Gas and Electric Dryers: What’s the Difference and Which Is Better?

Ebonee Williams
Written by Ebonee Williams
Updated September 12, 2022
home washer and dryer with laundry baskets
Photo: Iriana Shiyan / Adobe Stock

Highlights

  • Gas dryers typically cost $50–$100 more than electric dryers.

  • Electric dryers are more common and are easier to maintain.

  • Gas dryers heat up faster, but they require professional installation.

  • Electric dryers are easier to install and DIY.

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Gas and electric dryers both get your clothes dry on laundry day, but how they operate is different. This guide will help you decide if an electric or gas dryer is best for your home.

What Type of Dryer Do You Currently Have in Your Home?

Not sure which type of dryer you have? No problem. Start by looking behind the unit. An electric dryer will feature a large cord connected to an outlet, without connection to a gas line. On the other hand, a gas dryer plugs into an outlet that’s connected to a gas valve, plus it has an exhaust pipe. If you’re still struggling to make the distinction between a gas and electric dryer, find your model number and search it online for a final answer.

Choosing a Gas Dryer

A gas dryer will cost you more upfront, but, depending on your needs and the type of lines you have in your home, this option may be the best for you.

Gas Dryer Pros

Gas dryers dry clothes faster because they’re able to generate instant heat to their burners. This is great for busy homeowners who need laundry dried quickly (or get through that clothes tower faster). Plus, your clothes will experience less wear and tear on a gentler cycle because clothes are dried more quickly at specific temperatures.

What makes gas dryers even more appealing is that you pay less per load—especially if it boasts an Energy Star rating. So not only will your clothes dry faster, but you’ll also pay less by using natural gas or propane.

Gas Dryer Cons

Hiring a professional to install your gas dryer is essential, so you’ll need to factor in this added fee when you’re calculating gas dryer costs. Having a professional take care of the installation will save you from worrying about gas problems and potential leaks in the future. 

Gas dryers always have to be vented outside because they produce carbon monoxide. While you may have to vent some electric dryers, most newer models don't require venting.

Choosing an Electric Dryer

woman taking out clothes from dryer
Photo: JenkoAtaman / Adobe Stock

Overall, electric dryers are more common and easier to find in homes. We’ll walk through the pros and cons of having an electric dryer.

Electric Dryer Pros

Unlike gas dryers, you don’t have to hire a professional to install your electric dryer. You do need a professional to convert a gas dryer to electric, though. So if you consider yourself to be pretty handy and you like DIY projects, installing an electric dryer right out of the box will be a piece of cake. 

The lifespan of an electric dryer is longer than gas dryers, but only slightly. An electric dryer can last for about 14 years, while a gas dryer will work for 13 years.

Electric Dryer Cons

Electric dryers are more expensive to run and take longer to heat up. And though installation is DIYable, if your electrical dryer isn’t installed properly, you run the risk of being electrocuted or possibly starting a fire. Be careful with the wiring because faulty wires can be hazardous.

Which Is Better: Electric or Gas Dryer?

Check out how gas dryers and electric dryers compare side by side.

​Price​

Gas dryers cost more than electric dryers. A typical gas dryer costs more than a typical electric dryer, but when they're both high-end models the prices are relatively the same. You could pay between $1,200 to $1,600 for a top-of-the-line gas or electric dryer. 

Most cost-effective: Electric dryer

Ease of Installation

While it may be easy for a homeowner to install an electric dryer by simply plugging it into an outlet and connecting the hose, gas dryers are more complex. 

To install a gas dryer, you’ll need to hire a licensed plumber to hook up the gas. This additional cost can range anywhere from $75 to $125 depending on the complexity. We don’t suggest tackling this part on your own as gas leaks can be lethal. 

Easier to install: Electric dryer

Cost to Run

While the upfront costs of electric and gas dryers are similar, the same is not true for the cost to run the units. Gas dryers run hotter than electric dryers, so it takes less time and energy to dry clothes. That’s why gas dryers are typically less expensive to run than electric dryers. 

Determining the cost to run each option will also depend on your home’s power source. For instance, homes with solar panels can generate eco-friendly electric energy to power a dryer without much effect on your utility bills. But if your electricity comes from a power plant, which is the case for most homeowners, then you may want to opt for gas instead. 

Less expensive to run: Gas dryer

Maintenance

You’ve got a better chance at handling your own maintenance repairs on an electric model. Simple repairs can be anything from changing the belts or a switch to even setting up a new heater. 

However, you’ll likely need to call in a local appliance repair professional to address any gas dryer repairs. It can cost anywhere from $75 to $125 for a simple service call, not including the parts. 

Easier to maintain: Electric dryer

Cycle Times

No one likes to wait for hours for clothes to cycle through the dryer. Since gas dryers reach higher temperatures than electric dryers, they typically have shorter cycle times. Plus, gas dryers heat up faster than the electric counterparts, making them the clear winner of the efficiency contest.

Shorter cycle times: Gas dryer

Lifespan

As mentioned above, the lifespan of an electric dryer is slightly longer than gas dryers. An electric dryer can last for about 14 years, while a gas dryer will work for 13 years. However, the lifespan of a dryer depends on its use, maintenance, and repairs over time.

Longer lifespan: Electric dryer

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