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Finding the right tumble dryer

  • 5 min read

Written by Domestic & General

What’s the Right Tumble Dryer for You?

Like any other appliance, tumble dryers come in various shapes, sizes and functions. If you’re shopping for a new dryer, this can become a little complicated.

People have all kinds of queries about dryers, from the types available to practical places to fit them in the home. If you’ve also been looking for the answers to your tumble dryer questions, we think you might find them here.

Types of Tumble Dryer

clothes in a spinning tumble dryer

When shopping for a tumble dryer, it’s fair to say that for most of us, a dryer is a dryer, so how different can they be? Let’s look at the three main types of tumble dryers -  heat pump tumble dryers, condenser tumble dryers and vented dryers - in detail.

What’s the Difference Between a Heat Pump Dryer, a Condenser Dryer and a Vented Dryer?

  1. Heat pump dryer - with heat pump dryers, hot air is pushed through the drum, which carries moisture to the dryer’s reservoir. It carries on pushing hot air through in this way until the clothes are dry.
  2. Condenser dryers - these work similarly to heat pump dryers, except there are two different airflows. Air is circulated inside the dryer, which heats it up and draws moisture from the clothes. As this damp air is flowing one way, the air from the room the dryer is in is passed through a condenser. The condenser turns the moisture vapour into water. This water is then pumped out through a hose or tank.
  3. Vented dryers – simpler than heat pump or condenser dryers, vented dyers simply draw the moisture out and get rid of it, either through a hose or vent. There’s no conversion or compression of the vapour at all.

In addition to these, there are also combination washer dryers, which do the job of both washing and drying. These are ideal when space is limited, but you still need the convenience of drying clothes quickly.

Economy and Efficiency: are Tumble Dryers Worth it?

row of washing machines going from red, orange, yellow and green

Choosing to buy a tumble dryer really depends on several different things, and they might not always be essential for all households. Some homes don’t have a garden to hang clothes in, others might not have the space for a dryer indoors. There are so many different pros and cons, but perhaps one of most important for people is economy. Are tumble dryers expensive to run?

Tumble dryers have had a reputation for being one of the most energy intensive appliances in the home, but that’s not always the full story. Over the last few years, there have been great steps in reducing the efficiency of products, so it’s possible a tumble dryer might not be as tough on your bills as you think!

Since the introduction of the Energy Star Rating, it’s been easier to tell how efficient your tumble dryer will be. In a rating of A+++ (most efficient) down to D (least efficient), most condenser dryers can be around B or C. Heat pump dryers are now starting to be given A+ ratings, but fewer vented dryers are showing this kind of efficiency. With this in mind, it appears the most energy efficient tumble dryers are condenser types.

Which Tumble Dryer is the Quickest?

dry blue towels infront of a tumble dryer

In a tumble dryer test by Which?, they discovered that the types of tumble dryers we’ve covered can take anything from around 30 minutes to 15 minutes to dry one kilo of clothing. traditionally, condenser tumble dryers can be the fastest, while heat pump dryers can be among the slowest. However, this isn’t always the case, so it’s a good idea to shop around.

Finding the Right Fit: Where Should a Tumble Dryer go?

Unlike other white goods, a tumble dryer needs more space around it. They require a clear circulation of air, and both heat pump and condenser dryers also need to expel air and moisture vapour.

Is it Okay to Put a Condenser Dryer in a cupboard?

Guidance often suggests that heat pump dryers need around 2 to 3 square metres of space. This is dependent on manufacturer’s instructions, of course. Without proper clearance of space, the air will just make the dryer warmer, pushing it to work harder and be less efficient. So putting a condenser dryer in a cupboard wouldn’t be a good idea.

What’s the Smallest Tumble Dryer?

If you are stuck for space, there are options available, but these aren’t necessarily going to be effective for large households where a huge load of laundry is a regular occurrence.

The smallest tumble dryers can actually be considered ‘desk top’ models, which are able to dry very small loads - around two days’ worth of washing for a person. There are other versions of compact dryers available on the market that can make better use of limited space in smaller homes or flats.

We hope this has answered your questions about tumble dryers, and whether or not they’re the right thing for you. If you need to know more, such as how to fix a tumble dryer, we can help. We’re on hand with more help and advice, so check back for updates!