How Much Does It Cost to Run an Electric Dryer?

What Are You Spending to Dry Your Clothes at Home?

Woman Getting Clothes Out of Dryer
Woman Getting Clothes Out of Dryer. RapidEye/E+/Getty Images

Clothes dryers have a reputation for being energy hogs, but how much do they really cost to operate?

In the U.S., it costs approximately $.45* to dry a load of laundry in an electric dryer.

*based on a 5600-watt dryer, 40-minute run-time and a $.12 per kWh rate.

How Much Does it Cost to Run Your Particular Dryer?

While the national average helps, that really doesn't tell you how much your dryer costs to run.

With a little math, it's pretty easy to find out.

Grab a calculator, your dryer’s owner’s manual, and a recent electric bill, and use this formula to figure it out:

  1. Multiply the dryer’s wattage by the length of the load in hours and divide by 1000. This will give you the total number of kilowatt-hours (kWh) used.
  2. Then, multiply the kilowatt hours by your cost per kWh (that can be found on your electric bill). This is your cost per load.
  3. To calculate your cost per month, multiply your cost per load by the number of loads that you typically do in a month.
  4. To calculate your cost per year, multiply your monthly cost by 12.

Here are the calculations that I ran for my dryer:

(5600 watts x .667 hours) / 1000 = 3.73 kWh
3.73 kWhx $.09 = $.34 per load
$.34 per load x 24 loads a month = $8.16 per month
$8.16 x 12 = $97.92 per year

Factor in Multiple Utility Rates

Some utility providers offer cheaper rates during off-peak hours.

If yours does this, you may be able to cut your drying costs by doing your laundry at night, after the rates have dropped.

To calculate your potential savings, crunch the numbers for both peak and off-peak times to see how they compare. You may just find it’s worth doing your laundry later in the day.

Keep Your Dryer Running at Peak Efficiency

These calculations show how much it costs to operate your dryer under perfect operating conditions. A well-used or poorly maintained dryer may have higher costs.

To achieve these numbers, you need to empty your dryer vent after each load and clean out the outside dryer vent a couple times a year. If either becomes clogged with lint, it’ll take significantly longer to dry your clothes and this costs money (and can start a fire).

If you find that it’s taking longer and longer to dry your laundry, and cleaning the dryer vent doesn’t help, consult your owner’s manual to troubleshoot the problem. You don’t want to spend money running your dryer, if it isn’t doing the job you’re paying for.