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Dryers are relatively simple. Their major differences are how they heat the air (gas or electricity) and how they're programmed to shut off once the load is dry (thermostat or moisture sensor). Gas models typically cost about $50 more than electric ones, but they're usually cheaper to operate.
CONSUMER REPORTS has found that dryers with a moisture sensor tend to recognize when laundry is dry more quickly than machines that use a traditional thermostat. Because they don't subject clothing to unnecessary heat, moisture-sensor models are easier on fabrics. And since they shut themselves off when laundry is dry, they use less energy. Sensors are now offered on many dryers, including some relatively low-priced ones. Thermostat-only dryers are generally the most basic models.
The top four brands--GE, Kenmore (Sears),Maytag, and Whirlpool--account for approximately 80 percent of dryer sales. Other brands include Frigidaire (made by Electrolux), Hotpoint (made by GE), and Admiral, Amana, KitchenAid, and Roper (made by Whirlpool). You may also run across smaller brands such as Crosley, Estate, and White-Westinghouse, all of which are made by …