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Don't Buy tumble dryers

by Matt Stevens

Here we reveal the tumble dryers that you should avoid. Some have our Don't Buy warning due to poor performance in our lab tests, while others are highlighted as they are currently subject to a fire risk safety alert affecting some Hotpoint and Indesit models made before October 2015.

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Our tough lab tests help us find the vented, condenser and heat-pump tumble dryers that are the best on the market – the ones that you can rely on to thoroughly dry your clothes every time.

But the self-same thorough lab tests also ensure that we can warn you about the terrible tumble dryers that are truly pitiful at drying clothes.

Compared to Best Buy tumble dryers, a Don't Buy with a one-star rating for dryness of clothes will leave your clothes very damp, leaving you to question whether the clothes have been dried at all. And condenser and heat-pump models with one star for condenser efficiency let warm damp air escape from the tank leaving you with steamy windows.

Tumble dryers aren’t cheap – they start from under £100 but go right up to around £1000. So, make sure you don’t waste your money. We’ll help you to avoid the tumble dryers that don’t dry clothes properly and instead choose from the dryers that perfectly dry your clothes every time.

Log in or sign up for a £1 trial to Which? to unlock our full list of Don’t Buy products on this page. You’ll also get access to our tumble dryer reviews and all the other product reviews on our website.

What makes a Don’t Buy tumble dryer?

A Don’t Buy tumble dryer can make drying day in your home a misery in a number of ways. The primary reason we make dryers Don’t Buys is that they don’t dry clothes well enough. This means that at the end of the cycle, clothes will still be damp. Or you could find that some clothes are dry while others are still wet.

The worst tumble dryers take an age to dry clothes, some let too much water vapour escape, which means you’ll end up with steamy windows and others use too much energy.

What does a good tumble dryer look like?

A good tumble dryer will leave you clothes dry when the buzzer sounds. It will dry everything in the drum evenly and it won’t take too long to do this. The best dryers won’t leave clothes too creased and are nice and quiet.

Best Buy condenser and heat-pump dryers do a good job of capturing water from the clothes in the water tank, rather than letting it escape into the room. And the best dryers we test keep energy use as low as possible.

Unique tumble dryer testing from Which?

Which? has reviewed the latest tumble dryers from brands including AEG, Beko, Bosch, Hotpoint, Indesit, Miele, White Knight and Zanussi.

Our expert lab assessments are based on six decades of product-testing experience. Each year we run hundreds of drying cycles in our lab, with each machine tested at least a dozen times for how well it dries clothes with a variety of test loads.

We use our lab test results in combination with our unique tumble dryer reliability and customer satisfaction scores to show you which vented, condenser and heat-pump tumble dryers dry clothes perfectly, quickly and keep the cost of drying low by being energy efficient while they dry.

The tumble dryers we name and shame as Don’t Buys have been proven in our lab tests to be a let down on laundry day and tend to leave clothes damp, use too much energy to dry them or take forever to get clothes dry.

  • We test each tumble dryer for how well it can dry clothes. When we use a load of cottons, we are aiming for the clothes to be completely dry and ready to be put away at the end of the cycle. The best tumble dryers we’ve tested will leave clothes perfectly dry. The worst, will leave them damp or even wet to touch.
  • To make sure that all of the load is dried evenly, we measure the dryness of each item of clothing and then compare the driest with the wettest items. The best tumble dryers will achieve a similar level of dryness throughout the load. The worst will leave some items of clothing bone dry with others still damp.
  • We also record the time it takes a tumble dryer to dry clothes. The best dryers we’ve seen take between 13-and-a-half minutes (vented and condenser) to 15-and-a-half minutes per kilo of laundry (heat-pump). The worst will take around twice as long. And even after all that time, with the worst tumble dryers, there’s no guarantee that your clothes will be fully dry.

If we find that a tumble dryer is bad enough to be a Don’t Buy, you can be sure that it’s one to avoid. No matter how attractive the price may be, it won’t do a good job in your home and is best left in the shop.

You can unlock this page and find out which tumble dryers are Don’t Buys and which are Best Buys by taking out a £1 trial to Which?.

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