Propane vs. electric dryers: what’s the best deal?
While electric clothes dryers have long been the top choice for most households, a propane-powered dryer offers a number of potential savings and advantages that are worth a second look - particularly in high-volume applications.
Electric dryers have long been the top choice for consumers because of the common to-the-home infrastructure of the nation’s electrical system. Nearly every home in the United States has ready access to electricity, which is a familiar system in any household.
Yet, for large homes that produce a great deal of laundry, propane has a track record of higher efficiency and lower cost. A little effort is required to uncover the propane vs electric dryers pros and cons, but the differences can help you make the best decision for your residential and commercial needs.
The pros & cons of each dryer type
Propane dryers provide users with outsized capacity, compared to electric counterparts. Consistent heating and faster drying times allow residential and commercial users to process more loads in less time, saving both time and money in the long run.
Less energy waste
Less damage to clothing
Equipped with moisture sensors
Lower upfront costs
More models to choose from
Easier to move & install
Requires only one energy source
- Long-term savings: while propane dryers are more expensive to install, savings can be found in the long term reliability and lower energy demands. Homeowners can save about $0.25 per cycle with a propane dryer.
- Less environmental impact: propane is a “clean” energy source with low levels of pollutants and emissions, as well as the high efficiency of propane dryers.
- Less damage to clothing: The steady heat of propane requires less tumbling to dry clothes. This reduces the likelihood of damage and stress to stitching and fabric.
- One energy source: Use of standard 110-volt electrical outlets, meaning no need for new or specialized electrical wiring or outlets required for residential electric dryers.
- Moisture sensors: most propane clothes dryers come equipped with moisture sensors - and automatically shorten the drying cycle once the clothes are dry. This also prevents colors from fading, elasticity reduction, and increased general wear and tear.
- Less energy waste: Electric heating elements require time - and energy - to reach optimum heating levels, a propane heater reaches peak temperature the moment it’s activated. This results in shorter cycle times, and less energy wasted on warm-up cycles.
Propane dryers vs. electric: costs & savings
Nationally, the average electric dryer cost per load is between 32 and 41 cents and 15 to 33 cents per load for gas-powered dryers. To determine estimates of propane dryers vs electric cost, you’ll first want to calculate an estimated cost per load.
Calculating Electric Dryer Cost
To get more specific, you’ll need a calculator, your owner’s manual, and a recent electric bill.
- Step 1: Find your electric dryer’s wattage in the owner’s manual.
- Step 2: Multiply the wattage by the length of the load by hours, and divide that number by 1,000.
- For example: Dryer is 5,600 watts and a load takes two thirds of an hour (.667), your formula would look like this: (5,600 x .667 = 3,735.2) / 1,000 = 3.73 kwh per load.
- Step 3: Once you’ve found that number, you can multiply the kilowatt-hours per load by the cost per kilowatt-hour for electricity.
- For example, you pay 10-cents per kilowatt-hour, your cost per load is 37.3 cents per load.
- Step 4: Once you know the cost per load, you can multiply that times the number of estimated loads required each month in your household.
- In this example, if you expect to do 30 loads in a month, you could expect to spend a little over $11 each month - or $134 per year.
Calculating Propane Dryer Cost
To run the same calculation for the cost of propane vs electric dryer, you need to know the kilowatt equivalent produced from a gallon of propane. Typically, each gallon of propane can produce up to 27 kwh or energy.
Using the same numbers from before, that would mean each gallon of propane could handle more than seven loads of laundry. With recent Midwest prices around $1.35 per gallon, each load of clothes would cost slightly more than 18 cents per load - nearly half as much as the cost per load of electricity. In most cases the up-front expense of a gas dryer can be recovered in as little as two years thanks to propane’s remarkable efficiency and energy savings.
The verdict: which dryer is the best deal?
Overall, it depends on the amount of laundry you have and the current energy connections in your home. However, if you’re a long-term planner with a family, then propane will be the most cost-effective over time. This not only applies to dryers but other appliances as well.
Power more appliances with propane
Many families have found propane a better alternative for a number of home appliances. Hot water heaters, ranges, and even refrigerators all provide comfort and peace of mind - because propane is a reliable, ready, affordable, and safe source of energy. If you’re curious about how propane-powered appliances might fit into your home, reach out to a local Ferrellgas service technician who is always available to answer any of your questions, and help guide you through the transition from electric to propane.