Ventless dryers are the most expensive dryer models on the market. Purchasing one might demand a couple of hundred dollars more than their vented counterparts.
Although they cost more to purchase, there are some situations when ventless units are the preferred dryer option. In this article, I explain the positive features of ventless dryers and how they apply to homeowners. I also highlight the drawbacks of using a ventless dryer so that you can have all the facts before deciding.
Ventless dryers are worth the extra cost in most cases. They also offset the higher purchase price by not needing ducts that require installation and maintenance, using less energy, and being gentler on clothes. Ventless dryers are less worthwhile if they are seldom used or used commercially.
Ventless Dryers Have Distinct Cost Benefits
Although the initial cost of purchasing a ventless dryer is relatively higher than the cost of traditional models, it could prove to be a more cost-effective choice over time.
Ventless dryers are more energy-efficient than vented models. This means that you spend less on energy bills with ventless dryers.
So, if you use the dryer constantly, you can offset the difference in cost between the two models and even make additional savings before the end of the dryer’s life.
With ventless dryers, you’d also spend less on dryer installation and maintenance.
Greater Installation Freedom
Ventless dryers do not feature a vent. So, you do not have to create a hole in the wall while installing the dryer.
This allows for flexibility in dryer location, especially for people who do not have a dedicated laundry area. It wouldn’t take up so much space you can install it in a central location in the house without worrying about dryer ducts influencing the aesthetics of the room.
Ventless dryers are also relatively smaller than vented units. The average size of vented units is 27” while the average size of ventless dryers is 24”. You could even get a ventless unit that fits under counters or inside closets.
Ventless units are a great dryer option for people who do not have outside access. It is also ideal for individuals living in rentals who aren’t allowed to vent holes in the exterior wall.
In these cases, the options are to have no dryer or to spend a little bit more to get a well-functioning and convenient appliance. So, the cost-benefit is a dryer—worth it!
No Ductwork or Vents
Ventless dryers are easier to install since you do not have to connect them to a duct. The only step required to run your dryer unit is the installation of an electrical outlet.
This makes for a faster installation procedure and reduced installation cost. It’s also easier for DIYers (free labor) to install a ventless unit because you don’t have to connect a duct.
Most electric dryer units run with a 240v outlet, so if you already have one within reach of the dryer’s power cable, you only have to connect the dryer to the power source.
Ventless dryers are also easier to maintain. Aside from emptying the water tank in ventless dryers, the maintenance requirements of both dryer models are pretty similar.
However, in addition to regular dryer cleaning and maintenance, the duct of conventional dryers needs to be professionally cleaned at least once every year. This is something you wouldn’t have to worry about with a ventless unit.
Additionally, dryer vents pose a safety hazard because they can get clogged with lint, which is a flammable material.
However, some cities demand that electrical connections be done by an electrician. So, if you live somewhere with such rules, it would be impossible to install the electric outlet yourself if you aren’t a licensed technician.
Ventless dryers are the most energy-efficient electric dryer models on the market. They consume about 20%-50% less energy than conventional models.
Certain ventless units (heat pump dryers) are designed to run at a lower temperature. As a result, they do not use up as much electricity as vented units.
Vented dryers draw in conditioned air from the room, heat the air, expel the heated air to the outdoors, and then draw in more air from the room until the clothes are dry. As a result, your HVAC system would have to make up for the air used by the dryer. This in turn increases your HVAC energy consumption.
Unlike vented dryers, ventless units do not expel humid air outside. So, rather than expelling air outdoors and drawing in more air, ventless dryers recycle used air. This way, the dryer doesn’t take up more conditioned air from the room and the HVAC unit doesn’t have to work overtime.
Less Damage to Clothing
Tumble drying is known to cause the fabric to shrink and wear out a lot faster than air drying.
So, regardless of the dryer model you use, it wouldn’t be as safe for the fabric of your clothes as air drying.
Vented dryers dry clothes at high heat. This makes for a faster operation but the heat level in the dryer tends to overdry clothing.
The high heat used by vented units tends to be harsh on fabrics and this would ultimately reduce the lifespan of clothing.
However, ventless dryers run at lower temperatures, so they do not cause as much damage to clothes as vented units, whether they are gas or electric.
Additionally, ventless units do not overdry clothes. In fact, customers who aren’t used to ventless dryers might assume that clothes dried aren’t completely dry even when the clothes are moisture-free. This is because fabrics do not come out hot from a ventless dryer.
This would result in longer-lasting fabrics, which means that you wouldn’t be forced to replace your outfits because of fabric damage as often as you would with a vented unit. This is another way that you can save money.
Definitely Worth the Extra Cost for Some
There are certain situations when vented dryers aren’t a suitable option.
With ventless dryers, there is no need to install a duct. This coupled with the fact that the size of ventless units is typically smaller than conventional dryers makes them ideal for installation in cramped spaces.
The absence of a duct also makes it the best option for people who do not have a dedicated laundry room. The dryer can be installed in a central location and you wouldn’t have to stress about the duct affecting the aesthetics of the room.
If you do not have access to the external wall or live in a rental that does not permit the creation of holes in the wall, you would be unable to install a vented dryer. This makes ventless dryers the best and probably the only tumble dryer option available.
There are two types of ventless dryers, i.e., heat pump and condenser dryers (amazon link). While they are both energy-efficient, heat pump dryers (amazon link) can reduce the energy consumption of regular dryers by half.
If you’re keen on energy saving, it’s best to go for a ventless unit, preferably a heat pump dryer.
Strong Contender in Most Situations
Even if your home does not fall into the above-mentioned categories, ventless dryers can still be worth the extra cost of purchasing.
Ventless dryers feature a special mechanism that allows them to dry clothes effectively. So, they do everything vented units do but do not consume as much energy or require such extensive installation.
If price isn’t an issue and you do not mind spending a little longer doing your laundry, then ventless dryers are definitely worth trying.
Venting dryers indoors (including the use of indoor dryer venting kits and condenser boxes) is frowned upon for a variety of reasons. Most states even have laws against installing dryer vents indoors.
Rather than take the risk of venting your dryer indoors, it’s best to opt for a ventless unit.
They can fit into any kind of space, so regardless of the layout and size of your home, ventless dryers would fit in better than vented units.
When Are Ventless Dryers Not Worth the Extra Cost?
Most ventless dryers are smaller than ventless units. As a result, they have a smaller drum capacity.
In addition to their small drum capacity, ventless dryers take longer to dry clothes. While vented dryers take between 30-45 minutes to dry an average laundry load, a ventless unit would require between 1 hour to 1 hour and 30 minutes to dry an identical load of laundry
This means that you have to divide your laundry into smaller loads and also wait longer for each load to finish.
Its slow operations and small drum capacity make ventless dryers inappropriate for more commercial uses.
I doubt that you are reading this article if you own a chain of hotels and need to wash hundreds of sheets each day. However, you may run a Bed and Breakfast, hostel, lodge, etc. If you do, you might want to stick with the vented option because you can wash the sheets faster.
Most dryers have a lifespan of 10-25 years. During this period, it’s possible to make up for the high cost of ventless units. However, if you do not use the dryer often, you might not be able to offset the price difference between your ventless unit and conventional dryers before the end of its lifespan.
For more information on ventless dryers, check out my All You Need to Know guide.