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Clothes dryers are both a simple and weird appliance to shop for. They are arguably the simplest of the whitegoods in terms of their design and various types, however, that simplicity tends to trip some shoppers. We’re so used to looking for major differences in the many whitegoods models, yet, despite the stark price differences between them, most clothes dryers look like they do the same thing. Why is that?
Here, we’ll explore the different types of clothes dryers and their main functions. So, by the end of the article, you should have identified the best clothes dryers for your needs and preferences.
The different types of clothes dryers
Clothes dryers can differ from one another in only several aspects – their capacity, power options, and the few main extra features they may have.
In terms of power consumption, clothes dryers can be either electric or gas-powered. We’ll go over that difference below as gas clothes dryers are essentially a separate type in and of themselves. For now, suffocate it to say that gas clothes dryers are much more expensive than electric models but are much more economical as well.
As for the capacity, we’ll cover that further below. For now, let’s take a look at the 4 main types of clothes dryers.
Vented clothes dryers are one of 3 types of electric clothes dryers and are also the most popular one out of them. That’s largely because they are the most basic and affordable clothes dryers but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. After all, they do their job pretty effectively.
Vented electric clothes dryers work by heating up air and passing it through the drum. Once the hot air has absorbed as much of the moisture as possible, it’s vented out of the machine and replaced with a newly-heated dry air. The obvious drawback here is that these clothes dryers release hot & moist air which can be impractical for small apartments. Aside from that, they are a pretty good option for every situation where the vented air isn’t a problem.
This type of clothes dryer is an improvement on vented dryers in that they recycle the moist air instead of venting it. These models extract the vapor out of the moist hot air and then return the air in the drum where it can keep drying your clothes. These models are a bit more expensive than vented ones but the reduced vented air is a huge bonus for tighter spaces where moisture can be a problem.
Heat pump condenser dryers
The high-end of electric dryers are the heat pump condenser dryers. Ironically, they are an old form of dryer that’s making a comeback because they are more energy-efficient.
Heat pump condenser dryers don’t vent any air whatsoever but instead recycle all the air they work with. They do this extra efficiently too, however, their price tag reflects that efficiency. Unfortunately, it will take years for the average heat pump condenser dryer to compensate you for its higher price tag but it will do it eventually.
The most expensive and most energy-efficient type of clothes dryers are gas dryers. They are also usually faster than most electric dryers (depending on the model). Their price tags are impressive too, however. If you’re willing to pay the extra buck, gas clothes dryers will make up for the price difference fairly quickly and will do great and fast work in the meantime.
What should I look for when buying a clothes dryer?
With clothes dryers being fairly straight-forward devices, there are only a few main things to look for with them.
Clothes dryers of all types usually vary in capacity between 4 and 10 kg. Note that this is kg for dry clothes not wet ones. If you’re not sure which one you need, there are several ways you can figure that out:
- You can measure the weight of your dry weekly load of clothes and see what capacity you’ll need for your future clothes dryer.
- Or, you can simply follow the general rule of thumb here which is that the clothes dryer’s capacity should be twice that of the washing machine.
- Another way to go about it is the “other rule of thumb”, i.e. – <5kg for one or two people, 5-7kg for three people, and 7+kg for four or more people.
We covered briefly which of the 4 types are more or less energy efficient above. With that in mind, there can be certain differences within each type depending on the model, however, those will usually be negligible. In general, look at the energy ratings of each dryer and look for the best one. Clothes dryers are usually the second most energy-consuming appliance in your home after the fridge so it’s a good idea to reduce that expense as much as possible.
The other main thing to pay attention to is the programs of each dryer. Basic models will come with only basic programing which is ok for most people. If you don’t have to dry babies’ clothes or other sensitive fabrics, you don’t need to spend on a needlessly complex device. If you would need something with some extra programs, you’d want to do some research.
Extra features that might be useful
As you go higher in the dryers’ classes, you’ll encounter some extra features too. Here are some examples to keep in mind;
- Size. This is related to the dryer’s capacity but not completely. There are impractically large dryers for their capacity and some ingeniously small models with large drums. Whatever you pick, make sure it will fit well your desired dryer’s location.
- Lint filters. A cool extra features, lint filters do require regular cleanings, however. Make sure yours is easy to access.
- Electronic display. Whichever model you have, it will be much easier to operate with an electronic display.
- Auto-sensing. Dryers with this feature sense when the clothes are dry and can stop the pre-programmed drying ahead of time
As you can see, finding the best clothes dryer for your needs isn’t really that complicated. Just pick the right capacity, size, and programs for your needs, and choose between a lower initial price and a lower energy consumption. Aside from that, as long as you’ve got a good model fro ma reputable brand, everything should be all right.