A dryer purchase should be based on the available space in the household and the size of the household's typical laundry load. Small households are usually best served by a space-saving dryer. Families may require a full-size dryer.
As of February 2015, space-saving dryers are typically 24 inches wide at most, while full-size dryers tend to be 27 to 29 inches wide. Space-saving dryers have about 3.5 cubic feet of space, and full size dryers have between 5.8 and 8.3 cubic feet of space. One way to calculate the amount of space needed in a dryer is to double the amount of space in the washer. There are also extra large dryers with up to 9 cubic feet of space, as well as combination washer-dryers. A combination washer-dryer is a single machine that performs both tasks and typically measures 24 to 27 inches wide.
If a dryer is too small, it can't get the laundry completely dry in one cycle. Overloading a dryer also leads to wrinkled clothing. Larger dryers use more energy than smaller dryers, so choosing a dryer that's too big leads to unnecessarily high power bills. One way to guarantee the dryer works with the washer is to buy a washer and dryer set.