Everyone with a dryer knows the headache of dealing with a transition hose! It’s fragile, it takes up a lot of space, and distorting it will cause your dryer to run poorly.
Even worse, if you try to squash your transition hose behind your dryer, not only are you unnecessarily lengthening the distance air has to travel, but it’s also risking a lot of lint buildup. That’s a major problem because lint buildup both makes your dryer run less effectively and is a fire hazard. In fact, almost all dryer fires occur due to built-up lint being heated up while your dryer is venting.
If you’ve ever wanted to just rip your transition hose out and install a better solution, consider a periscope dryer vent. They’re specifically made for tight spaces and will let you push your dryer closer to the wall. All you need is a bit of HVAC tape and a screwdriver to get your dryer running more efficiently and a lot safer.
In this comprehensive guide, I’m going to cover everything you need to know about periscope dryer vents. You’ll find out what they do, how to install them, and find the best products on the market!
How Does A Periscope Dryer Vent Work?
A periscope dryer vent is a rigid metal pipe elbow but made in a rectangular form. A periscope vent is also adjustable, with the length depending on the specific model. A dryer vent periscope is an alternative to a flexible transition hose, usually used when you want to save as much space as possible.
Since a periscope vent is both rectangular and adjustable, it can occupy a lot less space than a hose. Most periscope vents need only 2-1/2″ of space between your dryer and the wall, which is a pretty good figure.
They’re typically made of 26-gauge aluminum, which makes them light but still durable enough for most purposes. This also makes them easy to modify as your needs require, as you’ll only need a pair of tin shears and some HVAC tape to cut a periscope down to its correct length.
Periscope Dryer Vent Pros And Cons
A Few Periscope Dryer Vent Facts
Top 10 Best Dryer Vent Periscope Reviews
Now that you know what a periscope dryer vent is and what it does, I’m going to share a list of the ten best products available on the market. Which one is best for you depends on your situation and just how far your dryer vent is from your wall vent.
1# Whirlpool 4396037RP 0-to-18 Inch Vent Periscope
The Whirlpool 4396037RP is the first of several Whirlpool periscope dryer vent kits I’ve included on this list. It can be adjusted from 0″ to 18″, so it’s a good solution for a lot of laundry rooms. It also comes with two screw clamps to fix both ends into place.
It’s our top choice for most applications, especially in apartments. It’s the classic periscope vent, occupying a minimum of space while still providing an excellent alternative to flexible transition hose.
It’s tough enough to hold through most circumstances your laundry room is likely to see. The build quality is also excellent with no leaks, so you won’t need to cocoon this in HVAC tape to ensure a good seal.
Its length range works against it in tighter spaces. If you get it for a 5″ gap, for instance, you’ll have to cut away a lot of the unnecessary length. It also means it’s difficult to attach or detach in a tight area, so you may want to leave the dryer end unclamped in such a case.
Another concern is the boxy ends. These occupy a bit more space than bevelled ends and may be obstructive in tight spaces. You may need to do some creative restructuring to get the Whirlpool to fit.
2# Builder’s Best Adjustable Dryer Vent Periscope
The Builder’s Best 084149 SAF-T-DUCT is one of the smallest dryer vent periscopes on this list, capable of spanning gaps of 0″ to 5″. This makes it ideal for setups where your dryer vent is close to the wall vent. The crimped end goes into the wall, while the smooth end connects to your dryer. It also comes with one ring clamp, which the manual recommends be placed on the dryer end.
The SAF-T-DUCT is a much better option than a long hose when your dryer vent and the wall vent are close together. You get a much shorter run between the dryer and the wall, so efficiency is up and there’s much less chance of lint building up and becoming a fire hazard. It’s also a lot easier to clean since it’s so short. All you need to do is dismount it, brush it out, and vacuum up any lint that falls out.
The disadvantage here is that since the SAF-T-DUCT is so short, installation and maintenance can get difficult, considering how little space there is to work with. You may want to clamp just the wall end and leave the dryer side unfixed so that you can move the dryer as necessary. That way, you won’t need to get in and out of a tight space.
3# Lambro 3005 Rectangular Dryer Duct
The Lambro 3005 is a mid-length periscope vent, with an adjustable length of 18″ to 30″. This lets it cover a bit of distance if the wall vent isn’t in a convenient spot to connect to the dryer vent. For instance, if your dryer is in a basement and the vent pipe comes out too high in the wall, flex hose is often troublesome, but a periscope vent can handle that just fine. It’ll also hold together a lot better than transition hose, which tends to be fragile in such circumstances.
Its ends are beveled, which lets it occupy just a bit less space than a more typical box-ended periscope vent. Since it’s a mid-length periscope, there’s usually enough room that you won’t need to cram yourself in behind your dryer, so you can clamp both ends to fix the Lambro into place.
However, the fit is not airtight, so you will have to seal up the joints with HVAC tape. A minor downside is that it doesn’t come with any clamps, so you’ll have to buy your own or just fix it in place with HVAC tape. Either method has its merits, though I recommend a clamp to make it easier to remove as needed.
4# Dundas Jafine Aluminum Dryer Venting Duct
The Dundas Jafine UD48S is a long-distance periscope vent, capable of adjusting length from 28″ to 45″. Unlike the other models on this list, it has a straight outlet coupled with a 90-degree inlet, so it’s basically a stretched rectangular 90-degree elbow. Note that it doesn’t come with any clamps, so make sure to get some of a type you’re comfortable with.
Given its length, the Dundas Jafine is best when you’ve got some distance between your dryer and the wall vent, or if you have a dryer that vents out the side instead of the back. It works best when the wall vent is placed just in front of a corner, or if you’re venting vertically. Fix the 90-degree inlet to your dryer tailpiece, and connect the straight outlet to where it needs to go. Since it can reach nearly 4 feet, you’ve got a lot of distance to work with.
One concern is that the straight outlet means that it’s made for a different set of vent arrangements than typical periscope vents. This may or may not be a downside per se, depending on your specific setup, but it does mean that the Dundas Jafine might not be the right periscope duct for your laundry room simply due to physical arrangement. Consider your setup thoroughly before you make a selection.
5# Whirlpool 4396014 50-Inch Vent Periscope
The Whirlpool 4396014 is a long-distance periscope vent with an adjustable length of 29″ to 50″, or 2 feet 5 inches to 4 feet 2 inches. It’s so big that it comes as a four-piece assembly, not just the usual two-piece of a periscope vent. You can use just the two pieces with the outlet connections on their own as a standard 18″ to 29″ periscope, or add the two central pieces to get the maximum length, depending on your needs. It also comes with two ring clamps to secure the ends in place.
It’s pretty much the perfect choice if you have a lot of separation between your dryer and the vent hole but not much separation from the wall for a fuller hose, or if you don’t trust flexible transition hose. It’s also a good choice if you decide to run your dryer vent vertically, or if you’re planning to have the periscope take up a greater portion of the vent run instead of simply connecting the dryer to the vent.
As always, there are tradeoffs to being so big. It’s a pain to set up, and if you decide to cut it down, you’ll have to do a lot more work with the tin shears simply because there’s simply more to cut. Also, the central pieces aren’t quite as secure as they could be, needing liberal application of HVAC tape to ensure a secure seal.
6# Whirlpool 4396011RP Dryer Telescoping Vent Periscope
The Whirlpool 4396011RP is a mid-length dryer vent periscope, capable of connecting an 18″ to 29″ distance between your dryer and the wall vent. The ends are beveled, so there’s less that gets in the way of walls, floors, or anything else that may lie behind your dryer. It also comes with two ring clamps to fix it into place.
With a length of 18″ to 29″, this will cover all but the longest possible distances. This also means that you usually get some room to move in, so fixing and unfixing the clamps to carry out maintenance won’t be a problem, the way it is with smaller periscope vents. You can safely clamp both ends if you can easily reach either one. Whirlpool’s build quality is as excellent as ever, so you won’t need to worry about this periscope vent coming apart on you.
One thing you’ll need to mind is the seams, as they tend to leak air and lint once installed. I recommend taping them down with liberal amounts of HVAC tape. Once you’ve set the Whirlpool up to the correct length, tape down the seams before you clamp it into place. That’ll ensure nothing leaks out and messes up your laundry room.
7# Builder’s Best 010155 Offset Elbow
The Builder’s Best 010155 is an offset 4-1/2″ rigid metal pipe elbow. Strictly speaking, it’s a pipe elbow and not an adjustable periscope dryer vent, but it fills the same need and saves as much space as one. You can use it either as a vent in itself, or in conjunction with another periscope vent in case the orientation doesn’t work and you need an elbow, or whatever else your laundry situation may require.
It’s ideal for tight spaces where your dryer vent is 90 degrees offset from your wall vent, like if the wall vent comes out too close to a corner. You can also use it to connect a short length of flexible transition hose to your dryer without occupying too much space. Otherwise, get yourself a 90-degree pipe elbow so that you can connect the dryer vent to the wall vent.
Its small size does mean that any installation of the Builder’s Best will mean wedging yourself into tight spaces, especially since it’s a 90-degree elbow. If you feel mobility is necessary, a short length of flex hose may be in order. Also, the build quality is questionable along the seams, so I recommend applying HVAC tape to the seams before you clamp it into place.
8# Deflecto Metal Electric Dryers
The Deflecto AMCC PTRDEFAMCC is a short-distance periscope, its range going from 1/2″ to 6″. As usual for a periscope vent, the crimped end goes into the wall, while the smooth end fits around your dryer tailpipe. Given its range of distance, it’s an ideal choice for very short distances, especially in situations where your dryer is very close to your wall vent and needs only a little extra length to connect the two.
Since it’s so small, you get quite a lot of advantages over a length of transition hose. Efficiency is up since you get a shorter vent run. It’s easier to clean, especially since it’s so small. And it’s a lot less fragile, so in combination with the other bonuses, you won’t have to face a random lint leak from it the way you might with foil hose.
One notable flaw is that the two pieces are not secured tightly together, which means air and lint tend to leak out. I recommend using copious amounts of HVAC tape to seal the seams once you’ve determined the correct length. Another consequence of its small size is that you may need to get into a tight space to clamp it. To avoid the hassle, I recommend clamping just the wall end so that you can still move your dryer.
9# BUILDER’S BEST Aluminum Zero Periscope Adjustable Dryer Vent
The Builder’s Best 110172 is a short-distance periscope, with an adjustable length of 0″ to 18″. This gives you a nice, wide range of options to answer for any laundry room short on space, though you’ll need your tin shears to cut it down in case of particularly tight spaces or diagonal installations.
It’s the ideal choice for distances between 6″ and 18″. There are smaller vents that are better below 6″, but beyond that distance, you generally have enough room that you won’t run into the headaches of very small periscope vents, like having to cram yourself behind your dryer when you want to dismount it for maintenance.
A major downside is that you might not save as much space as you can with a different periscope. The two outlets don’t come in flush to either the wall or the dryer, so you generally have about 3-1/2″ between your wall and the dryer. This might be too much for those with especially cramped laundry rooms, so keep it in mind if you’re eyeing this model. Another is that the corners aren’t beveled, which may be a concern if you have to run it diagonally, as they can get in the way.
10# Northline Periscope Pipe For Venting To Side
The Copperfield 89636 is a medium-length periscope vent, capable of handling lengths from 18″ to 29″. The ends are beveled, which comes in especially handy in case you have to run it diagonally. This means it’s good for situations where you have to place your dryer some distance from the vent, or when you need to run one vertically.
The good news about such a situation is that you’ll generally have enough room to unclamp one end of the Copperfield when you need to do vent maintenance, which makes it a lot easier to both install and dismount as needed. You can thus clamp both ends without worry, and just undo which one is easier to reach when the need arises. Build quality is overall good, so you don’t need to worry about it getting banged up in the usual course of business.
Two things to mind are that the two halves aren’t fitted too tightly together, so air and lint leak out of the seams. Sealing them up with HVAC tape will solve that particular problem, which you should do after you’ve cut it to the correct length. Also, it doesn’t come with any clamps, though that does mean you can get a clamp type that you work with best.
How To Install A Periscope Dryer Vent
The first thing you should do before installing is to measure the distance between your dryer’s vent and the wall duct. You don’t want to accidentally buy a periscope vent that’s too long or too short for your needs. Once you’ve got your distance, grab one of the vents I recommended above.
For New Construction
New construction may offer the opportunity to design your vent for the simplest installation and shortest venting distance. When possible, i recommends placing the exterior vent behind the dryer approximately 18″-24″ above the floor.
Vented through ceiling
In this installation, two 4″ periscope extensions are inserted between the two halves of the dryer vent in order to extend it all of the way through the ceiling to attach to existing round exhaust pipe. This is a good installation for dryers located in basements with unfinished ceilings. To adapt this installation to a similar layout with a finished ceiling, the periscope end of the dryer vent could be connected to round duct pipe before it goes through the ceiling. This would eliminate the need for cutting a rectangular hole in the ceiling.
Vented Through wall
If you are fortunate enough to have your vent located directly behind your dryer, and within 24″ in any direction, this simple installation option works well. As shown in the drawing on the left, the vent does not need to be located directly in line with the exhaust vent of the dryer for this to work.
Scenario 2 :
If the exterior vent is located on the wall behind the dryer, but is more than 24″ away from the dryer exhaust vent, you will need to add one or more periscope extensions. These are inserted between the two ends of the dryer vent, adjusted to fit the needed length and secured with metal foil tape. note also, that as in Scenario 1 (Above), the periscope may be angled to reach the exterior vent if necessary.
Scenario 3 :
If the wall with the vent is located to the side of the dryer instead of behind it and END vented dryer vent can be used. In this illustration a periscope extension is used. This of course, may or may not be needed, depending on the length to the connecting pipe.
Vented Through Floor
Scenario 1 :
This installation requires a rectangular hole in the floor for the periscope to pass through. The top portion of the periscope is positioned for attachment to the dryer’s exhaust pipe, while the bottom portion of the periscope is attached to the round vent leading the exterior wall damper.
Scenario 2 :
This installation provides venting through a round floor hole that leads to an exterior vent through a basement or crawls space wall. Note that two elbows are used beneath the floor instead of one to provide better airflow. 90-degree turns are often unavoidable, but wherever possible, two 45 degree turns are preferable.
Scenario 3 :
This installation requires a rectangular hole in the floor for the periscope to pass through. This is similar to Scenario 1 (above), except that the exterior vent from the crawl space is offset from the back of the dryer. The venting turns and runs along the exterior wall, then turns again to attach to the wall damper.
FAQ- Frequently Asked Questions
Certain questions pop up quite frequently near periscope dryer vents, so we’ll address the most-repeated concerns here for easier reference.
You can toss out your old transition hose and get yourself a lot more room with a periscope dryer vent. Dryer fires and inefficiency will become a thing of the past, and they’re a whole lot easier to clean.
Which periscope dryer vent is best for you depends on your need and your laundry room. If your wall vent comes out next to a corner, the Dundas Jafine with its straight outlet will do. If your wall vent is right next to your dryer vent, save yourself some space with the Builder’s Best SAF-T-DUCT. Not quite sure what you need? The Whirlpool 0-to-18 Inch can cover the distance, and you can always cut it down if it’s too long.
With tin shears, HVAC tape, and a bit of pushing, you can make dryer fires and lint clogging a thing of the past. Measure out your laundry room, and consider which is best for your needs.