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Lee Goldberg

Professional Green Technology Expert

Best Energy Efficient Clothes Dryers & Best Green Clothing Dryers

Who says going green has to be boring? Today’s eco-friendly laundry systems boast higher capacities, designer colors, and multitudes of new convenience features while offering dramatically lower energy, water, and detergent consumption while still delivering outstanding washing performance. Recent improvements in washing machine technology deliver the bulk of the environmental savings in the laundry room but there are several things you should look for in a dryer that can help cut your energy bills and make taking care of your clothes much more fun.

Since the actual energy efficiency of dryers is pretty close to identical we’ve added a slight twist to this collection of high-performance dryers that compliments the Best Green Washing Machines reviewed in our previous article. We’ve picked our five “Best of the Best” dryers on the basis of style, convenience, reliability, and features that will allow you keep your drying cycle time to a minimum. Instead of listing another group of conventional dryers, we’ve used most of the “Best Value” section to highlight a series of solar- and wind-powered dryers, otherwise known as old-fashioned clotheslines.

Choosing Your Dryer Wisely:

Due to the basic physics of the drying process, there’s little or nothing that appliance engineers have been able to do to improve the energy efficiency of their dryers so their actual energy efficiency is pretty close to identical. Some models do include features that can help you run your dryer more economically but the best way to save energy in your dryer is to buy a washer with a high-speed extraction cycle that pulls as much water out of your clothes as possible beforehand.

If you’re buying a washer and dryer as a matched set, you won’t go wrong making your choice based on the selections in our eco-washer selections. If you are buying only a dryer or don’t care whether your two units match, you can use the selections here to insure that you get the absolute best performance and reliability available on the market today.

Most of the dryers we’ve listed use a moisture sensor in the drum to determine the actual dryness of your clothes, as opposed to simpler units which only estimate dryness by sensing the temperature of the exhaust air. Even using a simple temperature-based moisture sensor can use up to ten percent less energy than simple timed dry cycle but using the precise moisture sensing feature can cut as much as fifteen percent off your utility bill. All our choices also have one or more cycles with a cool-down period, sometimes known as a "perma-press" cycle. In the last few minutes of the cycle, cool air, rather than heated air, is blown through the tumbling clothes to complete the drying process.

Using Your Dryer Wisely:

While there’s not too much you can do to buy a more energy-efficient dryer, there are lots of things you can do to use much less than the 800 kWh a typical family spends drying its clothes each year. Here are a few useful tips that will let you make the most efficient use of your dryer:

- Set up your dryer in a heated space. Sticking it in a cold or damp basement or an unheated workspace will make the dryer work harder and less efficiently.

- Be sure your dryer is properly vented. If you vent the exhaust outside, use the straightest and shortest metal duct available. Most experts advise against using a flexible plastic duct because its undulating interior restricts the airflow and can be crushed.

- Check the outside dryer exhaust vent periodically. If it doesn't close tightly, replace it with one that does to keep the outside air from leaking in. This will reduce heating and cooling bills.

- Take care to clean the lint filter in the dryer after every load to improve air circulation. Regularly clean the lint from vent hoods and the exhaust hose to maintain peak performance and avoid the risk of a dryer fire.

- Dry only full loads, as small loads are less economical; but do not overload the dryer.

- When drying, separate your clothes and dry similar types of clothes together. Lightweight synthetics, for example, dry much more quickly than bath towels and natural fiber clothes.

- Dry two or more loads in a row, taking advantage of the dryer's retained heat.

- Use the cool-down cycle (perma-press cycle) to allow the clothes to finish drying with the residual heat in the dryer.

- And here's the ultimate money saving tip for drying clothes: Use a clothesline! Check out the selection in our “Best of the Rest” section to select a model that will help the heat of the sun dry your clothes to save both the environment and your energy bills.

Find the best energy efficient clothes dryers to save on your budget and the planet's resources. These best green clothing dryers offer dramatically lower energy, water and detergent needs.

Best Green Clothes Dryers by Lee Goldberg

The Best You Can Get

  • Kenmore (Sears) Elite HE5 Steam 8772

    Lee says: Sleek, roomy, and reliable, the Kenmore unit wraps 7.4 cu. ft. of capacity around some of the most desirable features available today. An accurate moisture sensor helps you use only the amount of energy you need to actually dry your clothes while the cool-down wrinkle guard keeps your clothes crisp for up to 150 minutes. I personally love the SteamCare cycles that can take out stubborn wrinkles or freshen up clothes in case you need them for a second wearing. Available in classic white or designer red to match its companion washer.

  • Whirlpool Duet Steam WED9600T

    Lee says: Another great choice for your washroom ensemble, with ten automatic cycles that include steam options for wrinkle/odor removal or sanitization. This 7.4 cu. ft. unit has extra sound deadening and is stackable, making it a great candidate for converting an existing closet or storage area into an en-suite laundry center. Available in your choice of ultra-modern silver metallic on white or Whirlpool’s exclusive silvery aspen - one of the nicest colors I’ve seen on any appliance.

  • Siemens ultraSense WTXD5522UC

    Lee says: A miracle of Teutonic engineering, this no-nonsense unit emits an air of quiet competence and power. And hey, who can argue with a dryer whose precisely angled door and smart controls exude the feel of a high-performance German sports car?

    The engineers at Siemens have paid attention to all the small details, such as a computer-designed drum that delivers high-velocity air from 685 precisely engineered holes in the back of the drum. Siemens says it allows for quicker, gentler drying of all fabrics, including delicates such as silk that would not normally be entrusted to a dryer. While it does not add to the dryer’s energy efficiency, Siemen’s unique smart tumble cycle is a very neat feature that reverses the drum’s rotation every couple of minutes to keep small loads from clumping up. Of course it’s stackable for space-saving installations. Available in white or white – this is not a fashion toy, it is a precision laundry tool!

  • Samsung DV448

    Lee says: Beautiful on the outside, rugged and full-featured on the inside, it’s rated as one of the most reliable units on the market. It boasts 7.4 cu. ft. of capacity, moisture sensing, and optional steam cycles that are becoming must-haves for top-shelf dryers. If you’re planning on running your dryer on the second floor or an apartment, Samsung’s vibration-canceling technology will come in handy to minimize the noise and shaking you experience outside the laundry room. If your needs run more towards the industrial or you simply have a large family, consider the 7.3 cu. ft. DV2128.

  • Bosch Nexxt 800 WTMC832

    Lee says: No-nonsense, quiet and lovely to look at, the Bosch looks and works like a champ. While it does not have any steam cycles, it does offer fifteen so-called tailored drying programs to handle nearly any fabric you throw at it from sleeping bags to fine silks. It also has a so-called Eco-Sensor system - a monitoring system that delivers precise, efficient drying and gentle care for your clothes. As your clothes dry, the ‘800 reduces its heat, so your laundry dries efficiently and without unnecessary energy usage. At 64db, it’s among the quietest machines on the market. Its only nod to fashion is a choice of a sparkling white or silver/white duo-tone color scheme.

You will be happy with any of these

  • Sunshine Clothes Dryer

    Lee says: Made with care in the USA of high quality, weather-resistant materials, the Sunshine is the Cadillac of outdoor dryers. Its body is constructed of galvanized steel and the arms are made of straight grain hardwood that is painted with all weather enamel paint to give you years of durable service. Each unit weighs approximately the same as a basket of wet clothes taken from the washing machine and can be easily folded and removed from your yard and stored in your garage, storage shed, or basement. In fact, when folded the Sunshine Dryer stores in less than one square foot of floor space. The Sunshine will pay for itself in energy savings several times during its long lifetime.

  • Breeze Dryers

    Lee says: These units offer exceptional quality and performance in a variety of styles. If you want to keep your clothes line out of sight when not in use, consider their retractable line models or their very stylish folding frame clotheslines that can be attached to a convenient wall on your home or garage or erected as a stand-alone unit on posts. If your tastes tend towards the traditional, they have assortment of traditional rotary (umbrella) style dryers.

    This company even offers their own brand of super-duty clothes pins (or “laundry pegs” as the Aussies call them) that feature sure gripping action, a rust-resistant stainless steel spring and UV stabilized plastic bodies to endure years of sun exposure.

    • Made in Australian for over 50 years by the venerable Hills Hoists Ltd.
  • Breeze Catcher

    Lee says: These rugged and handsome umbrella-style dryers are made in Ireland where they were designed to stand up to North Atlantic gales and the “Troubles” of the last century’s religious wars. A close look reveals anodized aluminum and machined hardware that would be more at home in an aircraft than a backyard appliance. They also use a special PVC clothesline that is strung using a special loop back technique that virtually eliminates that pesky line sag.

  • Mrs. Pegg’s Handy Line

    Lee says: No yard to put up a clothesline? Here’s the solution. Mrs. Pegg offers a family of versatile, rugged, stand-alone, folding racks that allow you to air dry your clothes indoors or outside. You get lots of usable well-spaced lines for fast drying, saving valuable time and it’s sturdy enough to handle large and heavy washday items. The large unit gives you 45 lineal ft. of line space (four king size sheets with two spare lines) while the smaller unit still gives you a respectable 35 ft. (around four double sheets). Both units feature a quick-locking mechanism for fast and easy folding and legs that splay beyond the top frame for extra stability.

  • Whitney Design Retractable Clothes Lines

    Lee says: For those inclined to a more no-frills approach to their clothesline, Whitney offers sturdy, non-nonsense products that can attach to the side of your house or laundry room wall and hide discretely when not in use. Your options range from a single-line 40-ft. reel to a four-line retractable system that gives you up to 170 lineal ft. of drying space.

Related Articles

Once you have the best energy efficient clothes dryers, you can do a few things to make them even more efficient. Set up these best green clothing dryers in a heated space, ensure proper ventilation and dry only full loads. Read our best dryer reviews of the best green dryers on the market for the planet and for your budget.