Most people know what to look for when shopping for a washing machine. But shopping for a tumble dryer can be decidedly more confusing. Did you know that there are three different types of tumble dryers?
A lot of people don’t. And on top of that, the three different types come in at three very different price points. But have no fear: we’ve put together a handy guide on the three types of tumble dryers. Read on to learn more about how each type of tumble dryer works and how much they cost so you can decide what tumble dryer works best for you.
Which Tumble Dryer Should You Buy?
The three kinds of tumble dryers include heat pump, condenser, and vented. Here, we’ll learn about how they work and what they cost, discuss whether you should purchase one, and give recommendations for each type.
Heat Pump Tumble Dryers
How They Work & Cost
A heat pump tumble dryer dries laundry at a lower temperature, and reuses the hot air used in the drying process (conventional tumble dryers release the hot air without recycling it first). Reusing the hot air this way increases drying times to a slight extent when compared with the other two types of dryers: however, overall you actually save a tremendous amount of energy using a heat pump dryer.
Most heat pump dryers are rated at an A+ or higher in energy efficiency: if being eco-friendly is a priority for you, this should be a huge selling point. So how precisely does it work? The initial cycle of hot air absorbs the moisture from wet clothes. This air then passes into an evaporator which removes the moisture from the air.
The remaining air gets heated up again, and is sent back into the drum to begin the cycle all over again. Because the heat pump washing machine uses a lower temperature to dry, it protects your clothes better and gives them a longer life. There’s a pretty broad price range when it comes to heat pump tumble dryers: they start around £329 and range up as high as £1249. With that kind of range, everyone can find something at a price point that works well for them.
The Bosch Serie 6 8kg Heat Pump Tumble Dryer boasts an A++ energy rating, a self-cleaning condenser, and sensitive drying system paired with a unique drum structure to ensure that it is fabric-friendly. An ECARF Quality Seal provides protection for people with allergies or skin sensitivities. The machine clocks in at a £529 price point, which is competitive when it comes to heat pump tumble dryers.
Should You Buy One?
Heat pump tumble dryers overall are the priciest of the three dryer options, but what you spend on one, you’ll likely more than make up for over time thanks to the energy savings. Heat pump dryers in particular have far and away the best energy ratings on the whole when compared to other tumble dryer types.
However, that energy efficiency comes with a longer drying time. These are most well-suited for environmentally-conscious consumers, or consumers who are transitioning from line-drying their items to embracing a tumble dryer. Overall, we’d say that heat pump dryers are worth the money, especially if you stay in the lower to mid-range offerings.
Condenser Tumble Dryers
How They Work & Cost
Condenser tumble dryers are a great option if you live in a home or a flat where it’s difficult to vent a dryer to the outside for any reason. The condenser tumble dryer uses two separate airflows to remove humidity from the machine.
First, air recirculates through the unit and gets heated up.
Next, it collects moisture by travelling through damp clothes. The damp air then goes through the condenser in one direction, while room air comes through in the other direction. The moisture in the air condenses into water which then collects into a water tank or exits out of a hose.
It’s important to keep a condenser tumble dryer in a room with plenty of ventilation, as that will allow warm air to escape, Warm dry air exiting from the dryer raises room temperatures and can cause condensation to gather on walls or windows, which can cause issues like mildew or mould building up in rooms that are small or lacking in ventilation.
Condenser dryers take a lot of work compared to conventional dryers, as you need to keep on top of the condenser and make sure it remains clean and flushed.
Condenser tumble dryers tend to cost much less than heat pump tumble dryers: they range from about £189 to £919, but they lack the energy efficiency with a rating that averages in the B range.
The Bosch WTN83200GB Condenser Tumble Dryer offers excellent drying performance, thanks to its unique SensitiveDrying system drum structure. Its AutoDry functionality dries clothing for you on an optimal setting, preventing shrinkage and wear and tear.
AntiVibration technology ensures that the machine operates at a low and pleasant 65 decibels that won’t disturb you while you try and unwind at home. A clear LED display with touch controls makes it super simple to adjust settings. It has a capacity of 8kg, and its energy rating is a solid B: not bad for just £379.
Should You Buy One?
Condenser tumble dryers are certainly a good price point when compared to heat pump tumble dryers, and while their typical B energy rating isn’t at the top of the class, it’s certainly nothing to sneeze that.
They do tend to be more finicky to deal with than other dryers though, as you have to monitor and sometimes even manually empty condenser tanks. If you want to strike a good balance between price and energy efficiency, this machine could be for you. However, it does require a bit of extra work, so be forewarned and forearmed.
Vented Tumble Dryers
How They Work & Cost
Vented tumble dryers expel warm and damp air from the dryer into a hose and out of a vent in an external wall or through an open window. Of the three types of tumble dryers, vented dryers tend to be the most affordable: their price range tends to run from £139 to just £299, making even the priciest one cheaper than than the least expensive heat pump dryer.
The main drawback to it is that they have to be positioned near a window, door, or external wall in order to release the damp air generated during drying: this limits many homeowners in where they can position a vented tumble dryer, and may make it completely out of the realm of possibility for some flat-dwellers. Vented dryers are also the least energy efficient options of all three types of tumble dryers, averaging around a C rating: that’s a big mark against them.
The Hoover HL Vented Tumble Dryer is the least expensive of our recommended products at just £249. That’s close to the top of the price range when it comes to vented dryers, which may be why it has some handy features including the ability to manage your dryer’s settings from the Hoover Wizard app on your NFC-enabled Android smartphone.
You can dry a pair of jeans in just 40 minutes, but sensor drying also prevents clothes from over-drying in this 8kg capacity machine. The start delay mode allows you to load the machine at your convenience and program it to start later when electricity costs will be down, even though the machine’s C energy rating won’t save much electricity overall. An extra-large porthole allows for easy loading.
Should You Buy One?
Vented dryers have a lot going for them. They’re inexpensive: even the top of the line vented dryer is a bargain by any standards. But that may be a false economy as they are really not remotely energy-efficient as you can tell by their C-average energy rating, which will cost you on your energy bills every week.
They do however have an undeniable convenience factor as you don’t have to worry about emptying a condenser, and they dry very quickly. They are absolutely worth the money if you judge strictly by convenience and price: but the energy rating definitely makes them less enticing.
As you can see, tumble dryers are complicated business. The dryer that’s right for you will depend a lot on the kind of person you are and on what you prioritize. It’s not even as simple as splitting the difference between price and energy efficiency, as the middle ground option has an extra complication factor. We hope though that this guide has helped define the differences between the types of tumble dryers so you can more easily determine what one is best for you.
Related Reading: Which Tumble Dryers Are Cheapest To Run?