Gas and heat pump tumble dryers
By Matt Stevens
Gas and heat pump tumble dryers are less common than standard tumble dryers - but cost half as much to run. Are they right for you?
Heat pump tumble dryers
Condenser dryers that have a heat pump can be called heat-pump condenser dryers or just heat-pump dryers.
Some electric condenser tumble dryers now come heat pumps - a relatively new technology that dramatically reduces how much it costs to run compared to a standard condenser dryer.
The job of the heat pump is to reheat the air that's circulating within the dryer.
After hot air has passed through the drum, absorbing moisture from your clothes, it passes through filters where the air is partly cooled and moisture is removed from the air, as condensation. The water collected will be deposited into a water tank, as with a normal condenser tumble dryers. Meanwhile the warm air is re-heated and circulated back to the drum. The reuse of hot air means energy is kept within the machine instead of being allowed to escape.
Go straight to our tumble dryer reviews to discover the Best Buy heat pump tumble dryers that we recommend.
How much do heat pump tumble dryers cost?
Expect to pay at least £350-£450, though our tests show that you'll generally need to spend more for a high quality model
Heat pump condenser tumble dryers may cost half the amount of other types of tumble dryer to run, but they can cost significantly more to buy, reducing the potential savings. Expect to pay at least £350-£450, though we are starting to see more models hit the market for less. The priciest models cost £700-£1000.
Heat pump dryers tend to do well in Which? tests, typically not due to speedy drying, but by having very low running costs. These average out at around £34 per year, but the most efficient model we’ve seen costs less than £25 a year to run. Compared to £77, the average running cost of a standard condenser dryer (without a heat pump), that's a big saving.
Pros and cons of heat pump tumble dryers
Pros: Energy costs are half or less compared to other electric dryers that don;t use a heat pump.
Cons: heat pumps dryers are expensive technology, though prices are coming down. Heat pump dryers tend to be slower at getting clothes dry compared to non-heat pump dryers.
Gas tumble dryers
Gas tumble dryers use gas as their heat source to dry the laundry. As with electric vented tumble dryers, damp air is expelled from the machine through a hose - but gas dryers use mains gas to heat the air inside the dryer. Electricity is used to turn the drum and power the control panel, but this is less than 10% of the total electricity used by an electric dryer.
Typically, these more efficient dryers have an energy rating of A to A+++ (making them very cheap to run), whereas regular dryers have a rating of B to D, and most commonly C.
There are very few gas tumble dryers on the market - and the only brand of gas tumble dryer you can buy in the UK is White Knight. It’s rare to find gas tumble dryers in the shops, so if you like to see things in store before buying, you’ll need to contact the manufacturer to find local stockists.
Find the right gas dryer for you using our tumble dryer reviews.
How much do gas tumble dryers cost?
The gas models we've tested from White Knight cost around £300. That might be twice the price of the cheapest electric vented dryers available, but is significantly cheaper compared to condenser tumble dryers that use a heat pump.
Gas tumble dryers cost far less to run than electric dryers because they’re so much more energy efficient. On average, a standard electric vented dryer will add around £66 to your annual energy bills. A gas dryer uses almost no electricity and we estimate you’ll pay around £40 a year for gas, making it significantly cheaper to run.
Before you consider buying a gas dryer, get a quote from a Gas Safe engineer as to how much it will cost to install
However, you will need to pay a Gas Safe engineer to install your gas tumble dryer. The installation charge will vary according to how much work it requires to safely run gas to where you want the dryer, but the cheapest quotes we've found were between £100 and £150.
Before you consider buying a gas dryer, get a quote from a Gas Safe engineer as to how much it will cost to install. To find an engineer, use the advanced options within the search box on the Gas Safe Register website to find an engineer that is listed as providing 'Domestic' services and has 'tumble dryer' listed as one of their areas of expertise.
Pros and cons of gas tumble dryers
Pros: gas vented tumble dryers have low running costs compared to electric vented dryers and tend to dry clothes well.
Cons: gas dryers need to be installed by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Like electric vented tumble dryers, gas vented models need to be positioned near a window or door to vent the air away, which may limit installation options. There aren’t many gas dryers on the market, so your choice will be limited.