Home Appliances: Choosing The Best Clothes Dryer For Your Laundry Room

Choosing and buying the best clothes dryer for your laundry room.

Gone are the days when we waited for hours while our jeans dried on the clothesline. The advent of clothes dryers allowed most people to throw away their clothespins. Our busy lives are easier with these magical machines that freshen our pillows and even dry our shower curtains. Today's dryers are convenient, save time, and keep many of our clothes wrinkle-free. Choosing a clothes dryer for your laundry room doesn't have to be a daunting task. By following the tips below, you'll be able to choose your new dryer in no time.

The Cost of Buying a Dryer

Initial Price vs. Cost of Operating

Your first choice is whether you'll buy a gas or electric dryer. While electric models have less expensive purchase and installation prices than their gas counterparts, gas dryers save money and energy in the long run. If you want a gas dryer, you'll have to hire a plumber to install a gas hookup unless your home is already equipped with one. This extra expense can easily be made up over time. If you choose an electric dryer, your initial costs will be lower. All dryers need electricity: electric ones use a 240-volt outlet, and gas models use a 115-volt outlet, the standard outlet for nearly everything in our homes.

Purchase Price

There are dryers to fit every budget, and they range in price from $200 to $800, depending on the features. If you love bells and whistles, the new electronic touch-pad dryers will thrill you. If you're a no frills person, you'll be happy with simpler models that cost less. At the low end of the scale, you'll get a dryer that offers low, medium, and high heat, as well as mechanical controls. As the price increases, dryers have features like auto-dry, electronic touch pads, racks for drying pillows and sweaters, stainless steel drums, and the ability to set the dryer to keep the drum turning for up to two hours after the clothes are dry. High-end models also have more temperature settings, a lighted drum, and are quieter than the cheaper models.

Electronic controls cost more to repair than mechanical ones. You should determine the price you pay by figuring out how often you will use your dryer, what you need to dry in it, and whether you can afford the higher cost of repair on the more expensive models. Let's face it. You work hard for your money, and clothes dryers are not cheap. But if you look at the purchase as an investment, you'll see why it's so important to make the right choice: a choice based on many factors besides price.

Lifestyle Preferences for Choosing a Dryer

If you have children who love to play in the mud, roll on the grass, and "help" you in the kitchen, choose a dryer that will work like a horse: one with a super capacity drum size of 6.4-7.0 cubic feet. You may need a dryer for special uses like drying scarves, plastic shower curtains, pillows, and sweaters. If so, choose one a higher-end model that provides special features like drying racks and many temperature control choices. If your drying needs are simple, you can safely choose a less expensive dryer.

Some dryers offer a touch-up feature that gets wrinkles out of quickly, a definite plus if you spend a lot of time on the road. Another handy feature is the damp-dry cycle, which dries clothes to the dampness required for ironing.

The Latin saying "caveat emptor" means buyer beware. Keep this phrase in mind when looking at warranties, and get the best warranty you can. Don't let a sly salesperson sell you a more expensive dryer than you need, or one with more features than you can use. After all, salespeople don't pay for appliances they sell""you do.

Installation Tips

Choosing the Right Size Dryer

Dryers come with small-large capacity drums and vary in width from under 24 inches to 29 inches. Know what size space you have and to take the measurements with you when you choose your dryer. Allow 2-6 inches on either side of the dryer.

Your Dryer's Home

If you'll place your dryer in a dark laundry closet or basement, additional lighting on the control panel will help you. If your dryer is near bedrooms, a quieter model dryer will be the best choice.

Venting Your Dryer

Vents allow dryers to disburse the heat, as well as drying clothes more efficiently and safely. Gas dryers must have a vent so that the gas doesn't back up into the house, causing a fire hazard or posing a serious health risk to you and your family. Use a short, straight vent instead of a long one or one that twists and turns for both gas and electric dryers. Make sure your vent is made of aluminum or rigid steel. The risk of fire increases if you use ducts made from plastic or flexible metal. Without a vent, the dryer uses moist air instead of hot, dry air, thereby increasing the time and energy needed to dry your clothes. You shouldn't use vent buckets, cloth netting, or other material as part of your vent. Some dryers use condensing heat, and you don't have to vent these. Vents are the most important part of installing your dryer. Don't be stingy when it comes to venting properly.

Other Considerations

Many dryers come with an energy-saving feature, the auto-dry cycle. The built-in thermostat stops drying clothes when the dryer detects no more moisture or when the air leaving the dryer changes temperature. This feature saves energy, time, and money. Some utility companies offer a rebate when you choose energy-saving appliances.

Most manufacturers stick to basic white and almond, although some have colored exteriors. With proper care, your dryer may last ten-fifteen years.

By following the above tips, you'll find the process of choosing your new dryer much easier than you expected. Look forward to the ease and convenience of using your dryer to keep your clothing in tip-top shape.

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