Clothes dryers: green buying guide 10/10
(This article is adapted from the July 2010 Consumer Reports magazine.)
When it comes to dryers, don't assume you should replace your dryer if you buy a new washer.
Unfortunately, unlike washers, dryer technology hasn't changed dramatically in the past decade. The Department of Energy says that most dryers use about the same amount of energy; that's why there are no Energy Star models, and state rebates won't apply.
Five of the models in Consumer Reports recent tests offer "Eco" options, which saved around 10 cents per load in our tests, or about $40 per year, based on average electrical rates and the roughly 400 loads an average family does. Over the 13 years, on average, that most people keep a dryer, the savings can add up to hundreds of dollars.
Unfortunately, the models that save energy cost a lot to buy. The Whirlpool Duet Steam and Bosch Vision 800 cost a whopping $1,200. The other two Whirlpool Duets cost $850 and $1,100, and the Bosch Vision 500 costs $930. All did a fine job of getting laundry dry, but the
Bosch's Eco option almost doubles drying time.
In the latest tests, a $510 Kenmore and $600 GE model are the new Best Buys, but there are several other recommended models you may prefer depending on their features.
How to choose
Look for models with moisture sensors. Consumer Reports has found that dryers with a moisture sensor tend to recognize when laundry is dry more quickly than machines that use a traditional thermostat. Because they don't subject clothing to unnecessary heat, moisture-sensor models are easier on fabrics. And since they shut themselves off when laundry is dry, they use less energy. Sensors are now offered on many dryers, including some relatively low-priced ones.
Check the dryer recommendations for more buying advice.
• Hanging on to your dryer might make sense, unless a repair costs more than half of the cost of a comparable new model.
• To compare the costs of common repairs, we got estimates from online parts supplier RepairClinic.com. See the estimates for pro repair, including parts and labor.
Watch a clothes dryer video buying guide.
Clothes dryer buying advice.
Safety alert: be aware of the potential danger of dryer fires.
Energy saving & green living guide