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Steam Dryer Pros and Cons

Steam Dryer ProsSteam Dryer Cons
Clothing does not wrinkle as muchSteam dryers cost more than “regular” dryers
Lightly worn clothing can be “refreshed” instead of given a full washSteam dryers use the same amount of energy as other dryers
A drying cycle without steam can still be runClothes may still need ironing despite wrinkling less
Light odors can be removed without washingAnother potential source of leaks

Steam dryers can protect clothes from wrinkling, remove light odors, and refresh the clothing without needing to wash it. Steam dryers can also be used as regular dryers. They are more expensive and no more energy-efficient than other dryers. They don’t completely eliminate the need for ironing.

Steam Dryer Pros

Washing Less Wrinkled After Drying

A traditional dryer removes the remaining moisture from your clothing by using heat to evaporate it. This heat can be from natural gas, propane gas, or electricity, and no water supply is required for functioning.

close up of ironing tool  on white background

Steam dryers, on the other hand, add steam to the mix – as their name suggests. They will run your laundry through a heat cycle, then a steam cycle, and finish off with another heat cycle.

Different steam dryers may differ in how they add steam or mist, but the concept is the same.

This may seem strange and counterproductive since steam dryers are adding moisture to the drying process. However, it does actually provide several benefits.

First and foremost, it reduces the amount of wrinkling that occurs, minimizing the amount of ironing that must be done.

This is not to say that there won’t be any wrinkling. But you won’t be as likely to find harsh lines and folds making a home in your clothing. Steam also has a softening effect on fabric since it is able to penetrate it deeply and relax the fibers.

Quick Refresh Instead of Full Wash

Steam dryers are fantastic appliances for minimizing the amount of time and energy spent on laundry.

Certain clothing might only be worn for special occasions, and you don’t want to wear out the fabric of your good pieces by running them through a full laundry cycle after every outing.

Other people might be uncomfortable simply wearing their normal clothing more than once, but feel conflicted if their clothes don’t exactly smell after being worn. 

There are plenty of reasons a person may want to give their clothing a quick “refresh” instead of a full run through the laundry machine. Steam dryers are great for this since the steam penetrates clothing, removing wrinkles and light odors that have settled into the fabric.

This means you don’t always have to run all your laundry through the washing machine and the dryer, spending extra time moving your clothes from machine to machine.

Using the steam dryer to refresh your clothing also means you’re using less water and energy, which can save you a little on your expenses.

Can Still Do Regular Drying Cycle

Steam dryers simply provide steam drying as an additional feature, but they are not an additional appliance to add to your laundry room.

Young woman steaming her clothes on rack at home

That means they are a replacement for your old “regular” dryer, not a third machine that would have to be added to your laundry room, where it would take up valuable space. 

Additionally, that means steam dryers are also able to run a regular drying cycle. This means the dryer could potentially run even when not connected to a water outlet.

Steam dryers allow you to choose whether or not you want to refresh or steam dry your clothing or if you prefer to run a normal drying cycle with only heat and no steam.

Helps to Remove Odors

As briefly mentioned, steam dryers can remove light odors from your clothing.

You will still need to put your clothing through the washing machine if they have gotten particularly dirty or sweaty. However, light smells can be removed with a steam cycle. That includes the slightly musty smell that can cling to clean clothes after washing!

This ability to remove odors is in large part the reason why putting your clothes through a steam dryer is considered a refresh or a light clean.

Of course, it might be a bit strange to think that steam can remove smells. It may help to understand why this works, and the reason is that bacteria is often the perpetrator behind the bad smell caused by sweat.

Human sweat alone doesn’t necessarily smell bad, but it provides a breeding ground for bacteria that are offensive to the nose.

The combination of water and high heat in a steam dryer eliminates bad smells by killing the bacteria that cause pungent body odor. 

Steam Dryer Cons

Cost More to Purchase

Steam dryers are more expensive than regular dryers. Depending on what brand you prefer and what model catches your eye, a good steam dryer might be anywhere from a few hundred more than a regular dryer to double the cost.

steam dryers Cost More to Purchase

However, there are a few things to consider regarding costs.

First, a good dryer should last you well over a decade. Secondly, a steam dryer may save you money in the long term if you use it regularly to refresh your clothing rather than run it through the washer.

Lastly, the ability to give your clothes a refresh is one of the major benefits of a steam dryer, but you need to consider whether this is a feature that you will use regularly.

If you don’t intend to use the dryer for this purpose, much or at all, it may not be worth it to you to shell out the extra money.

No More Energy Efficient Than Regular Dryers

Again, a steam dryer isn’t significantly different from a normal dryer if you don’t plan to use it for clothing refreshes. They even use a comparable level of energy, so neither is really more or less efficient.

This means that if saving on energy costs is important to you, you won’t necessarily be saving if you plan to continue always running your laundry through the washer and the dryer.

However, this also means that since both types of dryers are about equal in energy efficiency, you won’t be spending more on costs either. Plus, you’ll still have the option to run your clothing through the steaming cycle if you so choose.

Essentially, this becomes more or less of a con depending on what you value and what will best suit your lifestyle.

Need for Ironing Not Completely Eliminated

It is important to mention that while a steam dryer does significantly reduce the wrinkling in your laundry, it will not necessarily completely eliminate wrinkles.

Man steaming his clothes on rack at home. Space for text

While this reduced wrinkling may be “good enough” for most people, others will prefer their clothing to have crisp, clean lines and perfectly smooth fabric.

If you are one of those individuals, or if you simply have a few pieces you would prefer to keep in a more crisp condition, you should be aware that some ironing may still be needed to achieve your desired results.

That said, since a steam dryer does reduce wrinkling, it may still make ironing a quicker and easier job overall.

Water Supply Is Another Potential Source of Leaks

There are so many potential causes of dryer leaks. These leaks are frustrating to find (or dangerous if you find them by slipping in the water!) and need to be solved as soon as possible.

With steam dryers, you are adding a water supply, which is yet another potential source of those pesy water leaks.


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