If you are in the market for a new clothes dryer, then you have many choices to make. You have to determine your price range, what brand you trust and any features you wish to have at your disposal. But one of the main choices is whether to go with electric or gas heat. Depending on who you ask, either may be considered the better choice. But the real answer depends on your situation and preference. Take a look at some comparisons between the two to help you decide.
If you are trying to decide between a gas and electric dryer simply based on the effectiveness of the unit, then you shouldn't spend too much time on it. The fact is, both gas dryers and electric dryers will get the job done -- usually in very comparable time frames. The big difference is the way they heat. An electric dryer uses electricity to heat up an electric heating element and the electricity turns the drum and blows the air through the machine. The gas dryer works almost the exact same way, except the heat is provided by an actual flame fueled by propane or natural gas. The other functions still require electricity.
Some might be quick to jump to the conclusion that an electric dryer is safer than the gas version. But that may not be the case. Gas dryers definitely have the potential for danger that electric dryers do not. They are hooked in to gas and therefore may be prone to dangerous gas leaks. But this shouldn't be a problem with properly installed and maintained dryers. The biggest safety concern is with fires caused by these appliances. And it turns out that electric dryers are involved in starting more fires than gas dryers are. The Dryer Project, a study by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, revealed that out of 15,500 dryer-related fires, the electric dryer was involved in 8,600 of them, and was responsible for well over half of the total damage costs associated with those fires.
While both types of dryers must be vented to exhaust moisture and warm air from the home, gas dryer vents also get rid of poisonous carbon monoxide gas resulting from burning natural gas or propane in the dryer.
The choice between two appliances often comes down to dollars and cents. But choosing between gas and electric dryers based on cost can be approached in two ways. If you are looking for the lowest cost at the time of purchase, you are likely to spend a little less on the electric model. Usually, this will save around $50 immediately. But over time, the cost of running a gas dryer may be less, assuming the cost of your fuel doesn't rise too high. According to the Consumer Energy Center website, gas dryers will generally cost 15 to 20 cents per load of laundry, while the electric version will cost between 30 and 40 cents per load.
Installation is likely to help you with your decision. Installing an electric dryer only requires the use of a 240-volt outlet and ventilation. A gas dryer requires a 120-volt outlet, ventilation and a hookup for propane or natural gas. If you do not have gas run to your home, then the electric dryer is likely going to be the best choice. If you have gas hookups already, you may wish to go with the gas version.