Finally, the lowly dryer can reach for Energy Star

Innovations in clothes dryers result in energy savings

Published: May 27, 2014 05:15 PM

It took a while, but soon you’ll see Energy Star dryers in the appliance aisle—perhaps as early as this summer. Energy Star dryers will use on average about 20 percent less energy than dryers that meet the Department of Energy’s 2015 minimum efficiency standards. Here’s why that's a good thing.
Dryers use more energy than washers to get the job done and were the most energy-intensive appliance not covered by the Energy Star program. That’s because dryers have traditionally used similar amounts of energy, according to Energy Star, and without impressive differences in energy use, there is no Star. But finally dryer technology is evolving.
Moisture sensors have been around for years and are more accurate than a thermostat in determining when laundry is dry. Dryers with moisture sensors use less energy by shutting themselves off as soon as the laundry is dry. Energy Star says that dryers meeting their requirements are likely to have advanced sensors.

And then there are heat pump dryers and their impressive energy-saving claims. Heat pump dryers are popular in Europe but LG will be the first manufacturer to bring them to the U.S. We’ll buy and test the LG EcoHybrid DLHX4072 electric dryer as soon as it comes to stores this summer. LG says energy use is cut by around 50 percent using the most efficient settings. The EcoHybrid combines conventional vented drying with a heat pump to cut energy use by recycling heat generated during drying. But this dryer isn’t cheap. It will cost about $1,600.
Whether a dryer is gas or electric, standard size or compact, manufacturers can shoot for the Star, but most dryers will not meet the requirements, says Abigail Daken of Energy Star, and models earning Energy Star status will probably cost over $700. You can expect to save about $18 a year in energy costs with an Energy Star electric dryer—around $217 if you keep the dryer 12 years—or $9 annually with a gas model, compared to a dryer that meets the DOE’s 2015 minimum efficiency standard.
We’ll let you know which dryers earn the Energy Star as they come out. Until then, use our Ratings of dozens of electric and gas dryers to find a dryer that meets your budget and your needs.
—Kimberly Janeway

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