Best Dryer under 500 Dollars: Buyer’s Guide

The first thing you’ll need to know when shopping for a dryer are your measurements. Make sure you measure the height, width, and depth of the space the unit will occupy, taking into consideration any doorways, stairways, or hallways that may be used to get the unit to its final destination, and keeping in mind that dryers that require venting will need an additional four to six inches in depth to allow room for vents.

Dryers are available in two sizes: full-sized, which is available in capacities ranging from four to almost ten cubic feet, and compact, designed to fit under counter or in small spaces. Compact dryers usually range between three and four cubic feet.

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Next, you need to know that there are two options for dryers: gas, which requires a gas line and 110 power source, and electric, which requires a 220 power source. Both types use electricity to spin the drum to keep clothes in motion and both types have the ability to be stacked depending on the style and model. But what sets them apart is that electric dryers use electricity to power the fan that blows hot air through the machine, and depending on the model, electric dryers don’t always require venting. Gas dryers power the fan using natural gas or propane. All gas dryers will require venting. Both methods work well to dry garments.

Another option for dryers is ventless. Ventless dryers are available in 110 or 220 electric-only and can be ideal for condos, apartments, or any small space where traditional sized dryer can’t fit. Ventless dryers will either have a water reservoir, that stores recycled water, or drain tube, that pumps moisture into the same drain as the washer. And though ventless dryers are ideal for small spaces, they do require adequate air flow so if your unit is stored in a closet make sure you leave the room door open during use.

A common question asked when purchasing a dryer is which is more efficient, gas or electric. When it comes to overall efficiency, clothes dryers do not carry the yellow Energy Star label because they’re one of the top most energy hungry appliances in your home. But there is a slight difference between gas and electric models. What you will find is that gas dryers typically cost more to purchase, but because they warm up faster, they also tend to cost a little less to operate.

Electric dryers typically cost around $50 to $100 less than an identical gas model, but can take a little longer to dry, resulting in slightly higher operating costs.

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