Selecting a Dryer

Find out what features to consider when you buy a new clothes dryer.


Enlarge Image Maytag Neptune Drying Center

A great dryer will help you get the laundry done faster and with minimal hassle. While there are many choices of features, here are some of the basic ones to look for.

Consider energy costs as well as basic and special features when you purchase a clothes dryer. The main consideration points for a dryer are the same as those for a washer.

Dryers measure from 24 to 33 inches wide. For loading and unloading, allow about 42 inches in front of a dryer.

Look for pedestal bases which will raise your dryer off the floor by about 15 inches. These bring the appliance closer to standing height and should require less bending and reaching as you load and unload clothing.

High-efficiency models will save on energy costs. Stacked units, or combination washer-dryer models, save space and can fit in most any closet where power, water, and venting can be installed.

The size of the dryer drum determines capacity, which is measure in cubic feet. A larger capacity means the dryer is capable of drying more clothes.

In general, dryer capacity ranges include:

Compact: 2 to 4 cubic feet

Medium: 4 to 5.8 cubic feet

Large: 5.9 to 6.9 cubic feet

Extra-large: 7 or more cubic feet

  • Basic dryer cycles include delicate, permanent-press, and regular.
  • Expensive models offer more options for fabric care.
  • Standard temperature settings are hot, warm, and cool.
  • Some moderately priced dryers include timers and settings for specific fabric types.
  • High-end models may include dozens of choices for water and cycles that you may -- or may not -- use.
  • Minimum drying time saves energy and reduces wrinkling. Look for this and other energy-efficient dryer features.
  • Electronic moisture control detects moisture content to prevent overdrying and shrinking.
  • Dryness monitor indicates a nearly dry load; minimizes ironing.
  • A damp-dry cycle shortens drying time; garments can be ironed while damp or finish drying naturally, which is better for knits.
  • Two-direction tumbling keeps clothes from clumping as they dry.
  • An interior dryer-drum light helps to locate small items.
  • A stationary rack allows shoes to be dried without tumbling.
  • Look for easy-to-access lint filters that can be cleaned before or after each load.
  • Newest of all are drying center models. These have an upper box with both hanging and shelf space to freshen and dry items such as sweaters and jackets.

Selecting an Iron


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