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8 Mar 2022

Nine ways to save money with your tumble dryer

We reveal how to get more for less from your old tumble dryer and how to pick a new dryer that's cheap to buy and run

Tumble dryers are an incredibly convenient way of drying bedding, towels and clothes, but the heat they use to dry laundry costs money.

With energy prices rising, we're all trying to be economical where we can.

We run through our top tips and tricks to help you reduce the cost of drying your clothes.


Compare all of our tumble dryer reviews and find out which we've named Best Buy tumble dryers


1) Use a speedy spin cycle first

Selecting a quick spin cycle on your washing machine 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.

Take a look at our washing machine reviews to find a reliable washing machine.

2) Separate out different clothes types

Mixed loads make your 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 after every use

The lint filter collects the fluff that comes off your clothes. 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 as a fluff-filled lint filter could potentially become flammable.

So, clean your filter after every use to keep your dryer efficient and safe.

5) Untangle shirts and separate socks

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

Doing up buttons or poppers 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 the best tumble dryers of 2022 to see which models will give you superb drying for the lowest upfront cost.

But bear in mind that cheap tumble dryers are likely to 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 Which? Eco Buy tumble dryer

Which? Eco Buy badge

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 Eco Buy badge when looking for a tumble dryer with low running costs, and go to our top five energy efficient tumble dryers to find a dryer that will help you reduce your energy bills.

It's worth nothing that 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.

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 the water can be used again to help dry your clothes.

Vents in the heat exchanger can become caked in fluff and hair, so regularly cleaning it helps it to function more efficiently.

Check your instructions or the manufacturer's website for how to do it. Cleaning it should be a monthly task.


Visit our tumble dryer tips and maintenance guide for more useful advice


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 your tumble dryer somewhere warm, dry and well ventilated.

Read our advice if you want to put your tumble dryer in your garage.