8 things to consider before buying a new dryer
Make sure you're getting the best dryer for your dollar
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If you’re planning on buying a new dryer soon, you’re likely already in the throes of online research. What kind of dryer do you need? What is a steam cycle? What is the best dryer you can purchase right now?
Whether you’re just starting to research or nearly ready to make a purchase, we’ve got you covered. We have tested countless dryers in our labs—did you know we’ve got an entire section of our lab dedicated to laundry? Because we do. We can tell you everything from how to clean every type of fabric to whether dryer balls actually work.
A dryer can be a big investment, and since there are so many available on the market, you need to make sure you’re picking the best dryer to suit your needs. There are several things to think about as you start sifting through the most popular models from Samsung, Electrolux, LG, and more. Based on our experience, we’ve broken down eight essential things to consider before you buy a new dryer.
1. Know if you need a washer and dryer set or just a dryer
The first thing to consider as you start searching for a dryer is whether you’re hunting for a new dryer, or whether it’s time to upgrade your entire washer and dryer unit.
If your dryer recently broke, or it’s not quite performing the way you envisioned, it makes sense to opt for a dryer only. Consider whether you want your washer and dryer to match—if your laundry set is hidden in a basement or tucked away behind doors, you may not mind a mismatching set. But if you want a matching set, it may be time to replace the washer, too.
The brand is important here, as well. If your dryer lasted for 10 years and performed admirably until the day it needed replacing, see what new models the brand has in store. But if your dryer lasted a year or less, research other brands—and keep your eyes on the washer, because if you bought them as a set, that doesn’t bode well for the quality of that either.
Remember, too, that laundry units should last quite a few years, so if you opt for the dryer only, know you’ll be living with a mismatched set until the washer kicks it. (When the cycle repeats—how do you buy a washing machine?)
2. Set a budget—and stick to it
You can usually get a discount if you purchase appliances together, like refrigerators and dishwashers or washers and dryers. Shopping on holidays—like Black Friday, Labor Day, or Memorial Day—is another great way to save a few hundred dollars on appliances. But no matter which way you cut it, you’ll be spending a pretty chunk of change.
The more features you want in a dryer, the more expensive it will be—so set yourself a budget before you start shopping to make sure you hold yourself accountable. You can get a solid washer and dryer set under $500, but our favorite dryers will cost you more than that apiece.
The Samsung DVE45R6100C, which is one of the best dryers we’ve ever tested, costs about $600, while the Electrolux EFME627UTT, which is our choice for best dryer, costs $1,000. Most in our roundup of the best dryers cost between $600–$1,200, so keep that in mind as you set your budget.
3. Know which features are most important to you
Dryers have come a long way in the last 30 years—you can steam, sanitize, customize for bedding, and run eco-friendly cycles on some models. As you search for a new dryer, start exploring common features and see which are most important to you.
If you need a dryer that can get rid of wrinkles or you don’t know how to work an iron (guilty), getting a dryer with a steam cycle is a great call. We tested the best dryers with steam to find the top-performers on the market, finding that the best dryers with this feature have many customizable options on the dial for steaming.
Alternatively, if eco-consciousness is at the top of your mind, get an energy-efficient model with eco-friendly drying cycles that will reduce your environmental impact.
4. Pick a dryer that suits your household size
Two major questions to take into consideration while dryer shopping are “How often do I do laundry?” and “How large are my laundry loads?” I share a small house with my husband, so we run two loads of laundry once a week. However, when I lived with my parents, I feel like the dryer was constantly running—there were five of us sharing one house, and some of us were far clumsier than others, spilling drinks all over blankets, rugs, and towels on a near-daily basis.
When we tested the best dryers for large families, we were looking for two key performance metrics: how fast does it run and how large is its barrel. High-capacity washer and dryers are key for large families whose laundry piles up—you want a dryer with a drum large enough to hold each item. Similarly, you don’t want your life (or power bill) dominated by laundry, so opt for a dryer that runs its cycle quickly, or at least doesn’t take three hours to dry your clothing.
5. Know how quickly you need clothes to dry
Dryer speed is an important consideration to make regardless of whether you’re doing loads for two people or seven. Most dryers have several cycles that allow you to control your speed—a rapid cycle, a normal cycle, and a tumble dry low cycle. One of our favorite dryers, the Samsung DVE45R6100C, has a normal cycle that runs for less than an hour. Our top pick, the Electrolux EFME627UTT, has a rapid cycle that wraps up in just about 15 minutes.
But keep an eye out for the temperature those dryers use—running hot may get your clothes done quickly, but if your dryer runs too hot, it could ruin your clothes. You really don’t want your dryer running hotter than 150°F, so if you spot one that gets your clothes done quickly at a higher temperature, the risk may not be worth it.
6. Don’t neglect your research
The internet is dark and full of terrors—but it’s also the best place to find reviews, product specs, and high-quality photos of the appliances you’re eyeing. Going to a store and physically touching the dryers you’re considering is a great way to make sure they look how you imagined, but reading product reviews and exploring the best deals can go a long way in your hunt for the best dryer.
As you start comparing models, read through key specifications on retailer websites to make sure they describe every detail of the dryer. And check out descriptions on multiple websites before buying—certain retailers may give you more information than others. We also recommend Googling the brand and model number of the appliance you’re considering to find the best reviews.
7. Pick a retailer you trust
Whether you’re buying in person or online, find a retailer you trust will not only give you a fair price, but will also have your back if anything goes wrong. When my husband and I were shopping for an oven, we wanted to try our local appliance dealer—but we had to leave when they were selling our model for hundreds of dollars more than The Home Depot.
There are numerous benefits to buying local, or from a retailer that’s more expensive than its competitors. Smaller brands may deliver for free, offer better customer service, or provide free installation. Some of our favorite retailers to buy appliances online include Abt, Appliances Connection, and Home Depot.
8. Know when you need to hire a professional
When my husband and I moved into our home, we inherited the old washer and dryer from the previous owner. They weren’t quite as old as the house (which was built in the ’50s), but they were close. We needed to replace them within months of moving in, and while we didn’t need a professional to help us pick out the appliances or plug them in, we definitely needed the help to deliver them and place them in our basement.
More importantly, we needed a professional to come vent our dryer outside. We probably should have bought a ventless dryer, but we didn’t—so once it came and got plugged in, we realized the dryer would be venting inside or we’d need to hire someone to come fix our ventilation situation.
Know your limits—if you have a truck and the willpower to move your own appliances, do it. Otherwise, let the professionals take over to carry or install appliances where necessary.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.