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Updated: 25 May 2022

Best energy efficient tumble dryers: Which? Eco Buys and expert buying advice

Tumble dryers all dry clothes with heat and gentle tumbling. But Which? Eco Buy tumble dryers dry clothes while also keeping energy costs low.
Matt Stevens
Woman putting top into tumble dryer

A cheap tumble dryer may look like a bargain - but with annual running costs varying from as little as £25 to more than £121 a year, that 'great deal' could turn into an energy bill nightmare. Avoid a dryer that bumps up your bills by seeing our table of Best Buy energy-saving tumble dryers.

Which? tests dozens of tumble dryers every year, assessing each model on criteria including how quickly it dries your clothes and how easy it is to use. Each model gets a rating for overall energy efficiency, and we also estimate the annual running costs to calculate how much it will add to your energy bills each year - vital information that you won’t find in the shops.

Only the tumble dryers that dry items evenly and quickly become Which? Best Buys - you can find out what these are plus lots of other useful information by reading our guide on the best tumble dryers.

Eco Buy logo for Best Buys

We award our Eco Buy logo (below) to tumble dryers that receive a five star rating for energy efficiency, a four star or higher rating for dryness of clothes and that score 68% or higher in our expert tests. See which tested models meet our high standards by clicking through to our tumble dryer reviews and from there, click on the Eco Buy tick box.

Eco Buy Logo

Best energy-efficient tumble dryers

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

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

  • 78%
    • best buy
    • eco buy

    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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  • 76%
    • best buy
    • eco buy

    This is every inch a Best Buy tumble dryer - it dries clothes well, doesn’t take too long and wastes no energy in getting the job done. Making this excellent dryer a Best Buy is a no-brainer for us.

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  • 74%
    • best buy
    • eco buy

    This is an excellent tumble dryer and brings together strong all-round clothes drying with ultra-low energy use, so much so that we've made it an Eco Buy as well as a Best Buy.

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  • 73%
    • best buy
    • eco buy

    There’s little compromise when it comes to this excellent heat-pump tumble dryer. Clothes are well dried, and, for a heat-pump model, it’s not slow. It's also incredibly energy efficient which is why it's both a Best Buy and an Eco Buy.

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Worst energy efficient tumble dryers

Without reading our expert reviews, you run the risk of buying a tumble dryer that's let down by a poor energy efficiency rating. Buying a Which? Don't Buy could see you spending more on your annual energy bills than you'd like. Below, we've rounded up some Don't Buy condenser tumble dryers to steer clear of.

Heat pump vs gas tumble dryers: what's the difference?

Tumble dryers are given EU energy labels - these range from A+++ for the most energy efficient, to G for the least. The average rating, C-class, may sound fine - but an A-rated dryer would cost you roughly half as much to run. Some tumble dryers have special features to help you save energy. Look out for sensor drying; models with this feature automatically detect how wet your laundry is and stop when it’s dry.

Heat pump tumble dryers

Condenser tumble dryers with heat pump technology can lead to big savings on your energy bills. They are currently the most expensive tumble dryer type to buy, with the average price at £647, but tumble dryers with heat pumps can cost less than half to run than other types.

Check out our best heat pump tumble dryers and expert advice, or read our heat pump tumble dryer reviews to see which are Eco Buys.

Gas tumble dryers

Gas is a cheaper fuel than electricity, making gas-powered tumble dryers a good energy-saving alternative to most electric tumble dryers, particularly when they're vented. However, gas dryers are expensive to buy and need to be installed by qualified Gas Safe engineers, which can also be costly. Gas dryers also need to be placed somewhere near a vent or a window, so the hose can vent humid air outside.

Find out more about gas tumble dryers by reading our gas tumble dryers guide.

Looking for a new condenser tumble dryer? Visit our condenser tumble dryer guide to read our expert advice and see our top recommendations

Tips to get more from your tumble dryer

Condenser tumble dryers 474968

Choose a more efficient tumble dryer

Doing so is a sure way to keep your bills down.

Fill your tumble dryer

Make sure you fill your tumble dryer to its maximum capacity every time you use it.

Clean the lint filter

Do this every time you use the machine. A blocked filter prevents the hot air from circulating freely, meaning clothes take longer to dry. On some models you'll need to clean the second filter. This is essential on some heat-pump models.

Clean the heat exchange

Get more from your condenser dryer by cleaning the heat exchange. The manufacturer will advise on how often this needs to be done.

Fasten the stoppers of your duvet covers

This will stop smaller items of laundry getting trapped inside and remaining wet.

For more tips and advice on keeping your tumble dryer in top working condition, read our guide on tumble dryer tips and maintenance.

How much do tumble dryers cost to run?

Go to the tech specs tab on our tumble dryer reviews to see how much each machine costs to run per year. Our energy calculations are based on each tumble dryer being used three times a week to wash a 70% full load of cottons. You can also check our running cost tool to find out how much a tumble dryer would cost to run over its lifetime

Which tumble dryer is fastest?

Tumble dryers lined up in which lab   used 468431

We’ve analysed our tumble drying test results for the last four years – using data from a total of 231 machines in all – to share what you need to know about drying speeds.

We’ve compared vented, condenser, heat pump and compact tumble dryers to find out which is fastest and found huge differences between the fastest and the slowest machines, with the worst offenders taking nearly 33 minutes per kilo of clothes – that’s more than twice as long as the quickest tumble dryers.

Compact vented tumble dryers

The quickest compact vented tumble dryers we’ve tested aren’t bad for speed, taking around 18 minutes per kilo. But the slowest take much, much longer, clocking around 32 minutes for the same kilo of clothes.

Our verdict: If you only have a small space in your home or rarely dry much, a compact vented tumble dryer might appeal. But just be aware – they’ll never win any prizes for speed.

Full-sized vented tumble dryers

A fast vented tumble dryer will take less than 14 minutes to dry a kilo of laundry, so faster than a compact machine and you’ll be able to dry much more. But slow vented machines take about eight minutes longer.

Our verdict: Vented machines won’t be for everyone, due to the need to vent away warm damp air through a hose. But the best vented dryers can be as quick as any tumble dryers.

Condenser tumble dryers

Condensers can be among the quickest tumble dryers with times of 15 minutes or less per kilo not uncommon and the fastest taking just 13-and-a-half minutes. But not all condensers are record breakers – we’ve seen some that take 12 minutes longer per kilo.

Our verdict: The fastest condenser dryers will be as speedy as any tumbler you’ll find on the market. But not all machines are lightning fast. 

Heat-pump tumble dryers

Energy-saving heat-pump dryers cut energy use in half but they’re famed for taking their time to dry clothes with the slowest we’ve seen taking close to half-an-hour per kilo. However, their tardy reputation is changing, with the very best new machines taking not much longer than 15 minutes per kilo of laundry.

Our verdict: Energy-wise, you can’t beat a heat-pump dryer and now that prices are falling and drying times are being slashed, they’re becoming ever more compelling a purchase. But make sure you get a quick one – sluggish heat-pump dryers are among the slowest you’ll find.

Whatever kind of tumble dryer you buy, be it vented, condenser, heat-pump or compact, check out our tumble dryer reviews before you buy to make sure your choice isn’t a dud.