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24 Different Types of Clothes Dryers

Clothes dryer in a laundry room.

The earliest clothes dryers, known as ventilators, were used in England and France during the 18th and 19th centuries. They were large drums made of metal and with ventilation holes that unfortunately ended with clothes that smelled of smoke and covered in soot.

American inventor J. Ross Moore invented the first gas and electric dryers in the 20th century. The clothes dryer became popular after the World War II with GE selling 60,000 gas and electric dryers per year. Dryer manufacturers further made advancements with features such as a timer, temperature-controls, dryness-sensors, etc.

Related: 12 Space-Saving Small Washing Machine and Dryer Options | 7 Cost-Saving Washer and Dryer Pedestal Alternatives | 4 Alternatives to Dryer Sheets | How to Clean a Dryer (Epic Guide) 



Vented clothes dryer

Source: Home Depot

Also known as tumble dryers, these are the most common and the most basic type of clothes dryer you can buy. They are generally much cheaper than other types of dryers, but you will end up paying more each time you use them to dry your clothes. They are not very efficient when it comes to dealing with moist air, and for this reason people tend to notice that their laundry rooms feel muggy when they use a vented clothes dryer.

They draw in air from around the appliance and heat it before allowing it into the dryer where the clothes will toss and tumble through it. All of the humid air that is created as a result is vented outside of the home, but plenty of it will escape into the house as well. Because these clothes dryers do not recycle the heat that is created, they are inefficient and tend to be harmful to the environment. However, due to their low cost and their reliability, they are very popular and easy to find at most appliance stores.


Condenser clothes dryer

Source: Home Depot

These clothes dryers are going to cost more than vented dryers, but are more efficient and will result in lower monthly bills. They are able to actually recycle the hot air that they create by removing water from it and pumping the hot air back into the clothing where it will continue to dry the load.

This means that your laundry room will not be humid the way it will be when you choose a vented clothes dryer, but your clothing will still be incredibly hot when you remove them from the appliance. The water vapor that is removed from the air is released into a collection tank or into a drain pipe. These clothes dryers will heat up your laundry room when they are in use.

Heat Pump Condenser

Heat pump condenser clothes dryer

Source: Home Depot

While this is an older type of a clothes dryer, it is becoming popular again because people tend to want more energy-efficient appliances in their homes. They cost more than other types of clothes dryers, but will significantly lower your monthly bills. They do not vent any of the heated air or the water removed from the clothing, so your laundry room won’t ever heat up or feel damp or muggy. They conserve most of the heat that they create and are able to recycle it through the appliance so that the clothing dries quickly and on very little energy.

Spin Dryer

Spin dryer

Source: Houzz

This is a portable option that is small enough to fit in your car and on your table and will plug into the wall so you can spin dry some of your clothing. In just three minutes, a quality spin dryer is able to remove most of the water from the laundry that you put in it, which will greatly reduce the amount of time it takes for your clothing to dry when you hang it up. While these clothes dryers won’t dry your clothing completely, they will greatly reduce the amount of time it takes for items to dry hanging up and can be used in a number of situations, including camping in a cabin or in an RV.

Laundry Center

Laundry center

Source: Wayfair

Instead of worrying about buying separate washing machines and clothes dryers, when you buy a laundry center, you will be able to save time, money, and room in your home. These centers make it easy to get a washing machine and a clothes dryer at the same time, and since they sit vertically, you won’t have to worry about losing any space in your home. They can fit into a smaller laundry room or even a larger closet so that you always have easy access to your laundry without any hassle.

Washer/Dryer Combo

Washer/dryer combo

Source: Home Depot

If you don’t have a lot of room in your home for two large appliances, then you may benefit from a washer and dryer combo appliance. This machine can easily both wash and dry your clothing so that you don’t have to worry about where you will place two appliances. Unfortunately, they tend to be pricey and don’t always work as efficiently as separate appliances would, but they are a great option if you are low on space and still want to have both a washing machine and a clothes dryer in your home.

Heat Source


Electric-powered clothes dryer

Source: Wayfair

Generally you will be able to buy an electric clothes dryer for less than you would spend on one that is gas. Since you can install this type of dryer anywhere and don’t need a lot of specialized equipment, you will either be able to handle the installation yourself or won’t have to worry about a large bill from the electrician you hire to help with the installation.

The main problem with electric dryers is that they are not very energy-efficient. They take a very long time to heat up the coil in order to start drying your clothes and this takes a lot of energy. Additionally, they will need to run for a lot longer to fully dry your clothing, and this takes up significantly more energy than gas clothes dryers.

It’s also important to remember that the longer your clothes are in a dryer, the greater the chances of them being damaged. When you put your clothes in a clothes dryer regularly and for long periods of time, then you will begin to notice that they wear out faster.

One way that people combat the high energy bill that comes from using an electric clothes dryer is by timing their loads so that they dry wet clothes back to back. This eliminates having to warm your dryer up for each load and will help the unit run more efficiently.


Gas-powered clothes dryer

Source: Wayfair

While you may pay a little more upfront for a gas clothes dryer and will also have to pay an expert to run the natural gas to your home, you will be able to enjoy lower energy bills each month. Using gas for your clothes dryer is a lot less expensive than using electricity, and since your dryer will heat up instantly, you won’t waste as much energy making sure your dryer is nice and hot.

When you use a gas clothes dryer, you will find that your clothing will dry in much less time, which means that everything will last a lot longer since they are not held at such high heat and tumbled for an extended period of time. Unfortunately, if you do not have a natural gas hookup at your home, this can be very expensive and will add to the cost of your new clothes dryer.

If you have problems with your gas clothes dryer, you will have to call a professional to come and fix it, while most homeowners can take care of problems with their electric clothes dryers by themselves.


Washer/Dryer Set

Washer/dryer set

Source: Home Depot

Buying your washing machine and your clothes dryer as a set is a great choice if you want to make sure they match. If you do not have a place in your home where you can draw a curtain or close a door to hide your laundry area, then this is a great way to make sure that your laundry looks as neat and orderly as possible. Matching sets look great in any home and since you will have two appliances from a quality company, you won’t have to worry about one appliance breaking or wearing out before the other one does.

Timed Dry

Timed clothes dryer

Source: Home Depot

If you want to be able to control the length of the drying setting on your clothes dryer, you will want to opt for one that has a timed dry feature. This will let you choose a specific amount of time that your clothes dryer will be in operation and generally only goes as high as 80 minutes. If you want to make sure you know when your clothes dryer will be going off or need to limit the amount of time you are using your dryer, then this is a great feature to consider

Damp Alert

Damp alert clothes dryer

Source: Home Depot

This is a significantly shorter drying cycle that will alert you by sounding a tone when your items are still slightly damp. While many people think that this tone is to let them know that their clothing needs more time in the dryer, it actually has a different use. This alert is a great way to know when your clothes are the perfect dampness for ironing.

You can easily get crisp lines without any hassle when you iron clothing that is still a little damp, so opting for this feature is important if you do a lot of ironing. Instead of dealing with clothing that has wrinkles dried into them, ones that are still a little damp are much easier to iron. This will also help to prolong the life of your clothing as you won’t have to use as much heat from the iron to get them looking their best.


Portable clothes dryer

Source: Houzz

Move your clothes dryer around easily whenever you need to dry your clothes when you opt for a portable clothes dryer. These are much smaller than the models you leave in one location in your home, but give you a lot of freedom of where you are going to be drying your clothes. This is especially ideal if you have a smaller home without a dedicated laundry area, as you can store the portable clothes dryer in a closet if necessary, only pulling it out when you are ready to dry a load of laundry.

Sensor Dry

Sensor dry clothes dryer

Source: Wayfair

Clothes dryers that have this feature will have sensors in the drum that are able to tell how much moisture is still in the items in the dryer. When they sense that the laundry is dry enough to be removed, the dryer will stop on its own. This is great if you are worried about using too much energy to dry your clothes, as your dryer will know to stop itself when necessary. Additionally, because your laundry won’t be left in a hot dryer for a long period of time, you will find that your clothes last longer and do not fall apart as quickly.

Dryer Rack

Clothes dryer rack

Source: Wayfair

To be able to easily dry items other than your typical clothing or towels, you can opt for a clothes dryer that comes with a separate rack for accessory drying. This rack is easy to snap into the drum of the clothes dryer and will let you place items on top of it for drying.

While the drum will tumble when the clothes dryer is turned on, you won’t have to worry about the items on the rack falling over or off the rack entirely. This makes it really easy to dry stuffed animals, shoes, hats, and even delicate sweaters without worrying about the clanging noise that is so typical with drying shoes or damaging your more delicate items.


Stackable clothes dryer

Source: Home Depot

Save room in your home but still have two separate appliances for washing and drying your laundry when you buy a clothes dryer that is stackable. This means you will be able to stack it with a washing machine to save on floor space, but still ensure that you have the right appliances for the job. Not all clothes dryers can be stacked, so if you are interested in this feature, you will need to make sure you find one that can so you do not accidentally damage your appliances.


Steam clothes dryer

Source: Wayfair

While you may think that adding steam to your drying clothes is counterintuitive and will only make them take longer to dry, when you add steam at the right times during the drying cycle, you will experience a number of benefits. Steam is able to deeply penetrate your clothing and this will reduce the amount of wrinkles your clothes will have when they come out of the dryer.

It will also help your clothes reach very high temperatures so that they are sanitized and lose any bad smells. You can also use the steam function on dry clothes to help get rid of stale odors so your clothing is ready to wear again.

Energy Star

Energy star clothes dryer

Source: Wayfair

Most clothes dryers are not able to become Energy Star rated because the restrictions are so tight, and the ones that do are generally going to be much more expensive than other dryers. However, if you want to buy a clothes dryer that uses less energy than other models and will save you money each month, you will want to look for one with this rating. Not only will you use less energy drying your clothes, but your clothing will experience less wear and tear and will last for a longer period of time.

Cycle Time Remaining Display

Cycle time clothes dryer

Source: Wayfair

Knowing how much longer you have on your drying cycle will help you plan for how much longer you have until the clothes can come out of the dryer. Not all clothes dryers have this feature, but it makes it really easy to stay on top of your laundry.

Door Style


Clothes dryer with hamper-style door

Source: Home Depot

If you are short on room, you will want to opt for a dryer that has a hamper style door. This door will drop down to open up and let you reach in for your laundry as opposed to swinging out to the side. Another benefit of this type of door is that you don’t have to worry about it swinging shut on you when you are using the dryer, which is a problem with some doors when they do not have enough space to hold open on their own. Additionally, if you tend to drop clothing when getting it in or out of the clothes dryer, then choosing a hamper-style door is a good idea, as it will keep you clean laundry from falling onto the floor.

Side Open

Side open clothes dryer

Source: Home Depot

Clothes dryers that have doors that open to the side will either swing to the left or the right. Depending on where in your room your dryer is going to be, as well as how much space you have on either side, you will have to choose if you want the door to swing open to one side or the other.

Reversible Swing

Clothes dryer with reversible swing

Source: Home Depot

For the ultimate ability to change where you want your dryer to go and to make sure it will fit into any space, you will want to buy one where the door can be attached to open to the left or to the right. This means that instead of having to leave your clothes dryer in one location because otherwise the door can’t open, you can easily switch the orientation of the door. If you move a lot or know that you will be renovating your laundry room in the near future, then this is a great feature to opt for as you won’t have to worry about the space you need to fully open your door.

Drum Material

Stainless Steel

Clothes dryer with stainless steel drum

Source: Home Depot

Clothes dryers that use stainless steel for the drum are going to be high-quality and tend to cost a little bit more. This drum will be resistant to any stains that may get left behind by clothing and is also impervious to rust. Because it is not coated, you won’t ever have to worry about it chipping, which can be a problem depending on the items you put in your dryer.

The main issue with choosing a dryer with a stainless steel drum is that it is going to be most costly, but for peace of mind as well as a smooth drying surface that won’t snag your clothing, it is the best option to go with. Any mess inside the dryer can be easily and quickly wiped clean.


Clothes dryer with coated drum

Source: Home Depot

You can choose from powder-coated steel drums or porcelain-coated drums, but while you will end up paying less for these clothes dryers, you will find that they are a lot less durable. This means that the coating can easily chip after it has been used a lot, which can cause snags and other problems with your clothes.

Generally speaking, however, they require very little maintenance and can be wiped clean. As long as you are careful about the items you put in your dryer and do your best to avoid any chips, then these dryers will last for a long time and you won’t have a lot of problems with your clothes being ruined by the drum.


Clothes dryer with plastic drum

Source: Home Depot

Plastic drums last for a long time as long as you are careful not to put hard objects in your clothes dryer, are lightweight, and tend to be fairly inexpensive, which is great if you are on a budget while shopping for your new dryer. They do tend to become worn and even a little rough on the inside of the drum, which can cause your clothes to catch and snag, prematurely aging them and forcing you to throw them out. This is especially problematic if you put delicate items in your dryer as they can actually be ruined if you dry them long enough.