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Nine ways to save money with your tumble dryer

How to pick a new dryer that's cheap to buy and run, or get more for less from your old tumble dryer

With hurricane Lorenzo on its way and more wet weather to follow, tumble dryers across the nation will be mobilised this week.

Using a tumble dryer will leave a bigger dent in your monthly budget if yours takes ages to dry and eats up energy as it does its job.


Find out which we’ve named Best Buy tumble dryers.


1) Use a speedy spin cycle first

Using a quick spin cycle on your washing machine that you know to be reliable before tumble drying will drain more excess water from your clothes.

Washing machine spin cycles cost less to run than tumble drying, and the dryer will then need to run for less time to dry your clothes.

2) Separate out different clothes types

Mixed loads make the dryer run for longer.

Lots of smaller loads of different clothes types also means higher running costs.

Fewer and fuller loads of separate clothes types are best if you can manage that.

3) Choose programs with care

Select the program that most accurately fits the load you’re drying to avoid overly dry clothes or a damp pile that needs to go round again.

Most modern tumble dryers have sensors that will finish the program automatically when they detect that the clothes inside are dry.

However, we’ve found that some sensors aren’t very accurate. Some will make the dryer finish the program with clothes still damp, which will cut out any cost savings.

Compare sensor accuracy in our tumble dryer reviews.

4) Clean the lint filter regularly

The lint filter collects the fluff that comes off your clothes and if it gets blocked, hot air in the dryer won’t be able to circulate freely. This makes the dryer work harder than it needs to and will cost you more.

Letting your lint filter clog up with fluff could also pose a safety risk. A fluff-filled lint filter could potentially become flammable.

5) Untangle shirts and separate socks

Drying will take much longer if you put your laundry straight in the tumble dryer without untangling it.

Fastening up the buttons on your duvet covers will also prevent small items from getting trapped inside the cover and staying damp.

6) Choose a cheap tumble dryer that dries well

Check out our handy guide on the top five cheap tumble dryers for 2019 to find out which models will give you superb drying for the lowest upfront outlay.

But bear in mind that cheap tumble dryers will likely be vented or condenser models, which may be cheaper to buy but not the cheapest to run.

Vented tumble dryers will cost, on average, around £79 a year to run and condenser tumble dryers will cost roughly £91 a year.

You’ll need to look elsewhere to find the most energy-efficient tumble dryers.

7) Pick an energy-efficient tumble dryer

Heat pump tumble dryers are the leaders in energy efficiency.

You could find yourself spending as little as £26 a year running a heat pump dryer.

Make sure to keep an eye out for our energy saver logo when looking for a tumble dryer with low running costs.

See our top five energy-efficient tumble dryers for 2019 to find a dryer that will help you cut your energy costs.

Heat pump tumble dryers usually cost more to buy than vented or condenser dryers. We’ve crunched the numbers and found that, on average, it will take you five to six years to recoup the extra money you spent through cheaper running costs. After that, you’ll be saving around £58 a year on bills.

Make sure you choose a tumble dryer brand that lasts: Top tumble dryer brands.

Tumble dryers: what they cost


8) Clean the heat exchanger

Heat pump tumble dryers use a heat exchanger to take the steam produced during the drying process and turn it back into water – so it doesn’t steam up your house and so the water can be used again to help dry your clothes. Cleaning it helps it function more efficiently.

Check your instructions or the manufacturer’s website of your machine for how often this needs to be done and how to do it.

9) Be smart about positioning

Cold, damp and poorly ventilated rooms will make work harder for your dryer so, if you can, make sure to place it somewhere warm, dry and well ventilated.

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