented out of the system and replaced with fresh air once it becomes too moist (which means that it won’t be able to dry the clothes properly). Vented clothes dryers are usually cheap, but they can be expensive to operate. It is also worth noting that the presence of moist air can cause the laundry room to become excessively muggy.

Who Is It for

A vented dryer is perfect if you want something affordable and widely available. Another bonus is that it generally has the largest capacity among the different dryer types. Since this model requires proper ventilation, opt for it only if adding a venting duct to the laundry room is feasible or allowed in your residence. Finally, take note that vented tumble dryers tend to be energy-intensive.

Related Article: What’s Wrong With Your Dryer? Here Are the Most Common Issues

3. Condenser Dryer

Standard clothes dryers typically use a heating element to elevate the machine’s internal temperatures. Condenser dryers, however, work a little differently. That is, they pull in air from around the unit, then pass it through a condenser, where it is warmed up. Afterward, the dryer sends the heated air to the drum to dry the clothing. 

Compared to conventional vented models, condenser dryers tend to have lower temperatures inside the appliance, which means that they often need more time to dry the clothes. The extended drying period, in turn, equates to higher energy usage. For this reason, it is not the best option if you want something energy-efficient.

Who Is It for 

A condenser clothes dryer doesn’t require a venting duct, making it ideal if you can’t install a ventilation system in your home or residence. Plus, the fact that it uses slightly cooler temperatures makes it easier on the fabrics. Hence, you can breathe a little easier knowing that your favourite clothes will last longer. But if you plan to use a condenser dryer, be prepared to shell out more for the monthly electricity bills.

Related Article: Why Is My Dryer Squeaking and How to Stop

4. Heat Pump Condenser Dryer

Heat pump-operated clothes dryers offer the latest advancements in drying technology. As the name suggests, it uses a heat pump instead of a condenser to remove the moisture from clothing. Specifically, it relies on a refrigerant system consisting of hot and cold coils. 

This appliance works by drawing air from its surroundings, then sends it through the drum or the heat pump. The cold side condenses the collected air coming from the pump, releasing moisture and generating heat. Meanwhile, the hot coils reheat the lingering air for further use, raising the temperature of the air as it recirculates back to the drum. Overall, this results in a highly efficient process that consumes around 50% less energy than other dryers. Best of all, a heat pump condenser dryer doesn’t expel hot, humid air into the laundry room the way a regular condenser does.

Who Is It for 

If you are looking for something energy-efficient, you can never go wrong with a heat pump dryer. At the same time, it operates at lower temperatures than a standard condenser dryer, helping preserve the lifespan of your clothes. Plus, it is ventless, making it well-suited for tight spaces. One major caveat, however, is that this type of clothes dryer is the most expensive of the bunch.  

What Are the Things to Keep in Mind When Buying a Clothes Dryer?

Now that you know the different types of dryers, you are probably wondering, how do you even choose between them? There are several things to keep in mind to facilitate the decision-making process. Here are some of the most important ones.

dryer models

1. Gas or Electric

There are so many factors to consider when buying a dryer, but choosing between gas or electric is perhaps the most important one. Each has different costs and power requirements. 

Essentially, standard clothes dryers work by spinning the central chamber, ensuring that the clothes are in motion throughout the drying cycle. This helps to wick out moisture. As mentioned earlier, dryers also use heat to accelerate the drying process. Gas models rely on natural gas or propane to fuel the heating system and the fan blowing hot air through the unit. Electric dryers, on the other hand, use metal heating coils (which are powered by electricity) to generate heat. 

While a gas dryer tends to be pricier upfront, it is more energy-efficient and cheaper to run, making it more cost-effective in the long run. But since it usually requires a vent to the outside, it can be more complicated to set up. Some may also need a separate gas hookup. In contrast, electric models are more affordable to purchase and far easier to install. However, they can cause your electric bills to climb up quite fast.

Related Article: What to Do with Your Dryer Not Heating Up

2. Vented or Ventless

Another important consideration is selecting between a vented or ventless model. Standard vented dryers can either be gas- or electric-powered. They work by using a heating element or system to increase the temperature of the air inside the dryer, which warms the wet clothes and, ultimately, creates steam. The clothes dryers will need to vent this generated steam outdoors via aluminum ducts. With that said, you will have to factor in the installation of a venting duct, which may not always be possible for your home.

In this case, a ventless clothes dryer (which is either a condenser or a heat pump condenser model) may be more suitable for you. It allows you to install dryers in places where ducts are out of the question, including closets and apartments. Just remember that ventless dryers generally have longer drying times, and some models run the risk of making the laundry room hot and mouldy.

3. Energy Efficiency and Ratings

Energy efficiency is always a vital consideration when buying household appliances. This rings especially true for clothes dryers, which are undoubtedly some of the most energy-hungry devices in the home. Unfortunately, they also tend to be quite inefficient in general.

With that being said, the energy ratings on the label will give you an idea of how energy-efficient the product is. In Canada, clothes dryers can have one of two labels:

  • The ENERGY STAR symbol means that the dryer consumes 20% less energy than a standard unit.
  • The EnerGuide label displays the product’s energy consumption, including how it compares to other models and brands.

Find out more about the Energy Efficiency Regulations indicated by the Canadian government. This page contains more information about the ENERGY STAR certification of dryer products, while this page discusses the EnerGuide label for a clothes dryer in further detail.

4. Full-Size or Compact

When it comes to the size of clothes dryers, you have two options – full-size or compact. In terms of width, full-size models are generally 27 inches wide, although the term “full-size” can also refer to dryers measuring anywhere between 25 and 29 inches in width. Meanwhile, compact ones are about 24 inches wide. They are usually electric-powered.

A couple of notable factors to consider when choosing between full-size or compact dryers include:

  • Size of the laundry room
  • Your typical laundry load

If you are short on space, compact clothes dryers, for obvious reasons, are your best bet. They are also a great choice for those with minimal laundry needs. Another excellent option is a wall-mountable or stackable dryer, which allows you to place the dryer on the wall or atop a front-loading washer, helping save precious space. Take note, however, that only vented dryers can be mounted or stacked. As for full-size models, they are recommended if you wash heavy loads of laundry each week.

Besides this, you will have to consider the physical space as well. Ensure that there is enough clearance for you to fully open the dryer’s door. Also, don’t forget to allot some breathing space around the dryer for optimal air circulation. Vented units will need at least 6 inches of open space behind them for ducting, while for ventless ones, an inch or two of breathing room around the appliance will suffice.

5. Load Capacity

The capacity of the clothes dryer is directly proportional to its size. Standard full-size dryers have a load capacity of 7.3 to 8.3 cubic feet (cu ft). Meanwhile. If you will be washing mountains of clothes, then you will be glad to know that there are also “mega-capacity” models available, which can hold as much as 9.2 cu ft.

The rule of thumb is that the capacity of your dryer should be twice the capacity of your washing machine. If your dryer is too small, then you won’t be able to dry a full load in one go. Going too big, on the other hand, means wasting energy every cycle. Finally, you will have to consider the size of your laundry room as well.

Choose the Best Clothes Dryer for Your Needs

A clothes dryer is a powerful appliance that is designed to make your daily lives infinitely easier. If you are just looking to buy your very first dryer, it can be overwhelming. After all, there are endless options in the market. To know which one is right for you, you will have to know how dryers work, including which qualities to look for. Afterward, it is just a matter of assessing your needs and preferences, and determining which dryer best suits your situation. To know more call Prime Appliance Repairs today!


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