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Published May 6, 2022 12:27 PM

Clothes dryers are one appliance many homes can’t do without. However, finding the best dryer for your home may not be an easy task if you don’t know what factors to look for in a new dryer. 

The best dryers typically fit comfortably in your home and suit your lifestyle. If you frequently move households, then it’s best to opt for a compact dryer or even a portable dryer that can be packed up without a lot of trouble. On the other hand, if you don’t plan on moving for a few years and you have the space, then a full-size dryer is the way to go. These larger machines are far more capable of quickly drying a big load of laundry than a portable or compact dryer. Keep reading to learn more about what to look for when shopping for the best dryer.

How We Picked the Best Dryers

Putting together a list of the best dryers required extensive research into more than 30 products in order to identify the highlights, drawbacks, and specifications of each model. Experience with a range of home appliances, including dryers, washers, refrigerators, and dishwashers, helped narrow down the potential choices. Key factors that we considered included the overall size of the appliance, fuel source, capacity, portability, and cycle settings.

The size and capacity of each machine were the most important specifications to note because a dryer is a semi-permanent fixture in most homes. It needs to fit comfortably in the house without impeding daily activity. These appliances also need enough drying capacity to handle an average size load from the user’s washer, otherwise the laundry may need to be put through multiple drying cycles every time the laundry is washed. 

Also of note were any additional features that helped a product stand out from similar competitors, such as end-of-cycle alarms, wrinkle shields, and lint filter sensors that let the user know when to empty the lint tray.

Best Dryers: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: Kenmore 29-Inch Front Load Electric Dryer

Make sure clothes come out dry with this large, front load electric dryer.
Kenmore

Why It Made the Cut: Kenmore’s SmartDry Plus system automatically adjusts drying temperature for optimal results.

Specs:

  • Type: Electric front load dryer
  • Capacity: 7 cubic feet
  • Dimensions: 29 inches W x 28 inches D x 43 inches H 

Pros:

  • Drop-down door access
  • Large capacity drum
  • SmartDry Plus automatically adjusts drying temperatures
  • Wrinkle Guard mode prevents wrinkles after drying

Cons:

  • Heavy and bulky

Ideal for larger families that tend to have big loads of laundry every week, this Kenmore Front Load Electric Dryer boasts a large, 7-cubic-foot capacity and a SmartDry Plus system that is designed to automatically adjust the drying temperature. This helps to ensure that laundry comes out dry, regardless of whether the load includes uniforms, towels, or sheets. The large electric front load dryer measures 29 inches in width by 28 inches in depth by 43 inches in height, so it’s important to make sure that your home has enough space to accommodate this appliance. Also keep in mind that the dryer will need a 240-volt electrical outlet to operate.

Users can take advantage of the drop-down front door to help improve loading and unloading. While resting the entire load of laundry on the drop-down door isn’t recommended, the door does help catch socks, underwear, and other small items that tend to fall on the floor during loading and unloading. Turn on Wrinkle Guard to prevent creases from forming for up to 40 minutes after the drying cycle finishes. What’s more, this function automatically turns on to keep the clothing warm and wrinkle-free when it detects that the temperature inside the dryer is too low. 

Best Value: hOmelabs Compact Laundry Dryer

Equip the home with this compact dryer that features 5 different drying programs. HOmeLabs

Why It Made the Cut: The size and design of this dryer allow users to position it on the countertop, mount it to the wall, or simply install it as a freestanding unit.

Specs:

  • Type: Compact electric dryer
  • Capacity: 3.2 cubic feet
  • Dimensions: 23.4 inches W x 20.1 inches D x 27.5 inches H 

Pros:

  • Multiple drying programs
  • Lightweight at just 60 pounds
  • Adjustable dryer vent
  • Durable stainless steel interior

Cons:

  • Small capacity

If your home doesn’t already have a dryer, then one of the most difficult things to decide is where the new dryer should be installed. The hOmelabs Compact Laundry Dryer is designed to make installation easy. This compact electric dryer measures just 23.4 inches in width by 20.1 inches in depth by 27.5 inches in height, so it can be installed as a freestanding unit without taking up too much floor space. 

This dryer can also be mounted on a rack or directly to the wall, though it can also be set up on a counter or table. It connects to a standard 120-volt outlet for power and features a durable stainless steel interior that’s capable of withstanding repeated impacts from zippers, rivets, and buttons. At just 60 pounds, the dryer can be picked up and moved around if necessary. That said, the small size is also reflected in its small, 3.2-cubic foot drying capacity. 

Best Combo: LG WM3998HBA 4.5 cu.ft. Front Load Washer & Dryer Combo

Save time and money by investing in this combined washer/dryer. LG

Why It Made the Cut: Set the clothing to wash then leave it for the day, knowing this combined appliance will wash and dry the laundry in just a few hours.

Specs:

  • Type: Electric front load washer/dryer combo
  • Capacity: 4.5 cubic feet
  • Dimensions: 29.5 inches W x 31.5 inches D x 41.75 inches H

Pros:

  • Quiet operation
  • Washes and dries clothing
  • Combined appliance saves floor space
  • Multi-cycle function

Cons:

  • Heavy and bulky
  • Long drying time

Instead of searching endlessly for a washer and dryer pair that fit your space and budget, opt for this combined washer and dryer by LG. The LG Front Load Washer & Dryer Combo takes about 2.5 to 3.5 hours to fully wash and dry a load of laundry, which is slightly more time than it would take the average washer and dryer pair to complete the same process. But the great feature is that the user doesn’t need to switch the clothes from one machine to the other. This means that the washer/dryer combo can be set in the morning before you start work, and the clothes will be dry by the time you’re finished for the day. 

This appliance operates quietly, regardless of whether it’s washing or drying. It measures 29.5 inches in width, 31.5 inches in depth, and 41.75 inches in height, so while it does save floor space when compared to a standard washer and dryer pair, it still takes up more space than a compact dryer.  

Best Portable: KASYDoFF Portable Dryer

Best Portable

Set up this portable electric dryer at home, at the campsite, or on the road. KASYDoFF

Why It Made the Cut: Dry delicate clothing slowly without worrying about damage from a rough, high-heat tumble cycle.

Specs:

  • Type: Portable electric dryer
  • Capacity: 3-tier clothes rack
  • Dimensions: 28 inches W x 20 inches D x 67 inches H

Pros:

  • Foldable and lightweight
  • Simple to store or pack
  • Wireless remote control
  • Quiet and easy on laundry

Cons:

  • Slow drying time

If you’re traveling the open road or camping in the middle of a forest, it’s difficult to haul a full-size dryer around. The KASYDoFF Portable Dryer, however,  is an excellent portable option that weighs just 33 pounds. The dryer measures 28 inches in width by 20 inches in depth by 67 inches in height, but it folds in half for simple storage under the bed, behind a door, or in the back of a vehicle. 

To dry clothing, hang the items up on one of the two hanging racks, or spread the laundry out on the top clothing rack, then enclose the rack in its high-density Oxford-cloth cover. Position the electric heater underneath and set the timer. The electric heater will warm the air, while the cover keeps the heated air trapped until it exits through the ventilation holes in the top of the cover. This method of drying clothes is quiet, effective, and even safe for delicate laundry, but it does take more time to dry the laundry than a typical clothes dryer. 

Best for Apartments: COSTWAY Electric Portable Laundry Dryer

Best for Apartments

Make room on the counter, floor, or wall for this compact electric dryer. COSTWAY

Why It Made the Cut: Don’t rely on suspicious community machines when this compact electric dryer is an effective option for condo owners and apartment renters.

Specs:

  • Type: Compact electric dryer
  • Capacity: 3.5 cubic feet
  • Dimensions: 23 inches W x 18 inches D x 26 inches H

Pros:

  • Quiet tumbling infrastructure reduces dryer noise
  • Durable stainless steel drum
  • Only needs a standard 120-volt outlet to work
  • Compact size is ideal for apartments and condos

Cons:

  • Small capacity

Condo owners and apartment renters frequently have to deal with overused laundry facilities, broken washers and dryers, and old, ineffective machines that cost more to use than they are actually worth. The COSTWAY Electric Portable Laundry Dryer is an excellent solution to this problem, giving users the ability to dry their laundry in the comfort of their apartment or condo. Simply set up the compact electric dryer on the floor or on a counter, or even mount it to the wall. Then connect it to a standard 120-volt outlet for power. Add the wet clothes, choose the cycle, and let the dryer go to work. 

This dryer is designed to operate as quietly as possible, helping to ensure that downstairs neighbors can’t complain about noise. One factor to keep in mind while considering this compact electric dryer is that it only has a capacity of 2.5 cubic feet, so it won’t be able to handle a full load of wet laundry from a full-size washer. 

Things to Consider Before Buying a Dryer

Consider the space you have in your home, the number of people, and the capacity of the washer in order to make an informed decision about the best dryer for your family.

Type

Clothes dryers are designed to decrease the drying time of your clothes and, in most cases, automate the drying process. However, these appliances differ based on how they are powered. 

  • Electric dryers have a heating element that is used to heat the air in the dryer. Some models have a rotating drum to move the clothes and better circulate the warm air, while others may have a hanger system where the clothing can be separated and hung up as the warm air heats the clothes from underneath.
  • Gas dryers create hot air by burning propane or natural gas, but it should be noted that these appliances still require electricity to power the rotating drum. They also need a gas line and vent installed to release carbon monoxide.
  • Manual dryers aren’t very common, but you can still find some models that are powered by nothing but human effort. Typically, these manual dryers function by having the user press down on a foot pedal, which spins the drum inside the dryer to move the clothes and help increase air circulation. Manual dryers can be great for a campsite, but they aren’t the best option for regular use.

Capacity

The capacity of a dryer is usually measured in cubic feet, though some manufacturers use weight and provide the capacity in pounds instead. When it comes time to choose a dryer for your home, capacity is a key factor to consider because if the dryer is too small, then you’ll need to split your wash loads to ensure that the clothing dries properly. 

Opting for a dryer with the largest capacity will end up costing you more for the initial price, but also for ongoing electrical bills. Smaller dryers are better for small families or individuals who live alone. Check the capacity of your washer to help decide on the right capacity for your dryer. In general, the capacity of the dryer should be about double the capacity of the washer, so if you have a washer with a 3-cubic-foot capacity, then you’ll want to look for a dryer with a 6-cubic-foot capacity. 

Size and Portability

Take a look at your home and consider where you intend to set up the dryer. If you have an older dryer and are just looking to replace it with a newer model, then make sure to measure the space and keep these measurements in mind while you’re shopping. If you don’t currently have a dryer, then it’s important to find a space where the dryer can be installed without getting in the way of your daily routine. 

Full-size and compact dryers may have special requirements,  like a 240-volt outlet, gas line, or proper ventilation in order to function. You’ll need to factor in these considerations when you choose the spot for your dryer. However, if you tend to move around a lot or live in a smaller space, then it may be a good idea to look into a portable dryer. These products are lightweight, compact, and easy to move around. They also typically connect to a standard 120-volt outlet, so you won’t need to worry about installing any special connections, lines, or fixtures.

FAQs

Q: What size dryer do I need?

A good way to size your dryer is to determine the size of your washer. Typically, a dryer should have close to double the capacity of the washer, so if you have a 3-cubic-foot washer, then you will need to look for a dryer with a capacity of about 6 cubic feet.

Q: How much does a dryer cost?

Dryers, like most major household appliances, can range in price depending on their size and functions. Small, portable dryers can cost under $100, while full-size dryers that have built-in smart technology can easily exceed $3,000.

Q: How long does a dryer last?

While there will always be some differences between different makes and models, on average a dryer will last about 10 to 13 years if it’s properly used and maintained. Expect your dryer to fail much more quickly if you always overload it.

Final Thoughts

If more than two people live in your home or you tend to only wash laundry when you have a full dirty laundry hamper, then the Kenmore Front Load Electric Dryer is the top option. But if you live alone or simply don’t have the space for a larger dryer, the hOmelabs Compact Laundry Dryer is a great, space-saving choice.

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