Gas vs Electric Dryers: What’s The Difference?

Fred's Appliance
May 15, 2014


There are dozens of different clothes dryers available on the market, ranging in load capacity, cycle variations, energy efficiency, and built-in features. However, all of these dryers are either powered by electricity or natural gas. If you’re looking to upgrade to a new dryer, you should familiarize yourself with the advantages and disadvantages of both gas and electric models. Some people assume electric clothes dryers are the best choice, but this isn’t always true.


Older model gas dryers manufactured 15+ years ago weren’t the safest choice due to their pilot light ignition. If this flame entered the gas line, it could result in an explosion, which was unfortunately a common scenario. But modern-day gas dryers use surface ignitors rather than pilot lights, resulting in a safe and effective way to dry laundry.

Required Connections

One of the disadvantages to using a gas dryer is the simple fact that it requires a gas hookup. If there’s not one present in your laundry room, you won’t be able to easily install a gas dryer. Electric clothes dryers, on the other hand, require a standard 240-volt outlet.

Gas companies can typically install new gas connections in customers’ homes. Be warned, though, it’s neither cheap nor easy, often costing several hundred dollars at minimum.

Operation Costs

The cost of electricity and gas varies depending on the provider, demand and region. With that said, gas dryers typically cost less money to operate than their counterpart. A study published on found that the average annual operation cost of an electric dryer is $284, whereas the average annual operation cost of a gas model is $69. That means gas dryers are over 4 times cheaper to operate, at least in this particular case study.

Upfront Cost

While gas dryers may save you money in the long run, they tend to cost more upfront. Prices vary greatly depending on the particular model, but you can expect to pay about 20-30% more for a gas model. Of course, gas dryers tend to pay for themselves in the form of lower operating costs, so keep this in mind when shopping for a new unit.


Because they require gas connections, gas dryers are a bit more difficult to install. In fact, some models require the expertise of a professional technician to safely install. This is in stark contrast to electric dryers, which are plugged directly into the outlet and vented to the duct.

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