If you’re looking to buy a tumble dryer this bank holiday weekend, don’t miss out out these five useful in-shop checks to determine whether the dryer you like will be right for you.
Even after you’ve selected a dryer from your shortlist, getting hands-on with the big white box in the shop will help you make the best buying decision. These five quick and easy checks will determine whether your machine will be a dream to live with or a nightmare each laundry day.
Alternatively, you can simply go straight to our tumble dryer reviews.
Top five tumble dryer shopping tips
1. Door opening – How wide is it?
On wash day you’ll be taking armfuls of laundry from your washing machine and loading it into your tumble dryer. So, when you’re in a shop, take a look at the door opening to see how wide it is. A machine with a wider door opening will always be easier to load than a machine with a narrower opening, particularly if you’re trying to load bulky bedding.
If you’re buying a compact tumble dryer, the size difference will be more of an issue. With their reduced overall size, door openings aren’t as wide as on standard-sized models, and loading things like bundles of just-washed bed linen into the dryer will be a bit of a pain.
2. Lint filter – How easy is it to clean and replace?
You’ll find the filter inside the door or around the lower door rim. In the store, pull out the filter and see how easy a job this is. If it’s a challenge, be aware you’re supposed to do this every time you use your dryer.
The filter catches lint and fluff and needs to be cleaned after every use. If it isn’t kept clear of lint, the airflow through the dryer will reduce, and the drying efficiency will plummet. Cleaning the filter is also an essential safety step you can take.
3. Water container – How easy is it to remove?
Conventional condenser dryers and energy-saving heat-pump dryers both capture water from the damp clothes in the drum into a water tank that will to be emptied, often after one of two loads of drying. So, look for a dryer with an easy-to-remove water container. This is something you can try in store.
The tank is likely to be found at the top-left of the machine, in the place where you’d find the detergent drawer on a washing machine. Failing that, it will be below the drum and close to the floor, hidden behind a panel.
If you have trouble bending and lifting, go for a dryer with a water tank at the top of the machine. And remember that you can also set up this type of machine to drain water away, as a washing machine does.
4. Heat exchanger – How easy is it to clean?
Your tumble dryer’s heat exchanger is a chilled metal box where the water is extracted from the warm, damp air leaving the drum. After a few weeks of use, it will start to become being clogged with fluff and hair and will need to be cleaned out under the tap.
While you’re in the shop, find the heat exchanger on the dryer you’re looking at – it will be behind a panel and below the drum and it’s about the size of a shoebox. Unclip it and see how easy it is to remove and to replace.
5. Control panel and door-release button – Is it easy to use?
Take a look at the control panel from a standing position. This is where you’d be when setting the machine. If anything looks unclear, this might become a day-to-day problem when you use the dryer.
Things to check include the door release button. Some dryers have doors that need to be pushed inwards with some force to be able to open them. This could be a problem if you have reduced hand strength. See how the door opens, and try it a few times to make sure you’re comfortable with it.
New tumble dryer reviews
We’ve just tested new tumble dryers from Beko and Hoover, and there are both great and shockingly bad machines among them.
Follow the links, below, to read the review of each machine:
Heat-pump tumble dryers
Beko DPHR8PB561 – £500
Condenser tumble dryers
Prices correct as of 24 May 2018.