When you’re in the business of natural gas, you get a lot of questions about using this energy-efficient and plentiful fuel around the home. And they’re almost always about the many appliances on the market that run on this clean-burning fuel. This week, we wanted to dive into an appliance-related question we’ve been hearing more of lately: Is a gas or electric dryer better?
“Better” depends on your goals and what you’ve got to work with. If your home isn’t already set up for natural gas—or if you don’t have plans to make this happen—an electric dryer is the way to go. But if you’re already using natural gas or thinking of converting, a gas-heated dryer is the better choice when you want to cut energy costs and go green. Let’s consider that in more detail below.
Natural Gas Dryer Vs. Electric Dryer
As with most gas appliances, there are several advantages to choosing a natural gas dryer. For one, natural gas dryers use about half as much energy, which cuts down on your monthly energy bills and helps reduce your carbon footprint.
In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, Americans as a whole would save more than $1.5 billion each year on energy costs if everyone used natural gas dryers. And that would also cut the harmful emissions pumped into our atmosphere by the equivalent of about 2 million vehicles.
Additionally, natural gas dryers heat up and dry your clothes faster than electric models, which can save you time and cut down on laundry wear and tear.
But what are the cons, you ask? Well, as we mentioned above, you’ll need to have a qualified professional install a gas line to your laundry room when you switch to a gas dryer if your home or laundry space isn’t already equipped. And gas-heated dryers can cost a little more up front, though you’ll eventually offset those costs with your energy savings. On average, mid-range gas dryers run between $500 and $800, while electric dryers typically cost between $400 and $600, all depending on the brand and model you prefer.
If you’re wanting to shop for an efficient, Energy-Star-backed brand, check out some of the models listed with energystar.gov. This site lets you filter by price, dryer type and efficiency rating: Energy Star Dryers.
How does a natural gas dryer work?
With a gas-heated dryer, natural gas is burned to heat a coil or element that creates warm air that’s circulated throughout the dryer’s tumbler, drying your clothes in record time. Much like a natural gas stove with a flame, the heat is immediate. The hot air and exhaust are then vented out of your home, similar to how many electric dryers are vented.
Gas-heated dryers also use a relatively small amount of electricity to power their fans and tumblers. The gas is just used as a heat source, so you’ll still need to have access to an electrical outlet, though that probably won’t be an issue when you consider that washing machines are also plugged into an outlet. And like most washing machines, natural gas dryers only make use of a standard 110-volt outlet. This differs from most electric dryers, which run on 220 volts.