Difference between Gas and Electric Dryers

Updated on July 8, 2017

Is it time to buy a new clothes dryer? Before you purchase a new one, remember that you have two options: a gas dryer and an electric dryer. How are they different? And which one is better? In this article, we will discuss the difference between the two.

Descriptions

Gas

A gas dryer is a type of dryer that is connected to both electricity and a gas line. It runs on electricity to power its indicator lights, sensors, and motor (responsible for turning the drum) but uses a gas burner to produce heat. It uses either liquid propane gas or natural gas.

Once you begin a drying cycle, the igniter lights, the gas valve opens, and the fan distributes the hot air which will dry your clothes. Once the air is hot enough to dry the clothes, the valve shuts. If the built-in sensor detects that the heat is below the desired temperature, the cycle begins again.

This type of dryer dries clothes fast, which means less wait time and more savings in the long run. Dryers that run on gas are also milder on fabrics as they use enough heat to let the water evaporate from the clothes.

However, gas dryers are usually more expensive than their non-gas counterparts. For a household that does not have an existing gas connection, installing the gas lines for your gas dryer can also be costly and may take time (this process needs a professional). Additionally, you will need a vent for your gas dryer as a way out for the moisture removed from your clothes. In some places, such as condominiums and apartments, it is a necessity for this vent to end up outside the building for safety.

An electric dryer is a type of dryer that only uses electricity to power its heating element. It runs on 240-volt current (3-prong or 4-prong) which requires a special electrical outlet and breakers.

When you start a cycle using an electric dryer, a current travels through a heating coil to heat the air. A fan then blows the air to the drum to heat and dry the clothes.

Electric dryers are great for tiny homes and multi-family properties because there is no need for gas lines. Electric models are also relatively cheaper than their gas counterparts.

However, an electric dryer does not produce heat quickly so it takes longer for your clothes to completely dry. This also means that it may not be cost and time efficient in the long run. Additionally, if you do not have an existing 240 V outlet, you may have to hire an electrician or install a converter for your electric dryer.

Gas vs Electric Dryers

What, then, is the difference between a gas dryer and an electric dryer?

A gas dryer, as the name suggests, is a type of dryer that uses a gas burner to generate heat that dries the clothes. It also uses electricity to power for its sensors, motor, and lights. An electric dryer, on the hand, solely uses electricity to heat the air and dry the clothes.

A gas dryer may be more expensive initially. The unit itself is more expensive than the electric version as well as the installation of gas lines which can also be very costly and tedious. Electric dryers do not require gas lines, so all you need to do is plug it into a 240 V outlet (although you may need an electrician to install this outlet for you if you do not have an existing one).

In terms of efficiency, however, gas dryers are more cost and time efficient than electric dryers all in all. If you are using a gas dryer, your clothes dry fast so less energy is used in every load. They are also milder on your clothes.

Comparison Chart

Gas DryerElectric Dryer
A type of dryer that runs indicator lights, sensors, and motor (responsible for turning the drum) on electricity but uses a gas burner to produce heat; uses either liquid propane gas or natural gasA type of dryer that uses just electricity to power its heating element
A gas dryer is usually more expensive than an electric dryerTypically cheaper than a gas dryer
Needs to be connected to a gas line (which can be costly if you do not have an existing one)Needs to be connected to a separate 240-volt outlet (3-prong or 4-prong); no gas line needed
Heats quickly; dries fast; milder on clothesHeats slowly; takes longer for the clothes to completely dry