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Heat pump tumble dryers

By Joel Bates

Heat pump tumble dryers can be real energy savers, but they generally cost more to buy than other tumble dryers. Read our full guide to see whether a heat pump dryer would be your perfect purchase.

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Heat pump tumble dryers are often a couple of hundred pounds more expensive than vented or condenser dryers, but prices are coming down, and they are the cheapest type of tumble dryer to run. 

If you’re considering a heat pump tumble dryer, read on for what else you need to know before you buy.

Or go straight to our shortlist of the best tumble dryers.

What is a heat pump tumble dryer? 

Heat pump tumble dryers have a condenser that turns the warm air that's passed over the wet clothes into water. That water is then pumped back through the drum, re-using it to help the clothes dry. 

This makes them by far the most energy-efficient of all the tumble dryer types available.

Although this could go a long way to save money on your bills over time, you may have to pay much more up front than if you were to buy another type of tumble dryer. Heat pump tumble dryers are generally much more expensive to buy than their vented and condenser counterparts.

Compare our heat pump tumble dryer reviews to see how various dryers have fared in our expert testing programme.

Pros and cons of heat pump tumble dryers 

Pros:

  • Energy costs are half or even less compared with other dryer types.
  • No vent or hose is needed to remove damp air.
     

Cons:

  • They can be expensive to buy, athough prices are coming down.

  • They can often take longer to dry clothes than other dryer types, though this is not the case with the best ones.

  • Like condenser tumble dryers, the water tank will need emptying from time to time.

Top three heat pump tumble dryers 

Our rigorous testing has revealed that these three heat pump tumble dryers are the best of the bunch when it comes to drying clothes.

Only logged-in Which? members can view our recommendations in the table below. If you're not yet a member, you can get instant access by joining Which?.

79%
£1,249.00
Reviewed

This heat pump tumble dryer may be one of the more expensive models we've tested, but its A+++ energy rating means that this is also one of the cheapest models out there when it comes to running costs. With outstanding drying results and easy to use controls, this is definitely one to consider if you can afford it.

79%
£829.00
Reviewed

This heat pump tumble dryer isn’t just a Best Buy - it’s one of the highest scoring model we’ve tested in years. It has smart functionality and also impresses with its drying: it’s fast, accurate, easy to use and doesn’t leak damp air out into your home.

78%
£1,379.00
Reviewed

You may never imagine spending nearly £1,500 on a household appliance, but if your budget can stretch, this model is a dream. It’s superb at drying, very economical to run and isn’t as slow as most heat pump dryers.

Take a look at our tumble dryer reviews to find out how other models handled the Which? expert testing programme.

Are heat pump tumble dryers better than vented dryers? 

Vented tumble dryers are generally much cheaper to buy than heat pump dryers. The running costs are however much higher, so you'll find yourself paying more through your bills than if you’d paid a little more up front for a heat pump dryer.

Vented dryers are also trickier to install, as they have hoses that need a route outside to vent the damp air they produce. Heat pump dryers have no hoses or vents, as they deposit moisture into a water tank, which will need emptying every now and again.

Are heat pump dryers better than condenser dryers? 

Condenser dryers also deposit moisture into a water tank rather than through a hose. The key difference is that condensers don’t re-use hot air using heat pump technology, so they use much more energy when running. Condenser dryers can cost roughly £100 a year to run, whereas heat pump dryers can cost as little as £23 a year.

Can’t decide which type is the one for you? Our how to buy the best tumble dryer guide can help you pick your dream dryer.

How much do heat pump dryers cost? 

Our reviews show that you need to spend at least about £400 to get a decent heat pump tumble dryer, whereas for a good condenser dryer you’ll need to spend roughly £190, and for a vented dryer, £160.

Although heat pump dryers are generally much more expensive, it’s important to remember how much less they cost to run. An energy-efficient heat pump dryer might cost more up front but as the energy bills are cheaper you'll be quids in after roughly six years.

More expensive heat pump tumble dryers will more than likely come with some extra features. If you’re keen on controlling your dryer with your smartphone, having handy lights in the drum for when you’re loading and unloading, or even plugging in capsules that make your clothes smell extra fresh, then expect to pay at least around £700 for your dryer.

Can you get small heat pump tumble dryers? 

Not yet. The smallest heat pump dryers currently available are medium-sized with 7kg capacity. The smallest capacity tumble dryers we have tested, which have a capacity of 4kg, are all vented dryers.

Find out if small tumble dryers will dry your clothes as well as those with a larger drum.

Can you get integrated heat pump tumble dryers?

There are only a handful of integrated heat pump tumble dryers out there, and so far we have only tested one: the Hoover HTDBW H7A1TCE-80.

If an integrated machine is a must-have for you, check out our integrated tumble dryer reviews.

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