How Many Amps Does a Dryer Use?

July 8, 2024
Dryer Repair

Some people are content to go through life with little understanding of how things work. That’s not the case for DIY enthusiasts! Understanding how appliances work is crucial, particularly when it comes to electrical DIY. Whether you’re working on upgrading your laundry room or your dryer, or just interested in how things work, this article is for you. We break down the basics of how amps work and the factors that impact amp usage. Let’s dive in!

Note: Dryers need to be used on 240-volt circuits. This means they need to be plugged into 240-volt outlets, as the standard 120-volt outlets in most of your house won’t provide sufficient electricity. 

The Basics – What Are Amps?

Amps are short for ‘amperes’. In a nutshell, amps are a measurement of how much electricity is flowing through a circuit. A thorough understanding of amps means you can make sure your appliances are the right fit for your home’s electrical circuit. This avoids overloading, short circuits, and other associated issues. 

To understand amps, you also need to know a little bit about other measurements of electricity: watts and volts. 

  • Amps: Measure the flow of electricity
  • Watts: Measure the power consumption of an appliance
  • Volts: Measure electrical potential

You can work out the watts used by an appliance such as a dryer by multiplying amps and volts, as expressed by the formula Watts = Amps x Volts. 

Why Do You Need To Know Amp Usage

Understanding the amp usage of your dryer and other large appliances helps you maintain a safe and effective household electrical system. It helps you:

  • Avoid overloading your electrical circuits and causing short circuits and fires. 
  • Make sure your electrical circuits can support all your home appliances.
  • Balance and manage your household energy consumption.

Typical Dryer Amp Usage

While amp usage varies based on the specific model and brand of your dryer, they have a general range that they usually fall into.  

Standard Electric Dryers

A standard electric dryer will usually draw anywhere from 7.5 to 30 amps.  Energy-efficient models will use fewer amps, while older, less efficient models have an amp usage at the higher end of the scale. 

Gas Dryers

Gas dryers rely mainly on natural gas or propane to power themselves, which means they use fewer amps. They’re also able to operate on a 120-volt circuit instead of a 240-volt circuit. A standard gas dryer uses between 5 and 10 amps. 

Finding Out Your Dryer’s Amp Usage

If you want to know the amp usage of your current dryer, there are a few ways to find out. 

Check Your User Manual

If you still have your dryer’s user manual, this is the easiest place to find out your dryer’s amp usage. Go to the section titled ‘electrical specifications’ (or something similar). This should include a listing of the amp rating. 

If you can’t find your user manual, you should be able to find a copy online. Just search for the make and model of your dryer and include the word ‘manual’. 

Check for a Label

The majority of dryers have a label that lists their model number and other important information, including the amp rating. This can usually be found on the back of the dryer but in some models, it might be on the inside of the door. The amp rating will be a number followed by the letter ‘A’. 

Check With the Manufacturer

The manufacturer’s website should include all product specs, particularly if your dryer is a relatively recent model. If you can’t find anything pertaining to your dryer model, you can try contacting the manufacturer directly. 

Measure the Amps

If you prefer a more practical approach, you can measure the amps of the dryer yourself using a clamp meter. Clamp meters are designed to measure current, and are a great way to get a reading of how many amps your dryer uses while in action. Here’s how to use one:

  • First, read the instructions that come with your clamp meter to ensure you are using it correctly. 
  • Connect the clamp meter to where the dryer is plugged into your home’s electrical system. Ensure it is connected to a power wire, not a ground wire. 
  • Make sure the clamp meter is set to measure amps. In most models, this will be shown by a ~ symbol. 
  • Turn the dryer on and select a cycle to measure the amps for that cycle. You can move your dryer through a few different cycles to get the amp readings for each one so you can compare. 

What Can Impact Amp Usage? 

While the make and model of your dryer affects the amp usage, it’s not the only thing that has an impact. 

Size of the dryer

This is pretty obvious, but one of the biggest things that affects amp usage is dryer size. A big dryer with a higher capacity will use more amps than a smaller one. If you have a small household, it’s preferable to choose the smallest dryer that suits your needs as this leads to less electricity usage.

Cycle settings

High heat cycles use more amps than low heat cycles, but they also dry your clothes faster. If you’re looking to save electricity, make sure you set your dryer for a slightly shorter time than you think you’ll need. You can always keep it on for a few more minutes. 

Dryer age

As appliances age, they can become less efficient thanks to wear and tear and increased friction in the motors. This can lead to higher amp usage, which can increase your energy bill. If you’re concerned about this, try measuring your dryer’s actual amp usage with a clamp meter. This can help you decide whether it’s time to replace your dryer or not.


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