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Tumble dryer buyer's guide

If you don't like the idea of wet washing taking over your home, or don't want to have to rely on a sunny day, you'll want to ensure you've got a tumble dryer. Aside from the obvious downsides of having your laundry on display in your home, wet clothes can create damp in a property, which can be detrimental to your family's health.

Tumble dried clothes are softer and more comfortable to wear than air dried clothes, and while using a machine will of course use more energy than simply draping clothes around your home, many dryers are extremely energy efficient.

So, if you're set on installing a tumble dryer in your home, where do you begin?

Keep on reading to understand the different types of dryers available.

Inspiration and Advice

Step 1 - Measure up

If you've got plans to fit your new tumble dryer into the space underneath a worktop, make sure you begin your search fully equipped with measurements for that space. If you don't want to use up precious floor space, it's worth noting that most full-sized dryers are roughly the same size as their corresponding washing machines, so why not consider stacking them together?

Of course, if your home is on the snug side, a compact tumble dryer may be right for you. Find out more about these and other types of dryer below.

Step 2 – Deciding on the type of tumble dryer

There are three types of tumble dryers available and to help you choose between the them, we've listed the pros and cons of each below:

Vented tumble dryers

This type of tumble dryer works by removing the damp air from the drum before venting it out of the dryer and out of your home via a hose.

Pros: Vented dryers are in general more energy efficient than condenser dryers. They are also often cheaper to buy, so if budget is a problem, they may be a good choice.

Cons: Vented dryers have to be installed beside a window or door so the air can be carried out of your home.

Condenser tumble dryers

These dryers gather water from the drum and store it in a reservoir that you remove and empty after use.

Pros: You can put your condenser dryer anywhere in your home, it needn't be near a door or window.

Cons: You'll need to make sure you empty the reservoir regularly.

While vented machines are generally a more energy-saving option, more and more condenser dryers now benefit from heat pump technology which allows them to reach an energy rating of 'A' - the highest rating of energy-efficiency.

Compact tumble dryers

This type of dryer is available in both vented and condenser styles. The smaller size means a smaller drum capacity, so you'll fit less clothes in to dry. However, if you're limited on space, its size makes it a good option.

Dryer features you may want to look out for

A temperature selector

Dryers usually come with two temperature selectors, one - high - is for drying cottons and the second - low - is for heat-sensitive fabrics. The labels on your clothes will help you pick the correct setting.

Program buttons

If you want to delay the start time of your drying, dry your clothes more quickly, or add an extra tumble at the end to remove creases, you'll want tumble dryer program buttons.

Sensor drying

Some tumble dryers feature clever sensors in the drum. These detect how dry the load is and stop the machine accordingly. Be sure to give the whole drum a wipe down every couple of months to ensure the sensors can work effectively.

Drying time display

You may want your dryer to display how long the load has left to dry to allow you to be ready with the clothes hangers!

Warning indicator lights

Most machines will feature indicator lights which come on to remind you to empty the water (in a condenser machine) or to give the lint filter a clean out.

All tumble dryers will also have a filter that collects any fibres from the clothes. You will usually find this on the inside of the door. Be sure to give this a regular clean out so your dryer performs at its best.

Energy efficiency information

Tumble dryers will cost more to run than washing machines, but there are some extremely energy efficient dryers out there. Be aware that energy efficiency is rated from A to G, with A being the best.

If you are looking for ways you can reduce the energy usage, aside from getting a machine with a grade closest to A as possible, you may want to:

  • Ensure you don't overload your tumble dryer
  • At the end of a wash, use the highest spin speed on your washing machine to get as much water out of the load as possible before transferring it to your dryer.
  • Drying the same types of fabrics together will make things easier for your tumble dryer.