Looking for the best tumble dryer for your needs? We’ve reviewed and rated several models on the market to find the finest around.
If you have endless amounts of washing to dry on a daily basis then a tumble dryer is essential to get your clothes from the washing basket to your wardrobe super-fast.
Navigating your way around the different types of dryers available can be a minefield, however. Then there’s understanding the features you might need, and checking those all-important energy ratings.
Thankfully, we’ve done all the hard work for you. We’ve laid out some keen buying advice below, and picked four of the best tumble dryers we’ve tested to make your buying decision easier. You’re welcome.
But first some buying advice. If you know roughly which of dryer you want, however, you can skip down to the models we recommend by clicking here.
What to look for
Before you start looking for your new tumble dryer, you’ll want to understand the different types of dryers that are available.
These are the more traditional tumble dryers, and often the cheapest. They work by pumping out damp air from the drum via a hose. This hose is either permanently vented through a wall, or placed out of a door or window whilst the dryer is on. As a result, there will be some limitations regarding its placement.
Condenser dryers don’t require venting, so are more flexible in terms of placement. Instead, they condense the damp air inside the drum and turn it into water. This is then collected in a removable reservoir, which is emptied down the sink once full.
Heat-pump dryers are essentially condenser dryers but with clever technology that reheats the air that passes through the drum, and as a result use less energy. They’re usually the most expensive to buy, but the savings overtime on your energy bills can be substantial.
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These are tumble dryers that run on gas rather than electricity. They’re traditionally more energy-efficient than their electric counterparts, but they require special – or shall we say, pricey – installation by a Gas-Safe registered engineer. This, plus energy improvements on electric dryers means there are very few gas tumble dryers in the UK now.
Other things to consider
Now you’ve chosen the type of tumble dryer that best suits your needs, what else should you consider?
Manual vs automatic
Many new tumble dryers include sensor technology that can automatically judge the weight of the washing loaded and select a drying time to suit, stopping when it senses it’s complete.
These programmes are good when they work well, but frustrating when they don’t. Be sure to read our reviews to see how they fare.
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Manual dryers, on the other hand, rely on you setting the time of the cycle. This can mean you over-dry or under-dry clothes, but they’ll usually be cheaper.
What size of drum?
The average tumble dryer offers a 6-8kg drum, with some going up to 10kg and tabletop dryers as low as 3kg. A family household will probably want to consider dryers of 8kg and up to be the most efficient.
Bigger machines take less time to dry more clothes, but will use a greater amount of energy in the process. If you’re only ever getting it to half capacity, you’ll be spending more on energy than you have to, so be sure to pick a size that suits.
Check the design
Before you buy, be sure the design works well for where the unit will be placed. For example, some have reversible doors so you can change from a right opening to a left opening, and others have drum lights to make it easy to see what you’re doing in darker rooms.