Best Portable Dryer Buying Guide: What Should You Consider When Buying A Portable Dryer?
It’s not uncommon to find a nice and attractive house that has everything except a washer and/or dryer. There are many possible reasons for that; perhaps the house doesn’t have adequate space to accommodate the machine(s), or maybe the landlord isn’t keen on spending several hundred bucks to buy and install one.
Either way, you may be forced to rely on a communal laundry room or a Laundromat. Both options are not appealing to say the least. Laundromats are not only expensive in the long run, but they also require you to go out. And unless it’s located on your block, you may have to drive for quite some distance.
Communal laundry rooms are no better. Besides constantly breaking washers and dryers you may have to deal with machine hogging neighbors. And of course you won’t be able to wash or dry clothes at your own convenient time, your schedule will be based on the availability of machines.
Luckily, in the modern high-tech world there are portable washers and dryers that can get the job done faster and conveniently. If you already have a washer then your eyes are probably set on a dryer. On this page you will find the most comprehensive guide on how to go about buying the best portable dryer.
But first, what exactly is a portable dryer? It is simply a clothes dryer that can be moved easily. While traditional dryers are fixed in one location inside the house, portable ones can be carried or wheeled to wherever they are needed. If you have one of them you can plug it anywhere – laundry room, bedroom, kitchen, garage, or even the backyard – and dry your clothes with little to no hassle.
Best portable dryer comparison chart of 2018
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Benefits of a Portable Dryer
- The primary advantage of a portable dryer is that it is a dryer. For that reason, it can dry your clothes regardless of the time or day or weather conditions.
- Equally important is that a portable clothes dryer can be moved from place to place easily. Contrary to their traditional counterparts, portable dryers are not fixed in a house’s structure. Therefore, you can move yours from one room to another or even travel with it in your RV next to the compact fridge or car trunk.
- Compared to fixed dryers, portable ones are a lot easier on clothes of all fabrics. Their drums rotate less vigorously, and that reduces the risk of damage to clothes.
- Clothes dried using a dryer are easier to iron. Towels become fluffier and nice to the touch.
- The best portable dryers use less electric power compared to fixed ones. They therefore help reduce carbon footprints while at the same time saving homeowners some money that would have gone to utility bills.
- A portable dryer comes in handy in places where you can’t air-dry your clothes. For example, if you live in a metro city, small apartment or dusty place it may not be a good idea to dry your clothes outside. In that case a portable dryer will be invaluable.
- Like their fixed counterparts, portable dryers bring convenience to the table. You will save a lot of time, effort and money that would have gone in Laundromat services or using shared driers.
Who Needs A Portable Dryer?
So you’ve seen all the benefits that a portable clothes dryer comes with. But is it for you? Well, pretty much anyone can use a portable dryer. Even if you have a fixed one you may need one of these to complement the main one. You could use it whenever you have a small load of clothes or when the main dryer is broken.
It makes sense to buy a portable dryer if you are short of space in your house. A typical full-size unit requires at least 5 cubic feet. That’s quite large compared to the approximately 3 cubic feet occupied by a portable dryer.
That is to say a portable dryer is perfect if you live in a small apartment, studio, dorm room or any other type of home that is too small to house a traditional dryer. Actually, most of such houses do not meet the electrical and plumbing requirements for full-size dryers, so a portable one may just be your only option.
Also, their small size makes portable dryers ideal for RVs and generally when you go on trips. Most of them use 110V. As long as you can get a 110V power source, whether in the RV or somewhere else along the road, you will be able to use your portable dryer to dry your clothes.
Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best Portable Dryer
The Different Types
There are a few different types of portable dryers to choose from.
- Tumble dryers: these are the most popular, perhaps because of their striking similarity to full-size dryers. They spin horizontally in such a way that the laundry slides off the dryer’s ribs on the wall of the drum. That falling effect fluffs the laundry and flips it to ensure that as much surface area as possible is exposed to the dryer’s hot air. That helps to dry clothes faster and more effectively.
- Spin dryers: contrary to tumble dryers, spin dryers turn vertically. They push laundry against the drum’s wall, thus extracting water from that laundry. Some spin dryers tend to perform the same spin motions as washers, and by doing so they clean clothes some more. The only problem is that they don’t dry clothes completely. For that reason, a spin dryer makes a good choice if you don’t mind hanging your clothes for a little bit afterward.
- Electric hanging dryers: these dryers are basic and straightforward. They feature a freestanding rack on which you hang clothes to dry. Underneath the rack is a heater that blows hot air which in turn dries your clothes. You may feel some heat in the room. As a matter of fact, this type of portable dryer can double up as a room heater.
The capacity of dryers is usually given in cubic feet (similar to that of washers). While full-size units can be as big as 8.8 cubic feet, portable dryers have a smaller capacity of 4 cubic feet or less. Generally, you should pick a dryer whose capacity can meet your laundry needs. The rule of thumb is that your dryer should be at least twice the capacity of your washer. So if your washer has a capacity of 3.1 cubic feet you should be looking at portable dryers in the region of 6 cubic feet. If you don’t have the space or budget you can consider a smaller option. Some go as low as 2.6 cubic feet.
The whole point of having a portable dryer is so that it can fit in small spaces. With that in mind, some of the best portable dryers only occupy 2.5 to 3.5 cubic feet. Of course the smaller it is the less the space you will need. But that small size will also mean a small load capacity. So it would be nice to find a good balance between size and capacity.
A definite advantage of having a small dryer is that you can stack it on top of your washing machine, particularly if the washer is a front-loader. Some dryers come with stacking kits, others have it as an optional extra and some do not have the option completely. If you are keen on saving space it would be ideal to consider dryers that can be stacked. That way you won’t even need to create extra space for the machine.
Most portable dryers are budget-friendly. For less than $150 you can get a nice and reliable unit. With that said, if you have the budget for it don’t be afraid to shop in the $400 to $500 region. Like any other appliance, the more you spend the higher the chances of getting a good quality product. On the other hand, if you are on a shoestring budget you can still get a pretty nice dryer with $150 or less. Some cost less than $100 and still get the job done. Just make sure you choose a reputable brand.
Is a ventless dryer a good idea?
To avoid mold-ridden walls and dripping surfaces, you need to ensure that most (if not all) the hot air from a portable dryer is expelled from the room efficiently. If possible, get a unit that has its own venting kit. That will allow you to direct the hot, moist air out of the room through the window, door or any opening. Not all models have venting kits though. If your preferred portable dryer doesn’t have one you can consider setting it up near an open door or window, or using an exhaust fan to get rid of the hot air.
Dryer cycles include cotton, normal, delicate, heavy etc. What you need is a machine that has several cycle options to choose from. The more the options the more versatile the dryer will be.
Ease of use
While performance and functionality are undoubtedly the key considerations when you’re buying a portable dryer, the machine’s usability should also be at the back of your mind. The last thing you want is to have a dryer that is too complicated to install and use.
Usually, the best portable dryers can be set up in a matter of minutes. If, by observation or research, you notice that a particular model looks too complicated and might take up most of your time to install then it would be a good idea to consider another model.
Similarly, if the machine features a hard-to-understand menu then chances are you won’t get the best out of it. While such things as customizable settings, timer and programmability are important, they shouldn’t be too hard to figure out.
That’s about everything you need to know as you plan to purchase the best portable dryer. Remember, it’s always a good idea to have one of these machines, whether as a backup for your main dryer or as a primary dryer. And as you shop around, make sure you consider the most important factors. The type of the dryer, its capacity, cost, size, venting mechanism and usability are key considerations. If you get those right you will buy a dryer that will serve you efficiently.