It used to be that only our computers and phones were considered ‘smart’ devices. Yet, as time went on, more things came designed to include computer chips, connecting them to the internet and unlocking a wide range of new functions. Home appliances are no different, and now we see the rise of smart dryers. But what is a smart dryer anyway?
A smart dryer is still a dryer. It’s an appliance designed to remove moisture from your laundry, leaving it dry and fresh. However, a smart dryer can connect to your home network and the internet at large. That offers you additional ‘smart’ features like remote activation and control, as well as data for more efficient dryer use. That leads to financial savings and easier troubleshooting when problems occur.
In this article, we’re going to explore what a smart dryer is, what it can do that a conventional dryer can’t, and whether or not it’s worth your money.
What Does A Smart Dryer Do?
In short, a smart dryer:
- Runs Drying Cycles
- Stay’s Connected
- Has Context Awareness
1. A Smart Dryer Runs Drying Cycles
A smart dryer is, first and foremost, a dryer. Just like any other dryer, a smart dryer will generate heat and tumble a load of wet laundry to remove all of its moisture as efficiently as possible. The end result is a fresh and dry load of laundry, whether it’s clothes, bedding, or any other material.
2. A Smart Dryer Stays Connected
What makes a smart dryer ‘smart’ is that it’s not an isolated appliance like a conventional dryer. Instead, it has the ability to connect to your home network and, therefore, the internet, allowing for two-way communication of data to and from the machine.
That ability to communicate online means that you can control the dryer without even touching its control panel. Instead, you can input your instructions through an app on your smartphone from the other side of the house or even the other side of the world.
All of this is possible because you and the smart dryer are both connected to the internet.
3. A Smart Dryer Has Context-Awareness
Lastly, a smart dryer also gains context-awareness. In simple terms, that means the appliance can collect valuable data about its operation to function more efficiently. For example, it can use less energy by running shorter drying cycles for smaller loads of laundry.
That context-awareness also means that a smart dryer can diagnose its faults automatically and with much more accuracy. Then, it can directly inform you or the manufacturer of the problem.
What Features Does A Smart Dryer Have, But A Conventional Dryer Doesn’t?
Generally, it’s somewhat straightforward to understand that a smart dryer is connected and has the ability to learn about itself by gathering data (i.e. its ‘context-aware’). But what does that really mean in terms of its functionality?
Well, in this section, we’ll take a deep dive into the exact features and functions that a smart dryer has, which you won’t find on a conventional dryer.
1. Smartphone App Control
One of the most attractive features of a smart dryer to buyers is the smartphone app control. Simply put, that means smart dryers are controllable through your smartphone whether you’re standing right in front of the machine or if you’re at the office on the other side of town.
Most major home appliance brands already have dedicated apps that you can use with their smart dryers. Here are a few top examples:
- Thinq App by Korean brand LG
- Home Connect App by German brands Bosch and Siemens
- SmartThings App by Korean brand Samsung
Unlike conventional dryers, you’ll be able to stay connected to your smart dryer and other smart home appliances through your phone at all times. Those apps will allow you to monitor and control those appliances no matter where you are in the world, so long as you’re connected to the internet.
2. Compatibility With Virtual Assistants
Smart dryers are also becoming increasingly popular alongside another type of household appliance: virtual home assistants. That includes the likes of Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and Google Assistant, all of which allow people to perform various functions using voice commands.
Unlike conventional models, smart dryers add another layer of convenience thanks to their compatibility with those virtual assistants. Using voice commands, owners can start, stop, or even check the remaining time on drying cycles.
Besides that, smart dryers can be programmed to automatically order dryer-related supplies like dryer sheets through virtual assistants as well.
3. Recommended Dryer Settings
As mentioned earlier, smart dryers are ‘context-aware’ and can gather data about their operations. For instance, smart dryers can sense the total volume of items that have been loaded into the appliance and then make recommendations for the most efficient settings to use.
That’s unlike conventional dryers, where the user is expected to figure out the best dryer settings to use.
4. Energy Consumption Monitoring
Another feature of smart dryers that you won’t find on conventional models is the ability to monitor energy consumption.
Smart dryers have different sensors that collect data which it sends to the user’s mobile phone app.
By tracking energy consumption, the user can gain first-hand knowledge of how much energy they’re using for their dryer over an extended period. That will allow them to practice better habits and reduce their energy costs.
5. Remote Diagnostics and Support
When a conventional dryer experiences a fault, it can perform a self-diagnosis and tell you what the problem is by flashing an error code. Once you understand what the error code means, you should be able to fix the problem yourself or refer it to a qualified technician.
A smart dryer, however, takes that self-diagnosis a few steps further. Not only can a smart dryer provide much more information about the fault (beyond just showing an error code), it could also inform you and the manufacturer of the problem.
Smart dryers are connected appliances. A smart dryer could notify the manufacturer of the fault and help you schedule a repair visit by a technician while also notifying you through a push notification on your smartphone app.
6. Easier Self-Troubleshooting
Some problems don’t require a manufacturer’s technician to repair. Instead, you can troubleshoot and fix the problem on your own right at home.
With a conventional dryer, that process typically involves flipping through the user manual to figure out how to perform the fix.
Smart dryers can also lead you to the manufacturer’s video guides through the smartphone app with their ability to pinpoint the problem with more precision. That will allow you to understand the necessary steps with much more clarity.
What Are The Drawbacks Of Using A Smart Dryer?
Like with any other smart appliance type, smart dryers come with their fair share of drawbacks. Two examples include the financial costs and matters of network security.
Here’s a universal truth about any high-tech appliance or device, including smart dryers. The more sophisticated it is, the more it’s going to cost to buy and repair. Smart dryers are fantastic machines that offer loads of convenience, as we’ve discussed already.
However, you can expect a smart dryer to cost more than a conventional dryer. Plus, when things go wrong, and parts need to be fixed or replaced, the odds are higher that they’re going to cost more than those of conventional dryers.
Secondly, any appliance or device that’s connected to your home network is another point of vulnerability.
Your smart dryer is essentially a dryer with a computer in it. That means someone with bad intentions could, in theory, exploit that computer to gain access to your home network. And your smart dryer was designed for convenience in mind, not security.
Naturally, network security might not be the top concern of many homeowners. Still, it’s something that you should at least be aware of.
Final Thoughts: Is A Smart Dryer Worth It?
Yes, a smart dryer is a worthwhile purchase if you’re in the market for a new dryer. There are few reasons we say this.
- Firstly, it’s still true that a smart dryer will cost more than a conventional model. However, the difference in the prices of smart and conventional dryers aren’t that big anymore, and they continue to close the gap as time goes on. So, yes, they’re more expensive, but not by that much.
- Secondly, smart dryers aren’t that new. These types of dryers have been around for quite some time, which means that manufacturers have worked out most of the flaws. The smart dryers on the market today are very reliable, certainly just as reliable as conventional models.
So, bottom line, should you buy a smart dryer?
Well, if your dryer is getting old and you’re looking for a replacement, then upgrading to a smart dryer will certainly be a gamechanger for your household. The amount of money you’ll spend on a smart dryer isn’t all too much more than if you chose a conventional model instead. But the added value that you’ll receive makes it all more than worth it.
However, if your conventional dryer is still new and has plenty of life left in it, you might want to hold off on purchasing a smart dryer for the time being.