When it comes to choosing a dryer, first of all you need to decide which type is best for you, there are three different types to choose from:
- Vented – The cheapest option, these will come with a large plastic hose which will need to be fed outside either through a vent in the wall or by hanging the hose outside a window. The warm, damp air will then be expelled through the hose.
- Condenser – No plastic hoses that need to be externally positioned, so you can place this type of tumble dryer anywhere in the house. They collect the water which has been removed from your clothes in a tank, which will need to be emptied after nearly every cycle. Condenser models are slightly less energy efficient than vented models and are slightly more expensive to buy.
- Heat Pump – Similar to a condenser dryer, but using an energy efficient heat exchange system to make it the most energy efficient dryer type. It uses a lower temperature to dry your clothes and although this takes a little more time, it is kinder to your clothes and the environment. Being the most energy efficient of all the dryer types, they are also more expensive to purchase, although prices have come down more recently.
Remember that not all clothes can be dried in a dryer, make sure you read your clothes labels carefully.
Drum capacity is measured in kilograms, and there are a lot of options to choose from, standard capacities range from 5 – 10kg. Obviously the bigger the capacity the more you are able to dry. 1kg of washing is roughly equivalent to 5 t-shirts/shirts.
It is good to go for a tumble dryer capacity that is either the same as your washing machine or higher. This way you can easily transfer all your wet clothes from the washing machine straight into the tumble dryer, instead of having to separate into different loads. This is not always possible to do, as tumble dryer capacities are not as large as some of the biggest washing machine capacities (up to 13kg).
You can decide to either buy a model with sensor drying or with the traditional timer and many models have both of these features.
Sensor drying means you do not have to set a specific time that you want the dryer to run for, instead you just choose a dryness level eg extra dry, iron dry or cupboard dry and the machine will then monitor the moisture level in the drum and stop automatically once your clothes have reached the specified level of dryness.
This prevents your clothes from becoming over dried and will also save energy as the machine is not continuing to dry already dry clothes.
Gradings range between C and A+++, with A+++ being the best, which can only be achieved using Heat Pump technology.
It is always good to check the annual energy consumption of every model to see which one could save you money.
There are many types of displays available from LED to LCD to touchscreen, where you can set your desired programme. The most useful thing these provide is that they let you know how much time it will take until your washing is dry.
You will need to take the time remaining as a bit of an estimate, because the sensors will continually assess how dry your clothes are and adjust the time throughout the cycle.
Some features to consider that might make your life that little bit easier:
- Water tank and filter full indicators – On most Condenser and Heat Pump models there will be an indicator (most likely a light) which tells you when the water tank and fluff filter needs emptying.
- End of cycle buzzer – Audible alert to warn you when your clothes are dry.
- Reversible action drum – The drum rotates both ways, which will help to prevent your clothes from getting tangled and should result in a better drying performance.
- Auto cool down – At the end of the cycle, cold air is blown into the drum, which will make your clothes easier to handle.
- Refresh – Blows cool air over your clothes, you can use this for clothes that don’t need washing but might smell a bit musty or smoky. The tumbling action combined with the cool air should help to remove the odours.