Tumble dryers: Tumble dryer energy costs

Tumble dryers are known energy guzzlers - but there are big differences in energy consumption between different models.

Depending on the model you choose, an A-rated dryer could be up to £60 cheaper to run each year than a C-rated model. But bear in mind that C-rated dryers are the traditional electric type, while more efficient models often have heat pump technology inside or are gas powered. You can find out more about tumble dryer types here.

Which? can help you choose an energy-efficient tumble dryer – use the tool below to compare the expense of buying different tumble dryers with the amount they cost to run over their lifetime. Then check our Best Buy tumble dryers recommendation to find the best model for you.

Tumble dryer running costs calculator

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Energy saving tumble dryers

Which? tests the running costs of tumble dryers as well as their ability to dry clothes quickly and throroughly. Official energy labels on electric tumble dryers are meant to help indicate their energy efficiency, ranked from A (most efficient) and G (least efficient), although this is set to change later in 2013. Gas tumble dryers do not have energy ratings.

Most models are rated C or above but the electricity they use varies widely. A typical A-rated model would cost around £43 per year, compared with £106 for a C-rated model.

In the past, Which? tests have found that energy labels don’t always correspond with how much electricity it takes to dry one load.

Our tests are based on the most commonly-used programmes to give a more accurate picture of energy efficiency. Look for tumble dryers with an energy efficiency rating of four stars or more when you compare tumble dryer features and prices to find models which cost less to run.

Gas and heat pump tumble dryers

Gas and heat pump tumble dryers are both energy-saving alternatives to traditional electric tumble dryers. Gas dryers cost on average £60 less to run per year  than electric machines although they are much more expensive to buy. Heat pump tumble dryers are an energy-saving innovation that can lead to big electricity bill savings, but they are quite rare and expensive to buy at the moment. They work like a ‘fridge in reverse’, reusing heat from extracted damp air to heat the drum. To find out more, read our guide on energy-saving tumble dryers.  

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