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Gas & Electric Dryer Temperature Comparison | Drum, vent & Body

One of the most commonly known differences between gas and electric dryers is that gas dryers reach higher temperatures. But do they really?

Gas and electric dryers do, in fact, operate at different temperatures, but only slightly different. Still, it can make a difference to your use of the machine and how comfortable you are with it. Some factors influence how hot a dryer will get, but if used as the manufacturer intended, it is considered safe.

Gas dryers operate at higher heats than electric. Normal operation is 155 ℉ for gas and 140 ℉ for electric. This difference impacts how hot the rest of the dryer system gets, but if the dryer is not overheating and manufacturer directions are followed, neither type should be dangerous.

Maximum Temperature Comparison

Factors that influence how hot your dryer will get are ambient temperature, whether gas (runs hotter) or electric, which gas, vent maintenance, and program used.

However, there are some temperatures that dryers are supposed to max out at, roughly:

Average maximum temperaturesGas dryerElectric dryer
Drum*155 ℉140 ℉
Vent130 ℉130 ℉
Body**103-110 ℉100-110 ℉
*The actual surface of the drum is cooler, closer to 120-130 ℉.
**Estimated heat dryer door may reach from limited statistics. Exact temperatures may differ.

For the dryer vent, 130 ℉ is regarded as the highest normal temperature. An electric dryer vent should be cooler than a gas vent, though because the maximum temperature is lower.

These temperatures will increase if a dryer is malfunctioning or overheating. Thankfully, the temperature inside is carefully monitored by thermostats and thermal fuses that will shut the dryer off when it reaches 180 ℉.

The difference in maximum heat impacts the drying times.


Now, I would like to disclose that the information for the body temperature is an approximation of how hot the dryer door’s external surface will get.

There is insufficient data to confirm the temperature, so I provided a range you might expect. I took into account that dryer manuals don’t mention cautions about touching the dryer while operating to assume that the temperature shouldn’t be very high.

Are These Dangerous?

The temperature of the air within the dryer can be dangerous. It is very hot and will burn you if you were to open the door in the middle of a cycle.

The drum surface does also get pretty hot because of the air inside. Thus, many dryers prevent you from opening the door before the machine has cooled to a safer level.

The vent will also be hot enough that you should not touch it until a few hours after the dryer has finished a cycle.

The galvanized steel of the ducting is slightly resistant to heat, though, so it won’t be as dangerous as coming into contact with the air, and this protects your house’s structure. It can also be insulated.

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The casing of the dryer can be warm, especially the door, which has the most contact with the heated air in the drum. However, if the top of your dryer is uncomfortably hot to touch, this indicates that air is not being exhausted correctly, which can lead to overheating.

How Gas Dryers Produce Heat

Gas dryers use fuel as a heat source. They still require some electricity (120V) to power the controls, motor, and ignitor, but the heat is a result of an exothermic reaction.

Electricity powers the ignitor, heating the filament. The gas is then allowed through the burner bar in the burner housing as air is being pulled into the machine. The oxygen in the air and the gas fuel combine in a chemical reaction that produces heat, carbon dioxide, and water.

There are some other components to the combustion gases and the amount of oxygen present influences how much carbon monoxide results from combustion.

Whether combustion is complete or incomplete also affects how much heat is produced per amount of fuel and how effectively your dryer functions.

Heat is transferred to the air as it travels through the burner housing, and then the hot air and the exhaust are pushed into the drum, where moisture can be evaporated from the clothing.

How Electric Dryers Produce Heat

Electric dryers use electricity to power everything and have an electric heating element instead of an ignitor and gas fuel.

The heating aspect of the dryer requires a lot of power, which is why these appliances need special 240V outlets.

The element is made of a metal conductor that resists electrical current. The resistance produces heat when power is channeled into the component.

Air is pulled into the dryer and over the heating element. This allows the heat from the metal to transfer to the air. Then the air is pushed into the drum where it can evaporate water from the items inside.       

Why Gas Dryers Get Hotter

In an electric dryer, a current is channeled to the element to create heat. In a gas dryer, fuel is ignited instantly. So, gas dryers come up to temperature much faster than electric dryers that need time to heat the element, meaning the gas dryers also operate at a higher heat for more of the drying time.

The way gas dryers heat makes them effective at drying clothes faster than an electric version.

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From personal experience, I also find gas to be less contained. I switched from an electric hob and oven to gas a few years ago. The adjustment was interesting since the gas seemed to have less temperature control despite having the same dials.

Electric heating elements reach different temperatures based on how much electricity is channeled through them, which gives you less intense heat.

For gas, the exothermic reaction takes place, producing a certain amount of heat.

Gas dryers require specific connections for natural gas and propane because this is part of controlling the heat. The more gas there is, the more heat can be produced.

The efficiency of combustion also determines how much heat is produced. More or less oxygen will increase or decrease the heat of the exothermic reaction.

Is Hotter Actually Better?

The whole function of a dryer is to speed up drying time.

Your clothes will eventually air dry, but putting them in the sun helps.

Putting them in the dryer also adds heat to the air around the clothes, meaning that moisture is being removed from the materials more efficiently.

So, the more heat the dryer produces, the better it will dry things. However, there is a limit to this statement.

Dryers will be more effective to a certain degree of heat. However, it is possible to have too much heat, which will burn your clothing, and poses a risk of damage to the components. It can also cause an appliance fire.

This is why dryers have thermostats and fuses to control the temperature and prevent overheating.

Still, you might choose a gas dryer because it is faster. Many people also choose a gas appliance for the environmental benefits of using less electricity and for the savings on power.


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