Living in a tiny home, apartment, or condo often means making compromises when it comes to space for full-sized appliances. But having limited square footage doesn’t mean you have to air dry all your laundry! Compact clothes dryers are a great solution for small living spaces.
Compact dryers offer the convenience of machine drying while taking up minimal room. Today’s models run efficiently and quiet while providing plenty of drying power. Keep reading as I cover what to look for when shopping for a compact dryer and recommend the top 5 models ideal for tiny homes and apartments.
Key Factors To Consider When Buying a Compact Dryer
While compact dryers are smaller in stature compared to average models, they offer most of the same features and functions. However, there are some differences to keep in mind while shopping. Here are the key factors to consider:
Type of Compact Dryer
There are two main types of compact dryers:
- Vented dryers – Require a 4-inch venting duct to release hot air and moisture outside. Provide faster drying times. Require venting installation.
- Ventless/condensing dryers – Recirculate air and condense moisture into a removable reservoir. Don’t require venting but take about twice as long to dry.
Vented dryers are more common and efficient, but ventless models are great if you can’t install ductwork.
Compact dryer drum capacities range from 1.5 to 2.5 cubic feet, much smaller than the 6-8 cu ft capacity of average full-sized models. Make sure to choose a compact dryer that can handle your laundry needs. If you regularly dry bulky items like comforters, opt for a 2.5 cu ft drum.
Smaller drum capacities lead to longer dry times, so factor this in as well. Expect a full load to take 50-100% longer in a compact vs. standard dryer.
Vented compact dryers require a 4-inch rigid or flexible metal venting duct. Make sure you can install ductwork through an exterior wall or roof. Consider length/bends as too many can slow venting.
Ventless dryers use a condenser and reservoir to capture moisture so ducting isn’t needed. However, you do have to manually empty the reservoir after each load. Condensing drying also takes significantly longer than vented.
Look for compact dryers offering sensor drying capabilities that shut off once clothes reach the desired dryness level. Also handy are specialized cycles like delicates, sanitizing, and quick dry. Timed drying options are fine, but sensors provide better results.
At minimum, look for timed dry, delicates, and air fluff. Advanced models offer 8-10 specialized cycles versus just a few on basic models. The more options, the more efficiently you can dry different fabric types.
Standard compact dryers have a rotary dial control while upgraded models feature digital touchpads and LCD displays allowing you to precisely set temperatures and drying times. Digital displays also indicate cycle status. Easy-turn dials work fine, but digital controls offer superior convenience.
Due to their high-speed motors, compact dryers run louder than full-sized models. Average noise levels range from 60-70 decibels. For comparison, old top-loaders run at about 55 dB while new HE top loaders run 50-60 dB. Make sure the compact dryer noise level works for your space.
Today’s compact dryers offer solid energy efficiency with ENERGY STAR-certified models using 20% less energy than standard models. When operated properly with good venting, compact dryers can be cost-efficient to run. Look for one with an Eco cycle that saves energy.
Some innovative compact dryers come with the following optional features:
- Steam cycles – Help reduce wrinkles and odors
- Reversible drums – Improve tumbling action
- Moisture sensors – Provide precise dryness monitoring
- ADA compliance – For accessibility
While not mandatory, these add-ons give enhanced performance and flexibility.
Now that you know what to look for, let’s get into my top compact clothes dryer picks ideal for small spaces…
The 5 Best Compact Dryers For Small Homes
After extensive research on reliability, efficiency, capacity, and features, I am recommending these excellent compact dryers to consider for your tiny home or apartment:
1. GE GTD33EASKWS 2.5 Cu. Ft. Vented Electric Dryer
With a substantial 2.5 cubic foot drum capacity, this GE vented compact dryer can handle medium-to-large loads. Convenient sensor dry technology shuts the dryer off when clothes reach your desired dryness level.
- 2.5 cu. ft. drum capacity holds up to 16 towels
- Ventless condensing operation
- Sensor dry optimizes drying time
- 4 temperature levels and 14 drying cycles
- ADA compliant design
- ENERGY STAR certified
- 52 dB noise level
This GE dryer offers premium features and sufficient capacity for most households with limited space. The sensor dry function ensures clothes are dried thoroughly but not over-dried. With moisture sensors and a solid drum capacity, it’s my top compact dryer pick.
Average Cost: $699
2. Electrolux EIED200QSW 2.3 Cu. Ft. Electric Vented Dryer
This Electrolux compact dryer condenses moisture for ventless operation, perfect for those lacking ductwork access. The generous 2.3 cubic foot drum fits normal to large laundry loads. Unique features like steam refresh and customize dry give specialized fabric care.
- 2.3 cu. ft. drum capacity
- Ventless condensing operation
- Advanced sensor dry adapts drying time
- Steam refresh cycle
- 15 dry cycles including sanitizing
- Customize dry settings
- LED drum light
With ventless flexibility and specialized cycles, this Electrolux model adapts well to any small space. The customizable dry settings give you control over the exact dryness level. if you need a compact dryer without venting, this one delivers on all fronts.
Average Cost: $939
3. Bosch 300 Series WTG86400UC 2.0 Cu. Ft. Vented Electric Dryer
This Bosch compact dryer offers a stylish design and vented performance. The WTG86400UC generates powerful airflow and efficient drying for its 2 cubic foot capacity. Easy-to-use controls and a moisture sensor system provide optimal fabric care.
- 2.0 cu. ft. capacity fits most loads
- Powerful vented airflow speeds drying
- Moisture sensor for precise dry level
- ADA compliant design/controls
- ENERGY STAR certified efficiency
- Variety of cycle options
- Decibel rating: 65dB
The Bosch 300 Series delivers strong vented performance and effective fabric care in a compact package. With reversible drum action and moisture sensors, it provides complete drying while protecting your clothes.
Average Cost: $949
4. LG DLEX3700R 2.3 Cu. Ft. Electric Vented Dryer
This LG vented compact dryer features a spacious 2.3 cu. ft. drum capacity. Smart features like sensor drying, anti-static, and wrinkle care make laundry day effortless. The DLEX3700 also runs quietly at just 63 dB.
- 2.3 cu. ft. drum capacity
- Advanced sensor dry system
- Steam cycles reduce wrinkles
- ENERGY STAR certified efficiency
- Ultra-quiet operation at 63 dB
- 10 drying programs and 4 temperature levels
This LG compact dryer combines generous capacity with fabric-optimizing cycles and sensor tech. From delicates to bulky sheets, SmartDiagnosis drying tweaks run times and temperatures for picture-perfect laundry results.
Average Cost: $799
5. Magic Chef MCSDRY1S 1.6 Cu. Ft. Vented Electric Dryer
This affordable Magic Chef compact dryer delivers reliable performance on a budget. At just 1.6 cubic feet capacity, it best suits a single person or couple with light laundry loads. The straightforward mechanical dial controls and vented drying keep operation simple.
- 1.6 cu. ft. drum for light loads
- Vented airflow for faster drying
- Spin dial temperature/cycle selection
- LED indicator lights show cycle status
- Quiet 64 dB operation
- 3 drying cycles and 4 temperature levels
For basic vented drying in tight quarters, the Magic Chef MCSDRY1S gets the job done. While capacity is modest, the $449 cost makes it one of the best values for a compact appliance.
Average Cost: $449
Answers to Common Compact Dryer Questions
Looking into compact dryers for your small home? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
Are compact dryers less efficient than full-size models?
No, today’s compact dryers offer solid energy efficiency with many models ENERGY STAR certified. When hooked up properly and not overloaded, they use similar electricity as standard dryers.
Do compact dryers take longer to dry clothes?
Yes, the smaller drum capacity increases drying time anywhere from 50-100% depending on the load size. To help compensate, look for moisture sensor technology that adjusts drying time automatically for optimal efficiency.
How much smaller are compact dryers compared to standard sizes?
Compact dryers range from 1.5-2.5 cubic feet drum capacity while standard models are typically 6-8 cubic feet. So compact models are 60-75% smaller in terms of interior drum space. The exterior machine dimensions are shrunk by a similar percentage.
Can a compact dryer handle a king comforter or full load of laundry?
It depends on the drum size, but many 2-2.5 cu. ft. compact models can accommodate bulkier items and larger 8-10 lb. loads. Just expect drying times to be a bit longer. Those with 1.5 cu. ft. capacity work best for lighter laundry loads under 5 lbs.
Do you have to empty the water reservoir manually on ventless models?
Yes, with condensing dryers the water captured from the moist air collects in a rear-mounted reservoir tank that must be emptied after each load. Automatic draining and pumping systems are not common on compact dryers.
How do ventless dryers work?
Ventless dryers recirculate hot air and pass it through a condenser unit that cools the air to remove moisture which gets trapped in a tank. The air then reheats and repeats the loop until reaching the desired dryness.
What are the electrical requirements for compact dryers?
Most compact electric dryers require a 240-volt power supply with 30-amp electrical service. Some very compact 1.5-2.0 cu ft models may operate on standard 120-volt, 15-amp circuits. Always check the voltage specs before purchasing.
Can compact dryers be stacked with a washing machine?
Stackable washer-dryer units are available but rare for compact laundry. The LG SidekickTM pedestal washer is specifically designed to attach under LG compact dryers for a stacked laundry solution.
Are there any safety risks with compact dryers?
Proper venting is crucial for fire prevention in vented compact dryers. Also avoid overstuffing the drum which can lead to fire hazards in any dryer. Follow all installation and maintenance requirements for safe operation.
How do you clean lint out of a compact dryer?
Like standard dryers, compact models require regular lint filter cleaning after each load. A few times per year, vacuum out the ductwork. To deep clean the drum itself, run a high heat drying cycle with a wet towel which loosens built-up residue.
Finding the Right Compact Dryer for Your Needs
I hope this overview gives you a better understanding of what makes for an excellent compact dryer and how these miniature models can enable easy drying in tight spaces. Finding one with the ideal capacity, venting, and features for your needs results in happy laundry and enhanced convenience!
When shopping for compact dryers, carefully measure your space and consider your typical loads. This guides you in choosing the appropriate drum capacity and venting setup. I recommend selecting a model with moisture sensors, several drying cycles, and digital controls for the best user experience.
If affordability is a concern, simple timer-based compact dryers with mechanical dials get the job done from a budget-friendly price point. But investing in one with more advanced technology ensures efficiency and provides customized fabric care.
Whichever compact dryer you choose, enjoy the convenience of having your own machine while saving on space! With the right compact dryer, you can easily get crisp, fresh-dried laundry no matter how tiny your home.