Tumble dryers: How we test tumble dryers
How we decide Which? tumble dryers to test
Which? tests the best-selling tumble dryers and we also look for newly launched or innovative machines, particularly if they are energy-saving, or have interesting features or design.
What makes a Best Buy tumble dryer?
Check out our video to see why a Best Buy will make a real, practical difference to you.
Drying speed, energy efficiency and running costs
We measure how much time and energy it takes to dry a load and rate machines based on their running costs. Determining when clothes are ‘dry’ involves weighing them to see how much water they contain before and after the program. We do this three times for each of our four test loads.
Evenness of drying
We weigh up to 23 individual items of clothing to work out how much water each contains at the end of the iron-dry program. This can vary from 3% for a sheet to more than 20% for a pair of jeans or a towel. The variation between the different items tells us how evenly the load has dried.
We study shirts after the iron-dry program, grading the creases on the back of the shirt and the button line. All the dryers we've tested leave shirts still needing to be ironed before you can wear them.
Tumble dryer noise
We rate the noise of the dryer at the noisiest part of the program. We consider how loud the sound of the motor is and also the noise made by tumbling laundry in the drum.
For condenser tumble dryers, we check efficiency by comparing how much water is in the water tank at the end of the program with how much was in the clothes at the start. We perform this test with the entire dryer on a weighing scale, so we don’t miss any water that might remain in the tube between the heat exchanger unit and the reservoir.We like to call this the ‘No excuses’ test.
Ease of use assessment
We consider many things in our ease of use assessment. These include how easy the instructions are to follow, how clear the program markings are, how easy it is to fill and empty the machine, and how easy the lint filter, water reservoir and heat exchanger are to clean. We carry out 215 checks to get to grips with convenience issues.
Loading and unloading
We look for dryers with a large door that requires little strength to open and close, using either a handle, push catch or press button, and which doesn’t swing shut during loading. The door should open wide enough to give free access to the porthole, which is ideally large and easy to load from a standing or sitting position. The machine shouldn't move as you load and unload it, either.
Lint filters and water reservoirs
These should be easy to reach from a standing and sitting position and require little force and simple actions to remove and replace. They should be free from sharp edges and easy to carry to a sink for cleaning. We prefer lint filters without hinges, which are easy to clean with a single wipe. Water containers with simple, easy-to-use catches or lids over the water spout, which can be completely emptied in one simple movement are best.
We look for buttons and dials that are clearly marked with self-explanatory captions nearby, are well spaced and have different shapes for different groups of functions. They should protrude from the instruction panel and be easy to grip, and require little force or one-handed and simple actions to activate. The buttons and dials should be visible from sitting and standing positions, and give a clear audible or mechanical signal that a selection has been made.
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