One of the major factors to consider when choosing between a gas and an electric dryer is the drying time. Since life can have situations where a speedy clothes-drying process is necessary, it is important to factor in drying times when choosing a dryer type.
It turns out that it is very difficult to calculate the difference in drying time between gas and electric dryers for a variety of reasons. Despite this, estimates can be made. Heat pump dryers, on the other hand, have well-laid-out drying times that can be compared.
It is difficult to fully compare drying times between electric and gas dryers. However, it is widely accepted that gas dryers take approximately 5-15 minutes less than electric dryers. Heat pump dryers definitely take longer (an hour or more longer).
Difficult to Determine Average Drying Time
When calculating the average drying time, many factors are at play. With so many variables to consider, it is difficult to determine an average drying time.
- Dryer quality: A poorly-made dryer can be assembled improperly and cheaply, making it less efficient at drying. On the other hand, a high-quality dryer is likely to be more efficient and have the technology to support fast drying times.
- Dryer age: Just like any machine, an aging dryer can experience loose components, failing wiring, and more. Each of these can lead to inefficient dryer function. A brand-new dryer will most likely perform very well when compared to an older one.
- Dryer condition: While the dryer condition can worsen with age, age is not the only factor here. Dryer conditions can also indicate misuse, damage from installation, and more. Each of these factors can affect the drying time.
- Power/gas supply: A dryer must have a sufficient amount of electricity supplied as well as a steady amount of gas. If the supply is not sufficient or steady, the dryer is likely to be less efficient and take longer to dry.
- General air temperature: Since most dryers must pull in air from the room and heat it, the starting temperature of the air factors into drying time. The colder the air, the longer it will take to heat up, thereby slowing down the drying process.
- Load size: The larger a load of laundry is, the harder a dryer will have to work to dry it and the longer the cycle will be (or you may have to run a couple of cycles).
- Clothing Material: Some materials such as nylon, polyester, and spandex are sensitive enough that it is recommended to dry them at low temperatures. Lower temperatures mean longer drying times.
- How wet the clothes are: If clothes are entering your dryer sopping wet, the dry time is likely to increase. It is also bad for the dryer, which can permanently compromise the dryer’s function and also contribute to longer drying times.
- Different Cycles: Low-temperature or air-fluff cycles are meant to be more gentle and use less heat. These cycles often have longer drying times.
- Sensors: For some dryers, a sensor that measures the dampness of the clothes determines the shut-off time of the dryer. However, if the sensor doesn’t work and the dryer thinks the clothes are still wet, the drying time increases.
Reports From People Who Have Used Both
The consensus that I found while browsing forums was that gas dryers, when compared to electric dryers with similar capabilities (and in a similar price range), dried laundry faster than their electric counterparts.
Many users say that this is because gas dryers are more efficient than electric dryers and they also supposedly heat up more quickly.
As far as how much faster gas dryers are than electric dryers, I could not find a widely agreed-upon duration, but one that I found that seemed accurate was 45 minutes on average for a gas dryer and 50 to 60 minutes for an electric dryer.
Logic Supporting This
Not only do online forums agree that gas dryers dry faster, but professionals and online sources also agree.
There are a variety of reasons for this.
For one, gas dryers typically produce more heat than electric dryers. This would expedite the drying process.
While a gas dryer outputs between 20,000 and 22,000 British Thermal Units (BTUs) per hour, an electric dryer outputs between 6,000 and 17,000 BTUs/hour.
This is a sizeable difference and would create a difference in drying times.
The reason for this lies in how each dryer produces heat.
An electric dryer has a heating element. Current is sent through this heating element to create heat with electric energy. This heat is forced into the dryer with a blower fan.
In a gas dryer, the gas supply and electric ignition light a flame whose heat is distributed into the dryer with a blower fan.
Both of these processes create enough heat to dry a load of laundry, but combustion in a gas dryer is more efficient than electrical heating in an electric dryer.
While an electric heating element takes a few minutes to heat up, a gas flame can be created instantaneously. This gas flame will also create sufficient heat almost instantaneously.
The combustion-derived heat will also naturally create more heat than an electric heating element.
Samsung Lists Drying Times: No Difference
As discussed earlier in the article, there are many factors that can affect the drying time of either an electric or a gas dryer. Because of these many factors, it is difficult to estimate the drying time.
Most brands do not list drying times because of the variability, but one brand, Samsung, does.
While I was looking at Samsung’s listed drying times, a curious trend arose.
For an electric dryer and a gas dryer with a capacity of 7.5 cubic feet, the drying times listed were both 42 minutes.
This was not an outlier.
For another pair of electric and gas dryers, both nearly the same model and with a capacity of 7.5 cubic feet, the drying times listed were both 39 minutes.
The third pair of electric and gas dryers, both with a capacity of 7.6 cubic feet and very similar capabilities, had a drying time of 39 minutes.
Regardless of whether the dryer is gas or electric, if the dryer has similar capacity and capabilities, the drying time is listed as the same by Samsung.
Cycle Durations Are Pre-Set
One explanation for this phenomenon is that the cycle durations are pre-set by the manufacturer.
This would basically mean that, regardless of the dryness of the load, if the same cycle was selected for each dryer, the drying time will be the same.
Cycles vary in time for a variety of reasons.
Some cycles are meant for different kinds of fabrics. For example, a more sensitive material such as wool will have a set heat and drying time so that the wool is not damaged.
Other cycles are meant for clothing and other items that are more difficult to dry.
For example, large bedding loads would not dry effectively in a 45-minute cycle, so instead, many dryers have bedding/towel-specific cycles programmed.
Denim also holds onto water more than fabrics such as cotton. For this reason, denim-specific cycles are programmed so that your denim can come out of the dryer fully dry.
For delicates, clothing that contains lace, silk, or other heat-sensitive fabrics, the drying cycle is likely to take more than an hour since low heat must be used to keep the clothing safe.
A bedding or towel load, because of its bulk, can take as long as three hours.
The speed-dry cycle on some dryers is likely to take about thirty minutes or less.
For drying synthetics, which contain materials that are sensitive to heat, the drying cycle is likely to take about two hours.
An air fluff setting, one that takes in room-temperature air from its surroundings, can also take about two hours since the heat is very low.
Some cycles can take as long as six hours. This long cycle would be for cotton since the heat must be very low and the tumbling must be gentle.
Sensor Dry Is the Only Way to Tell the Difference
If cycle durations are pre-set, there isn’t a simple way to tell how long the drying process actually took.
Both a gas and an electric load could come out fully dry, but we wouldn’t have a way of knowing when it was fully dry.
To find out the difference between gas and electric dryer drying times, a sensor dry cycle can help.
A sensor dry cycle will stop the dryer as soon as the laundry is completely dry rather than when a timer is up.
Unfortunately, to get an accurate measurement for drying time, someone must have access to both a gas and an electric dryer with sensor drying at some point, each dryer must have been in about the same condition, and the load for each one must be almost exactly the same.
It is very unlikely that someone owns both an electric and a gas dryer (with sensor dry capabilities) to make this comparison, but maybe you have a friend with the opposite kind of dryer that you can compare with.
Even if this is the case, the loads and the dryers must be very similar to prevent other factors than the kind of dryer from impacting the drying time.
If your dryer is very new and the other dryer is in worse condition, these factors can influence the drying times and skew the results.
Additionally, if the load for the gas dryer is heavier, wetter, and consists of different materials than the load for the electric dryer, all of these factors will skew the drying time results.
Even though sensor drying is the only way to compare the two types of dryers effectively, obtaining accurate results will prove to be difficult.
What About Heat Pump Dryers?
When discussing differences in drying times between dryers, most often, gas and electric dryers are compared.
This is most likely because of their popularity, at least in America, and the fact that they are both vented dryers.
However, it is also important to factor in heat pump dryers. These are ventless dryers that are gaining popularity in the US for their energy efficiency and their gentle drying cycles.
Heat pump dryers have many pros but one of their cons is the long drying times.
While the difference in gas and electric dryer drying times may differ by only a few minutes, heat pump dryers take first place for the longest drying time.
Heat pump dryers have drying times ranging from an hour and 20 minutes to two hours.
Electric dryers are known to be less efficient, which explains their long drying times.
This is not the case for heat pump dryers, though.
Although heat pump dryers have much longer drying times, they are energy-efficient.
Not only are heat pump dryers ventless for safety and ease reasons, but they are also ventless to allow for the recycling of air.
Heat pump dryers use a closed-loop system that heats air to remove moisture from clothing. They then use the process of condensation to rid the air of its moisture. The air is reheated to cycle through the dryer again.
It is heated with a series of refrigerant-containing coils, using pressure changes to produce heat.
This closed-loop system can reduce energy usage by up to 50% since air will not have to be constantly heated.
Although heat pump dryers do not save time, they do reduce the energy you use as well as the money you are spending on your utility bills.