Do They Make Electric Dryers That Run on 110V?

Electric dryers use a great deal of current to produce the heat required for the drying process to be effective. They typically use 110 and 220 volts; the 110 to operate the controls and the 220 to power the heating element. That said, although they are much less common than the 220-volt variety, 110-volt dryers certainly are available.

Clothes dryer
credit: Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images
Regular-sized dryers often won't work for small apartments or RVs.

Availability

Large warehouse-style retailers that specialize in direct supply to the end user typically stock, or can order, 110-volt dryers. This includes home-improvement outlets with appliance-specific areas, and stores that specialize in electronics and white goods.

Representative Products

As noted, 110-volt dryers are available. Market research should offer a number of choices, of which the Sears and Sam's Club units are representative. As of December 2011 Sears stocks model number 0079841241101, a compact dryer less than 30 inches high, 24 inches wide and 20 inches deep, intended for dormitories and small apartments. It has a stainless steel drum, high-low heat setting and see-through porthole in the door. Sam's Club stocks model number GXD620/W, another compact unit. It has a drying time control that is variable from 0 to 120 minutes, is stackable and has a limited 5-year warranty.

Adapting the Voltage

It is neither safe nor practicable to change a 110-volt outlet to carry 220 volts. Installing a new 220-volt circuit, from a dedicated double-pole fuse or breaker in the main fuse or circuit breaker board to a new outlet or junction box, is the only recommended method. A 220-volt supply can be changed to 110 volts safely if the preexisting supply has four wires; two hot, one neutral and one ground. Simply removing one of the hot wires from the breaker board and the outlet or junction box, then exchanging the double-pole breaker for a single-pole version creates a 110-volt supply. Expertise is required and local code regulations must be followed.

An Alternative

An alternative to an all-electric dryer that uses only 110 volts is a gas-electric dryer. These use electricity to operate the controls and either natural or propane gas to generate the heat. Gas-electric dryers typically are cost-effective only if a preexisting live supply of gas is available where the dryer is to be located.