One of the modern conveniences of home life is a washer and dryer for laundry. You can load up some clothes, a little detergent, and quickly clean what you wear. Then the dryer makes it possible to wear something that smells great and is dry within an hour or two of starting the process. Everything is done automatically.
If you’re thinking about a washer and dryer for your home, then you have a decision to make. Today there are ventless dryers which perform the same function as the vented model. Instead of connecting a hose from the back of the dryer to an escape point outside of the home, you just plug the dryer in and let it get to work.
Here are the pros and cons to consider in the ventless vs vented dryer debate.
List of the Pros of Ventless vs Vented Dryers
1. Ventless dryers recycle the hot air they produce.
If your home lacks a venting option, then a ventless dryer is your best choice to do laundry at home. When hot air is created inside the dryer, it is recycled. That means it isn’t constantly heating the air to dry your clothing since the appliance isn’t pushing that energy outside through the final vent.
There are two ways that the heated air is recycled. With a condenser dryer, the air goes back to the condenser to be cooled, then reheated. Water collecting from the clothing then drains through a tube or into a container that must be maintained. You could also use a heat pump dryer that keeps the air warm the entire time.
2. You can install a ventless dryer almost anywhere.
Almost all ventless dryers are electrically powered. As long as your circuit can support the amperage that the appliance draws, you can place the unit almost anywhere in your home. That gives you a convenient way to work on your laundry chores each week. The traditional vented dryer can be electrically powered, but some are gas-powered, which means you must have a vent available to expel the carbon monoxide that is present in the environment.
3. Your lint cleaning days are over with a ventless dryer.
When you own a ventless dryer, it is much easier to maintain the unit. You don’t need to worry about removing the lint from the trap after every load to ensure your air flow rates continue uninterrupted. There’s no need to clean out the vent from the dryer either, which means you naturally reduce the fire risks associated with doing your laundry indoors. A ventless dryer provides an excellent low-maintenance option for those who want to stop worrying about keeping their appliances in a healthy condition.
4. Ventless dryers are more efficient.
You’ll use less energy with a ventless dryer compared to the standard vented model. With a heat pump dryer, the air used to dry your clothes is always warm because it is recycled, which reduces the power requirements needed to constantly warm up cold air. Although some models may take longer to dry your clothes than a high-powered vented model, you’ll find that the utility cost savings of a ventless model can add up over the lifetime of the unit.
High-efficiency ventless models can save anywhere between $10 to $50 per year over vented models on the annual cost-to-run ratings.
5. Your clothes are treated better in a ventless dryer.
Because a ventless dryer tends to use a smaller chamber and a lower heat setting than vented models, your clothing makes it through the laundry with less stretching, shrinking, or other quality issues. If you find that your clothes don’t fit well after a couple of cycles through the laundry, then shifting to a ventless model could reduce your clothing expenses over time.
Your clothing can also last longer when using a ventless model at home, which reduces the need to purchase new items because your older shirts and pants are wearing out quickly.
6. There are fewer installation steps associated with a ventless dryer.
A ventless dryer requires zero ventilation setup. That means you don’t need to worry about finding the right size of vent hosing to use in your home. Ventless models come with three-prong and four-prong power cords, which can be swapped out when you move if needed to ensure your appliance always works.
Although condenser dryers do draw air from the outside room to create the drying mechanism, heat pump dryers even remove this element. That means you can position your appliance, plug it in, and then turn it on to use.
7. You eliminate the cost of installing an outside vent in your home.
If you don’t have a dryer vent installed in your home already, you must add the cost of this job to what you’d pay for a vented model. If you vent to the out to the side of your home, expect to pay at least $400 for that service, with some areas paying $600 or more. Venting through your roof can cost as much as $1,200. Once you start considering those rates and the cost of the vented dryer, it might be cheaper to purchase the ventless model instead.
8. Ventless dryers distribute less heat to the surrounding environment.
Have you ever touched a vented dryer that was operating? Did it feel warm to the touch? The heat generation capacity of a vented dryer distributes additional heat throughout the home. On a winter day, that might feel nice. In the summer, however, it can turn your laundry room into a sweltering pit of doom.
If you purchase a heat pump dryer, then you’ll have a model which offers double the efficiency of a condenser dryer and up to 5 times more than a vented model. You’ll also have less heat coming into the room with you, which makes it more comfortable to work on your laundry chore.
9. Many ventless models offer a comparable drying time.
If you run a regular vented dryer at home, the typical drying cycle will be 60 minutes. Throwing in a dry towel with a wet load can decrease that time for you. Upgrading to a ventless condensing dryer extends your average drying cycle to 75 minutes. It is the heat pump dryer that extends your laundry time dramatically, with the average cycle taking at least 105 minutes to complete.
List of the Cons of Ventless vs Vented Dryers
1. The capacity of a ventless dryer is much less than a vented dryer.
If you have a large family (5+ people), then a vented dryer will help you get through your laundry chores faster. The average ventless dryer will require three full loads compared to a vented dryer’s two full loads. If your laundry needs mean that you do 12 loads of laundry per week, a ventless dryer will have you working at least 3 more hours on this chore each week – and that’s assuming the ventless dryer is able to dry with the same speed as the vented model with each load.
2. Many ventless dryers operate on a low-heat setting.
If you must dry your clothing or dryer-compatible belongings quickly, then a vented appliance will always be your best choice. For the average ventless model, their high-heat setting is comparable to the low-heat setting offered by the traditional setup. When looking at this issue from a time-based perspective, you could double the time it takes to get through your laundry each week. If it takes you 10 hours to get through all your laundry, budget at least 20 hours if you upgrade to a ventless model.
3. Ventless dryers cost more than vented dryers.
The upfront capital expense is another consideration to look at when comparing ventless vs. vented dryers. If you were to purchase an entry-level ventless dryer with basic features, you’ll find that condenser models are your best price. These dryers have a starting price around $900 in most markets. If you want a ventless heat-pump dryer, then expect to pay an initial cost of $1,700 or more.
If you purchase a standard vented dryer with basic features, you’ll find large-capacity models from Amana and Kenmore available for $350 to $400. You can even purchase top-loading models with advanced drying features for less than the basic cost of a ventless model.
4. You must still maintain certain ventless dryers on a regular basis.
If you opt for the cheaper condenser ventless dryer, then you’re going to replace the lint trap cleaning with water tank emptying. Many of the entry-level models put the moisture into a tank which you must empty regularly to ensure the appliance operates as it should. Some models do have a hose connection which is usable, though that requires you to have access to a drain in the laundry room for best results.
5. Ventless dryers tend to be noisier than their vented counterparts.
If you live in a home with paper-thin walls, you will notice the difference between a ventless dryer and a vented model. Most ventless dryers, especially the ones with a heat pump, are some of the loudest appliances in the industry today. Although you save time and money since the ventilation setup isn’t required and the utility costs are lower, some homes may find it difficult to have a conversation while the dryer is running.
Since many heat pump models take longer to dry clothes when compared to a vented model, that means you’re listening to the sound of the appliance for a longer time with each load too.
6. It may not be an option for some living situations.
Although ventilation is not a requirement for ventless dryers, most models do have a requirement that ample airflow is accessible to the appliance. In homes with limited room, even a vented dryer may not be the best option. You may find that with limited space, a stackable washer/dryer combination is your best option. Many of those units tend to require ventilation to work correctly.
7. Ventless dryers add more humidity to the laundry room.
If your home is in a high-moisture environment (think coastal locations like Seattle), then a ventless dryer produces enough humidity that it may promote the accumulation of mold and mildew inside the laundry room. Vented dryers may be inconvenient in many ways, but because its hot air is pumped through an exterior vent, you have fewer humidity issues to contend with inside the home.
For many families, the pros and cons of ventless vs. vented dryers involves the initial cost of the unit. Many budgets struggle to justify the cost of a dryer that comes at a higher cost than their refrigerator. Because ventless dryers do save money on clothing and utility costs over time, however, the initial cost difference can be made up over time, especially with larger families. That is why a ventless dryer is a good choice if you can afford the initial expense.
Natalie Regoli, Esq. is the author of this post and the editor-in-chief of our blog. She received her B.A. in Economics from the University of Washington and her Masters in Law from The University of Texas School of Law. In addition to being a seasoned writer, Natalie has almost two decades of experience as a lawyer and banker. If you would like to reach out to contact Natalie, then go here to send her a message.