Unless you enjoy taking frequent trips to the laundromat with a jar of quarters, purchasing a clothes dryer of your own is certainly something to consider.
About 80% of all American homes have clothes dryers, as they are convenient, efficient, and relatively inexpensive for a major household appliance. They usually cost about $250 to $550, depending on the different features of the machine.
Consider the following when shopping for your own clothes dryer.
* '''Moisture Sensors '''
** The machine stops when it senses your clothes are dry, rather than when the preprogrammed cycle ends.
** The automatic dry cycle prevents overdrying, which can damage and shrink fabrics.
** Moisture sensors are standard on most new dryers today, although some inexpensive off-brand units may still use a thermostat.
** Work better than a thermostat sensor and give you a choice of how dry you want your clothes.
** Moisture sensors also save you money in the long run. They detect that your clothes are dry and shut the machine down sooner, thus saving energy. They also reduce the amount of time your clothing is subjected to heat, which saves on wear and tear.
** Compact models may have a capacity around 5.7 cubic feet.
** A capacity closer to seven cubic feet is more useful; it allows clothing to tumble more freely and dry faster.
** If have really large loads of laundry you might want a super-sized dryer.
** '''Heavy Duty Dryers'''
*** If you have a large family, you might want to invest in one.
*** Most dryers can handle an average load of laundry.
*** If you frequently dry large, bulky items, you might want to invest in a large capacity dryer.
* '''Lint Filters'''
** Make sure you get a dryer with a wide and sturdy lint filter. More lint will be captured and the dryer should last longer.
** Buying a clothes dryer lint brush is a good idea because you don't want excess lint to clog up the filter. This will not only make the dryer less effective but could cause overheating or even a fire.
** Models that use lint filter bags should have them replaced fairly often; you can find lint filter screens for many other dryers.
* '''Control Buttons'''
** Look for a dryer with a dial control. They're cheaper than the electronic controls and more straightforward than push buttons.
** Electronic controls may be more prone to breakage, however.
** Dials are equally as common as buttons.
* '''Sound Reduction'''
** If your dryer is close to your bedroom or kitchen, you might want to find a particularly quiet model.
** Try not to overload your dryer. If you find yourself with huge bags full of dirty clothes you're better off buying a larger dryer. There will be less noise if the clothes aren't causing the machine to shake.
* '''Drum Lights'''
** If your dryer is in the basement or another dim area, find a model with an internal light.
** This way you'll be able to find those socks that inevitably get stuck in the back.
* The '''''touch-up''''' cycle gives your clothes a quick dry if they're still a little damp. It also helps get out wrinkles.
* The '''''damp dry'' '''cycle leaves clothes slightly damp for easy ironing.
* The '''''express dry'' '''cycle dries small loads at a high heat in under 30 minutes.
* '''Temperature controls''' allow you to use a lower heat for delicate items.
* A '''dryer rack '''will allow you to dry sneakers, baseball caps, or other items you don't want to tumble freely.
* '''Extended tumble''' will keep your clothes wrinkle-free if you can't take them out right away.
* A '''buzzer''' lets you know when your laundry is done.
* '''IEC Efficiency''' means it will be nicer to your environment. EnergyStar dryers are a smart way to start caring.
Types of Dryers
As far as dryer types go, here's the general breakdown.
The Best for your Buck
You don't want to feel cheated when you make your choice. A dryer is an investment, not just a purchase. Think not only about initial costs, but monthly costs for use, and consider the features and how much they are worth in the long run. Check out these name brand dryers below that are loaded with features.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 15,500 fires associated with clothes dryers occur each year. To avoid a fire in your own home, make sure you check and clean the lint traps and vent systems as often as possible. A top-mounted lint filter is easier to clean than one inside the drum, so keep this in mind while doing your shopping. Also, if you tend to be forgetful, make sure you get a model with a warning light that reminds you to clean out the filter.
For more information about dryer safety, see this link at CPSC.gov.
A combination washer/dryer takes up less space, so it can be conveniently placed in smaller areas. To avoid laundry backup, make sure the machine can dry as much as it can wash.
You can also get a clothesline or a drying rack, but they take longer and you can't use those sweet-smelling dryer sheets. This is not the best option if you live in an area with so-so weather.
* '''Frigidaire''': These have all of the essentials, but are smaller than the Kenmore models. This might be an economic choice if your needs are simple.
* '''GE Profile''': The GE Profile is one of the highest-ranking dryers due to its fast drying speed, efficient use of energy, and added features.
* '''Kenmore''': Mid-range Kenmore dryers perform nearly as well as the pricier models. Kenmore also has an Elite line with more convenience features, but for a higher price.
* '''Maytag''': In addition to the drying center, Maytag Neptune dryers are among the highest rated--but these also tend to be pricey.