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Updated: 23 May 2022

Best heat pump tumble dryers: Which? Best Buys and expert buying advice

The best 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.
Which?Editorial team
Laundry-general

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 head to this page to find out the best tumble dryers on test and expert buying advice such as which type tumble dryer you should buy.

Best 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?.

  • 82%
    • best buy
    • eco buy
    £1149.00

    This heat-pump tumble dryer may be expensive to buy but it’s very economical to run, thanks to its A+++ energy rating and exceptional energy efficiency. It’s effective too, so it will dry your clothes evenly and precisely, capturing moist air brilliantly – so it won’t make your windows steam up. It’s a Best Buy.

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  • 80%
    • best buy
    • eco buy
    £469.99

    This is an exceptionally good tumble dryer, and it’s so energy efficient that we’ve awarded it our Eco Buy label. But it’s not just about energy efficiency, as it also dries evenly, accurately, and without letting steam escape into your home. So, when it comes to energy-efficient drying this Best Buy should be top of your wish list.

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  • 79%
    • best buy
    • eco buy
    £849.00

    This impressive tumble dryer was superb at drying clothes thoroughly and evenly throughout the drum. That’s why we’ve made this excellent tumble dryer a Best Buy.

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  • 78%
    • best buy
    • eco buy
    £951.99

    This is an outstanding tumble dryer. It’s about as energy efficient as you’ll find and does a good job of drying clothes, too. Just be aware, drying isn’t quick, but that’s the trade-off for saving bundles of energy each time you dry.

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All recommendations, scores and prices correct as of March 2022. 

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

What is a heat pump tumble dryer?

Heat pump tumble dryers have a condenser that separates water from the warm air that passes over the wet clothes and puts it in a water tank. The remaining dry warm air is then pumped back through the drum, re-using it to help the clothes dry faster.

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

How heat pump tumble dryers work

How heat pump tumble dryers work

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 condenser tumble dryers.

Compare our 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 can be 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, although 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 unless you plumb it in.

Are heat pump tumble dryers better than vented dryers?

Heat pump tumble dryer

Vented tumble dryers are generally much cheaper to buy than heat pump dryers. The running costs are however much higher. The average amount the vented dryers we've tested will add to your yearly bills is £80, which is more than twice the cost of the heat pump dryers we've tested, which is £37. So over time you'll find yourself paying more through your bills for a vented dryer 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 unless you plumb it in.

Are heat pump dryers better than condenser dryers?

Tumble dryer

Condenser dryers also deposit moisture into a water tank rather than through a vent 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. The condenser dryers we've tested have an average yearly running cost of roughly £88 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 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.

Tumble dryer type and price


Vented tumble dryerCondenser tumble dryerHeat pump tumble dryer
Lowest price£120£183£309
Average price£221£312£643
Highest price£630£1150£1449

Based on all models we have reviews for as of January 2022.

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.

How much money will a heat-pump dryer save in running costs?

On average, the heat-pump dryers on our site will cost around £39 per year to run, based on drying three loads per week every week for a year. But the most energy efficient heat-pump dryers will cost just £26 per year.

In contrast, vented and condenser dryers cost on average £81 and £90 a year to run, with the most energy-hungry of each type costing more than £120 per year.

So owning a heat-pump dryer will save you on average between £42 and £51 per year, compared to a vented or condenser dryer.

When will a heat-pump dryer pay for itself in saved energy costs?

With the average price of a heat-pump dryer (£678) being much more than that of a condenser dryer (£310), it will take some time for those energy savings to add up. But using these average prices you’ll see your extra investment start to pay off in the seventh year of ownership.

Tumble dryers are one of those products with a long expected lifespan – our most recent survey shows that a tumble dryer should last you around 20 years. 

That means if your machine lasts this long, it will add up to a £663 saving on your energy bills compared to a condenser dryer over the machine’s lifetime.

Does a heat pump tumble dryer need to be plumbed in?

No. You can connect a waste pipe to most heat-pump or condenser dryers to let the water drain away.

All heat-pump dryers also come with a water tank, which collects water and will need to be emptied regularly, unless you set your machine up to drain water away.

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.

Can you get integrated heat pump tumble dryers?

Tumble dryer

There are only a handful of integrated heat pump tumble dryers out there. 

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