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Which? reveals the true price of your tumble dryer

Hidden running costs can bump up the price you pay

tumble dryer

More than 40% of the tumble dryers we’ve reviewed and rated cost more than £80 a year to run, with Hotpoint, Indesit and Candy being among the biggest offenders. 

We’ve tested the energy use of 191 popular tumble dryers and found that running costs can vary by more than £100 a year between different models. And while you’d expect bigger dryers to use more energy than smaller ones, our tests still show that some models and brands are much thriftier with the energy than others.

Our tumble dryer reviews include energy ratings and estimated annual costs for each model, as well as Best Buy recommendations.

Tumble dryer costs

The good news is that if you choose carefully, a tumble dryer doesn’t have to make a dent in your bank balance. In fact, 24% of models we’ve tested cost less than £40 a year to run, with the cheapest costing £22. 

But cheap-to-run models aren’t necessarily the best at drying laundry quickly and evenly. Just three of the models that cost less than £40 a year to run also deliver top quality drying. Each of this impressive trio are recommended as Best Buy tumble dryers which, although they have a higher initial price tag than some, will prove more cost effective in the long run.

The most expensive tumble dryer to run that we’ve tested adds a staggering £127 a year to your energy bills. This model has a temptingly low price tag of £260 but delivers a double sting in the tail; not only does it cost a lot to run, but it’s also slow to dry on the synthetics program and leaves shirts badly creased.

We base our annual running cost estimates on how much electricity a tumble dryer uses to dry a load of cottons three times a week for a year. You can find out the annual running cost estimate for each tumble dryer by looking at the technical specifications pages of our reviews. 

Finding an efficient tumble dryer

The average cost to run a tumble dryer each year is £63, but all those that cost £40 or less to run a year are either additional vented tumble dryers or one of the new generation of ultra energy-efficient heat pump tumble dryers.

Heat-pump condenser tumble dryers. The average running cost of a heat-pump condenser is only £33, but they can be fairly expensive to buy in the first place. These tumble dryers work by re-heating the warm air in your dryer and circulating it back to the drum. By reusing air, energy is kept in the machine instead of being allowed to escape.

Vented tumble dryers – these models pump the warm damp air produced from drying your clothes out through a hose, which has to be connected to a wall or a window vent. Though this type of dryer isn’t suitable for all homes (such as those that don’t or can’t have a wall vent), the more more basic models are often cheaper to buy. Running costs really vary – though we’ve reviewed plenty of cheap-to-run models, average running costs across the whole category are £65.

Don’t be blinded by a cheap initial price tag, search our tumble dryer reviews to make sure your tumble dryer won’t break the bank over the years to come. 

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