Gas vs Electric: Which Dryer Should You Choose?
Whether your dryer no longer heats or it’s making weird noises and nothing seems to fix it, there will come a day when you have to replace it. But shopping for a new dryer means making a lot of choices. Which brand do you get? Do you choose front- or top-loading? What capacity? And, maybe most importantly, do you go gas or electric?
You don’t have to make the choice uninformed, though. This guide breaks down electric and gas dryers, including their pros and cons, to help you decide which dryer is right for your situation.
What Is an Electric Dryer?
Electric dryers use electricity to generate heat and circulate warm air throughout the drum to dry your laundry. The hot air is sent out through an exhaust vent or condensed and drained, depending on the style.
Since these dryers are powered by electricity and use electricity to create heat, they can’t use your standard household outlet. Most electric dryers require a 240-volt outlet.
What Is a Gas Dryer?
The main difference between gas and electric dryers is the source used to generate heat. While an electric dryer relies on electricity, a gas dryer uses natural gas or propane to heat the air. The hot, moist air is vented outside to remove moisture from your laundry. (Note: Proper ventilation is crucial for a gas dryer. If it’s not well-ventilated, condensation can build up inside your dryer.)
While gas dryers use gas as the heating element, they still require electricity to run. Gas dryers typically use a standard 120-volt outlet, but you will need a gas hookup to install a gas dryer.
Pros and Cons of Gas vs. Electric Dryers
Since electric and gas dryers work differently, they each have benefits and drawbacks. Weighing the pros and cons of the different dryer types can help you decide which is right for your laundry room.
Pros of Gas Dryers
- Quicker drying
- Can use standard outlet
- Usually more energy efficient
- Create custom cycles for the right fabric care (especially true with models like the Whirlpool Smart Capable Top Load Gas Dryer)
- Generally have lower operating costs
Cons of Gas Dryers
- Require gas hookup
- Usually more expensive upfront
- Require professional installation
- More maintenance needs
- Need to be placed near a vent leading outside the home
Pros of Electric Dryers
- Tend to cost less to purchase
- Can install yourself
- More options for style and features
- Generally easier to maintain and repair
Cons of Electric Dryers
- Require special outlet
- May take longer to dry your laundry
- Uses more electricity
- Typically have higher operating costs
What Is More Energy-Efficient: Gas or Electric Dryer?
Gas dryers tend to be more energy efficient than their electric counterparts. Gas dryers heat quicker, meaning they spend less time drying your laundry, saving energy. Plus, they only use electricity to power the dryer itself, while electric dryers use electricity for power and generating heat.
That doesn’t mean electric models are automatic energy drains, though. You can choose an energy-saving model like the Whirlpool Smart Capable Top Load Electric Dryer, which features an EcoBoost™ option that saves energy by using less heat without sacrificing drying performance.
Whether you pick gas or electric, there are also other ways you can save on energy with your dryer. Energy-saving laundry tips include air drying when possible, doing laundry outside peak hours, and not overloading your dryer.
Is a Gas or Electric Dryer Better for the Environment?
While gas dryers are generally more energy-efficient than electric dryers, they aren’t always better for the environment. It all depends on what specific dryer you purchase and your electrical setup. For example, an energy-efficient electric dryer may be better for the environment than a standard gas dryer. Or, if you have solar panels, an electric dryer will probably be the more eco-friendly option.
What Is More Cost-Efficient: Gas or Electric Dryer?
There is no hard and fast answer on which dryer type is more cost-effective. Gas dryers have cost more upfront but tend to have lower operating costs over their life. However, they also might cost more to repair. Electric dryers are usually more affordable to purchase but can cost more to use.
You also need to consider your laundry room’s current setup. If it doesn’t have a 240-volt outlet, you will need to have one installed. The same goes for a gas dryer if you don’t have a gas hookup. You need to factor in the cost of the dryer itself, energy use, maintenance, and potential installation services to determine which is the most economical for you in the long run.
Is an Electric or Gas Dryer Easier to Install?
For installation, you need to compare electric vs. gas dryer hookups. If you already have a 240-volt outlet, an electric dryer will probably be easier to install. If you don’t have that special outlet but do have a gas hookup, then a gas dryer will probably be easier.
As for the act of installing the machine itself, electric dryers tend to be easier. A gas dryer will require you to hire a professional for installation, but you can usually install an electric dryer yourself.
Which Is Better: Electric or Gas Dryer?
Whether an electric or gas dryer is better depends on your budget, hookup options, current housing situation, and more. Below are some scenarios in which either dryer might be the right choice.
When You Might Choose an Electric Dryer
An electric dryer might be the better choice for you if you:
- Already have a 240-volt outlet
- Don’t have a gas hookup and plan to move in a few years (not worth the cost of installing a gas line)
- Have a limited budget
- Don’t want to worry about regular maintenance
- Use solar panels to power your home
When You Might Choose a Gas Dryer
You may want to go with a gas dryer instead if you:
- Already have a gas hookup
- Plan to stay in your current home for more than a few years and want to install a gas line
- Can afford to invest in a more expensive model upfront
- Don’t have a 240-volt outlet
- Want to save on drying time
Gas or Electric, Rent-to-Own Your Next Dryer from Rent-A-Center
Now you know which dryer type works best for you! Or maybe you’re still unsure and would prefer guidance in person. Let Rent-A-Center help! Not only do we have a wide selection of both gas and electric dryers, but we also offer free delivery, set-up, and flexible payment options! Stop by your local Rent-A-Center to find the best fit for your household today!