Investing in a tumble dryer could really help to solve your drying dilemmas. While it’s not an essential appliance, a tumble dryer is a a great asset if you have a large family that gets through a lot of laundry every week, or if you don’t have space to hang it out to dry. Whilst laundry can be dried naturally, both inside and outside, a tumble dryer speeds up the drying process and fabrics can often be left feeling softer as a result. They are also ideal for the colder months as there is no need to rely on the weather to dry your laundry.
There are three types of tumble dryer to choose from - condenser, heat pump and vented. When choosing yours, you'll need to decide which will work best for your laundry needs and lifestyle. The location and space available, the different types of fabrics you care for, ironing habits and how many loads you run a week all influence which tumble dryer you should select. For many, the energy rating of a dryer plays a huge part of the decision process and it's important to do your research if this is a big concern for you. Follow our simple buying guide that will help you find the right dryer.
Tumble Dryer Types
Condenser dryers don’t need an externally-vented hose, so you’ll be able to install your appliance anywhere inside your home with a standard plug socket, making them perfect if you need more flexibilty. Condensers are also the quickest of the three dryer types, so may be the best option if you have a lot of laundry to get through.
During the drying process, the water from your clothes is collected in a container that you’ll need to empty regularly. Most models have an indictor light or a buzzer to let you know when the tank is full. The placement of the water tank varies between models. Some manufacturers place it at the bottom of the machine, whilst others put it along the control panel. Hoover have designed an in-door tank - the EasyCase door. It is easy to remove and replace, and allows you to see the level of water inside.
Heat Pump Dryers
With a heat pump tumble dryer, your laundry is dried at a lower temperature and the hot air used during the drying process is reused. The drying times are slower compared to other dryers due to the lower temperatures, which some people struggle to get used to. However, heat pumps are the most energy efficient type of tumble dryer available, and often feature more innovative and sophisticated programmes and features, so they are therefore usually more expensive. Most consumers weigh up this initial outlay with how much they'll save on their bills in the long term.
Heat pumps do not require any external vents and are available in both freestanding and integrated options.
Vented dryers pump out the hot and damp air from the drum through a hose to the outside, so they need to be installed near an external vent that has been fitted into the wall. The dryer can be permanently vented through an outside wall using a venting kit, which most models come with. You can also hang a flexible hose out of a window when the machine is in use. This is a temporary method and is not ideal during cold or wet weather.
Vented tumble dryers are the more traditional type of dryer but are becoming less and less popular. While they tend to be the cheapest on the market, they are also the least energy efficient. This, plus the need to vent them externally, means there are fewer vented dryers available than other types.
An important factor to bear in mind when buying a new tumble dryer is how energy efficient it is. It's advised to opt for a dryer with an energy rating of C or above as these are some of the most energy efficient models available.
Heat pumps are by far the most efficient type of tumble dryer with the majority being rated A++ to A+++. They are the most expensive type of dryer but their efficiency means they can save you the most money in the long term.
Condenser dryers tend to have ratings of B and above. Although not quite as efficient as heat pumps, condenser dryers are still on the higher end of the scale. There are a few A+++ condenser models available, but these are generally the most expensive.
Vented dryers are the cheapest type of dryer to buy but they are also the least energy efficient, with the average rating being a C.
Unnecessary over-drying damages clothes. Sensor drying programmes identify the level of moisture in the drum and stop the cycle automatically when the optimal dryness level has been achieved, saving you valuable time and money.
Intense heat can be damaging to a lot of fabrics, so most tumble dryers feature dedicated programmes for particular types. These include blends, synthetics, denim, cotton, silk, down, lace and other delicates. Some dryers have also been certified by Woolmark.
Anti Crease Function
With Anti-Crease functions, the dryer dramatically slows down at the end of the cycle which helps to stop creases. Your clothes are ready to wear, straight from the machine. It also helps to prevent tangling inside the drum, so your clothes keep their shape.
Large Drum Sizes
Large-capacity tumble dryers tend to be the most energy-efficient as clothes generally take less time to dry than they would in smaller dryers. Drum capacities for freestanding models range from a modest 7kg up to a family sized 11kg.
Reverse Tumble Action
With Reverse Tumble Action, the drum turns direction at the end of the cycle which loosens the clothes, aids drying and helps to avoid creasing. Your clothes will be ready to wear straight out of the drum and you won't have so much ironing to do.
Quick Dry Cycles
Most dryers offer at least one quick dry cycle that can dry a small load of clothes in under an hour. Sometimes as the cycle is as quick as 15 minutes. It’s ideal for when you're in a rush, but remember that these cycles are for smaller loads only.