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Top five tumble dryers for 2017

By Tom Morgan

Choosing a tumble dryer needn't be a hassle – just pick one from our experts' selection of the top Best Buys and your clothes will be perfectly dried.

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Picking out a new tumble dryer from rows of similar-looking white boxes can feel a bit like a guessing game. Just from looking at them, you won’t know which models take ages to dry clothes, or if they’ll leave your walls slick with condensation. Our expert condenser tumble dryer reviews are here to help.

To help narrow the search, we’ve put together a selection of five Best Buy tumble dryers, including heat pump, condenser and vented models – so there’s something for everyone. On top of that, we've named and shamed a range of energy-guzzling Don't Buys - they're let down by poor drying sensors that leave you with soggy laundry.

Only logged-in Which? members can view our recommendations in the table below. If you're not yet a Which? member, you can get instant access by taking a £1 trial to Which?.

Top five best tumble dryers

Lowest price (in stock) £649.00
Which? score 77%
Reviewed Jan 2015
Dryness of clothes:
4 out of 5
Evenness of drying:
4 out of 5
Energy use:
5 out of 5
Maximum capacity (kg):
Member exclusive
Synthetics capacity (kg):
Member exclusive
Energy label:
Member exclusive

Not only is this heat-pump dryer brilliant at keeping bills low, it's still one of the fastest heat-pump dryers we've tested since updating our test programme in 2013. It's also easy to use. In short: it's expensive, but excellent enough to be worth the money.

Lowest price (in stock) £794.90
Which? score 77%
Reviewed Jul 2016
Dryness of clothes:
5 out of 5
Evenness of drying:
5 out of 5
Energy use:
5 out of 5
Maximum capacity (kg):
Member exclusive
Synthetics capacity (kg):
Member exclusive
Energy label:
Member exclusive

This heat-pump dryer does everything you'd want from a tumble dryer. It works quickly, leaving the load perfectly dry at the end of the program, and it uses just half the energy of a condenser or vented dryer. That's why it is a Best Buy.

Lowest price (in stock) £859.99
Which? score 76%
Reviewed May 2017
Dryness of clothes:
4 out of 5
Evenness of drying:
4 out of 5
Energy use:
5 out of 5
Maximum capacity (kg):
Member exclusive
Synthetics capacity (kg):
Member exclusive
Energy label:
Member exclusive

This is an excellent tumble dryer. It dries quickly, accurately and evenly, and does a wonderful job of keeping energy bills low. So that's why we're happy to make it a Best Buy.

Lowest price (in stock) £699.00
Which? score 74%
Reviewed Jul 2016
Dryness of clothes:
4 out of 5
Evenness of drying:
4 out of 5
Energy use:
5 out of 5
Maximum capacity (kg):
Member exclusive
Synthetics capacity (kg):
Member exclusive
Energy label:
Member exclusive

This is a brilliant tumble dryer - in fact, it's so good that we've made it a Best Buy. It dries clothes quickly and you can rely on them being dry when the buzzer sounds. It does this while using around half the energy of a standard condenser or a vented dryer.

Lowest price (in stock) £759.99
Which? score 71%
Reviewed Oct 2015
Dryness of clothes:
3 out of 5
Evenness of drying:
3 out of 5
Energy use:
5 out of 5
Maximum capacity (kg):
Member exclusive
Synthetics capacity (kg):
Member exclusive
Energy label:
Member exclusive

This Best Buy dryer is worth the initial big investment - it keeps running costs low so won't drive up your utility bills. Even though it is a couple years old it is still one of our top dryers. It's very easy to use, has a self-cleaning system so you don't have to get your hands dirty, and it dries your clothes quickly. What more could you want?

Not found the product for you? Browse all of our tumble dryer reviews.

And here are three tumble dryers to avoid

When it comes to buying a new tumblr dryer, you want a model that'll dry your clothes effectively without taking too long or making too much noise. From years of rigorous testing, our experts have uncovered a range of Don't Buy tumble dryers unworthy of a spot in your kitchen.

Don't Buy tumble dryers are tricky to use and often come with unreliable drying sensors. keep scrolling for tumble dryers to avoid.

Don't Buy tumble dryers

Lowest price (in stock) £139.99
Which? score 44%
Reviewed May 2017
Dryness of clothes:
4 out of 5
Evenness of drying:
4 out of 5
Energy use:
2 out of 5
Maximum capacity (kg):
Member exclusive
Energy label:
Member exclusive
Annual energy cost (£):
Member exclusive

The White Knight C39AW vented tumble dryer is one for smaller households. It's a compact model, which means it's shorter, thinner and shallower than a standard-sized machine. So, it might make your shortlist if you need a dryer and don't have much room to play with, but does this petite tumble dryer punch above its weight? We tested it at our lab to find out, so read on for our full review.

Lowest price (in stock) £199.99
Which? score 41%
Reviewed Dec 2013
Dryness of clothes:
3 out of 5
Evenness of drying:
4 out of 5
Energy use:
2 out of 5
Maximum capacity (kg):
Member exclusive
Energy label:
Member exclusive
Annual energy cost (£):
Member exclusive

This dryer is annoyingly noisy, leaves clothes very creased, and doesn't do a good job of trapping the moisture taken from clothes in the removable tank. It's definitely one to avoid.

Typical price £270.00
Which? score 31%
Reviewed Apr 2017
Dryness of clothes:
2 out of 5
Evenness of drying:
4 out of 5
Energy use:
3 out of 5
Maximum capacity (kg):
Member exclusive
Energy label:
Member exclusive
Annual energy cost (£):
Member exclusive

This is one to avoid. It may have a roomy drum, but it leaves clothes disappointingly damp and makes quite a racket. During testing we found that the sensors can't be relied upon to actually get clothes dry. We suggest you avoid this model and opt for a Best Buy instead.

How to buy the best tumble dryer

The best tumble dryers we've tested are quick and accurate at drying and cheap to run. Our tests have discovered the best tumble dryers can dry a 6kg load of wet laundry in an hour and a half, whereas the slowest dryers take double this time. 

The most efficient dryers will cost around £23 a year to run, and the least efficient will cost you more than £140. We've also found that a surprising amount of tumble dryers fail to dry a load of clothes evenly, leaving you with soggy surprises that will need to be draped over a radiator or hung out on a washing line. 

Make sure you don't end up with a tumble dryer that cause you trouble by avoiding these Don't Buy tumble dryers.

Tumble dryer reviews you can trust

Every tumble dryer we review is tested to see how quickly it dries clothes, how easy it is to use, how noisy it is and how much it will add to your electricity bills.

Automatic dryers

These should make life easier by using a sensor inside the drum to monitor laundry. These dryers don’t require you to set the drying time yourself. Instead, they should simply stop the program when it detects that the clothes are dry. But you might be surprised by just how many automatic dryers leave clothes wet on at least one of the four programs we test on.

Condenser dryers

We also weigh condenser dryers to help find out how much of the moisture removed from clothes made it into the water tank, and how much was free to waft back into your home and stick to the walls and windows. The best condenser dryers trap more than 90% of moisture – the worst struggle to hold on to 60%.

As well as our extensive lab tests, we also contact thousands of tumble dryer owners every year to gather their views on the brand of dryer they own and any faults it has experienced. From the feedback, we are able to create reliability ratings and customer satisfaction scores for the major brands. You can see how the major brands stack up in our guide to the best tumble dryer brands.

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