The home appliance industry is very competitive across all categories, including dryers. That’s why manufacturers are constantly promoting dryer models with steam options as being superior choices over conventional models.
Despite manufacturers’ claims, is the steam option on dryers worth it?
If money is no issue, then yes, dryers with the steam option can come in handy. Drying your clothes with additional steam can kill germs, remove odors, and soften wrinkles. Those benefits make it easy to refresh your clothes without having to rewash them. But if your budget is limited, a conventional dryer will do just fine.
This article will help you figure out for yourself if the steam option on dryers is worth it. We’ll explore the benefits and the drawbacks thoroughly before presenting our final verdict at the end.
The Benefits Of The Steam Option On Dryers
Manufacturers promoting the steam option on their dryers will highlight a few key benefits. They include removing odors, killing germs, softening wrinkles, and freshening clothes up without the need to rewash them entirely.
1. Removes Odors
The heat generated by dryers already helps to remove odors. But add steam to the mix, and that effect is amplified significantly.
The steam penetrates the fabric thoroughly as your laundry tumbles around in your dryer, removing any leftover odors.
The reason why the steam option helps to remove odors from the laundry is related to the next point; steam helps to kill germs and bacteria that generate those odors.
2. Kills Germs
Combining high levels of heat with steam will kill germs, bacteria, and any other living organism that’s caught in the fabric of your laundry. As mentioned earlier, that also includes killing odor-generating germs and bacteria.
Besides that, it effectively sanitizes the clothing items inside the dryer. That’s something that families will appreciate, especially if the household has very young children or older relatives who get sick very easily.
3. Softens Wrinkles
The steam option on dryers also helps to soften and eliminate wrinkles. You’ll find that this works in the same way as a steam iron. After tumbling around and being steamed for quite some time, clothes will come out looking as if they’ve been ironed.
Since the wrinkles are gone, you won’t have to spend any time or energy ironing the clothes separately later.
4. Freshen Clothes Without Rewashing
Combining all of the benefits mentioned above (getting rid of odors, germs, and wrinkles) also gives you one additional perk: you can freshen up your clothes instead of having to throw them into the washer.
Sure, you’ll have to wash your clothes eventually. But when you can freshen those clothes using the steam option on your dryer, you can go for longer between those laundry cycles.
Indirectly, that will also lead to savings in energy, water, and even laundry detergent.
5. Alternative to Dry Cleaning
Freshening clothes with heat and steam also comes in exceptionally handy for ‘dry clean only’ items like suits. In the same way as you can freshen clothes without rewashing, you can also freshen up ‘dry clean only’ clothes as well.
In the long run, that will also lead to much lower dry cleaning bills overall.
The Drawbacks Of The Steam Option On Dryers
As you’ve seen above, dryers with the steam option offer many benefits. However, critics highlight several drawbacks that you should be aware of as well.
Among them are higher upfront costs, a lack of effectiveness, additional work, and the existence of cheaper ways to get the same results.
1. Higher Upfront Cost
The steam option on dryers is an additional feature that involves additional parts. All of that is to say that there is a higher cost involved, reflecting on the price tag for the dryers themselves.
So, one drawback to these types of dryers is the significantly higher cost that you’ll have to pay upfront to use them.
2. Not As Effective As Advertised
When you browse online stores that sell dryers with steam options, you should check out what buyers have to say about them. Sure, there are plenty of positive reviews that confirm all of the benefits these appliances have.
However, there is also plenty of negative feedback as well. Some of the more common claims include those that say that wrinkles don’t disappear when using the steam option on dryers. Some clothes that are freshened up using the steam option might not lose their odor entirely and will still need to be put in the washer as usual.
Surprisingly, it’s also common to read customer claims that even though they have the steam option on their dryers, they rarely need to use it at all.
Yes, positive and negative feedback from previous buyers should be taken with a grain of salt. However, they should not be completely ignored either.
3. Additional Effort for Installation or Operation
When you select the steam option on the dryer, the appliance will deliver a water mist into the drum, which converts to steam because of the high temperature inside. But where does that water come from?
Dryer models with a steam option will get their water from either a connected water supply or a water reservoir. That means you might need to connect the water supply for your washer to the dryer as well.
Or, if the model you buy uses a reservoir, that means you’ll need to refill it with water to use it. The more often you use the steam option, the more frequently you’ll need to refill the reservoir.
Besides that, you’ll need to use smaller dryer loads to maximize the effects of the steam. If you’re using the steam option on the dryer, there must be extra space in the drum for the steam to saturate each piece of clothing.
In the long run, that could mean that you’ll use the dryer more frequently, seeing as how each load is smaller than usual.
4. Cheaper Alternatives
When manufacturers market and promote the steam option on their dryers, it can look and sound pretty impressive. But there’s one thing that most people don’t realize.
You can already generate steam with your existing dryer at a fraction of the cost! All you have to do is include a wet rag into your dryer load. When the dryer heats up, the moisture from that wet rag will convert into steam!
Sure, it might not be a continuous supply of steam like in a steam dryer. But the effects aren’t all that different.
Final Verdict: Is The Steam Option On Dryers Worth It?
After considering the pros and cons, is the steam option on dryers worth it? Well, our opinion is that the steam option is nice-to-have but not a need-to-have feature. What that means is that if money is not an issue and you want the newest dryer with all the bells and whistles, then, by all means, go ahead and buy yourself a dryer with a steam option.
Still, you can live without it. It’s important to remember that conventional dryers without any steam option are still fantastic at what they do. So, if you’re stressing about choosing the next dryer you place in your laundry room, just know that the steam option (or lack thereof) is not a deal breaker.