Tumble Dryer Types and Styles
There are lots of tumble dryers to choose from these days, ranging from basic to top-of-the-range. The main decision you need to make is whether you want a vented or condenser model. In this handy guide, we cover the main differences between the two, as well as the benefits of freestanding and integrated designs.
The type of tumble dryer you buy can have a big impact on convenience, price and energy efficiency, so it’s important to do your research first to help you make the right choice.
Vented Tumble Dryers
Vented tumble dryers remove the damp air created during the drying process through a hose.
The appliance needs to be positioned near a window or vent in a wall so the moisture can be released outside, preventing condensation.
To install a vented dryer, you’ll either need to have a vent fitted or hang the hose through an opening like a window or door. The hoses are often corrugated like the bendy part of a drinking straw. This means they’re flexible and can be compacted for storage when not in use.
Vented models tend to be more affordable than condenser tumble dryers.
Condenser Tumble Dryers
Condenser dryers are really convenient as they can be placed wherever you like in your home, as long as the room is well ventilated.
This type of tumble dryer is ideal for homes where it isn’t possible to install a vent to expel the damp air.
The water extracted from your clothes during the cycle is collected in a container, which you’ll need to empty regularly. Alternatively, some condenser models use the washing machine plumbing to pump out excess water.
Condenser tumble dryers generally cost a little more than vented models. It’s worth spending the extra money if you want the option to place the appliance wherever you like or to avoid installing a vent.
Heat Pump Tumble Dryers
Some newer condenser tumble dryers have heat pump technology built in.
During the drying cycle, the warm air is re-circulated and passed through a heat pump for re-use, making these models really energy efficient. Heat pump condenser tumble dryers tend to be more expensive to buy than standard models, but you can save money in the long term as they are much cheaper to run.
Automatic Tumble Dryers
Automatic tumble dryers are built with sensor drying technology, which can detect when your clothes are completely dry.
You don’t need to set a timer, as the machine will stop when your clothes are at the perfect level of dryness.
You can usually select the level of dryness you want, including modes such as iron dry (leaving the clothes slightly damp for ironing) or cupboard dry (if you want to put items away straight away).
Manual or Timed Tumble Dryers
Manual tumble dryers require you to select a drying time for your load.
This requires more guesswork when it comes to drying your clothes. It’s likely that you’ll need to open the appliance door a few times during the cycle, to check the level of dampness and to prevent over drying. However, these models are simpler and can be cheaper than models with more features. See here for more details.
This technology means your tumble dryer is only running for as long as needed, saving you energy and money.
Freestanding vs Integrated Tumble Dryers
The main factor you’ll need to consider when choosing between a freestanding or integrated tumble dryer model is whether you want your appliance to be on show or hidden inside your kitchen units.
Freestanding models can be placed anywhere you have space, whereas integrated designs are built into a cupboard.
Freestanding designs are easier to install, whereas built-in versions require a little work – a cupboard door will need attaching to the front of the dryer. Once they’re installed though, built-in machines give a great, clean look to your kitchen.