Gas vs electric dryer

madriverJuly 9, 2006

Can anyone tell me how much of a difference, cost wise, a gas dryer is to an electric dryer?

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I read, maybe 2 years ago, that within less than a year you will make up the cost difference btw a gas vs electric dryer in lower operating costs. I have always had gas and love it. As a teenager we moved from a house with gas dryer to one with electric dryer (same model Kenmore) and I remember my mom complaining often about how much longer the electric took to dry.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2006 at 2:34PM
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I would think that if the gas dryer is indeed faster, it would be because it is hotter. Does anyone out there know if this is true? I want my dryer to be very low heat as I feel it will cause less shrinkage in my clothes. This is also just a theory and would appreciate any feedback from others. I am looking for dryer temperatures now as I want one that has a lower "low" heat than the one I have. Anyone have a URL for dryer temperatures? MM

    Bookmark   July 10, 2006 at 10:22AM
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I'm in the same boat, trying to decide between electric and lp gas, which is already run into the laundry room. I've only ever had electric, so don't really have anything to compare it to.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2006 at 10:53AM
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Fisher & Paykel's SmartLoad toploading dryer operates at lower temperatures than most other dryers. I don't know what are the specific temps for the four fabric settings (Delicate, Perm Press, Regular, and Denim), but I checked mine once by placing an instant-read kitchen thermometer in the lint bucket for a while, and the reading was between 120°F and 122°F on either the Regular or Denim cycle. Delicate would be less.

My sister had an older (1970s) GE gas dryer for a while. It got wayyy plenty hot, she never used anything higher than the medium heat setting.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2006 at 12:41PM
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I think one reason a gas dryer would dry faster is because it gets "instant" heat vs electric having to heat up. Just as a gas cooktop vs electric cooks faster. Mind you, my mother's complaint about the slowness of electric dryers was many years ago, like 30, so I probably shouldn't have even mentioned it since dryers have advanced a lot since then. (I think!) The temperature is a factor of how well the heat cycles on and off, which I would think it could do better on gas since you have that instant on and off effect.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2006 at 5:12PM
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I am using both right now and have no huge preference. The gas is a bit hotter, but I just turn it to a lower setting, and it is faster by about 5 minutes. Not a huge deal though.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2006 at 9:49PM
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Computing which type of dryer will be more cost effective for you depends on how much you are paying for electricity and gas. The webpage below gives some formulas you can use to figure out what would be cheaper for you (scroll down the page). Mr. Electricity's calculations are based on 9.86 cents a Kwh and $1.29 a Therm (gas). Plug in your own rates to get more accurate estimates for you.

In my case (I live in California), I pay for electricity on a sliding scale of sorts that *starts* at about 11 cents a Kwh, and can get as high as (depending on various confusing rate structures) **34** cents a Kwh. Any Kwh's I save are the most expensive ones I am using. True, I'm paying more for propane now, but propane is not sold on a sliding scale that goes higher the more I use.

I *like* my gas dryer better than the old electric, for whatever that's worth in the decision making process. Also, the new(er) FL spins clothes dryer so it takes less energy (electric or gas) to dry them than with the old TL.


Here is a link that might be useful: Mr. Electricity on clothes dryers

    Bookmark   July 10, 2006 at 9:56PM
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We were facing the same dilemma. Had decided on gas cuz that's what we have now and F&P gas was only $20 more than electric. Well, today a new price shows up on$710 for the F&P Intuitive Electric. Crap. $20 was a no brainer, but had to think about it a bit for $140 difference. Still gonna go with gas.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2006 at 1:17AM
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Look at the Bosch/aka Siemens driers. They seem to have it down to a fine science. They offer both gas and electric.
Just do a compare on the product's.

After using the Siemens for the last 30 days I would not consider anything else to dry our laundry.

Hope this helps,


    Bookmark   July 29, 2006 at 2:28AM
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The deciding factor for the F&P is it's a top load and will eliminate door clearance issues with the toilet in our laundry room.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2006 at 4:00AM
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It used to be that gas was better b/c it dried your clothes quicker b/c it's a higher heat and gas used to be more economical. In today's age of gas prices and the efficiency of FL washing machines that spin your clothes much "drier" than older models - is that argument now a mute point?
I've always used gas dryers but am now wondering if an electric would be fine?

    Bookmark   May 2, 2007 at 10:45AM
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Is there less static electricity in the dried clothes with gas ?

    Bookmark   May 2, 2007 at 11:21AM
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My husband and I are purchasing a home with a gas dryer hookup and are wondering if we should buy gas or have outlet installed for electric. Our parents both always had electric so we don't have much understanding of gas. Our apt bldg had commercial gas dryers that emitted a slightly gassy odor when we opened the door to remove our dried clothes - has anyone experienced this with a home dryer?

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 3:37PM
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I've had a natural gas dryer for 11yrs. and have never noticed any odor. As far as drying faster, can't say i remember how long my electric one took. In addition to the dryer,we heat the house,cook and have a gas water heater and our gas bill is less than our electric bill. We also use a lot of cfl bulbs and noticed a difference in the electric bill with thoes.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 8:01PM
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I do get the smell of fumes when I open the dryer door in the middle of drying. This is because some of the by-products of burning gas are vented through the dryer and then out the vent. You can avoid this by waiting till the last few minutes of drying to open the door (the dryer will just use fresh air for the last few minutes or you can put the dryer on air dry before opening. I simply hold my breath and shut the door as soon as possible.

By the way this does not cause a fume smell in the clothes.

Check with your utility company; they will tell you the difference in operating gas versus electric. Typically you will be saving a bundle by using gas.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 7:03AM
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Few points: Gas is much more sensitive to venting because of the fumes. Be sure the vent pipe is tight and not leaking. Electric dryers can be vented inside during the winter in cold climates to gain heat & humidity. Not a good idea with gas. Propane and natural gas require different setups but aren't difficult to change. Don't try to use a natural gas dryer on propane or vice versa and be sure when you buy it that it is set up correctly.

Cost is a tough thing as suggested because of various rates. Some claim gas is a "moist" heat so clothes won't "overdry" as easily. Anyone experienced with electric knows you can shut it down earlier and leave slightly damp, thereby using less electricity.

Generally speaking, in many/most cases gas is slightly cheaper to operate than electric for drying clothes. Generally speaking, in many/most cases gas dryers cost a little more, usually around $50-$75 more.

A big consideration is whether you have the electric or gas hookup. It can be a little spendy to install either, but it's not cost-prohibitive if you really want it. If I had a new home, I'd like it to have both setups so I could choose which I wanted.

FWIW, if I had my druthers, I'd take gas, but I've used electric dryers for over 30 years and can't really say they're any less desireable than gas in the grand scheme of things. Many more things that are higher priorities to me.

Lastly, keep in mind the improvements. Now with the sensors to shut off when dry, most all dryers are much more efficient.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2007 at 5:49PM
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I have both a LP and 220 Electric in the house I just bought in Southern New Hampshire. I am considering both types of dryer. LP gas is $3.19 a gal. electric is like 11.63 kwh? Which is cheaper, I like the idea of during the winter venting the dryer inside the basement.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 6:44PM
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LP gas has about 92,000 btu/gal. = $3.19

electric heat is about 3400 btu/kwh

you would need about 27kw to equal 92,000 btu

27kw @ .1163/kw = $3.14

so in your case, the costs would be about the same.
(natural gas is usually cheaper)

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 10:15PM
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Concerning the cost for gas vs. electric: About ten years ago, cost to operate an electric dryer was about 3 times the amount of gas. Over the last 10 years, gas has risen sharply. therefore; cost differential is about 1.2 - 1 in favor of gas.

Economically. if our current gas and electic situations stay relatively the same, gas will continue to cost more and in my opinion, over the life of a dryer(15-20 years) gas will eventually cost twice as much as electicity, if not more, and that may be a conservative statement.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2008 at 2:49PM
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think about it.
Do you think if natural gas price increases, the electric rates WON'T increase as much if not MORE ?

    Bookmark   January 31, 2008 at 5:18PM
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A lot of larger commercial users of energy can switch from Electricity to gas to oil depending on relative costs. This tends to keep the different forms energy prices in line with each other.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2008 at 7:34PM
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There is no single answer as to which energy source is less expensive. It entirely depends on your local costs and they vary by huge amounts depending on where you live.

This month my local utilities charge about $0.17/kwh for electricity and about $1.65/therm for natural gas. Depending on how you do the calculations, with these rates a natural gas dryer is about 40% less expensive to operate.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2008 at 10:16PM
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You really have to do some calculations since there are so many variables, there's no pat answer. If you do few loads, a gas dryer generally costs more up front ($50-$200 depending on source) and generally costs a few cents a load less to operate (5¢-20¢, depending on the source and assuming you have electronic ignition on the gas dryer). Many people don't realize that gas dryers also use electricity (roughly a nickel a load give or take) so they don't factor that into the equasion. And of course if you have to run a gas line that too needs to be factored in. When I figured mine out, it costs probably 10¢-12¢ per load more to operate my electric dryer over a gas version.

If you do a lot of loads, or are running a laundromat, gas is most likely the better way to go. If you don't really care that much whether you use gas or electricity for the heat source, take your preference and don't worry about it. For me, it would take 5-10 years (closer to 8-10 year for me) to offset the difference in cost of gas (not including the gas line) and if you figure any interest on the money involved, it would be worse yet. So... as the old saying should be said, your mileage will vary! Sharpen up the pencil and get out the calculator! :)

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 1:47AM
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My crappy old electric dryer finally died of lint poisoning...

I am buying a gas washer for an extra $80 and spending about $100 to have gas connected to it.

Our rates:

Natural Gas Per Therm $1.22
Electricity Per kWh $0.12 winter $0.13 summer

It just makes sense. In a gas dryer, all the gas heat energy is emitted at the source (the dryer) and is directly used to dry the clothes.

For the electric the heat transfer is not direct and is less efficient. First natural gas or coal is burned to make the electricity, which is then has to be sent over transmission lines and finally converted back into heat in the dryer to dry clothes.

Even if natural gas is more expensive than electric, the efficiency is so much higher that gas ends up being cheaper in the long run.

But my main motivation is global warming concern. I figure even if I only save a minimum of $40 year, in about 5 years, I can achieve personal %75 reduction (see below) in my dryer CO2 emmisions for free! After that any additional $ and environmental savings are gravy.

Another post is right that the future of electric generation with wind and solar is an important point.

I think that the below I found on my local energy company website is actually a really good reference.

From residential gas AND electric provider website:
"Buy a gas dryer if possible.
 Gas dryers cost half as much to operate per load as electric dryers. Gas dryers cost $50 to $70 more to purchase, but the savings on operating costs are typically $40 to $90 per year at current gas and electric rates. Dryers donÂt come with Energy Guide labels and are not ENERGY STAR rated.

 Concerned about global warming? Gas dryers and water heaters emit about 25% as much carbon dioxide as electric ones while doing the same job"

    Bookmark   March 8, 2008 at 3:26AM
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MM, any dryer you buy now will have lower temps than an older dryer. That is why so many people complain about how long it takes to dry cloths in a new dryer. If you are using the new dryer with an old TLer it will take longer to dry because of the lower temp. In my old dryer, if I opened the door during the low heat cycle I got blasted with hot air, with my new dryer if I open the door during the low heat cycle I get blasted with warm air. There is quite a differece. Interestingly enough, I have not noticed a significant increase in dry time, and cloths actually dry more evenly in the new dryer. The sensor cycle works much better too.
I've had my new Cabrio HE washer for a year and my Duet dryer for four months so I have used both the new dryer and an old Kenmore dryer with the HE washer.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2008 at 8:13AM
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I am building a home & trying to decide btwn a gas or electric dryer. I know that gas would be cheaper in the long run, but am concerned about this gas fume smell some others have commented on. Does anyone know if this is a huge deal or not? I am funny about smells and can't stand the thought of my family's clothes having a gas smell. Please comment!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2009 at 6:14PM
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I cant answer for every machine out there, but Ive owned two Gas dryers over the past 25 years and NEVER had such a problem. Properly vented and maintained, you should not have any problems. Even an electric model can be a fire hazard if not properly maintained.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2009 at 6:18PM
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If the Gas Burner is functioning properly, the (added) "smell" in natural gas will be burned away.

Test some clothes at the local laundromat, they almost always use gas dryers ...

    Bookmark   April 18, 2009 at 9:45PM
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I had a gas dryer and it seemed to be too hot. My clothing felt stiff even on the permanent press cycle.
I recently went to a electric dryer (I have both hook-ups) and I love it. I cannot believe how fast it is. It is the whirlpool cabrio. It has a moisture sensor on it and a cool down cycle. it can do a medium size load of laundry in 20 minutes.
I love it.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 10:07AM
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