With most of us still spending much more time indoors these days, now is an excellent time to learn how to get the best out of the products in our homes that we might take for granted, such as a tumble dryer.
There are five easy steps you can take to improve the quality of drying your machine provides, regardless of whether you own a vented, condenser or heat-pump tumble dryer.
And you won’t need to take your machine to bits in order to supercharge its drying performance.
But if your tumble dryer is beyond optimisation and you need a new one, head straight to our Best Buy reviews to find the best model for you. Or scroll down to the eight new tumble dryers tested and reviewed by Which?.
1. Don’t overload your tumble dryer
If the dryer is too full, the clothes inside won’t be able to tumble freely and it will be harder for the warm air inside the drum to circulate, penetrate the fabric and dry the clothes.
The end result will be longer drying times, over-dried clothes, poor drying results and too much energy being used to get the job done.
Every tumble dryer will have a drying capacity that you shouldn’t exceed.
Most machines these days can handle seven or eight kilograms of cottons or lighter loads of synthetics. But check out the manual for your machine to find out how much to load it with.
Read more on how to best maintain your tumble dryer.
2. Loosen your laundry before loading the tumble dryer
When just-washed clothes come out of the washing machines, they can sometimes be wound into a tight ball.
And if you load your dryer like this, you’re likely to end up with elongated drying times and poorly dried clothes when the buzzer sounds.
So, before loading your tumble dryer, loosen the laundry as this will allow the warm air in the dryer to penetrate the fabric and dry the clothes more effectively.
3. Check clothes labels: some clothes shouldn’t be tumble dried
Sadly, a fact of drying clothes in a tumble dryer is that not all clothes will be suitable and some could end up damaged.
So to get the best from your tumble dryer – and to make sure that your clothes don’t end up shrinking – check the label for any clothes you have doubts about.
If you see a circle with a cross through it in a square on the label you’ll need to find another way to dry that garment.
But the rule of thumb to follow is that if the garment is delicate and floaty, don’t put them in the dryer.
4. Don’t dry big and heavy with small and light in the same tumble dryer load
If you have a load of everyday clothes, such as shirts, blouses and underwear ready to go in the tumble dryer, but also some heavy bath towels, think twice before bundling everything in together.
A polycotton shirt or blouse will dry much more quickly than a heavy, sodden towel. But the dryer would try to get everything dry and this could mean over-drying for the lighter items.
So, think about hanging towels to dry in the airing cupboard or on an airer instead. Or washing and drying the household’s towels together in one load.
5. Keep the insides of your tumble dryer clean
Tumble dryers shouldn’t make clothes dirty, but if your dryer is dirty on the inside, this might become unavoidable, especially on white and light-coloured clothes that are ironed.
Dust and fluff that naturally blow around the dryer will mostly end up in the lint filter, but some can end up in the door rim or left in the drum itself, and this can be transferred to the drying clothes.
So, to avoid whites and light-coloured clothes from taking on a greyish hue from gathered lint, wipe the insides of your dryer every couple of months with white vinegar or a cleaning wipe. This will reduce the amount of fluff that can end up getting ironed into your clothes.
New tumble dryer reviews from Which?
Our test results for these eight new tumble dryers are just in. Here are the eight machines we’ve just tested.
Condenser tumble dryers
Beko DTGCE7010W (£220)
The affordable DTGCE7010W condenser dryer from Beko has room in the drum for around 7kg of laundry, which should be enough for most homes, and it uses sensors to control drying times.
As a condenser tumble dryer, it’s not going to break any energy-saving records as it carries a B energy label.
Read our review of the Beko DTGCE7010W to find out exactly how well it dries clothes.
Bosch WTN85201GB (£430)
The Bosch WTN85201GB condenser tumble dryer has a 7kg drum, so it’s not the roomiest dryer you can buy, but should be big enough for most households.
It dries clothes automatically, sensing when they’re dry and earns itself a B energy label for efficiency.
Find out whether this Bosch tumble dryer is one to shortlist or one to avoid by reading our review of the Bosch WTN85201GB.
Candy CS C8DF-80 (£179)
The Candy CS C8DF-80 condenser tumble dryer is both affordable and smart, and that’s not something we can say about many dryers.
If you have an Android mobile phone you can use it to control the machine and to monitor the progress of the drying cycles.
Check out our review of the Candy CS C8DF-80 condenser tumble dryer to see what we discovered when we tested it.
Galanz DUK002W (£264)
The Galanz DUK002W condenser tumble dryer inhabits the more affordable end of the price range and it’s appealing if you’re on a tight budget.
There’s room inside its drum for 8kg of laundry, which makes it roomy enough for most households.
But with a B energy label, it’s not going to win any awards for energy saving.
Go straight to our review of the Galanz DUK002W to read all about its drying powers.
Heat-pump tumble dryers
Bosch WTR88T81GB (£658)
The Bosch WTR88T81GB heat-pump tumble dryer has been designed to dry clothes effectively and in an extremely energy-efficient way.
The A+++ energy-rated tumble dryer reuses heat leaving the drum to continue to dry clothes and in doing this, it uses only a third of the energy a conventional condenser or vented dryer does.
Read our review of the Bosch WTR88T81GB heat-pump tumble dryer to find out how it fared in our tests.
Sharp KD-HHH8S7GW2-EN (£340)
The Sharp KD-HHH8S7GW2-EN heat-pump tumble dryer comes with a roomy 8kg drum and carries an A++ energy label, so it’s been designed to dry clothes while not using too much energy.
It comes with a couple of quick-drying settings for small loads and, like almost all dryers, it uses sensors to determine when to stop drying.
Click through to our review of the Sharp KD-HHH8S7GW2-EN to find out more about how much energy it uses and its drying performance.
Smeg DHT91LUK (£530)
The Smeg DHT91LUK heat-pump tumble dryer can dry around 9kg of clothes in one go, making it roomier than many.
Drying time is sensor-controlled and this energy-saving dryer carries an A+ energy label.
It’s been run through our tough lab tests, so read our review of the Smeg DHT91LUK to find out whether it’s a hit or a miss.
Hoover HBV7TDW-80 (£349)
The Hoover HBV7TDW-80 tumble dryer is almost from the golden age of drying, where humidity sensors were still science fiction, and smartphones – let alone controlling a machine from your phone – was still some way off in the future.
It’s one of those machines where you just need to load it, set the timer and hit ‘go’. Plus, being vented and integrated (or built in), it comes from the rarest of tumble dryer breeds.
Take a look at our review of the Hoover HBV7TDW-80 vented tumble dryer to see whether it’s good value or not and to find out how well it dries clothes.
Prices correct on 15 June 2020.