tumble dryer could be the answer to your washing woes if you hate hanging clothes on radiators all over the house or watching grey clouds ruin once sunny days. For dry clothes without the drama, a tumble dryer can be a laundry game-changer, especially for those who do a lot of sport or have young children.
There are three types of dryers to choose from: vented, condenser or heat pump. Vented models are generally the cheapest but need to be next to a window or external wall as they expel warm air outside. They are usually very quick at drying but are the least energy efficient.
Condenser dryers can be placed almost anywhere well-ventilated and condense the warm air from wet clothes into water. This is collected in a container that will need regularly emptying.
The latest heat pump models are by far the most energy-efficient but are often expensive to buy, offering advanced features such as Wi-Fi capability for remote operation via an app. However, they are cheap to run, using hot air to extract the moisture from clothes which then evaporates in a tank.
7 or 8kg capacity is usually more than adequate for most households, but large families might prefer to choose a dryer that can cope with 9 or even 10kg to help dry even smaller loads more quickly. Nearly all tumble dryers now use sensors to stop cycles when the clothes are dry but other settings worth looking for include fast dry options, a delayed start and anti-allergy settings. It’s also worth considering exactly what kind of clothes you will be drying before you pay more for special wool, jeans or babywear cycles. In reality, many people tend to stick to the same one reliable option to dry mixed loads although an extra dry program can be great if you like to put clothes straight into the cupboard afterwards.
Sadly, although many of these machines offer settings to reduce creases, none of them will do the ironing for you…
Read our reviews of the best tumble dryers below.
Want to impress your techy friends? This stylish graphite heat pump model comes with its very own app to give drying clothes a 21stcentury makeover. The app allows users to control the dryer remotely, find out how long is left in a cycle and even get a notification when the program is finished - useful if you’re hoping to whip dry clothes out immediately and avoid extra creasing. It’s even possible to scan clothing labels to discover an item’s ideal drying time which might be overkill for a pair of socks but is useful for new or more expensive items.
Even if you’re not likely to use the app, this machine is a great investment that has all the bells and whistles of far more expensive models. It has 14 programmes including great wool and waterproofs settings, three different rapid dry options and is rated an impressive ++ for energy. We especially loved the all-in-one function, which reminds you half way through a cycle to remove lighter items and is ideal for lazy launderers – no judgement here - who bung everything in at once.
Best of all, the gigantic 10kg capacity is great for large loads or even drying duvets or pillows. If you live alone or only need a dryer occasionally, it’s probably bigger than you need but it’s a drying dream for heavy users.
£419.99 | Crampton & Moore
This well-priced vented model wowed us with its speedy drying, delivering a mixed load of perfectly dry clothes in just over an hour. The sensor detects levels of moisture in the drum and stops the cycle early if needed, which is gentler on clothes and more economic, despite the machine’s C energy rating. We did find the Cupboard Dry setting left thicker material like sweatshirt cuffs a little damp, but the Extra Dry program worked a treat.
There’s an audible alert to signal the end of a cycle but this can be turned off if you’d rather go without, a nice touch if you have an open-plan kitchen and are driven mad by endless beeps. The simple opaque white door would look unobtrusive in any kitchen or utility room too, though remember this model will need venting through a window or a hole in the wall to work.
£199 | O
llergy sufferers will love this heat pump appliance, which has a dedicated setting to remove 99.9 per cent of dust mites and is endorsed by the British llergy Foundation. It’s not the only useful program included, with others specially for duvets, handwash-only woollen items and even cuddly toys to restore teddies past their best. The 9kg capacity can handle even the biggest load too.
No need to stand over this ++ rated dryer either. Sensors monitor moisture levels inside the machine and stop the cycle when the load is dry for maximum energy efficiency. nd if ironing fills you with dread, the pre-ironing cycle uses warm air to remove creases from dried clothing in minutes.reason for celebration in our book.
£419 | Sonic Direct
This solidly-built, monochrome appliance should prevent even the most heavy-handed laundry dunce shrinking or damaging clothes. It has a decent family-sized 8kg capacity and 16 programs to suit every type of fabric including sportswear, shirts and delicates.The useful anti-crease setting will cut down ironing too while a humidity sensor adjusts cycles when the washing is dry. We also liked the indicators to show when the dryer had a full tank or blocked filter which made this model (almost) idiot-proof.
With its easy plug-in-and-dry heat pump, it’s simple to use in any well-ventilated room and doesn’t require venting to the outside, so it’s cheap to run with a top ++ energy rating.
£379 | Buywise ppliances
good choice for anyone looking for a no-hassle, energy efficient dryer, this Indesit model is another plug-and-go heat pump appliance that doesn’t require venting. We found our loads took a little longer than a more traditional vented model but not excessively so, and it’s hard to mind with the excellent ++ energy rating.
We were also impressed by the 16 programs on this 8kg capacity machine including a shirts and babywear cycle and especially loved the express 45-minute setting for dry clothes in a jiffy. The Easy Mix cycle also worked well for average loads of mixed fabrics without the need to separate them. If even that sounds like too much bother, skip the manual and use the simple Push&Go button instead, which dries the average daily laundry of cotton and synthetics with just one touch. That’s our kind of housework.
£395.98 | ppliances Direct
This is a great budget choice when it’s not possible to vent outside but you don’t fancy splurging on a heat pump model at twice the price. This 7kg condenser dryer couldn’t be simpler to use straight from the box and can be used almost anywhere there’s a spare electrical socket. It can even be set to operate during off-peak energy hours to really get your money’s worth.
Rated B for energy, there are 15 drying programs including jeans, baby care and shirts while the cupboard dry setting means you can put clothes away straight from the machine.
£199.99 | rgos
If the thought of blowing hot air outside makes your wallet wince, this Smeg dryer has rock-bottom running costs and an amazing + energy rating. It has a generous 8kg capacity which is really handy for large loads of bedding and even a light in the drum so you won’t leave rogue socks in the dryer when you empty it.
There are 16 programs including ones for jeans and gym wear and an option to delay drying for up to 24 hours.digital display indicates how long each cycle will take, but the humidity sensor stops the program early if needed so most take far less time than expected. The heart shaped drum and slower temperatures used mean your clothes are better protected too so you (hopefully) won’t make your favourite outfits doll-sized.
£449.97 | ppliances Direct
Mid to large households will love this ample 8kg capacity condenser dryer that can tackle big loads of washing. The extra-large door makes it simple to load and is reversible with four different handle positions so it can be installed to suit.
There isn’t a baffling range of programs to choose from, but it still has everything most people could ever need including an Easy Iron program and an option to delay drying by up to 20 hours, handy to take advantage of off-peak electricity. We also really liked the TimeDry function which means you can decide exactly how long the drying cycle should be rather than rely on set programs.
With a B rating for energy consumption, it’s more economical than vented dryers but not quite as expensive as many heat pump models, so a decent mid-range option if you’re looking to plug in and dry.
£389.99 | Currys
The days of a tumble dryer rumbling away in the corner of a kitchen drowning out all conversation are over with this smart white and silver Bosch model. With special vibration protection to keep the noise to a minimum, this quiet heat pump machine is also rated ++ for energy so your bills won’t sky rocket either.
It has an interior light, generous 9kg capacity and huge door so you won’t have to wrestle with your washing. The utoDry setting will also measure exactly how wet your clothes are and adjust the cycle automatically to avoid over-drying and shrinking.
s you’d expect at this price, there are loads of nifty features to suit every possible drying demand too including a self-cleaning condenser, a fast dry option for clothes in a hurry and a great range of settings including one for duvets and delicates. We loved the dedicated cycle for down-filled jackets and the llergyPlus function, a godsend for anyone with sensitive-skin or who suffers with allergies. It’s even Wi-Fi enabled so you can control it from your sofa via the Bosch app. Fancy.
£698 | O
If you prefer to hide your appliances away, this Caple tumble dryer is designed to fit behind a full-length cupboard door for a sleek, uninterrupted look. It’s rated + for energy and has a 7kg capacity so you won’t be able to dry a duvet but it’s more than capable of dealing with the average load of washing.
There are 15 programs to choose from including sportswear and whites plus a handy mixed setting that would be most people’s go-to setting.reverse tumble action also minimises creasing while the integral heat pump means the machine has an + energy rating to help ease the pain of that price tag a little.
£729.99 | ppliance Electronics
The Hoover H-Dry 500 is our pick for packing in top-notch features for a mid-market price. We loved its energy efficiency, huge capacity and hi-tech Wi-Fi capability. However, allergy sufferers should definitely consider the Hotpoint ctiveCare NT M11 92SK UK for a dryer that could really make a difference.