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Our guide to choosing the right tumble dryer for you

General News

With an average lifespan of around eight to fourteen years, and a price tag that ranges from just over a £100 up to £2000, buying a brand new tumble dryer is an investment that requires some careful consideration.

From the brand to the energy rating, functions to the temperature settings – buying a tumble dryer involves making more decisions than you might expect.

And by taking the time to research the different options available before you buy, you can ensure that you invest in the tumble dryer that most suits your needs and your budget and makes for a smart investment both now and in the future.

See our complete range of tumble dryers – click here

Buying a tumble dryer

Before you even begin your search, it’s important to decide where in your home your new appliance is going to live.

If you’re replacing an old machine with a newer model, you’ll probably have a good idea of where you want your tumble dryer to be positioned. However, if you’re buying a tumble dryer for the first time, you’ll need to put a bit of thought into its location as this could affect the type of machine you buy.

For those planning to place the machine below a work surface, it’s clearly very important to measure the space first to ensure the appliance will fit in its allocated spot.

Vented, condenser or heat pump

The first decision you’ll have to make when buying a tumble dryer is whether to choose a vented machine, a condenser or a heat pump dryer.

Vented machines remove the moist air produced during the drying process and discharge it outside the home via a length of pipe. When fitting these kinds of tumble dryers, you can either have a permanent vent installed or simply hang the pipe through a nearby window. Normally cheaper to run than condenser dryers, vented machines are a more affordable option, though the fact that they need to be placed close to an exterior wall or window can make them impractical for some homes.

Condenser dryers remove the water from the damp air and separate it into a container. This container is then either emptied at the end of the cycle or the water is pumped out via the washing machine plumbing system where possible. As condenser dryers don’t need to be placed near a window or exterior wall, they are more suited to homes with a flexible layout or where the positioning of appliances is more limited.

Heat pump dryers run on lower temperatures and therefore use less energy, making them cheaper to run and kinder on the environment. In general, heat pump tumble dryers are also gentler on your clothes and operate more quietly. Like condenser machines, heat pump dryers collect the water removed from your clothes in a separate container, allowing the machines to be placed anywhere in the home.


On average, the capacity of domestic tumble dryers ranges from a compact 3kg to a spacious 9kg, with most full size machines offering a capacity of 7-8kg.

When working out the size of machine that you require, bear in mind that each kilogram is roughly equivalent to a full outfit including underwear and socks. This should give you an idea of the capacity your household requires.

In general, larger machines are more energy efficient as the air can circulate more freely and the increased drum space allows clothes to move around more easily. Larger drums can also prevent clothes from becoming unnecessarily creased.

Energy rating

At the moment, heat pump tumble dryers are the most efficient on the market with energy ratings of up to A+++. By re-using the hot air from the dryer rather than letting it escape, heat pump dryers use up to 50% less energy, a significant improvement on older models and something that can reduce your household energy bills by up to £100 per year.

Vented dryers also come in energy efficient models, generally ranging up to an A rating. Condenser dryers are becoming more energy efficient to catch up with their vented or heat pump counterparts.

Functions and settings

Though tumble dryers have far fewer settings than washing machines, most will still have different temperature options for different types of fabric. Most full size machines will offer at least two temperature options, one for cottons and one for synthetics.

Some machines will also offer settings for specific types of fabrics and delicates, as well as offering users the option to stop the drying process before all the water has been extracted. This can help you to keep costs down and allows clothes to dry more naturally. Programs that aim to keep clothes from creasing are also common among good quality tumble dryers, with some machines able to continue spinning your clothes until the machine is emptied.

Consider all of the various options when buying a tumble dryer and this should make the entire process easier, less confusing and mean you’re more likely to find the right machine for you and your household. And, if you do your homework, you’ll have the peace of mind that you’ve made a sensible decision that should make family life that little bit easier leaving you with more time to enjoy the things you love the most.

Take a look at our range of tumble dryers from great brands like Bosch, Siemens, Miele and Panasonic. Click here.