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Home > Projects & DIY Toolkit > Buying Guides > How to Select a Dryer

How to Select a Dryer

Dryers affect your clothes' appearance and life span. Since you have invested so much in your wardrobe, what dryer to buy is an important decision. Consider the features before making a buying decision, and think about how often you will use the dryer and for what kinds of laundry. Lowe's is happy to provide this information on how to buy a dryer as a service to you.

How to Buy the Best Dryer to Fit Your Needs

All dryers spin clothes around and blow hot air on them. How to select a dryer depends on your needs. The details are what drive the choice of a machine:


  • Energy source: Whether you choose a gas dryer or an electric one will be based largely on what kind of hookup is available at the new dryer's location. Gas appliances usually cost slightly more initially, but tend to be more energy- efficient. A leading consumer affairs magazine estimates that a gas dryer costs 30 cents less per load to operate.
  • Capacity: Since manufacturers define capacity differently, one "extra large"dryer might not be the same as another.When choosing what dryer to buy, compare capacity using the cubic foot measurement. If your space is limited, stackable washer-dryer units are available.

    Coordinate the capacity of your dryer with that of your washer. You'll defeat the purpose of increased efficiency if you have a super-sized dryer but a washer that can only supply a half-capacity load (or vice-versa). The general rule is to have about twice as much capacity in the dryer than in the washer. So if you buy a 3.3 or 3.5 cu. ft. washer, you will need a 7 cu. ft. dryer. (You need more dryer space because the clothes need room to flop around.)

    Dryer Inside

    Coordinate the capacity of your new dryer with that of your new washer.

    When in doubt, err on the side of larger when choosing a dryer. More dryer capacity will allow the clothes to dry more quickly, which saves money on your energy bill and is better for the environment. Like most large appliances today, a dryer will last for years. Plan for the future and consider possible changes in your family size when buying a dryer.

  • Controls: As with washers, controls on dryers have become more sophisticated, yet easier to use. Digital displays and one-touch selection can be programmed and preset to meet your drying needs. For a simpler operation, choose dial or push-button controls.
  • Dryer

    Digital controls replace knobs on high-end dryers.

  • Temperature settings: Different fabrics require different drying times and temperatures. Your clothes will look newer longer, plus have fewer wrinkles, if they are dried using the correct settings. At a minimum, most machines offer "cotton"and "permanent press" settings, with "more dry" and "less dry" options. Choose a dryer with settings that meet your needs.
  • A cool-down cycle will keep the drum spinning for a certain amount of time after the clothes are dry in order to prevent wrinkling.
  • Noise level: Choose a quiet machine if your dryer will be in or near a living area. Some newer models have additional insulation and reinforced frames to reduce operating noise.
  • Moisture sensors: While older dryers use thermostats or timers, newer models have moisture sensors that stop the cycle when the humidity in the drum falls below a certain level. This prevents over-drying and extends the life of your garments. This feature can also make ironing easier and save energy.
  • Dryer

    Special racks make it easier to dry bulky items,such as tennis shoes.

  • Drying rack:This feature allows you to dry heavier or bulkier items — such as canvas shoes — without tumbling.
  • Drum light: Socks and other small items can "disappear" in the back of the machine. A drum light makes it easier to find them.
  • Lint filter: Higher-end models have sensors that warn you when the lint filter is blocked. Whichever model you choose, make sure to vent the dryer properly and clean the lint filter regularly to avoid a risk of fire.
Shop All Dryers

Tools, products, materials, techniques, building codes and local regulations change; therefore, Lowe's assumes no liability for omissions, errors or the outcome of any project. The reader must always exercise reasonable caution, follow current codes and regulations that may apply, and is urged to consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures. Please visit our terms of use.

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