In the modern home, dryers are an essential convenience and there are a huge variety from which to choose in terms of price, functionality, and, of course, power. Dryers are powered either by electricity or natural gas–much like ranges. Choosing between an electric and gas dryer is often just a matter of personal preference and compatibility in the home for one or the other. Here is a breakdown of the two varieties and a quick comparison and contrast of each.
Both electric and gas function to achieve the same outcome: drying clothes through heat. Electric dryers use heating coils with a 240-volt current to supply the heat. Electric dryers generally consume more energy than gas dryers–sometimes as much as double during a cycle–but do not require the same amount of space for venting as gas dryers. Electric dryers also tend to cost slightly less than gas dryers, though this becomes somewhat insignificant after you reach a certain price bracket.
Perhaps the biggest benefit to electric is that they require less space and installation work than gas dryers. You need a 240-volt outlet and enough space for the dryer to open and close. Gas dryers, in contrast, require a gas line, professional installation, and plenty of room for ventilation. Electric dryers also, on average, last longer than gas dryers as the pilot light on gas dryers often goes out and can require costly repairs. This isn’t the case with electric.
Gas dryers are somewhat less common in most homes than electric and part of this may have to do with the requirements of having an installed gas line and a good amount of space for the dryer to vent. If you have an existing gas line in the home for a dryer, you have the option of installing a gas dryer without worrying about installation cost. If you lack the gas line, you may be better off just opting for electric as installation of a gas line can be expensive and requires a professional to install and maintain.
Gas dryers are also slightly more expensive than electric and typically produce less heat–making them slightly less risky for fires, while still drying clothes efficiently. Gas, however, requires proper venting to prevent gas build-up in the house. Much like gas ranges, the risk of fire increases with gas dryers as well. While gas dryers are somewhat less popular than electric, if you have the gas line installed and are looking for an alternative to electricity to dry clothes, gas dryers are nice and may save you a little money on energy in the long run.