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Which type of tumble dryers are cheapest to run?

We compare the running costs and reliability of vented, condenser and heat pump tumble dryers to help you save money

With energy prices skyrocketing and appliance prices remaining stable for now, recouping the higher purchase price of a heat pump tumble dryer with hugely reduced energy use will take much less time this year than ever before.

The latest forecast predicts typical energy bills in England, Scotland and Wales to hit £3,363 this winter. And using an energy-hungry vented or condenser tumble dryer could make up more than £160 of this, while an energy-saving heat pump dryer would only cost around £60.

This means that if you go for a heat pump dryer such as the Beko DTIKP71131W (£349) after just over a year of ownership the savings made in energy costs will offset the higher purchase price in comparison to the cheaper vented Candy CSE V9LF-80 (£230).

Go to our tumble dryer reviews to compare more than 100 tumble dryers we've tested

How expensive are tumble dryers to run?

For all of their indisputable energy-saving claims, heat pump tumble dryers can be expensive appliances to buy. 

You can pick up an affordable heat pump dryer for around £350, but most cost more than £550 and top of the range models can be more than £1,000. 

However, they do cost significantly less to run than conventional condenser dryers or vented models, and over time the savings made in reduced energy costs will more than offset the higher purchase price.

Electricity bill_used 451912

We’ve compared the purchase price and running costs of two recently tested vented and condenser tumble dryers with those of an affordable and a more expensive heat pump dryer to show how long you’ll need to wait to reap the benefit of owning one.

The vented Candy CSE V9LF-80 is £230 and costs £166 per year to run and the Hotpoint H2D81WUK condenser is priced at £276 and costs £134 per year. 

But the heat-pump Beko DTIKP71131W costs £349 to buy and just £59 per year to run and the heat pump John Lewis tumble dryer is £689 to buy and costs £60 per year to run.

This table shows how over time the tumble dryers with a cheaper up-front cost will work out to be more expensive to run.

ModelTypePurchase priceAnnual energy costsTotal costs year oneTotal costs year twoTotal costs year threeTotal costs year fourTotal costs year fiveTotal costs year six
Candy CSE V9LF-80Vented£230£166£396£562£728£894£1060£1226
Hotpoint H2D81WUKCondenser£276£134£410£544£678£812£946£1080
Beko DTIKP71131WHeat pump£349£59£408£467£526£585£644£703
John Lewis JLTDH17Heat pump£689£60£749£809£869£929£989£1049

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Candy CSE V9LF-80 vented tumble dryer - £230

Annual running costs - £166

With energy costs of £166 per year, this isn’t an energy efficient tumble dryer, but the £230 price tag looks appealing. 

But in little more than a year the combined price and lower running costs of the Beko DTIKP71131W will be less than that of the Candy. Over six years the vented Candy machine’s overall cost will be £523 more than the Beko heat-pump and £377 more than the more expensive John Lewis machine.

Read our full review of this Candy CSE V9LF-80 vented dryer to see how well it dries your clothes.

Hotpoint H2D81WUK condenser tumble dryer - £276

Annual running costs - £134

Another affordably-priced tumble dryer, this time a condenser model, but with typically high running costs of £134 per year.

After just one year, the total cost of buying and using it will be the same as that of the energy-saving Beko. And after six years the Hotpoint will have cost you £377 more to run than the Beko and £31 more than the John Lewis, both heat pump machines.

Here’s our review of this Hotpoint H2D81WUK condenser dryer which reveals all of our test results.

John Lewis JLTDH17 heat pump tumble dryer - £689

Annual running costs - £60

You’ll find many heat pump tumble dryers selling at around this price, so buying one isn’t always an immediately affordable thing to do. 

But with running costs that are more than £100 cheaper each year compared to the Candy and £70 cheaper than the Hotpoint, you’ll start reaping the energy saving benefit after five and six years respectively, in comparison to the cheaper machines.

Find out more about this model with our review of this John Lewis JLTDH17 heat pump dryer.

Beko DTIKP71131W heat pump dryer - £349

Annual running costs - £59

Heat pump tumble dryers are rarely more affordable than this Beko and it’s reassuringly cheap to run, too. 

A year’s worth of drying will cost just £59 making it £107 cheaper to run per year than the Candy and £65 cheaper than the Hotpoint.

Learn more about how well it dries clothes drying performance with our full review of this Beko DTIKP71131W heat pump dryer.

Tumble dryers have a long life span 

Tumble dryers are one of the more reliable kitchen appliances and in our most recent survey we found that for the most reliable brand of tumble dryer only one in 20 developed a fault in the first seven years of ownership. 

So, don’t worry  about it sometimes taking a few years for a heat-pump dryer to start paying its way with lower energy bills.

The likelihood is that it will still be working for many years after you break even in terms of energy savings, especially if you go for a very reliable brand.

Read up on the best tumble dryer brands and find out which have the fewest faults.

How to dry clothes without using energy 

Using a clothes airer for some of your washing is a cheap and energy-free way of drying clothes. And placing the airer in the naturally warmest place in your home (south facing, upstairs room and near a window ideally) will speed up the air-drying process, especially on a hot day. 

If you’d like to cut the cost of drying but still need to use your dryer, remove a few items that don’t need to be dried quickly. Allowing them to air dry reduces the time it takes to dry the rest of the load. And this could also help your clothes, too.

Some garments, such as jeans, can shrink in the fierce heat of a tumble dryer’s drum. So, if you want to maintain the fit you like with your best pair of Levi’s (other jean brands are available) hang them on an airer or the washing line if you have one and let them dry naturally.

Finally, if you are lucky enough to have some outside space to dry clothes, you might want to consider your dryer as an autumn and winter appliance, when air drying clothes takes longer and it’s too cold and wet to line dry with any confidence. And it will always be there for those emergencies when air drying just won’t do.

Find the most energy-efficient tumble dryer for you from among our energy-saving Eco Buy tumble dryers.