Gas vs. Electric Dryers: Which is Best?

A modern dryer in laundry room

You may have been using the same old dryer for decades and you've put off upgrading because, "Hey, it's just a dryer.” However, you may be surprised to learn that new, energy-efficient dryers can help you save a few hundred dollars over the lifetime of your dryer.  

On top of deciding between a gas vs. electric dryer, a homeowner should take brands and models into consideration too.

How a Dryer Works

Most clothes dryers operate by using an electric motor to turn a drum while a gas flame or electric coil feeds hot air inside. As the clothes turn and tumble, the air and moisture from your wet clothes is vented outside, drying your laundry.

Whether you favor gas vs. electric dryers, you need energy to dry your clothes.

One option is less expensive to run; the other is less expensive to buy. So, which one is right for you?

Electric Dryers

When comparing gas dryers vs. electric dryers, both types look and function the same. Electric dryers are more common than gas dryers, and according to Expert Appliance Repair, they are less expensive to buy and install - requiring only a power source (plug) and a vent for the hot air. However, since electricity is more expensive than gas, an electric dryer costs more to operate than a gas dryer.

For easier installation, some newer, “ventless dryers” use condensation to expel water vapor into a drainpipe or collection tank. Having a ventless dryer reuses the air from the previous cycle and loops it back through the condenser to be used for the next cycle of drying. This type of dryer is useful when you have a smaller space or no outside ventilation.

Heat pump dryers, like ventless designs, also rely on condensation to dry clothes. While they may take longer to complete a cycle, these dryers are gentler on your clothes, which may help them last longer.

Ventless or heat pump dryers may be more expensive than traditional electric dryers. Make sure to take this into account if you're looking to upgrade.

Gas Dryers

Gas dryers look and function much like electric dryers, except they operate using natural gas instead of electricity. If you have a gas dryer you still need an electrical hookup for the dryer's sensors, fans and lighting.

Here's how gas dryers work: once you start a load, a sensor ignites the pilot and opens the gas valve. A small electric fan circulates the heated air, and once the desired temperature is reached, the gas is shut off, only turning on again if the temperature drops.

According to Bob Vila, gas burners are so efficient at generating heat that gas dryers tend to run hotter than their electric counterparts. This means that they'll likely run for a shorter amount of time than a comparable electric model to dry the same load.

Gas dryers are more expensive upfront and there may be gas line installation costs if you do not already have one set up for your dryer. However, gas dryers are less expensive to run, because in many areas natural gas costs less than electricity.

The question is whether you may want to save a couple of hundred dollars today on a new electric dryer, or possibly save more on your dryer energy costs over time with a gas dryer? If you don't have gas hookups, the answer to gas vs. electric dryers is simple.

Energy Efficient Dryers

Whichever power source you decide on, the secret to saving energy is to get an energy-efficient dryer, such as an ENERGY STAR®-rated product.

Since ENERGY STAR®-rated dryers are available in both gas and electric versions, you don't have to weigh the benefits of gas vs. electric dryers if you want to save energy. You can simply upgrade what you have.

Direct Energy Could Help

At Direct Energy, we love showing homeowners how they can save energy in their home when using everyday appliances.  We're one of the top energy providers in Alberta. Bundle gas and electricity with us for even more convenience!