What types of clothes dryers are available?
Dryers used to be tumbling hot boxes that liberated housewives from having to line-dry clothes and iron everything. Now dryers have grown up to be more energy-efficient and include new sensors and settings that protect clothes from one-size-fits-all high heat. They can even produce wrinkle-free clothes--no iron needed. And most are sold in stylish, modern, or colorful sets with matching washing machines that are side-by-side or stacked. Here are the basic types of clothes dryers you'll find when you start your appliance hunt:
These models are standard fare. They take up permanent space in your kitchen and are built in with a drop-down hinged door. They now come in stainless steel or can blend into your cabinetry style. Most standard-size dishwashers take about 2.4 gallons of water to wash a load.
Power requirement: 240-volt outlet
Who it's best for: The budget shopper who wants to plug the dryer into an existing laundry area in their home or rental.
Most gas dryers cost $50 to $100 more than their electronic counterparts. But over time, they are more cost effective to operate. The only hitch is that you need a gas hookup in your laundry area to install the dryer.
Power requirement: Gas line
Who it's best for: Budget-conscious homeowners who want to save money over the long haul and can afford to install the necessary gas line
Laundry centers come in gas or electric and are typically integrated stacked units with a top-loading washer on the bottom and front-loading dryer on the top. They are found in many apartments and condos behind a closed closet door. There also are compact electric dryers that have about half the capacity of full-size dryers and can be stacked on top of matching washing machines.
Price: $850-$2,000 for laundry center; $300-$500
Power requirement: 120-volt or 240-volt outlet or gas line
Who it's best for: People with big budgets who do small loads of dishes and have limited cabinet space