New Dryer Shopping? Reviews, Reliability, & Stuff You Should Know!
(A Service Technician's Guide to Buying a New Clothes Dryer)
Dryer Brand Info | Electric Dryers | Gas Dryers | Dryer Styles (Pros & Cons) | Questions You Should Ask | Dryer Feature Guide | Dryer Reliability
New Gas Dryers
You may be surprised to discover that gas dryers don't differ much mechanically from one dryer brand to another! The burner components used in a Frigidaire, Maytag, LG, Samsung, or Whirlpool gas dryer are almost exactly the same except for a few minor placement and orientation differences. However, there are a few significant differences in dryer cabinet assembly, air flow, and drum suspension mechanics. Gas dryers are a small minority compared to electric dryers sold nationally. Even though gas dryers are usually about a hundred dollars more than their electric dryer counter parts they are more cost effective to use and therefore generally cost less over the dryer's life span. Most gas dryers arrive from the manufacturer set for natural gas. However, most can be converted to use propane or butane gases if needed. The most common problem with gas dryers are valve solenoids and ducting clogs that lead to thermal fuse failure or hi-limit thermostat problems.
New Electric Dryers
Electric dryers account for about 80% of dryers sold in the USA. The mechanics of an electric dryer are slightly less complex than that of a gas dryer, so it is usually easier to troubleshoot and repair common problems that may emerge. Common points of failure for the electric dryer are the heating element, thermal fuse problems, and basic mechanical issues like broken dryer belts, drum rollers, and bearings. There can be large differences in the cost of common replacement parts for example some dryer heating elements may only run 40.00 while others may cost 150.00 so it's wise to research the cost of dryer replacement parts prior to buying your new dryer. Or better yet ask your sales person how much it would cost to replace the dryer's heating element out of warranty.
Dryer Styles (Pros and Cons)
Some dryer styles are much easier to clean, service, and repair than others! If you are a do-it-yourself kind of person this should be a buying consideration. Whirlpool top lint trap dryers are extremely easy to open and repair, while LG, Samsung, and other high end Whirlpool, Maytag, and Frigidaire dryers may require a major time commitment to service or repair. Another consideration is the newest fan dangled technology... Hopefully your dryer is going to last for more than ten years, while the latest tech is outdated in about two. So think a few years down the road before you buy a dryer that can have chat with the washer, or order a late from down the street.
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Dryer Lint Trap Location
When you are shopping for a new dryer you may not think much about the lint trap or where it is located, but this is a major clue to what is inside that shinny dryer shell. By far the majority of dryers will have the lint trap conveniently situated at the front of the dryer for easy access and cleaning. However, the lint filtering effectiveness of this style is significantly lower than that of a top lint trap dryer model. If you do end up buying a front lint trap dryer just remember that keeping that screen clean is that much more important. It is also helpful to stop the dryer mid cycle and clean the trap if you are drying something that you know will shed a lot of lint like a new set of towels.
Dryer Drum Styles
This my be a little difficult to detect but there are two main styles of clothes dryer drum engineering. Some dryers have a metallic looking back wall with a bunch of vent holes while others have a more solid looking back wall with a single air entry port. The first dryer drum style offers slightly more even heating but tend to be more difficult to service and repair. They also create an area for lint to build up reducing air flow. While the second style uses heavier drum support rollers that hold up slightly better and leave less areas for lint to collect.
Questions You Should Ask:
Who will service my dryer if I have a problem?
How long will it take to have a service person help me if I have a dryer problem?
Are extended warranties available for my dryer? (Extended dryer warranties are fine, but don't pay too much! Dryer problems are rare in the first five years.)
When my dryer is out of the warranty period, how much will your company charge to complete a common repair like replacing the ignitor, or heating element?
Are repair parts for this dryer available if I need them?
Are repair parts for this dryer more or less expensive than other dryer brand options?
How long has this dryer style been in production? (New designs are often the source of new problems. Also dryers are often released for sale before repair parts are available!)